Bonsai, which in Japanese means “tree in a tray or pot” always look elegant and impress anyone. However, they are just ordinary trees that have grown up being intentionally dwarfed to show off an impressive plant. This is achieved with a technique for proper planting and pruning of branches and roots, which we will teach you below. Since we know you love gardening, you should also know the method experts use to plant garlic in pots.
Bonsai originated in China more than 2000 years ago, but later became very popular in Japan. The art form by which these miniature trees are created reflects Zen ideas of nature, the elements and change, uniquely expressed on a small scale. With regular care and attention, many specimens can grow so old that it is possible to pass them on from one generation to the next, which could be a wonderful experience within your family.
From which plant can I create a bonsai?
You can produce your own bonsai from young plants you find in a nursery or from seedlings growing in your garden. Perhaps you can use a maple tree, which drops a lot of its seeds everywhere or you can buy a commercial bonsai kit that includes the appropriate seeds. Note that evergreen or deciduous trees and shrubs work well for this project, although you can also use azaleas, wild apple trees or wisteria, all of which can be made into beautiful bonsai.
How to plant a bonsai tree
Bonsai plants can be planted in shallow pots, so they often need daily watering in warm climates. During the winter, tender bonsai need to be indoors or in a greenhouse. If you choose a hardy plant, they can be left outdoors as long as they are protected from dry wind and direct sun.
Prepare the root ball
Remove the plant from its container, if purchased from the nursery, and cut off the lower two-thirds of the root ball. You should rake the soil on the surface to expose some roots and wet all the roots with water in a spray bottle.
Planting the root ball in the pot
Most bonsai soil mixes are a combination of baked clay, pumice, lava rock and soil. There are infinite combinations, and you will have to experiment to find out which one works best for your choice of plant species. When you have the ideal pot with the substrate ready, continue with the next step.
Remove dead branches and any branches that distract from your view of your tree. Also, you should remove dead roots and large roots that may interfere with the potting process. Place the plant in the container and work the soil around the roots. You should cover the soil with gravel or moss and water well.
Start shaping the tree
Decide which branches would benefit you to achieve the modeling you want. To achieve the shape you envisioned, wrap the branch with wire tightly, but not so tightly that it inhibits growth. This will help guide the branch to grow in the direction and shape you desire. When the branch has grown enough to hold its new shape, remove the wire.
Most young bonsai should be repotted every two years, while more mature trees can remain in the same pot for up to five years. You will know you need to transplant if you see the roots are exposed and circling around the bottom of the container. When this time comes, wait for spring and choose a new, larger pot, but not too different from what the tree is used to.