The art of Bonsai shaping and tree training is one of the oldest, most intricate arts in the gardening and botanical industry. The word bonsai is derived from the Japanese words bon, meaning tray, and sai, meaning tree, with a literal meaning of planting miniature trees inside a tray. Although originally started in Japan, there are similar traditions that are practiced in other cultures, such as the art of Penjing in China and hon-non-bo in Vietnam. These living, miniature natural masterpieces increase greatly in aesthetic appeal and financial value as the tree matures over time. There are a variety of different styles of bonsai trees, as well as many different species of tree that can be used to create a Bonsai. Styles of Bonsai include informal upright, formal upright, cascade, literati, semi-cascade and raft bonsais, all of which can range greatly in size from miniature, small, medium and large. Both flowered and fruit trees can be used.
Trunk And Bark Surface
The type of trunk and bark on the bonsai play an important role in its style. There are many terms used to describe different bark and trunk forms – for example, a bonsai with a twisted trunk is known in the traditional Japanese as a nebikan, while those species with dead branches or trunks are known as deadwood bonsais.
The direction and orientation of the major trunk of a bonsai tree are used to describe a growing style. For example, if the trunk of the tree has its apex directly above the base of the trunk (where it enters into the potting soil), it is known as an upright style. (Chokkan and Moyogi in Japanese). If the trunk is slightly slanted, it is known as an informal upright, and if the branches hang lower than the base of the trunk, the style is known as cascade. Branches at the same level as the base of the trunk are known as the semi-cascade style.
Most bonsai trees are planted directly into soil; however there are certain bonsai species that are planted with their roots over rocks. This root-over-rock style is known as deshojo, and a similar style in which the entire tree is rooted within a rock is known as ishizuki.
Number Of Trunks
Most bonsais consist of just a single tree with a single trunk. However, there are also specialised styles for those bonsais with a number of trunks, or multiple trees, also known as forest style bonsais. There are style categories for trees with multiple trunks coming off a single root, as well as for completely separate trees in one tray known as forest style. In addition, the configuration of multiple trunks and roots also plays a role in the style categorization – multiple trunks growing from a mass of interconnected roots are known as raft or sinuous style, and the Japanese terms yose-ue is used to describe any number of multiple, separate bonsais in one tray. These classification systems of bonsai styles can be quite confusing, particularly as the styles are not mutually exclusive – a single bonsai tree can fit into a number of different categories. In these situations, the bonsai is generally described by the style which is most prominent.
Within all of these classification systems, there are two large groups of Bonsais – indoor and outdoor plants. Within these large groups, there are numerous different varieties that can suit the desires of the grower.
If you are planning on getting started in the art of bonsai, or are simply trying to choose a bonsai plant to buy for yourself or as a gift, then having some knowledge about the different types of bonsai available to you can greatly assist in making your decision. At the end of the day, choosing a bonsai is a big decision and using information about the different types of bonsai available can help you choose the perfect bonsai for your environment and lifestyle.
A key factor in the traditional Japanese bonsai art form is the style used to create a bonsai. As mentioned above, there are a variety of styles that are used to create a specific form of bonsai, which allow bonsai growers across the globe to standardize their method of bonsai cultivation.
Unlike coniferous trees which largely grow needles, deciduous trees have wide leaves that come in a number of shapes, sizes and colors. Although they can be more of a challenge to grow they are often more rewarding.
Coniferous bonsai is one of the more challenging forms of this beautiful art of miniatures. Conifers are slow-growing and require a great deal of patience, study and care. With this understanding kept firmly in mind, the rewards of growing and training these trees are great.
Both deciduous bonsais and evergreen bonsais enter a dormancy period during the winter months. During this dormancy period neither type of bonsai can be indoors. They must be kept outside in cold weather in order to facilitate the dormancy period. Unlike Evergreens, which keep their leaves all year round, deciduous trees lose their leaves during the winter months. The term “deciduous” actually means, “falling off at maturity”.
Evergreens are often used to create a miniature tree that can be enjoyed indoors or out. Some of the more common species of evergreen bonsai include spruce, cedar, and redwood to name a few. Growing these trees in containers presents some unique challenges, but there are many advantages to doing so as well.
Flowering bonsai plants require regular watering, feeding, training and pruning like other ornamental and flowering plants. They’re grown in small containers and are trained with wire coils to induce their desired shape and structure.
As you review numerous tree species that can be formed into a bonsai, it can be tough to choose the right one. With tropical varieties, you’ll find plants that enjoy temperatures that are higher than 60 degrees Fahrenheit, which are ideal for indoor maintenance.
Of the many types of bonsai, Shohin is among the most challenging and most rewarding. The word Shohin literally means “small goods“. Trees trained to the Shohin size are no more than 12 inches tall or wide, and can be much smaller. A good rule of thumb is that the potted tree should be small enough to be held on the palm of one’s hand.
The Apple bonsai tree, also known as the Pitch Apple or Monkey Apple tree is native to tropical regions in America. It grows into various bonsai styles with dark green leaves and aerial roots, and grows white and pink flowers in the summertime. After the flowers drop off, it grows small, coin-sized miniature apple fruits.
Perhaps these people have so-called “brown thumbs” and generally fail to take care of anything they try to grow, or maybe they simply live such busy lives that they do not have the time or the energy to devote to growing and shaping a real bonsai tree. Some would condemn these individuals as being unworthy participants in the art of bonsai, but beauty and artistry can be appreciated by more than just artists. People who wish to own a bonsai tree without devoting much maintenance and upkeep time can either purchase an artificial bonsai tree or make one on their own.
Within the realm of bonsai, the ancient art of training trees and shrubs to look like miniature mature trees, azaleas hold a prized position. Azaleas add color and bloom to the art of bonsai. When crafted with artistry and precision, an azalea bonsai flowers in clouds of pink, white and red. While conventional azaleas and rhododendrons are typically shaped into hedges or compact shrubbery, azalea bonsai are most often shaped to resemble flowering trees. Even when not in bloom, their leaves provide visual interest.
In its full-grown form, the Bahama Berry tree is nondescript and unattractive. When kept as a bonsai tree, however, the slim, twisty nature of the trunk makes for a graceful and pleasant smelling bonsai tree. The Bahama Berry is also known as Nashia inaguensis, Moujean Tea, Pineapple Verbena, and “I Dry, I Die”. It is native to the Bahamas Island named Inagua, is a member of the Vervain family, and is a relative of the lantana. This bonsai can be high-maintenance when it comes to care but the pleasing appearance and aroma of the tree make up for the unstable nature of the plant.
In the wild, the Bald Cypress tree grows in wet, swampy soils along riverbanks and flood plains. Specimens of this plant have reached ages as old as 1000 years. Although the tree generally likes wetter climates, it has been grown as far north as Minnesota, New York and Southern Canada. The circular strands the tree grows in are far different than how a Bald Cypress bonsai plant will grow. When looked at from afar, the strands of tree take on an almost dome-like shape. Needles on the tree grow in rows of two along the slender twigs. This deciduous plant loses its needles in winter, but may dried leaves will often remain on the Bald Cypress until springtime.
When most people think of bamboo, they imagine the fast-growing hallowed stems that are used for building, cooking, and feeding pandas. What most people don’t imagine is the Nandina domestica plant, also known as both heavenly bamboo and sacred bamboo. Despite the name, heavenly bamboo isn’t bamboo at all, but rather a small shrub.
The Black Olive species is one of the most beloved types of Bonsai because of its lush leaves and interesting growth pattern. Native to the Florida Keys, Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Bahamas, the trees tend to do best in warm climates and have a very high tolerance for salt, making them good options for those who live by the sea.
The Bonsai Money Tree is considered by many to be a symbol of good luck and prosperity for those who own one. Its binomial name is Pachira aquatica, and it is also known as Malabar chestnut, Guiana chestnut, provision tree, saba nut, and Pumpo.
Bougainvillea Bonsai is a genus of ornamental flowering plants that are native to South America — mainly Peru, Brazil, and Argentina. It is named after the French Navy Admiral, Louis Antoine de Bougainville. Bougainvillea was discovered in 1768 by Philibert Commerco, a French botanist, who accompanied Bougainville on a voyage to circumnavigate the globe.
For anyone who has ever seen photos of English landscaping, Boxwood will be a familiar plant. Known for its pom-pom like design and ability to be shaped into living statues, Boxwood is actually a plant that is well-suited to be made into bonsai trees. The two most popular species of Boxwood are Buxus microphylla (Japanese Boxwood) and Buxus sempervirens (Common Boxwood).
Bromeliad bonsai trees are considered to be especially durable due to a complex root system characteristic of most terrestrial bromeliad species. Leaf coloration on these particular bonsai trees ranges from maroon through shades of gold and green. Other trees in this species may display spots of cream, red or purple. The resulting foliage can be broad and flat or symmetrical and irregular. It’s these characteristics, along with the deep root system that better absorbs nutrients and water, which make bromeliad bonsai trees stand out from other types of bonsai trees.
The Buddha’s Ear is part of the “elephant ear” form of plants whose full scientific species name is Alocasia cucullata. The common forms this plant goes by are Chinese Taro, Nai Habarala, Buddha’s Ear, Buddha’s Palm or Hand, Buddha’s First Lily, and Hooded Dwarf Elephant Ear.
The Buttonwood Bonsai is a unique tree that is sometimes dismissed as unattractive or less than worthy of the species but it can also be said to have a distinct artistic presence. The ancient reputation of the Bonsai for being a survivor of time, yet delicate in nature, is no better displayed than with the Buttonwood Bonsai. This specimen makes a great starter plant for healers to nurture and coax into bloom. As the appearance of deadwood takes shape into a beautiful swan, all of your patience and efforts will be rewarded.
Desert-dwelling cactuses are some of the most unique plants in the world. The most well-known cactus is the mighty saguaro which can reach over 50 feet in height. While the saguaro is nearly impossible to maintain away from its natural habitat, a cactus combo bonsai is a way to have a beautiful cactus in your own home. A cactus combo bonsai is a potted collection of one or more small cactus plants. Specific varieties of cactus are selected so that the collection will only reach a maximum height of 10 inches. Unlike many other houseplants, the cactus combo bonsai is easy to take care of and requires very little effort to keep alive.
If you love bonsais and want to find a more interesting species to take on, you will love the Cape Honeysuckle Bonsai. Truly a unique specimen, this shrub lives to soak in the sun and spread like wildfire. Recognized by its stunning, vibrantly-hued blossoms and foliage, the Cape Honeysuckle bonsai has been known to mesmerize all walks of life with its rare beauty.
Members of the cedar genus make striking bonsai trees. Their rough, cragged bark is the calling card of the species. And the short needle clusters that grow sparsely along the branches to give them a canopy like no other trees. But the cedar bonsai’s beauty is both unique and rare. Cedar trees are rarely sold as bonsai. They require care and expertise to grow correctly and therefore are not in great demand. This can make them difficult to find in shops. But if you can get your hands on one you’ll find them easy to grow and an enjoyable challenge to style and shape.
Cherry blossom bonsai has many names, including Japanese Cherry, Hill Cherry, East Asian Cherry, and Oriental Cherry. It is part of the “prunus” species of plants, which also include fruit trees like peaches, almonds, plums, and apricots. There are almost 430 varieties of this species — prunus serrulata is commonly known as cherry blossom. Cherry blossoms are native to the regions of China, Japan, and Korea.
A cherry bonsai tree comes from a simple cherry seed. You can order specialized seeds online or try your luck with a fresh cherry seed from your fruit. There are no special genetic modifications that are made to a seed to make it small; bonsai is a practice and not any sort of specific plant.
Cherry bonsai trees require a special bonsai soil for optimal health. It is best that beginners choose a larger pot as well. Many beginners start with a tiny pot for a tiny tree, but they are much more complicated to grow. A cherry tree would do great in a one gallon pot.
The Chinese Elm bonsai tree, known as the Ulmus Parvifolia, is one of the most attractive bonsai trees available. It is categorized by its beautiful twisting trunk, small green leaves, strong branches, and fine twigs. In fact, one of the main attractions of the Chinese Elm bonsai tree is the beautiful contrast between the thick and sturdy tree trunk all the way to the extremely delicate branches. They are native to Korea, Japan, and China, and extremely popular, especially amongst beginner bonsai tree enthusiasts. It is very easy to care for and even more stunning to look at. The Chinese Elm bonsai tree tends to fair much better in warmer climates, where the leaves remain a magnificent shade of evergreen. This type of bonsai tree does not fare well in cold weather conditions. They are best kept as indoor bonsai trees, as if they are left outdoors, the color will diminish and become deciduous.
The Crepe Myrtle Bonsai is a small tree, native to Asia and Australia, with deciduous leaves. The Crepe Myrtle has a lot to offer for any Bonsai collector. Not only for the crepe-like flowers that it’s named for, but for the varying colors of the bark as it sheds from season to season. This particular Bonsai has a lot of interesting traits that will be discussed in this article.
When you see a dogwood in its natural surroundings, you’ll notice that the species will grow at a modest rate. The dogwood releases deep green vegetation that shifts to fall shades of red and purple. In the spring, the dogwood sprouts blossoms of perfumed flowers prior to its yearly spring greenery. Therefore, when you choose a dogwood for your new bonsai tree, you’ll have selected a striking tree variety to train. The species also easily accepts pruning and enjoys a shady environment.
Growing and sculpting a Fukien tea tree into a bonsai design is not a project for the beginner. While it offers many unique characteristics to the bonsai design, the Fukien tea tree is one of the more difficult varieties to sculpt. Everything from cultivation, maintenance and pruning should be done by someone with experience. Of course, the end result of all this effort is paid back in full. For those up to the challenge, the Fukien tea tree promises a beautiful, graceful bonsai.
Ginkgo Bonsai is the potted and manicured version of the commonly known Ginkgo biloba, a tree native to Asia that is known for its medicinal benefits. One of the only known living trees that has no currently known close relatives, the Ginkgo biloba is unique in its ability to grow in terrain that is typically perceived as “harsh.” For example, these trees are capable of sprouting along cliff banks and other rocky surfaces.
Ginseng ficus bonsai trees are very hardy and easy to take care of. Many beginning bonsai enthusiasts choose these trees to raise. They grow dense foliage, and they have very thick trunks. There are many different ficus trees, but only about six species are usually used for bonsai gardening. Ginseng ficus trees are native to Malaysia and Taiwan. These plants usually have several large roots that look like tree trunks.
Grapevine bonsai plants grow quickly and they require a lot of maintenance and care to grow successfully. Grapes are climbing vines in their natural environment. However, grapevine bonsai plants grow to become bushy trees, and their size is only limited by how the gardener wants them to look. Growing a grapevine bonsai correctly can ensure that these plants thrive.
It’s easy to understand why the green mound juniper bonsai is one of the most popular bonsai for novice growers. Compared to other bonsai, care and maintenance of the green mound juniper is relatively easy, and it naturally develops the beautiful hunter green leaves and tight growth pattern of classical bonsai. These hardy trees are tolerant to a wide range of temperatures, and can be adapted to either indoor or outdoor growing.
When it comes to flowering bonsai, nothing is more striking, colorful, and unique than a hibiscus. The large leaf and flower size can be an intimidating obstacle to anyone attempting to shape a bonsai from a hibiscus, but the payoff is a gorgeous plant that produces striking, vibrantly colored flowers the whole growing season and provides a wide variety of flower colors to choose from.
The Himalayan cedar bonsai is a dwarf variant and was first cultivated in Australia. The tree sports light green needles with rich golden undertones and the oils in its bark produce a wonderful aromatic scent. When properly pruned and cared for, the Himalayan bonsai cedar grows between four to six inches a year. If it is not regularly trimmed, however, the tree can grow as high as 15 inches. Its typical shape is conical shape.
The jade tree plant, or Crassula ovata, is native to the Capetown area of South Africa. The jade tree plant is part of a plant classification known as succulents. The jade plant has thick, glossy, deep green, oval shaped leaves and thick, brown stems. Succulents typically grow in dry areas such as deserts and its leaves hold water for long periods of time. The jade plant prefers coarse, sandy soil similar to the soils found in its natural desert habitat. Because of this, jade plants are good plants for the novice horticulturalist because it’s very low maintenance.
As one of the 110 species included in the Pinus genus, the Japanese Black Pine bonsai tree is known by the scientific name of Pinus thunbergii. This beautiful plant is characterized by delicate needle-like green leaves that always grow together in pairs. During springtime, the Japanese Black Pine will produce small reddish flowers. Later, it will also grow small brown cones. This hardy species can tolerate very strong winds and ocean spray. In Japan, the Japanese Black Pine has been one of the most popular plants to use in architecture.
For a majority of men and women who are bonsai enthusiasts, the Japanese Maple bonsai tree is extremely popular. It is a beautiful bonsai tree and what a lot of people think of when they picture bonsai trees in their head. It is a highly recommended type of bonsai tree for those individuals who are just starting the bonsai tree hobby. The Japanese Maple bonsai tree does not require a lot of maintenance and care. As well, the Japanese Maple bonsai tree, when indoors, can really liven up a room in a house or an office. It is especially beautiful during the autumn months because the leaves turn magnificent shades of red, gold, and orange. It offers a little bit of extra color to a room.
Possibly one of the most popular bonsai trees on the market is the beautiful Juniper bonsai tree. This type of bonsai tree is found in numerous countries all around the globe. There are more than fifty different varieties of Juniper bonsai tree available. Some of the more popular varieties include the Needle Juniper bonsai tree and the Chinese Juniper bonsai tree. They are also one of the easiest bonsai trees to care for, making it an excellent choice for individuals who are new to the world of owning a bonsai tree. It is one of the few bonsai trees that can be placed indoors or outdoors. With the right amount of light and humidity, the Juniper bonsai tree can thrive in any condition.
Liquidambar is a deciduous tree with leaves that turn splendid yellow, various shades of orange, burgundy purple and many different shades of red in the autumn. It is an attractive bonsai tree whether it has green leaves, colored leaves or no leaves. The American Liquidambar has been cultivated over the years to produce different varieties that have specific leaf colors in the autumn. Asian Liquidambar has not yet been hybridized for this, but the leaves still give a colorful show. Japanese Maples need cold weather to product the fall colors, but Liquidambar will produce reliable fall colors in warm climates too.
The exquisite rosy colored pom-poms that mimosa trees, Albizia julibrissin, produce are one of the reasons they are such a popular bonsai tree. Other ways these mimosa plants seem made for this art form include the delicate and fern like fronds covered in miniature leaves. These unique characteristics lend a particularly elegant and delicate feel to bonsai living sculptures. Mimosa trees also make great bonsai plants because they grow quickly. This means that the trunk and limbs of the plant thicken faster than other types of bonsai plants and sculpting them is thus easier.
The Needle Juniper Bonsai tree is a beautiful and rewarding bonsai for both beginner bonsai growers and long-standing enthusiasts. Because it is so easy to shape and care for, Juniperus is one of the most popular types of bonsai to grow. The most trouble you’ll have is choosing your favorite from the many species available.
The Norfolk Island Pine is usually sold in nurseries and grocery stores around Christmas Time because it resembles miniature Christmas tree. Some even go as far as to attach mini ornaments and garland to the branches. The Norfolk Island pine, in its natural habitat, is quite different from these cute little trees. The origin of the tree is in the South Pacific on a tiny little 13-square foot island between Australia and New Zealand where the tree grows about 200 feet high. Although usual bonsai techniques must be altered, the small tree can be trained into a nice bonsai that will last for several years.
There are hundreds of members of the Quercus genus, that which contains all of the oaks. There are more than 600 species native to North America alone. Not all of these are amenable to being grown as bonsai. Those that are, however, make lovely and gratifying bonsai subjects. Oaks are more particular than other plants about when the grower prunes their roots. Oaks demand greater care in that regard than popular maples and conifers.
Pine is one of the most popular species of bonsai tree. Bonsai growers love this genus because it is evergreen and creates the classic Japanese Bonsai aesthetic. But while popular, pine Bonsai trees are not for beginner growers.
The Pomegranate tree is very popular as a bonsai. It is a deciduous tree and drops most or all of its leaves in the winter, but does not produce bright, autumn colors. It has striking flowers that bear fruit and a thick trunk with attractive bark. The trunk has a natural twist that gives a gnarled and ancient appearance which is very appreciated in bonsai. The Pomegranate reached Japan through the silk route and has been admired as a bonsai tree for centuries. There are many varieties with different color, shape and size of flowers and fruit.
The Powder Puff bonsai gets its name from its delightful showy flowers. Those bright, puffy cotton ball-like blooms make the Powder Puff one of the most whimsical of all of the bonsai plant genera. If you’re looking to add a pop of color and joy to your bonsai collection, it’s hard to grow wrong with any of the Powder Puff species in the Calliandra genus.
Not everyone is well suited to being a bonsai tree gardener. Some people lack the patience, knowledge, and time to nourish and shape a bonsai tree over time, so they seek for a way to experience the elegance of the bonsai tree without all of the hard work. Those who are bad or unlucky with plants, those who live such busy lives that they often forget to water their foliage, and those who simply do not want to put up with the quirks and difficulties presented by the typical bonsai tree may want to purchase a preserved bonsai tree instead of a live one.
The word “privet” refers to a type of plant from the genus Ligustrum that encompasses at least fifty varieties of plant. Privets are best known for their appeal as decorative hedges, although their ability to be shaped and pruned makes them ideal bonsai trees. Their hardy natures and low maintenance requirements make them excellent choices for bonsai gardeners who are just beginning to practice the art of bonsai.
Pyracantha plants are a genus of shrubs native to Asia. Seven species are included in the genus. They are all broadleaf evergreens with thorns. If untrimmed, they can grow up to eighteen feet tall. In the spring they produce white flowers which in turn lead to orange or red berries by fall. They are used both as bonsai trees and as ornamental hedges in outdoor landscapes.
The most famous example of the redwood is the Wellington, native to the Pacific Rim. These bonsai miniature versions of their famous California cousins retain all the beauty that the giant redwood trees are known for. Although redwood trees can be found all across the country, the most famous display resides in the renowned Redwood National Forest in California. These mighty trees have stood for hundreds of years as an emblem of majesty and strength. The redwoods in fact are some of the oldest known living thing on the planet!
Most people do not associate Rosemary with the art of bonsai, but this savory plant can be used for more than just seasoning. The hardy, fast-growing nature of this plant makes it an excellent choice for the bonsai gardener who wants a lovely bonsai tree without the complications often involved with bonsai gardening. An added bonus is that the leaves from the Rosemary Bonsai can be used for seasoning, so pruning the Rosemary Bonsai can yield ingredients that will spice up tomato sauce or soup. While Rosemary Bonsais require relatively simple care, there are still steps bonsai gardeners must take in order to ensure the health of their Rosemary Bonsais.
The Sea Grape Bonsai Tree or Coccoloba uvifera is from the buckwheat family and is considered to be an evergreen flowering tree with ivory colored flowers. It has round, leathery leaves that have a red vein running through the base of the leaves. It can be cultivated by planting seeds or by cloning. This vein causes the leaf to turn red as it ages. It also has a smooth, yellow hued bark and grows a purple, grape-like fruit that can be eaten. However, it rarely produces fruit when it is grown indoors. If you do get fruit from it, you can make it into jelly or jam if desired or eat it raw.
The Serissa bonsai is a unique, beautiful bonsai tree. Bonsai enthusiasts love it for its ever-present white flowers that gave it the nickname “Tree of a Thousand Stars”. And the Serissa has more than just beautiful foliage to offer. It also grows remarkably fast and responds well to severe pruning. All of these attributes combined make the Serissa bonsai one of the most pleasant and rewarding bonsai trees available.
The scientific name for the Trident Maple bonsai is Acer buergerianum. The Trident Maple is not only ideal for bonsai, but it is also used throughout the world as a tree that is planted along sidewalks and in city parks. This tree is hardy and can withstand rough conditions, such as dry soil, heavy pruning, and air pollution. These traits also make it an ideal candidate for bonsai culture.
Possibly one of the most popular bonsai trees available on the market is the Weeping Willow bonsai tree. The origins of this type of bonsai tree are said to be from somewhere in China. This type of bonsai tree is one of the most popular variations found throughout the United States. One of the primary reasons people love this type of bonsai is that the catkins start out as silver but then turn a cream color as maturity sets in. However, on the other end of the spectrum, this type of bonsai has a shorter lifespan than most bonsai trees. It only lasts for approximately twenty-five years if maintained properly. This is in large part due to the brittleness of the branches on this type of bonsai.
Gardeners who enjoy flowering trees can appreciate growing Wisteria bonsai. This miniature tree is a smaller version of the flowering shrub found in many countries of the world such as China, Japan, and the United States. It does require a great deal of care and patience in order to produce its fragrant blossoms, so people who choose this plant should be aware of its needs beforehand.
Zelkova bonsai plants are known for being resistant to many of the diseases that commonly harm other species. They are typically associated with the broom style. This portrays a deciduous tree that has not been influenced by environmental factors. Zelkova plants are native to China and Japan, and they are related to elm trees. There are two species of Zelkova trees, and both are used to produce bonsai plants.