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Bonsai trees and bonsai care

My fascination with bonsai and the ancient art has only intensified with the years.  Perhaps it's got to do with control.  As an artform, bonsai is certainly that.  It is the ultimate in controlling a plant or tree by purposefully nurturing it so that it's root system and tree form is exactly as we would have it.  There is great satisfaction and zen like charm in bonsai.  With the growing number of small sized gardens, it is appropriate that our plants can now come miniaturized.

What is bonsai?

Bonsai originated from Japan and is the craft of growing miniaturized plant forms.  Literally translated, bonsai means 'tray planting'.  It is the cultivation of slow growing plants or trees in shallow trays which result in an aesthetically pleasing form.  Naturally what is aesthetically pleasing is in the eye of the

beholder but as with all things, there are general rules to be followed when practising bonsai tree planting and care of bonsai plants.  Contrary to some opinions, bonsai is not 'cruel', neither is it the growing of 'dwarf' plants or trees.  All bonsai plants have the capacity to grow to their full potential (whether as trees or as plants) but they have been meticulously pruned and cultivated so that they remain in their 'miniaturized' state.

Bonsai Gardening Secrets - The Insider Secrets to Creating Beautiful Bonsai!  95 pages of tips for beautiful bonsai! Click here for more info!

Are all plants suitable for bonsai?

No, not all plants and trees are suitable for bonsai cultivation.  Slow growing plants and trees are usually the ones chosen as are plants that have small leaves to suit the the miniaturized theme well.  The principles of scale just wouldn't allow for a large leaf large root system plants or trees to qualify as a suitable choice for bonsai.  The most popular bonsai trees would include junipers, figs, serisas, azaleas, maples, quince, crab apples, crepe myrtles, cypress, wisterias.  Some of these bonsai plants have the added bonus of having flowers eg serissas, wisterias and others like the maples are well known for their burst of autumn color.

Chinese flowering white serissa

Flowering crab apple

Gardenia radicans

How do I start learning about bonsai and bonsai tree care?

All depends on what sort of person you are.  There are some people who inherit the hobby because they got given a bonsai tree as a present.  Others decide that they need to study everything before they even embark on buying a bonsai plant.  And still others will just get one and learn along the way.  I think I fall into the first category.   I was given a bonsai starter set and the rest is history.  I started to read books, visit bonsai shows and picked it up from there.

Bonsai starter set

Going to a bonsai tree care seminar is another way of picking up quick tips from bonsai enthusiasts.  Your local nursery may provide these courses.  Ultimately bonsai is an act of love.  It's no wonder that when my local bonsai nursery was robbed and a 100 year old bonsai was stolen that the nursery owner was heartbroken and had this to say, 'What really irks me is that this person who stole it probably never nurtured a single thing in his life!'  Bonsai is a labor of love.

Totally bonsai by Craig Cousins.  Buy from Amazon.

Bonsai by Harry Tomlinson.  Buy from Amazon.

Bonsai magazine by Bonsai clubs international.  Buy from Amazon.

Is bonsai and bonsai tree care very time consuming?

I'd have to say that bonsai isn't for the 'low maintenance' type gardener.  That's because these aren't really indoor plants, the longest you can keep any bonsai indoors is about 3 days, any longer and it will suffer from lack of light (sunlight).  Ideally, they should receive some sunlight during the day, preferably morning sun.  Because they don't have much soil in their trays, they will need watering at least daily in summertime and probably every 3-4 days in the winter.  This will of course vary in your climate - hot and dry, more watering, cold and wet, less watering.  Then there's the constant pruning, training and clipping of your bonsai tree.  Add that all up and it means bonsai does take time and effort on your part but the rewards are an exquisite piece of artwork that is all your own and great satisfaction derived from achieving it.  For quick FAQs regarding bonsai tree care, click here to visit BonsaiBoy.

Good luck on your bonsai endeavours!

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bonsai trees and bonsai care

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