When the word Bonsai is mentioned in conversation, most people probably think of a beautiful, tiny, juniper tree planted in a small dish. While juniper is a good choice for bonsai, it is by far not the only one. Most any plant, trees and shrubs in particular, can be grown this way. Of course, some are more easily adapted to this type of growth and are more easily cultivated. While bonsai trees are the most popular, growing a bonsai bush isn’t unheard of.
If you are considering growing a bonsai you must be made aware that it is a long term process and one that will take as many as 10 years to obtain the desired results. Much like taking in a new dog or cat, your bonsai tree will need a commitment of your time for many years to come.
Having decided to make the commitment, now you will need to choose the type of plant you want to grow and if you want to grow it from seed or buy a healthy plant at a nursery. Most of all, you need to do research on the types of plants you are considering. Talk to local nurseries and other bonsai enthusiasts for suggestions.
Many people understand that a bonsai plant requires pruning to keep the plant small. It also requires cutting back the root system to keep the plant small. Although not done as often as maintenance pruning, it is a necessary task for the health and beauty of the plant. Generally, when a major pruning is performed, it is best to cut the roots as well to provide balance on both top and bottom. One should never cut more than one-third of the plant.
While most any kind of tree or bush can be used for bonsai, evergreens such as juniper, pine and yew are usually the most common. These kinds of trees can be pruned with the use of finger pruning and no equipment is required. Pinching off and pruning encourages fuller growth. When using a deciduous or tropical type of tree, a pair of small, sharp scissors is required for good pruning.
Pruning your tree helps to train it into the desired shape and helps to keep the leaves small. An area that is heavily pruned will not have as much growth as an area with little pruning. Removing unwanted growth will encourage growth in the areas you want more. Something to keep in mind is to prune during the correct time of season for your plant. You don’t want to do any major pruning and send your plant into shock when it would normally be having a growth spurt.
Of course you will need a shallow planter for your bonsai plant to call home, as well as the correct type of growing medium. A combination of normal soil mixed with some sand and grit will do the job. It is also possible to buy special planting mix. Your planter must have proper drainage so that you won’t get root rot. Feed using a liquid fertilizer and follow the directions. It is a good idea to use the kind that is made for your type of plant.
Water your bonsai or plant by checking it about every two weeks. Press a finger about in inch into the soil and if it is dry you should water it to the point where the water begins to drain from the drainage holes. It the soil is still damp, you can wait another week.
Taking care of a plant and watching it grow and flourish can be a very satisfying experience. Just ask any gardener. Growing a bonsai tree can be especially easy because it doesn’t require a lot of bending and weeding. Growing a bonsai only takes a lot of time and perseverance for growing and shaping your tree. Growing, pruning and shaping your tree can provide enjoyment for you and your loved ones for many years to come.