I want to buy a bonsai tree. The options are Ficus, Ligustrum, Carmona, and Sageretia.

Reading the instructions on those links, I was convinced that I should get either Carmona or Sageretia considering the wet, not warm or sunny climate of Ireland. I'm planning to have it at a North facing window with whatever amount of light it can grab from there, but for very few hours of daylight during winter. And the room temperature, especially at the window, would be probably between 15 C and maximum 24, 25 C.

On the other hand, the Ficus tree has a fancier trunk and looks more like a real tree, and that link suggests it's a good practice for beginners, as well as needing a lot of good sun (which I lack).

Now the instructions on the packaging is all the same for all four types of these trees as follows:

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Which instructions should I trust and which one shall I get that would suit the most for my climate?

Update: I do have the lights on after the daylight is gone, but "light" I meant sun light (which is very rare in Ireland and at a North facing window) or just natural brightness. I do have home lamp light on till we go to sleep every night. I was confused because that website mentioned Ficus needs direct sun light.

Still looking for other answers as I'm not asking about making bonsais, but just picking one out of the four types. (:

  • What kind of answer are you looking for?
    – J. Musser
    Dec 17, 2014 at 23:12
  • @J.Musser The question is all explained in the post. The response below doesn't really talk about all four types, and also goes off topic to make a bonsai from scratch rather than getting one. Also as asked in the comment down there, I'd like to know if that is an issue to keep a ficus bonsai small, as everything grows too fast in Ireland.
    – Neeku
    Dec 18, 2014 at 10:49
  • It matters what species of ficus. I don't know much about Sageretia, but if I find time I'll research and make an attempt. Do you have the option of moving it outside during the warmest time of year?
    – J. Musser
    Dec 18, 2014 at 10:57
  • Yes @J.Musser, but Ireland isn't a warm country and even in summer, it'll be maximum 25C or so. Indoors is maybe 25C -ish currently...
    – Neeku
    Dec 18, 2014 at 11:12
  • @J.Musser Hmm, not really, thanks. I got the Ficus; however I see some kind of mold on the soil surface. I cleaned it last time, but the regrew! I watered it a couple of days ago and seems like the water has washed it away!?
    – Neeku
    Feb 11, 2015 at 13:02

1 Answer 1


Take my advice here with a grain of salt; while I have some knowledge, it's been a while since I've actually maintained a bonsai, and I live in a better climate for them. I haven't tried growing one in damp shade, and my below information is the result of a bit of reasearch/memory combined.

I'm happy to expand on some points if you find that necessary.

  • Ficus:

    Ficus are good looking bonsai choices, especially for the bark, which is often twisted and grey, giving the coveted 'old tree' look. Many of these do tolerate quite a bit of shade. But this also tends to help develop longer, skinnier growth, which isn't as big a deal when the bonsai is bought at a good size, but it does affect the maintenance. The leaves won't be quite as close together, which can make trimming more challenging.

    About growing too fast, ficus are like other trees in how they become naturally smaller, more dwarfish under bonsai culture (naturally), they shouldn't be any more a problem in this respect than the other options. The biggest concern I'd have is the possibility of shock after moving into your climate from wherever it was before, especially if it was imported from a warm, sunny climate.

  • Ligustrum:

    This is the one I'd recommend, simply because I've seen them do quite well in spots similar in condition to where you are. they seem to tolerate damp shade well. Their biggest problem there seems to be growing oversized leaves.

    They adapt well to different locations, with minimal leaf drop. Also, if they're always damp, they will grow fast even with little fertilizer. Don't overwater.

  • Carmona:

    The leaf size is better here, but they don't like as much shade. They can adapt, but the leaf spacing will be farther apart, giving you a sparser specimen than you may have been expecting.

    In shady conditions, expect little flowering and berry production. This plant will grow in your location, however.

  • Sageretia:

    I haven't had experience with this one, but it also looks like a viable option here. The leaf size (small) looks like one of the best features, as well as good shade tolerance. Expect little flowering and lanky growth in deep shade. Of course, give them as much light as you can. I don't think you'll have much trouble. Grow lights can help.

    It appears this plant is prone to root rot, and should not be over watered, especially with an unnaturally compact root system, in deep shade. Of course, proper watering shouldn't cause a problem.

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