Meet Hennie the Baobab Bonsai King

about hennies bonsai nursery south africa

Hennie Smit is known in bonsai circles as the King of Baobab in South Africa.

The Bonsai Focus Certificate of Merit was presented by Farrand Bloch of the International Magazine Bonsai Focus to Hennie with his Baobab at the South African Bonsai Convention held in Pretoria in 2009. An article on this event was published in the Jan/Feb 2010 issue. Farrand said that his Baobab has such unique appearance that really symbolises the spirit of African Bonsai.

My interest in Bonsai started in the seventies after I watched a movie “The invincible boxer” in the drive-in in Potgietersrus (Mokopane).

The small trees in a pot caught my attention. It was only in 1992 that I met Willie Erasmus in Phalaborwa when I bought my first Bonsai, a Celtis Africana. He was my first teacher from whom I learned a lot about Bonsai.

After this experience it was if I had a virus that was uncontrollable. I could not stop digging into the mysteries of Bonsai. I made a nuisance of myself when it came to gathering knowledge on bonsai, especially when shopping for trees at George Frey and Attie Louw. My life was never the same again ….I was addicted.

With more confidence later I started to experiment and use my own ideas which turned out to be successful in the area where I live, which is very hot and humid. For instance, I experimented with my own my soil mixture and fertilizer. I realised that Bonsai, as any other living organism, need to drink and eat to stay alive and that some Bonsai trees can live in the same soil for up to 10 years as long as you feed and water them properly.

In the last 18 years I have been growing and styling my own trees. I have built up a huge collection of trees. I also have a Bonsai nursery where the beginner as well as the collector will find a suitable tree. I also sell young bonsai trees wholesale to nurseries. I stock for instance Baobab, Celtis, Olives, Bougainvilleas, Maples, Chinese Elms and a variety of Acacia and Figs and many more.

A tree that touches my heart is a Baobab that grows in very hot and dry areas in South Africa. It is the giant of all trees and has its own unique style in nature which I try to create in my Baobab Bonsai.

Hennie was part of the Bonsai project in May 2010 hosted by Rob en Sjoert from the Netherlands and the video taken of him wiring his Baobab is available on

Hennie also provided Baobab photos for the American Bonsai Society Care sheet in April 2011.

Every third Saturday of the month all the Bonsai enthusiasts of Tzaneen and neighbouring towns, as Rudy Adams’ wife once referred to as “The Bonsai playgroup”, gather at Hennie’s Bonsai domain, which was purpose built for Bonsai workshops, to work on their trees.

With decades of experience in the Bonsai industry, Hennie Smit welcomes you to visit his informal bonsai Growing Nursery in Tzaneen and visit his private Bonsai garden to view his spectacular Bonsai collection.

Although we do not deliver to other areas of the country, we welcome both the public and garden centres to visit us for their bonsai needs. We have thousands of starter trees and Yamadori growing happily at our Growing Nursery, waiting for their new home.

Visit Hennie’s Bonsai, one of the largest bonsai growing nurseries in South Africa. Make an appointment today!


We sell our bonsai at whole sale prices to Nurseries and members of the Public who visit us at our informal bonsai nursery in Tzaneen, Limpopo, South Africa.

Our love for everything bonsai comes through in the care and maintenance of our quality starters trees, all the way to the best trees in Hennie’s Collection.


Hennie’s Bonsai doesn’t just have one of the largest collections of bonsai trees for sale in South Africa, but also often has quality imported bonsai pots, tools and bonsai wire available.