Few things will get on the nerves of bonsai experts such as artificial bonsai trees – but since these have become a viable option for those interested in the craft, we’ll cover everything you need to know to pick the right one.
Artificial bonsai trees are generally either plastic-made or preserved trees created to resemble bonsai trees for home decoration. These appeal to many since they require no maintenance and upkeep to make them look beautiful. However, they are not appealing to many because it’s nowhere near real bonsai practice.
Real Bonsai Tree vs Artificial Bonsai Tree
The answer to this question is simply a matter of interests and personal preferences. We choose to have real bonsai trees as we believe that the entire journey is what makes having a bonsai beautiful. This includes the many branches cut, the many dead leaves and some passed away trees – it’s all a journey and we are here to learn and improve. But growing a bonsai tree takes time and effort, and many demotivated people down the road.
For others, they might like the appeal of the bonsai aesthetic, but lack the time or dedication or simple interest to for bonsais, but still want to have one. Fortunately, the answer is “to each his/her own”, choose your path and your adventure, whichever it might be.
Why Get an Artificial Bonsai Tree?
For some, bonsai trees are first and foremost, art or decorations in the shape of tiny trees. It’s no coincidence that bonsais are a big part of modern households that have an Eastern feel to them – they are beautiful items in and of themselves. However, for bonsai purists and for the wide majority of bonsai keepers, they are much more than this.
an artificial bonsai tree vs a real bonsai tree
Bonsai enthusiasts are happy to take care of their tree, be it from seed or pre-grown, with all of the possible complications that could arise in the journey in between. But this means taking care of the growth, shape, pruning and maintenance of every little tree – which is no simple job.
This is why many people recently want to have the tree at their place without the hassle of the maintenance, or are simply not that interested in the upkeep that might be required to have a bonsai tree thrive. And hey, who are we to judge? If you have a hectic lifestyle, or don’t have the energy to take care of a bonsai or have a “brown-thumb” then artificial bonsai trees might be the right choice for you!
We believe bonsais are an artform, and can be a lifestyle, but as with all artforms, they are learned. That’s even the point as to why we made this website, because when we were younger, we didn’t have an interest in plants, but now, as we got older, we’ve come to appreciate and love them, which says a bit about ourselves too. So, if someone having an artificial bonsai tree will lead you or someone else to eventually have an interest in having a real tree, then we are happy too.
Artificial Bonsai Tree Maintenance
Proper maintenance for artificial bonsai trees is, as you could guess, pretty simple. These trees have no water requirements, no light or soil requirements in order to thrive, since they are made of plastic. Also, real bonsai tree costs can be very high.
However, you do need to keep in mind is to dust their “leaves” every once in a while. Use water and a cloth to clean its leaves approximately once per week and you should be good to go. This will be easier or harder depending on the species of artificial tree you purchased, but the process should be the same regardless of what you have.
Additionally, remember to keep your tree far away from direct sunlight as it will cause it to lose its colors and shine in the leaves and trunk.
Finally, remember that there are other parts of the tree other than the tree itself, so remember to dust the base, and in case it uses real wood, dust it off and make sure mold doesn’t accumulate over time.
Choosing The Right Artificial Bonsai Tree
Before you dive into which artificial bonsai tree you’d like. First, find out which variety of artificial bonsai tree you’d like to have. We found there are 3 main varieties of artificial bonsai trees, organized from least similar to most similar.
- Wired Bonsai Tree or Bonsai tree Sculpture which are basically copper wire sculptures in the shape of bonsai trees. These tend to cost around $40-$50 USD.
- Artificial Bonsai Trees which are completely artificially made bonsai trees, from tree to trunk. These bonsais generally tend to cost around $20-$30 USD.
- Preserved Bonsai Trees which are trees that use Driftwood as their trunk and use preserved foliage and buds for greater authenticity. These tend to go for $60-$100 USD.
Once you have that first step figured out, go to the next step.
Purchasing Your Bonsai Tree
To purchase the right artificial bonsai tree, you should treat this decision as you would a natural bonsai tree for even greater authenticity. Research which species you like, which species you think would go well with your home environment and which would naturally grow in your temperature and climate if you want to go the extra mile. Also, have a good idea of where you’d like to place your tree, as this can affect which one you chose due to the size limitations these can have.
Once you have that figured out, go online and search for any pre-assembled bonsai tree company, as these will have the trees with the best look and feel. There are many companies that specialize in trying to make artificial bonsais look just like the real deal.
Most of the high-quality ones you can find online are handcrafted, created by artisans who use Driftwood for the trunks and use techniques to properly preserve the leaves and flowers – as you have properly seen with preserved flowers.
Other experts use luna clay to allow the tree to be a bit flexible, in case you need to re-shape it to your better liking. Expert bonsai preserves will even go the extra mile and paint the flowers of your tree by hand in order to recreate a real-life effect on your tree, in addition to giving it moss bed for that extra touch of authenticity. Finally, as you would with a normal bonsai tree, consider the pot in which the tree comes in, as it will add on to the natural appearance of your little friend.
Websites we recommend you go to, as these have the best looking and carefully crafted artificial bonsai trees.
Finally, as with any online purchase, make sure you are getting what you are paying for, both in terms of quality, and price, so check the vendors correctly and that’s it! You are now the proud owner of a beautiful bonsai tree at home.
Most Common Species of Artificial Bonsai Trees
There are some artificial bonsai tree species that seem to be more popular than others. The reason behind it? We’re not sure. Our bet is that these replicas probably look the most similar to the real-life counterparts.
Here is the list of them:
- Artificial Ficus Bonsai Tree
- Artificial Juniper Bonsai Tree
- Artificial Monterey Juniper Bonsai Tree
- Artificial Cherry Blossom Bonsai Tree
- Artificial Olive Bonsai Tree
- Artificial Azalea Bonsai Tree
- Artificial Lemon Bonsai Tree
- Artificial Pomegranate Bonsai Tree
But if you’re still wondering: how do I make a bonsai tree? Then please read along.
DIY Approach: Making Your Own Artificial/Fake Bonsai Tree
If you want to go the DIY approach and make an art project of making your next bonsai tree, then you’ll be happy to know that fortunately there aren’t many things you need to make it happen.
Concerning the materials for the entire project, everything you’ll need is:
- Glue Gun
- Artificial Leaves
- Artificial Flowers
Now, let’s divide the next steps you’ll need to follow into the different parts of the tree that you aim to create.
Step 1: Creating the Bonsai Base
The base of your bonsai is where your bonsai tree will stand and from where the whole structure begins.
- Organize the rocks in ascending order to know which to use first.
- Find the pot and glue the larger rocks to the bottom as these are the foundations of the whole tree.
- Make sure to spread them evenly so there is no part heavier than the other.
Step 2: Creating the Bonsai Frame / Trunk
The frame of your bonsai tree is what will make sure that the whole tree is secure and can hold the rest of the structure in place.
- Grab the wire and cut it into equal pieces.
- Twist the wire pieces and use another aluminum wire to tie it up.
- Separate the aluminum ends to make the branches spread like a real tree would.
- Attach the frame to the bonsai base with the glue gun to secure it in place.
Step 3: Covering & Decorating the Bonsai Tree Trunk
This is where you go the extra mile to make your bonsai tree look really amazing and a real look.
- Create some paper-mache by cutting the newspaper in pieces and adding it to a bowl of water with glue and let it sit.
- Grab part of the newspaper paste and tie and shape it around the aluminum wire, make sure to keep it uneven to add some texture and wait until it dries up.
- After it is solid, add some paint to the trunk. Make sure you don’t use one shade to create the natural look and feel.
Step 4: Adding the Bonsai Foliage
The final step to allow your bonsai tree to really look the part. The green of the foliage will really draw the attention of the entire tree, so make sure you find the one that works for you.
- Use the glue gun to paste the foliage to the tree and branches, try to spread it out as much as you can.
- After it has dried, add some shades of green and yellow to make it look even more natural.
- Finally add some moss or shrubbery looking artificial plants to the rocks to have an even greater look.
And that’s it! You have yourself a homemade artificial bonsai tree for you to enjoy.