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Favorite Bonsai Books

Some of the bonsai books on this page are recommendations enjoyed over the years, others are new and exciting contributions.

 Best for Beginners

Bonsai Techniques I - by John Naka is considered by many to be the 'bonsai bible.' John's own drawings diagram his techniques. This is the perfect book for the serious beginner student of the art.

Bonsai: a beginners guide - Published by Bonsai Empire is a newer book and has beautiful photos, and fun how-to graphics.

Perfect Gifts

Giving a bonsai tree (even to a bonsai person) may not be a good idea. However, a good book, that's a great idea!

The World of Bonsai

is not a how-to book.  The photographs of bonsai, people and places are unbelievably powerful and wording is beautifully done.  Highly recommended as a gift for anyone who enjoys the visual arts.  Available in soft cover and hardback.

Thoughts on Used Bonsai Books

When you see a book that seems too pricey, there may be a used copy available!  Used books can be terrific bargains ... if you don’t mind a spot on the cover, a couple of turned down pages or just a “little worn” look.

Reference Sources

"Hortus Third"

The Complete name is Hortus Third: A Concise Dictionary of Plants Cultivated in the United States and Canada

These are probably the most important plant reference books I own. Originally these books were published as hard back and ran about $100.  Today, they are a bargain and often available "used."   If you are a garden writer (including bonsai) Hortus is a must.    

Don't miss the 'Index of Common Names' consisting of over 10,000 entries and the Glossary of Botanical Terms including a page of leaf illustrations. No excuse not to know what a connate-perfoliate leaf looks like! (Just in case you would ever need to know.)

Note to Tropical Bonsai Growers

"The Biology of Trees Native to Tropical Florida"   If tropical plants are your interest, the botanical illustrations by Priscilla Fawcett are clear and close-up!  The title is a bit of a misnomer because there are more than 'natives' included, which is a good thing.  Click on picture.

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