Best Trees for Indoor Bonsai

I recently watched a video where Ryan said that, in his opinion, only ~1% of all types of tree species are suitable for indoor bonsai. Which ones are they?


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I’ve been growing a focus benjamina " midnight" in the house over the winters but I bring it out once it’s reliably over 45 degrees f. I still wouldn’t recommend it indoors all the time as the leaves get big .

I don’t know if any trees will thrive indoors. I’ve heard ficus do decently indoors and dwarf jade do ok. I think it would be one thing to keep a tree alive indoors and another to grow and develop one.

I bring my tender tropical trees in when temps dip below 40F.
Ficus, Fukien tea tree, several medium portulacaria (mini jade, not related.) … Back out at 45F.
In a easy winter, it usually hits -10F here.
The several trees I bring indoors do OK. The real trick is enough watering… and, a high enough lumen light to keep them happy. My house is a desert. Even with a central humidifier. I also run a floor humidifier. The plants dry out in two days.
Just putting them in a window is NOT enough light.
Note: Large South facing windows in summer WILL fry a tree in hours.
I feel bad for my portulacaria… they lose leaves all winter!
My houseplants; Philidendrons, etc, do OK, when I remember to water them…
No, I dont want or need a hothouse!

I’ve had a Fukien tea tree for a few years, living in Chicago. I bring it inside when it gets colder than 45F. Tried keeping it inside all year once, but it just didn’t grow or bloom like it does outside. These trees would need some setup for them to thrive all year long indoors… like Kurt mentioned, figuring out the right amount of light/humidity/watering is tricky.

In other words, skip on the tropicals and get some thick trunk hardy trees :laughing:

Reckon you would need some kind of growlight setup if you were to be growing indoors permanently which is just a pain in the neck but could be done I guess. You could look at growing them as they would hydroponically in that method like they do with canabis

I thought I would share a small indoor winter area where everything that is tropical comes in once we get below 45°.

I also have a “Cart” (aka furniture designed for plants that pass the partner test of actually looking like furniture)that I made that has full spectrum lights and heat mat, typically for succulents but the pines that were just repotted gets precedence overnight when it’s below freezing.

I also have a southwest facing window I made a a supplemental light fixture for some air plants. Just some food for thought!


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What types of grow lights are you using? Really like that setup of using the cart

In the “art studio”/closet I have a Spider Farmer 2023 Newest SF1000D-got this a year ago very happy with it. Getting good responses from everything that had to go in there.

In the cart and the window, I have 4 Mostthink full spectrum 432 LEDs because of the thinness to fit under the draws and not be seen, they are designed for seedlings so I dont think it is doing much for the pines in this case. But if you saw my question about the “bonsai shuffle” regarding these two pines , by the time they come indoors these lights are turned off. Typically it is used for house plants or cuttings