Bonsai Trees: Beautiful Mini-Treasures
Who says that small trees can't express beauty? Bonsais prove otherwise.
Bonsai comes from a long Eastern tradition that started in China in 200 b.C. Despite its origins, Japan actually introduced the ancient art of cultivating trees in pots to the West.
The Japanese word “bonsai” comes from the words “bon“, tray, and “sai“, plant. Skilled hands design the potted tree or plant to grow on a miniature scale and express true beauty.
How to do it
Bonsai trees, though small, also have trunks and you can take cuttings directly from them. But to get started, going to a nursery and finding a young healthy plant is recommended.
A successful bonsai depends on proper pruning and support as well as carefully balanced soil and creativity to reproduce the conditions that it would normally live in.
Where should you place them?
While some bonsai trees need to be outdoors for optimal growth, others can’t withstand the cold and need to be sheltered. Depending on the species you choose, your plant will be more suitable for indoor or outdoor conditions.
You should only grow tropical bonsai trees indoors. Some examples include ficus, bamboo, and araucaria.
There’s a bonsai tree for everybody
The cultivation of bonsai trees aims to reproduce the effects that natural conditioners have on the trees and their growth: inclined trunks in search of sunlight, extreme shapes as a result of the wind, rigid outlines despite withstanding the sun…
These natural conditioners and their effects have created more than 30 different bonsai styles. Some of the most popular ones are the following:
- Yose-ue or grove: a group of bonsai trees that look like a natural landscape.
- Kengai or waterfall bonsai: represents the trees that grow between the rocks of a steep mountain and fall as a result of their own weight.
- Fukinagashi: Fukinagashi bonsai trees are slanted as a direct impact of the strong winds that shape them.
- Shakan: Shakan bonsai trees are also slanted but only have branches on the side of the slant.
- Chokkan: these bonsai trees grow straight.
If you’re interested in cultivating bonsai trees, you don’t have to consider finding a certain style. No two bonsai trees are alike; each tree has its own special shape. The shaping is up to the artist and his or her inspiration.
How to plant a bonsai from cuttings
To start growing your bonsai tree, you first need to choose a tree that can grow from cuttings, such as poplar, willow or birch.
Rooting cuttings is a good way to get your bonsai tree growing. You can take a cutting from a fresh stalk at the beginning of summer or a mature, thicker stalk in autumn. Follow these steps for success:
- Remove the leaves from your cutting. Spread plant hormones onto the base and cover it in clay.
- Shape the clay into a little ball and plant it into a healthy substrate. Protect the cutting from sun and wind. In addition, keep it moist by sprinkling it with water frequently.
But remember that not all species will grow successfully with this treatment. For example, most conifers won’t grow in these conditions. In light of the possible differences, do your research and verify which species can grow with the steps above.