Top 8 Best Bonsai Books

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Do you want to learn how to care for bonsai trees? If so, then these books are for you!

There are lots of different types of bonsai trees out there, but if you want to get started with growing your own, then you need to start with the basics. This means learning how to care for your tree properly.

These bonsai books cover everything you need to know about caring for bonsai trees. From planting to pruning, watering, fertilizing, and much more. 

For those in a hurry, here are my top books: 

Selecting a Bonsai Book

There are thousands of Bonsai book recommendations out there. However, a short list of suggested titles would be helpful if you want to start reading them right away to start building your bonsai collection.

All the Bonsai books listed below are widely available on the internet too. is my usual go-to. 

Best Bonsai Books 

1. The Ultimate Bonsai Handbook: The Complete Guide for Beginners by Yukio Hirose

The Ultimate Bonsai Handbook was written by Yukio Hirose, one of the top Shohin bonsai artists in Japan and a foremost bonsai expert. This is the best book for beginners with over 1,000 photos to show readers how to grow and care for 70 different types of bonsai trees. 

The book employs the “learn by imitation and observation” approach, so it’s a great book to get started with. It covers everything you need to get started with 

  • How to choose bonsai types
  • Bonsai tree shapes and displaying them
  • Bonsai tools, containers, and soils
  • Pruning, wiring, propagating
  • Root trimming, transplanting, fertilizing, and watering

A comprehensive guide for growing pine trees, maple trees, flowering and fruiting trees, and many others as bonsai trees.

2. The Bonsai Beginner’s Bible by Peter Chan 

The Bonsai Beginner’s Bible is written by Peter Chan, one of the top Bonsai experts in the world with his own premier bonsai nursery in the UK, Herons Bonsai. He’s won 21 Gold Medals at the Chelsea Flower Show and has written 6 bestselling Bonsai books. 

This compact beginner’s guide is packed full of great information, including tips on growing bonsai from seed, propagating, shaping with wires, choosing the best bonsai soil, watering practice, seasonal care, common issues, pots and containers, and much more.

It covers all aspects of bonsai care and full of stunning photographs that makes things easy to understand. This book will help you get started on over 180 of the most popular Bonsai species. 

This is an easy-to-read book and the index in the back of the book helps you find information easily and quickly. 

3. Bonsai (101 Essential Tips) by Harry Tomlinson

The Bonsai 101 Essential Tips book has easy-to-understand tips for beginners that contain everything you need to know to start growing beautiful Bonsai trees at home – bonsai care, design, maintenance, and arrangement. 

If you want to learn everything there is to know about growing bonsai trees, then look no further than this handy pocket guide! Bring the ancient practice of creating miniature trees indoors by using them for decorating purposes and bringing the ancient tradition into the modern era.

Even though it’s 101 Bonsai tips, it’s well-organized into sections: 

  • Starting a Bonsai
  • Design Principles
  • Bonsai Styles
  • Year-Round Color
  • Useful Tools
  • How to Create a Bonsai
  • Caring for Your Plants
  • Propagating Bonsai
  • Some Suitable Species
  • Display & Arrangement

This book fully covers Bonsai trees and is a great book for beginners. 

4. Bonsai: The Beginners Guide by Bonsai Empire

The Bonsai: The Beginners Guide book covers everything you need to know to get started with bonsai trees. It provides over 100 pages of clear explanations for every step using 200 crystal-clear images and examples.

This book comes from the Bonsai Empire, so it’s an informative site from Bonsai experts. The book has basic techniques and care guides on 10 of the most popular Bonsai tree species.

5. The Little Book of Bonsai by Jonas Dupulch

The Little Book of Bonsai: An Easy Guide to Caring for Your Bonsai Tree is a great illustrated guide to learning more about Bonsai trees and caring for them. 

Jonas Dupulch is one of the foremost bonsai experts and has his own bonsai nursery in Northern California. He grows a wide range of Bonsai trees, specializing in growing black pines from seeds.

If you like short, easy to digest paragraphs and bulleted lists, this is the book for you. It’s loaded with step-by-step images along with its instructions. This is great for beginners as it’s not a full-on information dump. 

6. The Complete Practical Encyclopedia of Bonsai by Ken Norman

This Complete Encyclopedia of Bonsai is “The Essential Step-by-Step Guide to Creating, Growing, and Displaying Bonsai with Over 800 Photographs.” 

The plethora of photographs help make for great step-by-step care and maintenance guides, wiring, defoliating, designing, and styling. It covers 15 classic bonsai styles, including upright to slanting and windswept, as well as formal and informal styles. 

The book also includes photos of the 40 most popular plants to turn into bonsai trees. 

With all the detailed information and photos in this Bonsai Encyclopedia, it’s great for beginners and intermediate/advanced techniques too. 

7. The Bonsai Handbook by David Prescott and Colin Lewis

The Bonsai Handbook is packed with detailed information and illustrations for beginners and experts alike, including everything from growing techniques to maintenance and care. A complete guide for beginners includes everything from equipment to techniques, plus an illustrated photo gallery showing 24 of the most common bonsai species found indoors and out. 

In addition to describing the anatomy and the art, the book includes numerous photos showing each step clearly and precisely. It explains the rules—but also explains how they can be broken.

It will teach you everything from choosing the right type of plant for your garden to pruning techniques to growing tips to caring for your bonsai. In addition to answering common questions for beginners, it will also help experienced bonsai artists delve deeper with tips and tricks they may not know yet. 

8. The Complete Book of Bonsai by Harry Tomlinson

The Complete Book of Bonsai is one of the most well-designed, beatiful bonsai books. The photos and text flow well with each other, much like a bonsai tree. 

You’ll find detailed instructions for creating a bonsai tree from a seedling, cuttings, or purchased plant. Step by step instructions show you exactly what needs to be done for each stage of the growing process. In addition to illustrating and explaining the tools and techniques used for bonsai, this book describes them in great detail.

It provides detailed instructions for cultivating and styling hundreds of different types of bonsai plants. For each species listed below, there is an accompanying photo of at least one beautiful bonsai example. There are around 300 tree species described in the book that could be used for bonsai growing. 

Beginners can use this book for education and inspiration when growing and caring for their bonsai trees. Bonsai lovers can use this book to find the next tree to build out their bonsai collection. 

Best Bonsai Books Final Thoughts

These 8 bonsai books have been chosen because they cover a wide range of topics and offer a wealth of information on bonsai trees.

They’re perfect for beginners who want to learn about bonsai and get started on their own bonsai trees, as well as for those further along on their bonsai journey.

Learn about the history of bonsai, principles of bonsai, all the different bonsai techniques, growing bonsai from seeds, and complete step-by-step approach to the art of bonsai. 

Check out these articles to learn more about Bonsai trees:

Fast Growing Trees and Plants

Bonsai Boy Plants and Pots

Photo of author

Written by:

Amy Walsh
Amy Walsh is a passionate indoor gardener, deeply engrossed in the world of houseplants and herbs. Her apartment is a lush sanctuary of foliage, reflecting her journey from hobbyist to devoted botanist. She's constantly exploring the latest in smart garden technology, eager to share her insights on nurturing green spaces indoors. Alongside her botanical pursuits, Amy enjoys connecting with nature and friends, continually enriching her lifestyle with greenery and growth.

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