Bonsai trees are stunning little trees grown through a practice that traces its roots to the Far East. This Asian art of gardening deliberately stunts the growth of a tree, thereby creating a miniature version. The much smaller tree is shaped and pruned to create a visually appealing bonsai tree.
The art of growing and creating a bonsai tree takes years of practice and requires patience. Here are the basic steps to get you started.
- Choose a plant that you really like. There are many varieties to choose from. A hardy plant like an evergreen is a good starter plant. Go to a plant nursery and choose a starter plant that is about the size of a gallon container. Make sure you choose a sapling that has a sturdy trunk with many leaves.
- Learn as much as you can about the tree you chose. You can ask the staff at the nursery and research on the internet.
- Select the container for your bonsai. Choose a pot that is small and not deep but at the same time can support the plant. It should have one or two holes at the bottom to prevent the bonsai from being waterlogged. Cover the holes with a screen before placing the soil in the pot.
- Cut one third of your sapling’s roots starting at the end that is farthest from the trunk. This is a way of keeping the tree small while it grows. Trim the thicker roots as well as some of the finer feeder roots. These are the slender ones that grow near the soil’s surface.
- Prune the sapling to prepare it according to the shape you want it to take. Use pruning shears and not scissors. The tree trunk, which is the lowest section, should not have any branches. The middle section is where you can leave a few branches, extending in whatever direction you want. The crown or top sections should have plenty of short branches. This is the apex of the tree.
- Place some soil in the pot. Use soil that is especially for bonsai trees. Never use regular soil otherwise your bonsai will not thrive. Bonsai dirt is commonly used. It is a mixture of one part loamy soil and two parts peat moss and granite grit.
- Place the bonsai tree in the center of the pot with soil. Secure the roots by wrapping the wire around the roots and the bulb of the tree. Cut off any excess wire. Doing this prevents the bonsai tree from falling over. Cover the roots with more soil.
- Find a sunny spot for your bonsai tree. Water the little tree once a week.
- Prune or trim the tree using pruning shears when necessary. The amount of leaves should be controlled in order to create a breathtaking pinnacle.
- Use aluminum wire to ‘train’ you tree according to how you want it to grow. Wrap the wire loosely around the trunk where it should bend. Make sure to check if the wire is getting too tight. Remove the wire so as not to create scars on the tree.
- Fertilize the soil. Buy a fertilizer specific to your bonsai tree. Fertilizing is a way to ensure that the miniature tree receives the proper nutrients.
- Repot your bonsai tree every two years. Make sure to trim the roots before repotting.
Creating and maintaining a bonsai tree is a very fruitful way of applying your creative juices. It is relaxing and often spiritual. With enough practice and perseverance, you too can become a great bonsai enthusiast.