> Suitable outdoor trees will, of course, vary from area to area as they are dependent on local climate.
> Any tree, shrub or bush that grows naturally in your area can usually be used, but there are some native plants that just do not lend themselves well to bonsai culture.
> Certain trees may not survive your winters and others may need a winter rest (that your climate cannot provide) to survive beyond a year or two.
> Some enthusiasts like to collect specimens in the wild. You must be very sure to get permission to do this on any piece of land that you do not own.
> Sometimes you can find good material when a parcel of land is being cleared for development or a neighbor is replacing trees in his landscape.
> The easiest way to find suitable material is to check out a local nursery. Most of the trees sold in the local nursery trade will do well in the area where they are sold. You don’t have to shop expensive landscape nurseries. A garden center in your local discount department store may have some appropriate trees.
> Pick plants with interesting trunks and nice bark. Small foliage is another desirable trait.
> Trees that fruit and flower are very popular. Azalea, crab apple (malus), cotoneaster, wisteria, flowering quince (chaenomeles), firethorn (pyracantha), crape myrtle (lagerstroemia), honeysuckle (lonicera) and bougainvillea are but a few. Again, these may not all grow well outside in your area, so check with local nurseries or reference books.
> If you live in a temperate climate some deciduous trees to consider are several types of maple (acer), birch (betula), some oaks (quercus), hornbeam (carpinus), ginkgo, bald cypress (taxodium), sweet gum (liquidambar), larch (larix), willow (salix) and Japanese grey bark elm (zelkova).
> If you are looking for a tree for your first attempt at bonsai, you cannot beat the junipers. Most of the juniper species make good bonsai, are relatively easy to care for and do well in many different climates, except the tropics.
> Pines are considered the kings of bonsai though pine culture is usually considered the domain of the more advanced grower.
> Some other evergreen trees that have been trained as bonsai are dwarf spruce (picea), false cypress (chamaecyparis), holly (ilex), ivy (hedera) and boxwood (buxus).
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