Create your own bonsai be beginning with plants that do well in your area and meet some basic requirements. Following are some plants that meet the requirements for good bonsai:
Sargent juniper (Juniperus chinensis ‘Sargentii’), Japanese black pine (Pinus thunbergiana), Japanese wisteria (Wisteria floribunda), Chinese wisteria (Wisteria sinensis), Japanese flowering cherry (Prunus yedoensis), and Japanese or
sawleaf zelkova (Zelkova serrata). Nursery stock is a good selection since the plant’s roots have already become accustomed to being in a pot. Look for well-rooted specimens with good branches.
Trees or Plants can be collected from the wild, but there are many unknown factors. It is difficult to tell the age of a plant found in the wild and since they must be collected while dormant, it is also difficult to be sure that the specimen is healthy.
Take all the equipment needed to keep the plant alive and healthy after digging. This includes plastic bags to wrap the root ball, moss to pack around the roots, and water to keep the specimen moist if it cannot be replanted soon after digging. Don’t forget
the crowbar; roots are sometimes wrapped securely around rocks. After the plant is selected, dug, and brought home, plant it in a protected area in your garden. Water and feed it sparingly. After one year, it is ready to be placed in a training container. A light pruning of
the branches can take place at potting time, but training should not begin until the following year.
Be sure to have permission before digging plants on property other than your own, and don’t forget to check the endangered species list for protected plants before you begin. It is not legal to take plants from
national parks and other conserved areas.