As mentioned earlier, bonsais can be divided into two broad groups – indoor and outdoor bonsais. Many indoor bonsais are suitable for beginners, and they require roughly the same amount of care and maintenance as your average houseplant. The most suitable species to use as indoor bonsais are the tropical or subtropical species, such as ficus species, serissa, sago palms, baby jade and certain subtypes of elms.
Generally when choosing a place for an indoor bonsai, you should choose an area which receives a reasonable amount of morning sunlight, but is not in direct sunlight the entire day. Some indoor plants can be left outdoors to make the most of natural rain and sunlight in the warmer months, but then should be brought back indoors in fall and winter if you are not living in a tropical or subtropical area.
There are two main categories of outdoor bonsais, which are designed to be kept outside. These categories are evergreen trees, which maintain their foliage even throughout fall and winter, and deciduous trees which lose their leaves during the winter. Examples of evergreen trees are pine trees, juniper trees and azaleas. Junipers are a common bonsai choice for those looking for an outdoor, evergreen tree, as they are easily trainable and create an extremely aesthetically pleasing bonsai.
Deciduous trees that can be trained into an outdoor bonsai include maple trees, apples, elms and larch trees, to name but a few. These trees lose their leaves in the winter time and retreat into a dormant state, in which they may appear to be dead. However, the trees will emerge from their dormant state in the spring, with new buds and fresh green leaves appearing.
As a rule, outdoor bonsais require more care than indoor species. Generally, you should water bonsais once every couple of days and they require added supplementation through fertilizer every few weeks. Be sure to protect the bonsai from direct sunlight during the summer months, and also protect it from extreme weather conditions during winter. In particular, bonsais are very sensitive to frost. To ensure that your bonsai are protected, it is a good idea to make use of a specially designed plastic humidity tray. These can be used for both indoor and outdoor bonsais, and consist of a layer of pebbles that rest in shallow water. The moist pebbles help to maintain the optimal humidity needed to keep your bonsai healthy.
The art of bonsai design and training is a truly intricate skill that can only be learned through many years of practice and experience. Bonsais are able to help bring the wonder and intricacy of nature down into a tangible object by creating a miniature version of beautiful trees and foliage found in nature.
Classification and style systems for bonsais have been created both for practical reasons, in order to accurately describe the shape and overall appearance of a bonsai to communicate to the public, bonsai enthusiasts and academics, and for aesthetic reasons. By creating a template on which a bonsai designer can work, the classification systems and styles allow for a creative guide on which the designer can build an appropriate, aesthetically pleasing bonsai shape that is in proportion and suitable to the specific tree species that he or she is training.
Most styles aim to emulate the natural world as much as possible, so leading to a more visually appealing and organic looking effect. Although the bonsai styles can certainly help in creating a natural looking bonsai that more closely resembles the large format of the tree, the styles can also be disregarded if the designer does not wish to curb their own creativity in design.