Which indoor bonsai would you recommend for a beginner?

We have received this great e-mail from 13 year old Jesse. It is a really sensible question and one which comes up quite frequently.

For my 14th birthday this year I would like an indoor bonsai tree and I am allowed one. Even though my birthday is in December I thought I would do some research and I came across this website! It has been really helpful but I am still lost about what "breed" of bonsai I should go for! I don't really want it to be bare, I like them thick. I quite like the look of the Azalea, what do you think? I am completely new to Bonsai Trees so I need something fairly simple. Any suggestions?
Jesse Dunnell :)
Age 13, female

Bonsai Direct Reply:

Dear Jesse,
Thank you for your e-mail. Azaleas are outdoor bonsai; they are lovely but are not the easiest for a beginner.


I would recommend the Chinese Elm as a good indoor bonsai for a beginner. If you put the word 'elm' into our product search and press go, then our website will show you the different options. The Chinese Elm makes a fantastic bonsai. It has naturally small leaves, it is evergreen if kept indoors and it has great character. It is an easy bonsai to care for so is perfect for beginners. It does not flower, but in my opinion is still the best option for a beginner. Chinese Elms grow quite quickly so they are fun to prune and they are not overly fussy about position but do benefit from quite good daylight (but not of direct hot sun).
My daughter is 11 and she has a Chinese Elm and it is doing really well.

The other really lovely thing about the Chinese Elm is the character; they form lovely twisty trunks and are perfectly proportioned. If you have any other questions please ask, Kind regards Sarah

Chinese Elm Description:

The Chinese Elm (Ulmus parviflolia) makes a truly beautiful bonsai with small bright green leaves. The tree has excellent twig structure and has great character throughout, making it the perfect representation of a woodland tree. In our opinion the Chinese Elm is the most perfectly proportioned, easy to care for and adaptable tree and makes a superb bonsai; which can be grown either indoors or outdoors.

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