Bonsai is the popular technique of creative miniaturization of trees by planting them in containers. It is an art that incepted in China, whereas the name ‘Bonsai’ was born out of the Japanese pronunciation of the Chinese word ‘Penzai’. In present times, the term ‘Bonsai’ is used informally in the West to describe all dwarf or miniature plants. But Bonsai plants are not dwarfed genetically! They can be created out of almost any type of tree or shrub. They stay small because of confinement in a pot as well as systematic pruning of crown or root. Read this article to learn the technique of growing a Bonsai plant.
Technique of Growing Bonsai
There are different ways of growing a Bonsai tree or plant. Normally the plant is directly purchased from a nursery stock, but one can also grow a Bonsai from seed through a process called ‘Misho’. Growing a Bonsai out of a seed is time and effort consuming, but it allows the planter to control the Bonsai’s pattern of growth right from the start. The small size of the Bonsai tree and its foliage is maintained by regular pruning. Copper or aluminum wire wrapped around branches and trunks holds the branches of the Bonsai plant in place till it lignifies or converts into wood. In some cases, you can also add fertilizer to the soil of the Bonsai plant.
The process of watering different Bonsai plants varies. Some Bonsai require watering with a fine hose, some Bonsai do fine with automatic watering systems, while some others just need to be immersed in water for a short time. Again while few Bonsai species can stand periods of relative dryness, few others need near-constant moisture. If you water too regularly or let the soil remain wet constantly, then this might cause the root of the Bonsai plant to rot. Even too much or too little of sunshine and wind are known to adversely affect the Bonsai.
Repotting the Bonsai
Bonsai plants need to be repotted and its roots pruned from time to time. When these two things have to be done, depends on the growth and age of the Bonsai plant. It is generally during the initial growing stage of the Bonsai plant that the repotting is done. The frequency of repotting and root pruning of the Bonsai plant lessens after they become more mature. This keeps the plant from becoming pot-bound and also supports the development of fresh feeder roots. In the process, the Bonsai too gets to absorb moisture more efficiently.
Wiring Bonsai Plant
The wiring of the Bonsai is done to grow the plant into an attractive shape. But the point to be remembered is that wiring is not required for all types or species of Bonsai plants. Some Bonsais are very fragile and wiring is not advised to be used on them. Timely trimming of the branches and twigs is adequate for such plants. How to apply the wire on the Bonsai plant correctly takes some time to master because of the technical aspect of what the wire does and how it does it. Wrong wiring of the Bonsai can kill the plant.
Tools Needed for Growing Bonsai
You will need to use special tools for growing and taking care of the Bonsai plant. The most common tool is the concave cutter, which is used to trim away the flush without leaving behind any stub. Some other tools required for growing the Bonsai plant include branch bending jacks, wire pliers and shears of varied sizes. Anodized aluminum or copper wire is employed to provide shape to the Bonsai plant branches and hold them till they become set.
Pot and Containers for Bonsai Plant
The pot or container in which the Bonsai plant is to be grown is equipped with tiny holes. These holes allow the extra water to run out. Normally each hole in the pot is covered with a mesh or a plastic screen to keep the soil from escaping along with the extra water. The pots or containers for growing the Bonsais come in varied shapes, sizes and colors. Containers that have straight sides and sharp corners are more apt for growing typical Bonsai plants, whereas oval or round containers are good for plants having unusual shapes.