5 Best Books On Bonsai In 2023

Bonsai trees are not just miniature plants; they are living sculptures that have fascinated people for centuries. The art of bonsai, with its intricate pruning, shaping, and care, offers a captivating journey for both beginners and seasoned enthusiasts.

Believe it or not, when we aren’t busy gardening in Dorchester, we do enjoy a book or two on the art of bonsai!

If you’re new to the world of bonsai and eager to explore this ancient practice, here are five essential books that will guide you on your bonsai journey.

1. The Complete Book of Bonsai by Harry Tomlinson

The Complete Book of Bonsai by Harry Tomlinson is often considered the go-to book for beginners. It provides a comprehensive introduction to the art of bonsai, covering topics such as selecting the right tree species, potting and repotting, pruning techniques, and styling.

The book is beautifully illustrated with photographs that showcase the artistry of bonsai. Novices will find this book an invaluable resource for building a strong foundation in bonsai cultivation.

2. Bonsai Basics: A Step-By-Step Guide to Growing, Training & General Care by Colin Lewis

Colin Lewis’s Bonsai Basics is a fantastic choice for beginners looking for a clear and straightforward guide to bonsai. The book offers step-by-step instructions and illustrations to help you understand the fundamental techniques of shaping, wiring, and styling your bonsai trees.

It also covers essential topics like choosing the right tools and containers, as well as the art of bonsai display.

3. The Bonsai Workshop by Herb L. Gustafson

Herb L. Gustafson’s The Bonsai Workshop is a practical handbook that takes a hands-on approach to bonsai. This book is filled with practical advice and insights gained from years of experience. Beginners will appreciate the detailed instructions on creating bonsai from nursery stock, along with guidance on wiring, pruning, and repotting.

It’s a valuable resource for those who prefer a more interactive learning style.

4. Bonsai for Beginners: The Ultimate Guide to Bonsai Growing, Bonsai Care & Sculpting for Newcomers by Masao Kimura

Masao Kimura’s Bonsai for Beginners is tailored specifically for those just starting their bonsai journey. This book covers the basics of bonsai cultivation in a concise and accessible manner. It includes essential tips on selecting the right tree, shaping techniques, and seasonal care.

Kimura’s friendly tone and straightforward explanations make this book an excellent choice for beginners seeking a user-friendly guide.

5. Bonsai Survival Manual: Tree-by-Tree Guide to Buying, Maintaining, and Problem Solving by Colin Lewis

Colin Lewis makes our list again with his Bonsai Survival Manual, which serves as a valuable reference for beginners. This book provides detailed profiles of various bonsai tree species, offering insights into their specific care requirements and common challenges.

It’s an indispensable resource for troubleshooting and problem-solving, ensuring that your bonsai trees thrive over time.

In Conclusion – The Best Books On Bonsai

As you embark on your bonsai journey, consider starting with one or more of these books to gain a solid foundation in the art of bonsai cultivation. Remember that bonsai is not just about nurturing a plant; it’s about crafting a living masterpiece that reflects your vision and connection to nature.

With the guidance of these books, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a successful bonsai artist, creating miniature worlds of beauty and tranquility in your own home. Happy bonsai gardening!


I've been a gardener for 8 years now, working in Dorchester and Weymouth after studying the craft at a local college. I'm extremely passionate about gardening and have run multiple successful gardening sites in my spare time, whilst conducting general garden maintenance, horticulture projects, landscaping jobs and much more!

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