Bonsai is the reproduction of natural tree forms in miniature. Literally translated, the word “bonsai” means “tree in a pot”. Contrary to popular belief, it was the Chinese who actually originated the art of Bonsai. However, over the past few centuries, the Japanese have perfected it into the highly developed art form that it is today.
Although the basic techniques of Bonsai are firmly rested in the Orient, the western world has adopted this art form, and successfully adapted it to their life style. Bonsai has become extremely popular world wide, making it truly an international hobby.
Basic Care of Bonsai
Outside, a Bonsai is best displayed on a bench or table about three to four feet high. Most Bonsai grow best in a location which receives morning sun, and afternoon shade. The morning sun is not as hot and dehydrating as the afternoon sun is, and such placement prevents water stress late in the day. However, some trees, such as pines and junipers, can tolerate full sun. Also members of the maple family, and other varieties.
Repotting must be performed periodically on all Bonsai. The reason for repotting is to supply a potbound root system with fresh soil. Most deciduous trees require repotting every two or three years, while slower growing evergreens require it only every four or five years. This is a general guideline, which varies with species and growing conditions. Every tree’s root system should be examined on an annual basis, in late fall, to determine if repotting is necessary.
Repotting is not difficult, and is perfectly safe if done during late winter or early spring, prior to the appearance of any new growth.
Insects and Diseases
A bonsai is nothing more than a miniature version of a normal tree, and therefore can be treated with insecticides and fungicides commonly found at nurseries and garden centers. If, during routine inspection, a problem is discovered, it is recommended that the tree be taken to a nursery or garden center capable of giving qualified advice.
The first thing to learn about owning a bonsai tree is to understand how to properly care for it. Although there are some species that are adaptable to indoor conditions, almost all plants suitable for Bonsai must be kept outdoors. Bonsai can be displayed indoors for a short period of time, without harm. The indoor display of bonsai is usually reserved for special occasions, and should not exceed two to three days per month.
Bonsai trees are not houseplants, and therefore must be maintained outdoors, allowing them to go through the natural seasonal changes. These changes are particularly enjoyable with deciduous trees, whose foliage turns color and drops in the fall, and returns to announce the arrival of spring.
The ideal place to maintain a Bonsai is a bench or table, located on a patio, deck or balcony.
The watering of a Bonsai is extremely important, and can never be...