Bonsai trees are potted and dwarf, yet amazing. Have interest to understand and appreciate the art of growing these little giants in your home garden.
Bonsai: An Overview
Have you been in the art of growing Bonsai Tree? Most of you would have ventured. Probably you may appreciate this ancient Japanese gardening art, if you understand some basics. To understand simply Bonsai is ‘deliberately stunting the growth of a tree to obtain a miniature version, purely for aesthetic purposes’. It is a kind of gardening art which involves simple procedures to shape any suitable tree by stunting and make it to appear as a visual treat. If you want the exact meaning of this Japanese word, ‘tray planting’ is the meaning.
This art was invented by Chinese physicians during 200 A.D. and was nurtured by them. They found these dwarf medicinal plants comfortable for transportation to far off places to treat the injured or ill patients. They could preserve the potency and freshness in these dwarf plants. Later botanists of Japan adopted this as a craft and hobby in 800 A.D. Now this art uniquely recognized as an art and craft in the sphere of horticulture.
Choose the Tree You Like
You can choose any tree i.e. flowering tree or non-flowering tree. Large trees like banyan (Ficus benghalensis), pipal or bodhi (Ficus religiosa), mango (Mangifera) etc., will be very much appealing.
Imagine your large banyan or papal tree in dwarf size and grown in a handy tray. Amazing! That is what bonsai can provide you.
How to Grow Bonsai?
Now let me share little information I have collected on bonsai. First requirement is interest. If you develop interest this art will be one your hobbies. The knowledge and skills involved in bonsai is the strict procedures to follow at the appropriate time. For example how to cut and shape the root as well as branches. The procedures would be watering and adding fertilizers or organic manures.
- Before commencing your Bonsai journey visit few nurseries and notice the procedures followed therein. You may also develop friendship with the experts therein. Ask them to help you in selecting the exact plant you require or suitable for a beginner. Most probably they may able to provide the suitable sapling for your bonsai. You will find the plant sapling will be of evergreen varieties or may be even a bamboo with thick and hardy stem and root as well as adequate leaves. Also enquire and understand how the grown up Bonsai will look like i.e. its size and shape.
- Bring it to your place and plant it in carefully chosen tray so that the plant will have adequate soil to support the root and stem. It need not be too small or too big. Just keep adequate size for your plant get strength and support. The point needs to be emphasized here is that we will be preventing the root and stem of your tree from growing too long. Before planting just reduce one third of the main root from the lower end of the plant. Also reduce very few of the unwanted feeder roots. Be sure which are the feeder roots that are going to nourish your plant.
- Now attend the branches and leaves. Assume the required shape and prune the branches and leaves accordingly. It is desired to have three or four well defined branches. The section above the soil will be your shoot or trunk and leave it freely without any branches. The trunk at its end will have few branches extending in all directions. The apex part will have shorter branches and should give the defined appearance.
- Your plant is now suitable for Bonsai since you have completed early pruning procedures. Plant the sapling in your selected tray with adequate soil to support and protect it. Be sure the roots are covered completely. Nurseries use a kind of soil called Bonsai dirt. Allow excess water to drain.
Maintaining Your Bonsai
- Now consider the art of maintenance. As told earlier you should plan how the plant should grow. For this you need extra support to grow the plant in a desired way. Use aluminum wires to support the branches. Just wound your wires in loose manner allowing future growth. Do it with care. Do not harm the branches or trunk. If injured it will develop scars and this may spoil the appearance. Once it attains hardness and can remain self supportive then remove the wire.
- Trim the leaves at regular intervals and arrest the growth of foliage leaves. Provide adequate water and fertilizer and expose it under mild sun light. Bonsai needs repotting once in two years. After two years there would be considerable growth. So repeat pruning and trimming as you did in the beginning.
Protest for Bonsai
As you guess there are criticisms and protests over Bonsai. Some people go to the extent of considering Bonsai as a cruel practice since we are arresting the natural growth the plant. They went to the extent of saying that we are starving the tree by denying the nutrients and water. These any accusations are base less. We are providing adequate supply of water and nutrients for the plant to grow in the desired size and shape. It is not a sin or taboo.
Your Joy will Grow as the Tree Grows
It all depends up on how you take care of the Bonsai plant. Well nourished and care taken plant will have a lengthy life. You may be assured that if proper care and attention is given the plant will remain even longer period than the normal trees of the same genus and species. Learn to enjoy whenever you find flowers or fruits. Be inspired by the life of the plant: Bonsai.
Published in: Gardening