As long as you know the basics, there's no reason a bonsai should absorb any more time or energy than other pot plants.
There are six classic styles: formal upright, informal upright, slanting, broom, semi-cascade and cascade.
Maples and conifers are traditional favourites, but plants that bear flowers or berries also make fabulous subjects - crab-apple, cherry and firethorn to name just a few.
Potting up a bonsai:
The place to start is a bonsai nursery. Not only do they offer courses on growing bonsai, they also sell starter plants in plastic pots which have already had a little training. You can then pot these into a bonsai container and learn the basics of potting and wiring.
To pot up your starter plant, you'll need: pot with drainage hole; plastic mesh; bonsai wire; copper wire; pea-size gravel; potting soil; small bonsai rake; sharp scissors; wooden chopstick; pliers; soil scoop.
Follow the steps along with our photo instructions: Step by step pictures
Step 1 Cut out a small square of mesh and place it over the pot's drainage hole. Clamp the mesh into position with a loop of wire. Bend the ends of the wire out beneath the pot to â¨hold it in position.
Step 2 To keep your plant secure in the pot as it grows, run lengths of bonsai wire down 2 of the pot's inner walls and out through the drainage hole. Wrap them around a small piece of copper wire beneath the pot. Bend the upper ends of the wire over the edges of the pot - later on, these will be used to secure the plant in place.
Step 3 Quarter-fill the pot with gravel. Top this with soil, adding only enough so the soil surface of the potted plant will end up just below the lip of the pot.
Step 4 Remove the plant from its pot. Carefully tease out the lower roots using a bonsai rake.
Step 5 If your root ball is too large for the pot you're planting into, carefully trim off the ends of the roots, using sharp scissors. Cut off no more than the bottom quarter of the root ball.
Step 6 Carefully place the plant in the pot, then use a wooden chopstick to push the soil in around it. Scoop in additional soil as needed and firm down.
Step 7 Bend the 2 lengths of securing wire over the top of the soil and twist together with pliers. Bend the join and hide in the soil.
Step 8 An instant result! This cascade-style bonsai (see Step by Step pictures) was already pre-trained into a fabulous shape. It will now need careful pruning of new growth each year to maintain and improve the shape.