Bonsai books are a great source of information when it comes to learn everything you need to know on growing your own bonsai tree. You can find a lot of knowledge on the Internet, but it’s always better to have a printed book at home. It’s way more organized, summarized and easier to consult when in doubt.
There are plenty of bonsai books in the market, however, after a lot of research, we did a selection of the best ones.
The bonsai books in our list have plenty of step by step and very specific information on growing bonsai trees. They also have lots of graphics and pictures to guide you in the whole process.
These books were written by experienced miniature gardeners, who have been working with bonsais for decades. They also have the teaching skills to put all their experience in a concise and enjoyable book. These people are not only true artists but also well-known masters on the art.
Bonsai books, our recommendations
The Bonsai Book by Dan Barton
The best book we know on bonsai is The Bonsai Book by Dan Barton. This is one of the most famous works on the subject and without a doubt the most complete. Everything you need to know is there. You can read our review about The Bonsai Book by Dan Barton here or buy it directly on Amazon by clicking on the image below. This is the only book about bonsai on Amazon.com which almost all reviews give the top qualification of five stars, so our opinion that this is an amazing work is shared by many.
The Complete Book of Bonsai by Harry Tomlinson
The Complete Book of Bonsai by Harry Tomlinson it’s our second recommendation on our list of bonsai books. It is as complete as The Bonsai Book and very well explained. It has amazing graphic material with plenty of beautiful pictures and images. The Complete Book of Bonsai will provide you with all the info you need to know on bonsai, from its principles, evolution and origins to its styles, techniques, and tree species. Everything you need to know about growing bonsai is there. You can read our review on The Complete Book of Bonsai by Harry Tomlinson here or buy it directly on Amazon by clicking on the image.
Bonsai for Beginners by Ken Nakamura
Bonsai for Beginners by Ken Nakamura is another of our all-time favorites bonsai books. For those who want to try out their bonsai gardening skills and improve this is a great option. This essential grower’s guide explores the history and origins of bonsai trees, as well as how modern information and growing techniques have made bonsai trees an easy and accessible hobby for everyone to enjoy. With step-by-step instructions and plenty of beginner advice, you’ll learn how you can grow your first bonsai tree, create the perfect environment for it to flourish, trim it into stunning shapes, and so much more. You can buy it directly on Amazon by clicking on the image.
Bonsai Picture Books
Few years ago, we did a survey around many bonsai forums on the Internet, asking for bonsai books focused on pictures and images, sort of bonsai enthusiast coffee table books. These books weren’t supposed to be educational or instructive, but to be a celebration of the beauty and splendor of bonsai. After a few weeks, there were two that stand out. These books where:
Fine Bonsai: Art & Nature by William N. Valavanis and Jonathan M. Singer
This amazing book contains some of the best pictures of bonsai we have ever seen. Jonathan Singer, the photographer of the book, had access to some of the most important bonsai collections in Japan and in America. The authors had the rare opportunity to visit the Omiya Bonsai Village of Saitama in Japan, where making photos is usually forbidden.
Every style and shape, and all the species you can think of are in Fine Bonsai: Art & Nature, all brilliantly photographed with special care on details, color, and illumination. If you are a true bonsai enthusiast, there will be plenty of well-known trees that you’ll find in this book. The information about every bonsai shown in this work is very specific. There are some pictures which show the trees in real size.
Valanis and Singer, two names that you may have heard before if you’re into bonsai, also show many pictures of beautiful pots and other utensils. This is way more than just a decorative book; you’ll be amazed by the quality of its pictures. This is our first pick. You can buy Fine Bonsai: Art & Nature by William N. Valanis and Jonathan M. Singer on Amazon by clicking here or in the image below.
Classic Bonsai of Japan by Nippon Bonsai Association
Classic Bonsai of Japan by the Nippon Bonsai Association, one of the county’s most important organizations in the subject, is also astonishing. This book will take you directly to Japan, showing you some of the most important bonsai collections in that nation, some of them never seen by a westerner before.
From very young trees to 1000-year-old bonsais, from a stunning juniper to a delicate Chinese elm, this book will show you, with great quality, at least 125 full color pictures and 45 black and whites of all the styles and species on this millenary art, complemented with great descriptions of every tree, his growing process, techniques and more. Classic Bonsai of Japan is a magnificent book that displays great pictures of this artistic tradition, with a great presentation. It is a wonderful decoration gadget as well (however, it is possible that if you have guests in your house, they’ll spend a lot of time looking at this book). You can buy Classic Bonsai of Japan by the Nippon Bonsai Association on Amazon by clicking here or clicking in the image below.