This is a list of species recommended by Morten Albek for Shohin and Mame Bonsai

You might find other species suitable for the small-sized category of bonsai in your area. The list is mainly based on European trees and recommended species for successfully growing Shohin. Not necessarily native trees, but also trees imported and known to grow well all over Europe are listed.

Small notes added to growing conditions where it is of importance. Please take into account that there are variations of the mentioned species with leaves too large for successfully training them as Shohin and sometimes even as larger bonsai. The trees and shrubs listed are all known for varieties with small leaves or being able to reduce leaf or needle size using the proper techniques.


Azalea, Rhododendron indicum and small leafed Rhododendron varieties including Azalea Satsuki.

Beech, Facus sylvatica (getting small leaves is tricky but possible).

Black Currant, Ribes nigrum

Cherry, Prunus avium and varieties.

Chinese Quince, Pseudocydonia sinensis

Cotoneaster, Cotoneaster horizontalis

Crabapple, Malus silvestris

Elm, Ulmus parvifolia and varieties.

European Spindle Tree, Euonymus europaeus

Field maple, Acer campestre

Forsythia, Forsythia intermedia

Hawthorn, Crataegus monogyana and C. laevigata

Hornbeam, Carpinus betulus and Carpinus coreana

Honeysuckle, Lonicera nitida

Japanese maple, Acer palmatum

Japanese quince, Chojubai

Larch, Larix kaempferi 

Lilac, Syringa meyeri dwarf varieties.

Potentilla, Potentilla fruticosa

Prunus Mume

Rose, small flowering rose bush varieties.

Trident maple, Acer buergerianum (needs more winter protection than Japanese maples)

Zelkova, Zelkova nire


Broadleaved evergreens

Boxwood, Buxus microphylla, B. sempervirens, and Korean boxwood, B. sinica

Cotoneaster, Cotoneaster dammeri, C. microphylla

Ligustrum, Ligustrum japonicum, also known as wax-leaf privet.

Firethorn, Pyracantha

Olive, Olea europaea sylvestris (smaller leaves than other Olives. Take care of frost protecting in winter).



Hinoki Cypres, Chamaecyparis obtusa 

Juniper, Juniperus chinensis, ItoigawaShimpaku and other varieties well known for short compact soft needles.

Needle juniper, (Tosho), Juniperus rigida, J. communis i.e.

Pine, Scots pine, P. mugo, Japanese black pine, J. red pine, J. white pine (J. black and red pines demand some warmer conditions than other pines).

Rosemary, Rosmarinus officinalis (not frost resistant)

Tsuga, Tsuga canadiensis

Yew, European Yew, Taxus baccata and Japanese Yew, T. cuspidata.