Any substantial plant can be trained into a bonsai with a bit of hard work - although some plants are very difficult to make to adapt to the shallow pots and restricted growth. When choosing a plant to train into a bonsai, think about your climate and how the plant will grow there. There's no use choosing a tropical plant if your area is snowed-under for half of the year and you don't have the facilities to care for such a plant indoors. It's a good idea to look at what types of plants grow well in your area, and try to make a bonsai out of one of those. You'll find that it's much easier that way and you can gain inspiration from fully grown trees growing locally.
Trees and shrubs which are used more commonly for bonsai and that adapt quite well are evergreens such as Pine, Cypress, Camelia, Azalea, Pomegranate, Holly, Serissa, Fig (Rainforest and Mediterranean) and Cedar. Deciduous trees such as Cherry, Maple (Japanese and Trident), Zelkova and Beech are also prime candidates.
All of these plants are favoured for bonsai because they are great plants for both the novice and expert. They offer many special characteristics such as beautiful flowers, a strong and hardy nature, attractive bark, interesting foliage or seasonal fruits and cones. Whatever the attribute, the above plants really do make beautiful bonsai - while also being traditional plants which have been used in this art for centuries.
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