“Bonsai” comes from the world “bon”, which means tray or pot and “sai”, meaning tree or plant. The art of caring for bonsai trees originated in China well over 2000 years ago, later was redeveloped by the Japanese artist to represent Japanese Zen Buddhism.
Often times the Japanese samurai appeased their leaders by presenting them with beautiful bonsai plants. Growing and tending to a bonsai is an interesting hobby that is relaxing for many people. Once the trees have developed, your home or garden will have an exotic feel that makes the space more welcoming.
The True Purpose and Philosophy of Bonsai
Bonsai is not a specific type of tree; rather, it’s the creative art of shaping a tree or plant for esthetic purposes. another big misconception is that these trees are genetically dwarfed plants, in contrary, bonsai is kept to be small by implementing some basic techniques and practises like pruning, wiring, root reduction, using right kind of pots and a lot of patience.
This is not an easy task, and it takes some time for you to see results, but with the right technique, you can produce a beautiful, tranquil setting in your garden. Remember to exercise patience and to focus on the fact that you’re creating beauty, and you’re sure to be successful in your bonsai gardening.
In order for your bonsai to be especially appealing, it has to meet these criteria:
- Esthetics – The bonsai has to be beautiful to look at. This is the least that should be accomplished during your gardening experience.
- The bonsai should be a silent narrative – The shape of the plant should tell you about its origin. The place that the plant comes from should convey a story that promotes relaxation. For instance, some people feel more at ease around snow-capped mountains while others feel especially relaxed in a tropical setting.
- It’s your unique artwork – The way that you shape the bonsai should express your personal view of art. Remember, you want to tell a story, simply by the way you fashion the plant.
Practical Bonsai Tree Care Instructions and Tips
Whether you just starting the art of bonsai or have been at it for years, there are some practical care requirements to keep in mind, such as:
- Watering & Flushing – Remember not over or under water your bonsai. If the plant is only getting a little water, it will become dehydrated and wither. If you’re just starting out as a bonsai gardener, it’s important to make sure that the water in the pot doesn’t come over the fertilizer. Wait for the soil to dry out a little before adding more water. You can basically flush the bonsai at the start and finish of each day. Use clean, salt-free water for the flushing process. You can do this by applying the water directly to the plant, or dip the pot, with the plant and soil, into the water until the soil is saturated and then let all the excess water to drain.
- Soil & Fertilization – Soil and fertilizer are essential when you’re planting the bonsai. You can find the proper soil for bonsai at your nearest garden supply center. Tell the store associate exactly what type of plant you have, so you can get soil that retains the right amount of water or holds the roots of your plant properly. It’s essential to use the right amount of fertilizer. Use urea and NPK to fertilize your plant once a month. In general, high-quality soil means your bonsai will thrive. Make sure the fertilizer is full of essential nutrients for your plant. Apply the fertilizer to the plant only during growing season, and be sure the soil is wet so that the fertilizer will take full effect.
- Pruning – Your bonsai should also be pruned properly; this includes the branches and the roots. Best time for pruning would be spring season. Select the branches you want to keep very carefully before removing the ones you want to discard. When your plant is properly pruned, you can start sculpting the bonsai into the shape you want. Look at the condition of the plant and consider the shape you want for the bonsai to grow in when you’re pruning. If the plant has a rapid growth rate, you should prune it at least once a month. For plants that grow slowly, they should be pruned two or three times a year.
- Weeding – You should weed the bonsai daily. Applying moss to the surface of the soil can keep weeds from ruining the plant. The moss will also keep the moisture in the plant to make it grow healthily.
- Wiring – Wire the plant carefully and follow the natural direction of the bonsai so you don’t scratch the branches. If the wire gets lost in the branch or stem, open the wire so you don’t cause damage to the plant.
- Re-potting – If the roots of the bonsai have grown densely, you should replace the pot and prune the roots when the plant reaches the six month or one-year mark. Prune the roots at the beginning of the spring; branch pruning should be done soon after. To do this, you’ll have to take the plant from its pot and throw away as much as half if you need to, of the growing roots. Then, change the layout of the pots so the bonsai will continue growing in the shape and at the level of health you want.
- Keeping pests and disease away – Insects like caterpillars and leafhoppers are often attracted to plants and will eat the leaves and deplete the plants of vital nutrients. Spray insecticides on the bonsai to keep them pest-free. Your pets may also develop an interest in your bonsai, so keep the plants away from where your cat or dog plays in the yard.
These are some of the basic terms that you should keep in mind when you’re becoming a bonsai gardener and want to grow plants according to the shapes and sizes you prefer. Applying these guidelines regularly will make sure that your plants will grow healthy and strong.