If you are a bonsai enthusiast, then you may be looking for some great bonsai books to help you learn more about the craft. There are thousands of bonsai books available on the market, so if you’re new to them, it may seem overwhelming to know where to start.
If you’re just starting out with bonsai, it can be tough to know where to begin. That’s why I’ve put together this list of the top bonsai books for beginners and advanced readers alike. These books will teach you everything you need to know about bonsai, from choosing the right tree to styling and care. So whether you’re a complete beginner or an experienced bonsai grower, there’s something for everyone on this list!
These are our favorite bonsai books:
- Indoor Bonsai for Beginners – Selection, Care & Training by Werner M. Busch
- Growing Bonsai Indoors By Brooklyn Botanical Gardens
- 101 Essential Tips on Bonsai by Harry Tomlinson
Whether you’re a bonsai beginner (check out these bonsai starter kits for beginners) or an experienced practitioner, there’s a bonsai book out there for you. For those just starting out, books like “Bonsai Basics” and “The Art of Bonsai” provide overviews of the basics of bonsai care.
More advanced bonsai enthusiasts can find books that focus on specific techniques, such as pruning or potting. There are also many books that showcase the beauty of bonsai, with stunning photographs and detailed descriptions of the different bonsai styles. Whatever your level of interest, there’s sure to be a bonsai book that’s perfect for you.
Best Bonsai Books
There’s something special about bonsai books. They’re not like other books; they’re alive. They have a history, a story to tell. And when you open one, it’s like opening a door to another world.
Bonsai books are a great way to learn about bonsai; the plants and the craft itself. They provide detailed information and instructions that can be difficult to find elsewhere. And because they’re written by experts, you can be sure that you’re getting accurate information.
Bonsai books are filled with information on how to care for your bonsai, what kind of bonsai you have, and how to style it. But more than that, these books are a source of inspiration. They showcase the beauty and diversity of bonsai and remind us that there’s more to bonsai than just watering and pruning.
Here are some books to consider adding to your list:
1. The Bonsai Beginner’s Bible
If you’re new to the world of bonsai, this is a great book to start with. It’s a practical guide for people who are new, but more seasoned bonsai users can still refer to it from time to time to help with the art of growing and shaping their bonsai plants.
2. The Complete Practical Encyclopedia of Bonsai
This complete book of bonsai is a great choice for anyone of any level. It teaches you important aspects of bonsai like growing, displaying your bonsai, shaping and maintenance, and more. My favorite part of this book is that it has over 800 full-color photographs to help you see exactly what they are talking about.
3. The Little Book of Bonsai: An Easy Guide to Caring for Your Bonsai Tree
Don’t let the “little” name fool you – this book is a comprehensive guide to bonsai and it’s very useful. This is the kind of bonsai book you will pull back down off your shelf time and time again to reference it.
4. The Bonsai Book: The Definitive Illustrated Guide
Here’s another book that I love because of the illustrations. It gives you a great visual for exactly what it’s teaching. You can learn more about bonsai cultivation with pictures to help guide you.
5. Freestyle Bonsai: How to pot, grow, prune, and shape – Bend the rules of traditional bonsai
They say you have to learn the rules before you can break the rules. This fun book is all about breaking from tradition and doing your own thing in bonsai. It’s definitely a great one to add to your bonsai journey.
6. The World of Ficus Bonsai
Bonsai lovers around the world will know about the popularity of the ficus bonsai. This book is dedicated specifically to this type of bonsai tree.
7. Bonsai Survival Manual: Tree-by-Tree Guide to Buying, Maintaining, and Problem-Solving
Here’s a good book for learning about buying and maintaining your trees but what I love the most about it is that it helps you with common problems you may face with your bonsai. You can troubleshoot just about all of the common (and some not-so-common) issues with bonsai by reading this book.
8. Bonsai Master Class
And finally, here’s a book that takes it to the next level. When you want to go beyond the beginner basics and into more secret techniques of bonsai or advanced skills, this is a great book to have on hand. Next, let’s take a look at some tips to help you in choosing the best bonsai guides.
Tips for choosing your books and bonsai guides
If you are in the market for some great books on bonsai, how do you know what to look for?
- Does it contain pictures and illustrations?
- Do you need beginner level, intermediate, or advanced?
- Does it have detailed instructions?
- Is it written by someone with proven experience in bonsai?
- Does it cover buying and caring for your bonsai, including bonsai maintenance?
There are many quality books out there to choose from, all with essential information about the art of bonsai. Whether it’s your first book or you already have a shelf full, I hope you enjoy the suggestions on this list. Next, I wanted to list some specific books for beginners.
Best Bonsai Books for Beginners
Here are my picks for some of the best bonsai books for beginners. If you’re new to the art of bonsai, there are many things you need to know that more seasoned fine artists might already know. You can find expert advice from those with prior experience in all the things you’re still learning about. These books below are some of my favorite choices for those just starting out but you’ll also find they remain useful over time, as well.
Here are some great beginner books for bonsai:
9. Bonsai: The Complete Step-by-Step Guide on How to Cultivate and Care for Beginners
The Japanese art of bonsai is an ancient art still practiced today. This book will help you with all the basic techniques as you are learning your way with your own bonsai tree.
10. Bonsai for Beginners
Here’s another basic guide that I really like. It gives you step-by-step instructions that are easy to follow. From indoor bonsai trees to simple bonsai techniques, this is a must-read.
11. The Bonsai Beginner’s Bible
As the name suggests, this is the ultimate guide for beginners. It’s the bonsai Bible and you will refer to this one a lot. It’s definitely a great one to add to your collection.
12. Introduction to Bonsai: The Complete Illustrated Guide for Beginners (with Monthly Growth Schedules and over 2,000 Illustrations)
This is another amazing guide with LOADS of pictures. In fact, it has over 2,000 illustrations to help you understand exactly what they are explaining for you to do. This is a resource you will use a lot.
13. The Ultimate Bonsai Handbook: The Complete Guide for Beginners
Here’s another classic beginner bonsai book. It has all the things you need to know about getting started, including info about the different species of bonsai.
14. Bonsai Book for Beginners: Learn How to Plant, Grow, and Care for a Bonsai Tree Step by Step
I also enjoy this bonsai book for beginners. You can learn all the basics from choosing a tree, watering and fertilizing, planting and repotting, basic care and maintenance, and so much more.
15. Bonsai (101 Essential Tips)
And finally, this short but sweet book gives you 101 essential tips for beginner bonsai and I find it to be a great starter book but also a good one that you can quickly reference later on, as needed. You can’t do wrong by having it in your collection, too.
Bonsai Books – Conclusion
If you’re new to bonsai, or if you’re looking for some fresh ideas, bonsai books can help you with that as well. As you can see, there is no shortage of great books to choose from. If you’re like me, you may find yourself wanting them all. Whether you start with the first one that calls to you the most, or a handful to start your own bonsai book collection, I’m sure you can be happy and educated with any of the great books on this list.
Do you have a favorite bonsai book that I missed? Let us know in the comments. I’d love to read it!
Lisa Clark is a freelance writer who grew up on farmland, then moved to the city, and has now retired back to her rural roots. She's having fun teaching her kids about gardening, planting flowers, and collecting houseplants.