Close your eyes and picture yourself amidst a bonsai tree garden somewhere in Japan.
You have just woke up and still lying on the mat while admiring the beauty of the Zen garden, enveloping in front of your sleepy eyes.
The harmony and tranquility are contaminating.
You see the Sun rising and it’s bigger and brighter than anywhere else.
And as the sun rays shine over the multiple perfectly arranged bonsai trees and carefully tended flowers in the garden, you realize there is a special magic in the air.
It feels as if all the ancient traditions which the Japanese respect and protect throughout the years are creating a mystical and enchanting beauty which is somehow amazingly peaceful.
Image Credit: colourbox
You walk out and sink into the silence of the morning, surrounded by the bonsai masterpieces which inevitably make you contemplate and admire the tiny trees.
Bonsai brings both a sense of awareness and a sweet nostalgia which doesn’t hurt or taste bitterly.
Instead, this hint of nostalgia helps you reach an unknown part of your soul.
The art of bonsai trees’ shaping and training is among the oldest and most intricate forms, known to the human kind in the gardening and botanical industries as we know them today.
And although originally started and developed in Japan, there are similar traditions in the cultivation of miniature trees, practiced both by the Chinese and the Vietnamese.
Penjing is the art of sculpting tiny trees, native to China, and hon-non-bo, which is native to Vietnam.
Image Credit: Pinterest [Example of Penjing]
One of the most invaluable aspects of bonsai cultivation lies in the increasing aesthetical and financial value of the trees as they mature in time.
That very aspect is what adds a great worth to practicing Bonsai since there is literally no solid definition of exactly how old can a miniature tree become, given the right conditions and care to thrive.
Nevertheless, with the numerous various styles and plants specimens which can be utilized in Bonsai cultivation, the ancient discipline becomes even more enchanting and beneficial to the creators.
Image Credit: BonsaiBark
Both flowered and fruit trees can be used to recreate the essence of Bonsai and reward the Bonsai artists with endless opportunities in terms of diversity to suit each taste and personal preference of the gardeners.
Image Credit: Youtube
Before we delve into the history and all the different bonsai trees varieties and styles, first, we must take a look at the deep meaning, rooted in the trees as sacred symbols of life itself.
The Sacred Symbolism of Trees Imprinted in Bonsai
Trees are highly sensitive creatures, just like all plants. But with trees, the longevity of their lifespan is higher than of any ordinary plants.
Year after year, trees inhabit this world and most of the time, while we are passing a tree, we are actually passing a living being, often older than the age of our grandparents.
Almost every culture has embraced trees as sacred symbols, dating back to the ancient Egyptians. Trees are also mentioned in the Bible but not only; trees can be found as a symbol in every single religion on the planet.
Yes, many trees have seen and probably heard but most certainly sensed million more things that you and I had.
And when you see a miniature of a tree, such as a bonsai, something in your heart starts vibing and filling you with a one-of-a-kind feeling.
There is something way too mesmerizing in gazing at a bonsai tree, which is very hard to put into words.
Image Credit: Casahome.cc
How to Escape from the Shallow Understanding of Bonsai
Many people would have much less invigorating associations when thinking of a Bonsai tree.
In fact, a huge percent of people tend to fall into the delusion that bonsai gardening is simply mimicking the looks of an ordinary tree.
However, bonsai cultivation is not a simple form of gardening at all.
That’s why bonsai is looked upon as an art before even commenting on the gardening skills needed to nurture your very own bonsai tree.
Whenever bonsai is mentioned, most of us will imagine a small tree growing in a small pot and… well, Asia. Something Asian. Yep, that’s all.
Image Credit: Pinterest
And you would probably think to yourself “Those tiny plants sure take lots of care! That’s cool but not for my busy schedule!”
Or it can be completely the opposite. Just like many newbie bonsai aficionados think, taking care of such a tiny tree should be an easy-peasy task.
However, none of these opinions about bonsai cultivation is even close to the truth. Thus, it is crucial to escape from the shallow understanding of bonsai.
Amazingly, once you realize the true essence and value of bonsai, this is a solid indicator of starting to fix the disharmony in your heart.
One who knows bonsai will inevitably find harmony.
Image Credit: Youtube
The ones who delve into studying and cultivating bonsai will taste how it feels to embrace balance in life.
The practice of bonsai brings balance straight into daily life because nurturing a bonsai tree teaches you essential virtues.
Bonsai is not merely a tiny tree; bonsai is not solely a hobby; it is not only a practice and it is not simply art.
Bonsai is a way of understanding life and tuning in harmony with existence.
The world of bonsai is so multi-layered that the new skills you learn as a grower only keep revealing in time, turning the bonsai practice into an invaluable experience.
And that’s what brings every bonsai cultivator the chance to become a part of a never-ending journey and gain new knowledge day after day.
It is often the case that even those who are a bit more familiar with the origin of bonsai as well as the efforts spent on tending a bonsai plant see only the tip of the iceberg.
In order to understand bonsai, you simply need to open your heart to the Japanese perspective.
Why the Japanese Philosophy Became the Soul of Bonsai
It is exactly thanks to the astonishing eye to the detail of the Japanese, which gradually helped to turn bonsai into a widely-spread art anyone can practice.
It is in the very roots of the Japanese understanding of bonsai which can grant you access to the truest, most sacred essence of this ancient and yet simultaneously modern form of art.
The Japanese are probably the most contemplative people on Earth.
They don’t merely look at things, they see the soul of things.
Image Credit: ClipartXtras
They take the time to gaze at a particular source of beauty and reach all the way to find hidden truths which most of us would probably never even have the patience to recognize and acknowledge.
That’s what the genius Japanese nation saw in the dwarf trees and then slowly turned bonsai into a world- re-known practice and invaluable inheritance.
At first, when the Japanese brought the pioneer bonsai trees from China as souvenirs, they admired the structure and the unique appearance of the miniature trees.
But moreover, what captivated the Japanese was the heart-striking feeling which soaks into your entire being when you gaze at bonsai tree for a while.
The small size of bonsai, compared to the typical image of a tree we are used to see, are putting the mind into a very delicate state.
You suddenly feel as if nature is something you can hold in your palms, so tender, so fragile, like the exquisite bonsai trees.
But at the same time, even though small a bonsai tree looks old and this hits another cord in your head and soul.
That sweet nostalgia is simply a feeling that needs to be experienced in order to be fully grasped.
Bonsai brings that sudden and deliberating awareness which swipes away all prejudices, all bothersome thoughts plaguing the mind.
As if you freeze for a while in an AWWand after you blink – you are back in tune with yourself and existence.
There is only one true way you can understand bonsai – you must first understand the imprint of the Japanese culture, forever embedded in bonsai craftsmanship.
Oh, bonsai is a whole lot of craftsmanship, indeed!
Image Credit: Craftsmanship Quarterly
Each bonsai tree will convey the style and energy of his gardener so it is as if you are putting your soul on a plate.
But what does BONSAI mean anyway (like literally!)?
The very name bonsai is entirely Japanese and it means “planting on a low pot.”
Can’t be more straightforward, don’t you think?
The Japanese would not be spending tons of blah blah on anything – they show themselves in the work they do.
And they do an amazing amount of work each day!
Did you know that the Japanese were the first to introduce the karaoke, emojis, walkman, 3D Printing, video house system, LED light, and the first electric rice cooker?
In fact, the first selfie stick was invented in Japan many years before selfies even became popular!
Image Credit: Sputnik International
With this in mind, it is sure no wonder how the art of Haiku (the world shortest poetic form) originated from Japan. There is literally no equivalent to this exquisite art of triggering emotion from the reader with as little as a few words!
The Japanese are also notorious for the way a single hieroglyph can mean multiple words.
Take, for example, this tiny fellow – 上.
Depending on the context, this symbol can mean all of the following things: rice (noun), climb up (verb), top (adjective), furthermore (conjunction), skillful (adjective).
Thus,both the art of cultivating bonsai plants and the bonsai plants themselves are all sheltered under the term for BONSAI.
So What’s the Main Purpose of Bonsai?
The essence of bonsai lies in being able to cultivate a miniature tree in such a way that the very view of the tiny tree brings pleasure to the senses.
But moreover, you need to direct both the growth and shape of the small bonsai tree, placed in its small container long-term.
That’s exactly why the art of bonsai is a practice and not something you master once and for all.
There is always so much room to learn, to experiment, and subsequently – to grow your skills and will as your bonsai is flourishing.
Image Credit: Bored Panda
Bonsai also puts an accent on the bonsai creator and the mere bonsai observer, as well which saturates the art of bonsai with even more meaningfulness.
Instead, bonsai brings off a feeling of wholeness, wonder, and awareness, which eliminate all traces of insecurity or negativity when standing face to face with a bonsai tree.
But standing face to face with bonsai is not the most correct way to describe the moment of indulging into the beauty, wisdom and simplicity of that ancient art.
It is contemplating the bonsai that transmits the sacred meaning of cultivating the miniature trees.
The Buddhist Trace in Bonsai Trees Cultivation
When looking into the very roots of bonsai and acknowledging the Japanese impact on this type of gardening, the imprint left by Buddhism must also be taken under consideration.
According to Buddha WHAT YOU THINK, YOU BECOME.
Image Credit: Riothorse Royale
And thus, the best way to tune into the language of your soul and understand the meaning of existence is to become enlightened.
An enlightened consciousness doesn’t know blame, fear, judgement or limitations. An enlightened consciousness understand the oneness with Nature and the perfection which is always there – even in imperfection.
Image Credit: Enlightened Consciousness
When an object is broken, Japanese don’t throw it away.
What they do, is often paint the broken piece with gold.
Thus, the flow is seen as a unique part of the history and beauty of the damaged object, as opposed to being anything ugly or worthless.
The philosophy behind seeing the beauty of broken objects is called Kintsugi.
Can you imagine a world where you would not merely turn your head away from what is supposed to be damaged or broken but to embrace it and see its beauty despite?
Mastering your Zen can help you achieve that enlightened consciousness which will keep revealing the true image of all things and situations, behind the veil of fear and negligence.
It is through the power of meditation that Buddhist monks believe enlightenment comes to those who become capable of controlling the mind.
Image Credit: The Tokyo Times
Bonsai is a discipline and art that simultaneously challenges and nurtures the mind to help the conscious and unconscious work in synergy to remove tension and pain from life.
Moreover, each Asian culture has something completely unique which cannot be found in the rest.
Now apart from some pretty obvious difficulties in understanding the Japanese (I mean the language barrier, of course!), there is always one amazing teacher who is there to show us the basic truths about particular events, art, twists, victories and failures – and this is, of course, History!
Tracking Back the Very Roots of Bonsai Trees Cultivation in History
It is worth tracking back the development of bonsai through time because this history has also left an ever shining trace in the way bonsai evolved to what we know it today.
Did you know that the first type of potted trees date back to the ancient Egyptian culture?
Image Credit: Telegraph.co.uk
A potted tree was depicted in Egyptian tomb paintings. But don’t imagine the miniature bonsai trees, though.
Image Credit: bonsai-egypt
About 1500 BC bonsai was still not born however it was then when the first evidence of people starting to cultivate trees apart from simply collecting their fruit in order to satisfy hunger.
The article “Babylonian Gardens” contains the following statement: “”Many of the world’s religions originated in this region (Egypt, Israel, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Iraq, Iran). Temples were built and there was planting in the temple precincts. A respect for trees is attested by both textual and archaeological evidence.”
The Taoists Impact on Bonsai
Even though trees have been cherished for centuries for their mystical power, it took many years before the first small cultivated trees actually appeared.
In fact, the very first evidence of growing trees in miniature sizes comes from China.
Image Credit: Cnto.org
However, those dwarf trees were not cultivated with a purpose. Instead, they occurred all naturally in the wild.
The first bonsai prototypes were discovered to grow in the mountains of China.
Interestingly, what made people admire those tiny tree back in time, was the fact that they had gotten the one-of-a-kind shape and gnarled appearance without the touch of a human hand.
But according to the Taoists, recreating a miniature form of nature was hiding magical power.
That’s because of the concentrated energy one needs to put into cultivating and shaping a naturally occurring plant, into a particular recreation.
According to Taoists, the magic lies in the special bond the cultivator creates with his continuous care.
But if it wasn’t for the beauty which the Japanese discovered in the looks of those small trees, bonsai would have probably never ever evolved into what we know today. This art form was referred to as Penjing, which means tray scenery.
Subsequently, penzai or punzai appeared, meaning tray plant.
The goal of penzai was to create a harmonious landscape, consisting of miniature trees and rocks.
The Chinese developed special techniques for pruning and binding. These techniques aimed to give the trees an aged appearance.
But what’s more, both pruning and binding were used to give the miniature plants an unusual shape and structure.
In the Chinese folklore, mythical creatures, such as dragons, serpents, and other animals, carry a sacred and very deep meaning.
Image Credit: 123rf
Thus, some believe that Taoists were also aiming to achieve a particular figure, representing those mythical creatures, by the shape of the trunks, leaves, and branches of the tiny trees.
Amazingly, there is yet another theory, surrounding the particular shape of penzai, as some researchers believe the Taosists were aiming to recreate various yoga positions through the structure of the mini trees.
But one thing is for sure – all the deformities in the appearance of penzai were made with a deep purpose, which far exceeded the desire for mimicking the natural forms of the trees.
Although Taoists undoubtedly kept creating penzai for centuries, there was no mention of this intricate practice in documented form before 600 A.D.
In fact, the very first written evidence of the penzai tree, including pictures, dates back to 706 AD and is found in the tomb of Prince Zhang Huai.
It was intriguing for the archeologists who discovered the tomb to stumble across those most ancient pictures of Penjing, known so far.
The frescoes in the tomb depicted servants of Prince Chang Huai, carrying Penjing, which contained miniature trees and rocks.
Image Credit: Wikipedia
According to researchers, each picture in tombs carries a deep spiritual meaning.
Most obviously, since Penjing were also part of the scenes, depicted in the tomb, these otherwise small trees convey an immense message, linked to the journey each soul needs to accomplish during a lifetime on Earth.
According to Taoists, life is good and it can be improved to bring harmony by following the Way of nature, also known as Tao.
From Penjing to Bonsai
It was during the very same time when the art of cultivating miniature trees was paving its way into the Taoists teaching of how to become one with Tao, when Chinese monks traveled to Japan and other parts of Asia, carrying examples of the penzai.
All of that was happening during the reign of the Hang Dynasty in China.
But the Japanese monks didn’t merely study and utilize the techniques, brought by the examples of Penzai.
Instead, the Japanese added so much of their own perceptions of the surrounding world, that they saturated the meaning of penzai with a whole new dimension of symbolism.
Thus, the Japanese started implying their own techniques in sculpting and cultivating the dwarf trees.
But above all, they also transferred new beliefs to the art of bonsai, which associated the small trees with the ever-green search for harmony in life.
According to the Japanese, bonsai trees symbolized a harmony between the man, his soul, and Mother Nature – these three symbols being forever intertwined and always working in correlation.
After penzai reached Japan, one thing was for sure – the tiny trees quickly gained no less followers and admiration than they did in China.
Furthermore, as the Japanese philosophy of life merged with the art of bonsai, it was only a matter of time before the Japanese students exceeded their Chinese teachers, turning the little-known penzai into a whole new form of art and discipline as we know it today – bonsai.
Surprisingly, penjing differentiates from bonsai in yet another way apart from the life that the Japanese culture brought to bonsai as a form of art.
Penjing were mostly cultivated in flat trays, and not in pots.
But whatever the container of the small trees, those enchanting pieces of the bonsai-art-to-be, gradually found their way to many Japanese homes.
Image Credit: Youtube
At first, those tiny trees were very limited in number and availability and they were brought along with all the various cargo, travelling from China to Japan.
Thus, penjing was considered a way to show a high social status since only the rich Japanese families could afford to purchase such a rare souvenir.
But with the amazing Japanese dedication, patience and respect for crafts, nature and traditions, many of those otherwise rare trees managed to survive for hundreds of years, passing from one generation to another.
The value behind practicing bonsai was so deep and healthy for the mind that slowly it started to spread throughout various levels of society.
A Japanese writer shared his amazement and delightfulness he gained from the mere contemplation of the unusually deformed small trees in an ancient scroll, which dates back to 1195 AD.
He expressed in words the otherwise hard to explain feeling of contentedness, pleasure, and appreciation one gets after gazing at the miniature trees.
How The Cultivation of Bonsai Trees Evolved Out of the Monasteries
It came as no surprise that the beautiful art of bonsai spread far away from the monks and monasteries themselves.
Although at first, bonsai was not a reserved territory for the ordinary people. Instead, bonsai trees made their way to the homes of the royals.
Bonsai was perceived as an attribute to show high social status but it also reflected a great honor.
If someone was to have a bonsai at home, this would be a family, who was greatly respected.
Gradually, in the 14th century, bonsai trees were already regarded as a form of art, apart from simply symbolizing status and/or honor and respect.
At the very beginning, bonsai owners would display their beloved and treasured miniature trees outdoors.
However, initially, another course of displaying a bonsai emerged.
The royal families, who got to look after their bonsai creations, created special shelves indoors, which were to put the bonsai in the spotlight of honor in the home.
The Minimalism Flow in Bonsai
However, it wasn’t before the 16th century when the art of bonsai evolved again. But this time, the pruning techniques which the Japanese adapted for bonsai cultivation had another purpose.
Through pruning, the Japanese now wanted to achieve a highly minimalistic effect of the trees, removing all parts of the plants and leaving nothing unnecessary but the most essential parts, needed for the miniature trees to survive.
The elimination of all unnecessary elements from the bonsai trees has a very deep meaning.
There is nothing really fancy about it but instead, it showcases the way Japanese perceive the world.
According to the Japanese philosophy, in order to live in harmony and balance, one must refine his lifestyle in such a way, as to remove anything unnecessary, causing clutter.
Clutter is believed to reflect both the mind and the body in such a manner, as not to leave a person achieve his full potential because of the distractions and disharmony which clutter brings.
Ever since, this culture remains the same and it is easy to see it and feel it as you visit modern Japan and notice the tranquil and serene minimalist gardens, all bringing that sense of perfect simplicity from the eyes straight to the soul of the gazer.
Image Credit: Write Teens [Example of a Modern Minimalistic Japanese garden]
How Bonsai Became Accessible to All Social Classes
It was approximately during the medieval times when bonsai trees were no longer a reserved territory for the royals.
The value behind practicing bonsai was so deep and healthy for the mind that slowly it started to spread throughout various levels of society.
However, it wasn’t before the notorious peace of work by the priest and writer Kokan Shiren before bonsai truly flourished among the Japanese, regardless of their status in society.
Kokan Shiren released the prose Bonseki around the year 1300 and all the very first hints of what was soon going to embrace the entire globe, was put into the spotlights.
And so later in the following centuries, bonsai truly flourished in Japan. The practice reached many new people who wanted to explore the beauty of cultivating miniature trees of their own.
The social class was no longer a limitation for practicing bonsai.
This time of rapid development and spreading of the bonsai art was also the paramount of starting to pay utmost attention to the design of bonsai trees themselves.
Both the simplicity and the arrangement of bonsai became highly valued.
Thus, every proud bonsai owner was striving to create his unique masterpiece while staying true to the basic laws which sculpted bonsai cultivation.
The art of bonsai cultivation was spread and became available to all social classes.
Suddenly, there was an increased demand of bonsai cultivators, who could share their knowledge and skills with the numerous bonsai aficionados among the Japanese people.
This was not only the time when bonsai flourished in Japan, being accessible to all the people who wished to learn how to practice it.
This was also the time when bonsai was finally imprinted into the Japanese culture forever.
Following the teachings of the Taoist monks, who shared their bonsai cultivation techniques, the Japanese started yet another form of bonsai creation – arranging a variety of landscapes with bonsai in the focus.
Trees were carefully combined to match and enhance the beauty and harmony of the various landscapes, buildings, people and/or rocks. That particular process became known as bon-kei which literally means tray landscape.
Bon-kei is such an amazing form of using bonsai to create art because it depicts a landscape in 3D which is recreated through dry materials, such as rock, cement, paper, and/or sand mixtures, in a simple tray. Meanwhile, another form of bon-kei quickly gained popularity.
San-kei aims to re-create 3D landscapes the very same was as bon-kei, although with san-kei the aim is to depict an already existing scenery or landscape, and not just something imaginary.
And so in the mid 1600s, with the numerous merchants venturing through Asia, the word for bonsai was inevitably spread throughout the globe.
At the very beginning, it was mostly the news of the existence of such miniature trees which sparkled the curiosity.
The First Bonsai Exhibitions and Competitions
Very soon after the widely-spread availability of practicing bonsai, by the end of 1700s, the Japanese started holding the first bonsai exhibitions.
Not only exhibitions, showing the beauty of bonsai were held.
The Japanese also organized bonsai competitions which aimed to acknowledge the most skillful cultivators of the ancient practice.
Initially, in 1806 the Queen of England received a bonsai tree as a gift.
Eventually, cities like London, Vienna, Paris and other place where culture and art are highly valued, featured bonsai trees in special exhibitions.
And this was also the time when the Japanese decided to share some of the invaluable experience they have gained in bonsai cultivation by sharing their secrets in bonsai growing with the world.
The Japanese selflessness for opening the gates to bonsai cultivation freely so that more people can take advantage of this healing practice, was what shaped the world of bonsai as we know it today.
Image Credit: Youtube
If the Japanese were to act selfishly, we would have lost so much by not having the chance to understand the deep beauty residing in bonsai.
Bonsai as we know it today was first mentioned in a Japanese tale around the year 600.
In this tale, the Japanese explained the true philosophy behind cultivating those miniature trees and gradually saturated this gardening discipline with a whole new level of meaningfulness.
“It is only when it is kept close to human beings who fashion it with loving care that its shape and style acquire the ability to move one”.
And approximately around the 19th century, a group of students who were studying Chinese arts gathered to discuss bonsai and take a closer look at this one-of-a-kind practice, merging art and discipline with self-knowledge and knowledge of the Laws of Mother Nature.
Subsequently, that very same group of students was the first to officially give the name Bonsai, classifying the discipline into what we know it today.
With the popularization of bonsai, numerous amazing creations started to emerge.
Just like we are all so completely different, so is bonsai, which represents the imagination, heart, and skills of its cultivators.
Image Credit: Youtube
Up-to-date, bonsai trees can be seen in numerous sizes and varieties which keep adding more magic to the practicing of bonsai.
In fact, the bonsai passion is so strong and contaminating that multiple small groups of bonsai aficionados have gathered throughout the globe.
The bonsai societies around the world have further helped to spread the practice far, far away from its homeland – Japan.
4 Factors which Helped Bonsai Gain World Acknowledgement
The history of how bonsai was born and made its way into the hearts of the Japanese marks only the tip of the iceberg.
If we have to point out the most important aspects which granted bonsai world fame and renown, there are 4 major aspects.
1 – The Impact of World War II
Before the end of World War II, the Japanese culture has been much of a mystery for the world. However, after the war was finally over, Japan became far more open to the rest of the countries globally.
As a result, bonsai art finally got the chance to be showcased out of the Japanese territory.
Subsequently, numerous bonsai exhibitions took place.
Nevertheless, the associations, promoting bonsai cultivation also left a huge imprint on popularizing the art of bonsai and making it far more comprehensible to people world-wide.
One of the first associations which did a great job for spreading the bonsai craftsmanship towards people globally, was the Nippon Bonsai Association.
2 – Print Publication on the Rise
Along with the open trade and communication between Japan and the rest of the countries in the world, the rise of print publication has also helped tremendously for spreading the word about bonsai.
Not only the word about this magnificent form of art and gardening was spread. The very essence of bonsai was transmuted to people through the work of various authors.
Together with passionate researchers, people who got the chance to delve in the Japanese art of bonsai thanks to the openness of the Japanese nation towards popularizing bonsai, succeeded to publish multiple articles.
Many of those articles became a great hit in the respective countries and thus, little by little, bonsai was finding its way to the hearts of people from every nation, age, and gender.
3 – Special Japanese Bonsai Courses
As bonsai requires a deep understanding of the art and craftsmanship for cultivating the miniature trees, the Japanese released a number of bonsai courses around the second half of the 20th century.
Thus, not only did the local Japanese got an opportunity to study bonsai better; many foreigners, who visited Japan, got also involved in those courses.
The expert Bonsai training turned out to be a wonderful approach!
And so step by step, those who managed to learn more about bonsai started helping other people adopt the best techniques for successful bonsai cultivation.
The skills, which the traveling Japan visitors gained during their expert bonsai training were then brought to practice in their home countries, where the knowledge they received about bonsai was slowly embracing a wider and wider audience of bonsai connoisseurs.
4 – Easy Trade Between the Countries
Now, it is important to acknowledge that the easy trade between the countries made it possible to spread the practice of bonsai along with all the useful tools, plants, and soil components, needed for a successful bonsai cultivation.
Before this happened, the access to various bonsai plants and the equipment, which every bonsai gardener has to utilize, were very hard to find.
This scarcity was a huge milestone for people who had get to know more about the bonsai practice but lacked the suitable tools to turn bonsai into reality in their home countries.
Slowly but surely, as everything needed for bonsai cultivation became widely-available, bonsai aficionados all around the globe eagerly started to discover the true taste looking after a bonsai tree.
With all the 4 aspects shaping the bonsai reality as we know it today, it was only a matter of time for this intricate form of art and gardening to grab the hearts of people, regardless of their race, gender, religion, or level of experience.
Multiple bonsai communities emerged and the boom of free online communication only speeded up the process of bonsai popularization.
People were no longer limited to the old ways and gaining new knowledge, as well as exchanging experience with other bonsai connoisseurs was crucial for conveying the magic of bonsai in order to reach more souls, hungry for beauty and harmony.
Image Credit: Youtube
Interestingly, it seems as if nowadays we need bonsai more than ever in our lives. The busy pace schedules we have to face, combined with the increased aggression and insecurity in the world, only creates a greater need for tuning back with the Universal laws.
And is there any better way to nurture a troubled mind than to focus your attention on creating something as beautiful as bonsai?
But actually, it is the continuous care, the never-ending state of learning which make bonsai such an intricate discipline. And through that very same discipline, important virtues can be attained by the cultivator, which would be hard to gain in any other way.
Image Credit: Tamar Peace Festival
That’s what makes bonsai a special kind of meditation where you let the intrusive thoughts go with the flow as you are taking care of your bonsai tree.
The Centuries Old Techniques of Bonsais Cultivation
Bonsai cultivation was achieved through masterful techniques, which required the absolute dedication of bonsai cultivators.
Indeed, in order to create a bonsai masterpiece, it can take anything between 2 and 20 years of care.
The main goal is to keep the bonsai trees approximately one to two feet high.
But instead of limiting bonsai cultivation to sculpting and nurturing the traditional pine trees, the Japanese added much more to the ancient practice. Thus, both flowering and fruit-bearing trees were included in bonsai.
For the shaping of bonsai, the Japanese used wire and bamboo to twist and then hold the configurations intact.
Image Credit: Absolute Bonsai
Branches, trunks, and roots were all subject to the masterful bonsai techniques, aiming for that odd and gnarled appearance of the miniature trees.
What’s more, both burning and cutting were part of the bonsai techniques which helped cultivators achieve a one-of-a-kind old looks of the amazing trees.
Grafting was yet another popular technique in bonsai. By grafting the new branches, cultivators created particular shapes, which would otherwise be impossible to re-create and embed in bonsai.
Sweet syrup was also applied for the purpose of attracting termites, which would fiest on the sweetness of the wood. That particular trick made the bonsai trees appear even older to the eye of the contemplator. But termites cannot be left intact on the bonsai tree forever.
Image Credit: Smithsonian Magazine
Thus, after the tiny fellows finished their job for munching on the trunks,
making bonsai trees appear closer to the natural look of any other tree we
might see in Nature, the cultivators carefully removed all termites.
Subsequently, a healing period was then needed for the tiny trees to recover.
Finally, only the beautifully aged appearance was left without a trace of the
The technique of applying termites as part of bonsai cultivation shows how
intertwined the art of bonsai is with Mother Nature.
Really, is there any other art form where you can work together with the termites in order to create something so nostalgic as a bonsai tree?
Bonsai trees were also placed along with suitable rocks and moss, searching for a harmonious landscape effect, which made bonsai plants truly become a piece of art.
The Bonsai Trees Journey to America
At some point, it was high time that bonsai met face to face with the Western culture.
But this time was not yet to come before the Japanese brought bonsai to America when they migrated to the US.
Thus, it wasn’t before the end of World War II before the East and the West finally became more open to each other.
In fact, it was exactly at the end of World War II when the Chinese also brought their version of the tiny trees to America.
However, the Chinese refused to share their artful techniques, limiting the practice of cultivating the miniature trees all to themselves.
Subsequently, the Westerners were not allowed to gain further knowledge on bonsai creation until the late 1960s. Indeed, without proper instructions, cultivating a bonsai tree is merely impossible.
The practice of bonsai requires both understanding of the growth patterns of the miniature trees, as well as mastering the right techniques and utilizing the best conditions for the development of a real bonsai masterpiece.
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Fortunately, the Japanese were determined to spread the art of bonsai worldwide and did not act selfishly as to keep their knowledge to themselves.
The Japanese shared everything they have learned about bonsai cultivation in the so-called nurseries, where many American visitors had the chance to study bonsai closely.
And thus, after gaining new skills for bonsai creation, the Westerners returned to the USA and founded the first American Bonsai Society.
It was only a matter of time before the practice of bonsai then became much more accessible, as opposed to just a mere years ago.
But the Japanese didn’t stop here.
Instead, along with the rising interest over bonsai of many other countries, who send their representatives to Japan in order to study the knowledge of bonsai cultivation, Japanese bonsai masters also traveled around the globe, spreading their bonsai cultivation skills and tips.
And so, from one continent to another, the bonsai discipline was literally handed to all of those, who truly wished to learn this ancient practice.
Very soon, the demands for more accessible bonsai tools grew higher than ever.
With the increasing interest for practicing this form of art and gardening, means for mass production became widely available.
Moreover, big bonsai manufacturers were willing to train individuals in the proper techniques and methods for bonsai cultivation.
Subsequently, thousands of bonsai masterpieces were created in a relevantly short fraction of time in order to answer the great demands for bonsai production among the aficionados of the incredible art.
Nowadays, there are many ways how an artist can create his bonsai.
Some bonsai connoisseurs would choose to grow their bonsai tree from seed. Others would prefer to grow their bonsai from cuttings from other trees.
Nevertheless, grafting remains one of the most popular techniques for bonsai cultivation,as well.
But since all of those techniques take both time and some practice to be mastered properly, many nurseries grow and export readily-available bonsai trees.
Did you know that there are over a dozen different styles of shaping a bonsai tree?
From the upright style to the straight bonsai style, all the way to the more recognizable one – the twisted bonsai cultivation style – people could now let their imagination run wild with their bonsai.
The job of bonsai nurseries is a very responsible task.
Nurseries must take into consideration the particular growing region of the bonsai species they attend, nurture, and create, in order to make sure people who get a bonsai tree from a nursery will stand a reliable chance of cultivating their bonsai masterpiece successfully.
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All tree species require a different climate, access to light, and watering to grow strong and be able to undergo the multiple training techniques with full recovery.
It is crucial for a bonsai plant to be healthy and hearty, as otherwise, the cultivator can be doomed to face failure.
The Secret of Bonsai – Durability of a Tradition
Many people ask themselves how long could a bonsai tree actually live for?
Well, the answer is only one: indefinitely.
Your bonsai tree can outlive you, and it can even outlive your children and grandchildren if it is taken proper care of.
Much like great-great-grandma Fumi – the bonsai tree of my Japanese hosts was older than 3 generations in the family, so can your bonsai masterpiece remain long after you and me are gone.
Maybe this is one of the most incredible aspects of bonsai cultivation, although it is very hard to categorize anything, related to bonsai because above all, bonsai is art, and art cannot be possibly compared.
What is even more amazing with bonsai is how the entire process of shaping and sculpting your living miniature masterpiece is achieved through the seemingly harsh conditions you make your bonsai tree go through.
But instead of dying, with proper maintenance, bonsai trees prove that the harsh conditions of the surrounding environment can only increase both the beauty and value of all living creatures.
That is one of the deepest truths which bonsai cultivation reveals to its creator – that regardless of the obstacles we meet on your way, you can turn every pain, every hurt into your favor.
What we go through as human beings shapes our character and helps the soul grow.
When looking at a bonsai tree, there is always this silent and wise reminder that you can do it; that you are stronger than what you think and you are more beautiful than what your Ego allows you to grasp.
Just take a look at some centuries old bonsai trees which are still living in Japan (and not only!)
Probably one of the most breathtaking examples of the true meaning and durability of bonsai is the pine, which is exhibited in Tokyo Imperial Palace.
Meet Sandai-Shogun-NoMatsu, which is part of the historic collection displayed in Tokyo Imperial Palace. Evidence shows that Sandai-Shogun-No Matsu began its life as early as 1610!
Bonsai is so interconnected with the Japanese culture, that it has become symbolic in the country of the Rising Sun, and is an important part of their celebrations.
Just like we cherish a Christmas tree, bonsai has a special place in the welcoming of the New Year in Japan.
The tokonoma is a super special place where the Japanese proudly place their bonsai tree as an important feature of the New Year.
For bringing luck, harmony, and prosperity, a miniature apricot or cherry in bloom is proudly displayed at the tokonoma.
Bonsai Tree Care & Cultivation
The centuries old traditions in bonsai cultivation require an utmost understanding.
There is really no other gardening practice where discipline plays such a key role as in growing bonsai.
Indeed, the care one must take of a bonsai creation is tremendous but so are the rewards, as well.
However, many newbie bonsai growers tend to fall into the trap of quick enthusiasm and thus, fail to truly utilize the best practices in bonsai.
That’s why it is crucial to attain patience when beginning your bonsai cultivation journey as to avoid failing in your mission as a bonsai tree gardener.
First off, every bonsai aficionado needs to understand that growing bonsai has nothing to do with growing just about any other average small plant.
You cannot possibly treat bonsai as simply a miniature plant.
Remember that bonsai are trees and the growth patterns and demands of trees differ significantly from taking care of any other type of house plant.
Secondly, when you take care of a bonsai, your attention as a gardener must be very well-spread among all the different aspects that need to be taken into consideration.
Obviously, you are in charge of controlling the size and shape of your bonsai tree.
But there are multiple other miniscule factors which are not to be underestimated for a successful bonsai cultivation. These factors include shaping properly the very first seedlings and cuttings, as well.
Thirdly, all bonsai connoisseurs who are starting their bonsai cultivation quest should never forget that the term for bonsai is very, very vast.
Bonsai can be any type of tree species, which is nurtured and shaped into a miniature variation of the original tree specimen.
Thus, all different bonsai tree variations will require a deep understanding of their own and completely unique growth patterns and demands.
For example, a pine bonsai tree will need a different soil, amount of light, as well as watering schedule as opposed to, for example, a maple bonsai tree.
The astonishing varieties of bonsai make place for an amazingly profound diversity in the skills, knowledge and techniques one needs to adapt for becoming a true bonsai cultivator.
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But above all, bonsai creation always starts with acquisition of a suitable source plant.
The source plant must be of certain age so that the bonsai cultivator can achieve the desirable and cherished “aged” and authentic looks of his bonsai masterpiece within a reasonable amount of time.
For a start, each source plant will require a suitable small pot, and nonetheless – suitable soil to grow.
Let’s check out the most important techniques in bonsai growing that every bonsai cultivator wants to understand and, subsequently, utilize.
The design of each bonsai masterpiece is solely a matter of imagination. That is what makes bonsai gardening a form of art.
However, one cannot simply proceed to shaping a bonsai tree absent-mindedly.
Here is where the ancient Japanese techniques come to action.
In order to shape your bonsai beauty to envision the image in your head and match a particular style, you can choose from the techniques listed below.
As a bonsai cultivator, you can apply many techniques but you must also never forget to acknowledge the uniqueness of the bonsai species you are taking care of.
1 – Trimming the Leaves
One cannot possibly sculpt a bonsai tree without carefully shaping the leaves.
Thus, specific leaves or needles must be removed both from the trunk and the branches of your bonsai plants.
Before removing any leaves, always think twice and keep the image you want to achieve in your mind during the whole procedure.
2 – Pruning your Bonsai
Pruning a bonsai is a very multi-layered process. This type of bonsai cultivation technique includes taking care of all the elements of a bonsai tree.
Pruning focuses on branches, leaves, and trunks altogether to help you achieve the vision of bonsai you carry in your head and heart.
3 – Wiring Techniques
If the bonsai growing techniques were to be classified in terms of necessity, then wiring would head the list.
Without wiring, one cannot achieve the specific shape and style of a bonsai tree.
It is exactly through wiring that bonsai cultivators define the overall form of their miniature creation.
Moreover, it is through wiring that a bonsai gardener directs the placement of both branches and leaves.
4 – Clamping a Bonsai Tree
Clamping a bonsai is probably the most mechanical part of bonsai cultivation.
It is referred to as mechanical because clamping requires a suitable set of mechanical tools.
Those very same mechanical instruments are used to shape all the elements of a bonsai tree, including the trunk, branches, and leaves.
5 – Bonsai Defoliation
The defoliation technique is applied to bonsai specimens, which shed their leaves annually.
Thus, through proper defoliation, a bonsai cultivator might aim to achieve a short-term dwarfing of the foliage.
6 – Deadwood Techniques
The deadwood techniques in bonsai cultivation are probably among the most intriguing ones, among others.
However, in order to apply the deadwood techniques correctly, one needs to be very experienced with bonsai growing.
Thus, deadwood techniques should be avoided by newbie bonsai gardeners, as your mistakes can cause the death of your bonsai.
On the other hand, those who master the deadwood techniques can truly turn their bonsai into a piece of art, which appears years older than its actual age, bringing a much more saturated emotion upon gazing at the bonsai beauty.
Bonsai Tree Tools & Materials
Can you imagine a warrior without a sword?
I’d say, if you have a vivid imagination and a more positive approach to life, you might believe that a good warrior can still do great even without a sword.
Well, this scenario is not impossible but is also absolutely not the most favorable option.
When it comes to bonsai cultivation, every bonsai gardener needs the right tools just like the warrior needs a sword.
If a warrior has access to more weapons, he would probably cope with his tasks even easier, right? And the same with bonsai!
Although, in the case of bonsai gardening, your tools arsenal doesn’t have to be tremendous in size and number as to make you stand better chances with the creation of bonsai.
If I can give another example of whether or not you need many tools in order to grow your bonsai tree, consider the following – do you remember your first school years?
Back then, when you were only at the very start of gaining new knowledge, you couldn’t actually even read all the books you could read later as time passed, right?
With bonsai growing, it is pretty much the same. At the beginning of your journey, you won’t be able to utilize all of the instruments which can come handy because you will have to learn the basics first.
And then gradually, as your skills are expanding, so will your tools arsenal.
Nevertheless, some bonsai aficionados get so enchanted with bonsai, they can’t wait to get every single instrument and/or instruction that can be utilized.
But if so, then do whatever makes your heart happy! If you feel excellent gathering and admiring all those bonsai growing tools – then why not?
However, from a more practical aspect, do not forget that learning bonsai takes time and just like in a computer game – as you unlock new levels of experience, so you unlock new instrument which you can actually utilize successfully.
The art of bonsai is also like a sports discipline.
Take, for example, tennis. You can’t expect to become a champion without practicing your talents.
With bonsai, there is nothing really hard about the process of growing your miniature trees.
It is just that it takes time before you fully sink with your bonsai masterpieces and gradually build confidence with your work as a cultivator.
While the years pass, you will be able to truly master bonsai but in the meantime – you will have so much fun and learn so many new things.
For a start, something as simple as a leaf cutter can be all you need (in fact, all you can actually use without harming your trees as a newbie!).
As mentioned above, the more seasoned and dedicated growers can initially end up having an amazingly extended arsenal of tools.
But most importantly, regardless of your level of experience with the practice of bonsai, it is always a great idea to recognize the various instruments for bonsai creation.
Thus, you can make the most well-informed decisions during your bonsai growing journey.
Start with the basics and then slowly work your way to expanding your arsenal of tools with the expansion of your skills and knowledge.
So what are the right tools that you need to get started with your bonsai adventure of a lifetime?
First off, before investing time or efforts into anything else, you need to find the tree specimen itself.
Do your research to gain a good understanding of the growing demands of the particular type of tree you are going to choose. Make sure you can provide those conditions to your tree if you want to see it survive and thrive.
Next, you can’t possibly start working with bonsai before getting a suitable clay pot for your bonsai plant.
The material of the pot is crucial, and in fact, no less crucial than soil and proper care.
And yes, soil is yet the third most basic supply that you will need to have when planting a bonsai.
There is no place for compromise when it comes to choosing a suitable soil for your bonsai creations because the bond between the tiny trees and the healthiness of their roots can pretty much turn the destiny of your bonsai.
The art of bonsai puts the tiny trees in front of many challenges and the need for recovery after causing them mild stress with the shaping techniques becomes immense. Sick roots mean dead bonsai.
Apart from those top 3 key tools for bonsai cultivation, here is a list of all the rest of the instruments that can come handy.
- A traditional leaf cutter with a long handle for pruning branches
- A long shear, for medium sized branches
- Butterfly shear, for pruning small branches as well as roots
- A small shear for tree defoliation
- Small and large knob cutter for creating deep, hollow wounds on the Bonsai
- Small concave cutter that helps with the pruning of medium-sized branches
- Large Bonsai concave cutter to prune large branches.
- Wire cutter
- Jin tool
- Root-hook that helps repotting Bonsai trees
- Copper brush, for trunk cleaning
- Cocos brush, for cleaning ground surfaces
- Trunk benders
How to Style & Shape your Bonsai Tree
Before considering the style and shape of bonsai trees, every cultivator needs to keep in mind the most important aspect, which lies in the very essence of bonsai.
You are dealing with a tree and not just any other type of plants.
But what’s more, bonsai trees differ significantly from any other “regular” tree. The trees, growing freely in nature, have a different size and different growth requirements.
When it comes to bonsai trees, your miniature masterpieces will be smaller, lighter, and much more fragile than their natural counterparts.
Once you understand that basic rule, nurturing a bonsai tree become much easier and pleasant.
Just like with studying maths, you cannot jump into solving complex problems before learning the groundings.
It is also essential for every bonsai cultivator to recognize the unique needs of bonsai trees. Even though tiny, bonsai plants require more care and attention that regular-sized plants.
If we take a look at the roots of bonsai trees, we can see how pale and short they appear, as opposed to the long and ranging in color roots of “normal” trees.
Interestingly, the roots of your bonsai will reach just about 25 cm in length, which is a tremendous difference to the strong, meters-long roots of the trees, growing in nature.
The size difference which makes up for the unique appearance, growth patterns and demands of bonsai trees is also interconnected to many other significant aspects of bonsai cultivation.
These aspects include your bonsai plants’ maturation, nutrition, and even resistance to pests. The immense impact which the size of bonsai plants plays, makes bonsai cultivation a bit more difficult than any other ordinary gardening task.
Although, despite being somewhat more challenging and demanding, practicing the art of bonsai is also very rewarding.
And nonetheless, regardless of the numerous situations each bonsai cultivator may face, achieving a perfectly-healthy bonsai plants in the long-term is entirely possible.
Don’t forget that all plants will always strive to live and survive, so minor mistakes do not necessarily mean failure for you as a bonsai gardener. But first, in order to stand a greater chance of cultivating your bonsai tree/s successfully, you must get acquainted with the major care techniques, which are inseparable part of the bonsai art.
In the list below, you will find the complete groundings of the techniques every bonsai gardener needs to know!
1 – Watering Bonsai Trees the Right Way
Watering your bonsai creations has little do to with watering just about any other plant you might be growing.
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With bonsai, water must be supplied at regular intervals to ensure the tree can execute the process of photosynthesis and remain strong, as to endure training
It is also crucial to understand that each bonsai tree specimen will have a different watering schedule, depending on the specifics of each Bonsai variety.
2 – The Importance of Repotting a Bonsai Tree
Repotting bonsai trees is also an intricate part of cultivating your miniature masterpieces.
Bonsai cannot be mastered without proper repotting.
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Much like with watering, repotting your bonsai plants is also done in regular intervals.
However, when it comes to repotting, those intervals will depend on the specific age and resistance of each bonsai tree, and not merely on the bonsai specimen you are taking care of.
3 – Utilizing the Best Tools for Bonsai Trees Cultivation
As we already discussed above, utilizing the right tools for bonsai cultivation is what will help you master the art of bonsai through time.
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Anyway, that doesn’t mean you need to start with a complex bonsai growing tools kit.
Instead, what is important to understand is that you need to recognize the various instruments and apply them to your bonsai gardening journey as you are gaining more experience with the bonsai practice itself.
4 – Bonsai Soil
Bearing in mind that your bonsai trees will go through multiple phases of recovery, the soil is one of the most significant factors in bonsai cultivation.
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In the absence of suitable soil, your bonsai are doomed to suffer and most certainly, die.
The composition of bonsai soil is considered the same for a huge percent of bonsai trees varieties.
However, some particular bonsai species require a different soil composition from the rest.
Thus, you want to be well-informed on the soil demands of your bonsai trees before you ever continue with potting your plants.
5 – Indoor Survival vs. Outdoor Bonsai Trees Gardening
The art of bonsai allows you to grow your miniature trees both indoors and outdoors.
But then again, there are some differences which shape the growth demands of each bonsai tree specimen.
As a result of those demands, not all bonsai plants will be able to survive and evolve outdoors, just like not all plants will be able to flourish indoors.
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And so every bonsai cultivator must always get acquainted with the specific requirements of the tree specimen he/she is planning to tend, and build the growing strategy accordingly.
The Aesthetics of Bonsai Trees
The entire philosophy, surrounding the art of bonsai, is concentrated towards aesthetics.
When growing a bonsai tree, every cultivator is aiming to convey a particular appearance of his masterpiece that will delight the senses of the contemplator.
However, it is no less important for every bonsai gardener to find pleasure in the way a tree is shaped and styled for himself, as well.
Thus, the aesthetic appeal and arrangement of bonsai are equally transferred between the bonsai cultivator and all the rest of the people who will get to admire the bonsai creation.
But the aesthetics in bonsai is not merely an attribute to the physical appearance of the miniature trees. Instead, as with everything else in Japanese culture, there is a much deeper
meaning than simply achieving a pleasing result for the eyes.
Each bonsai masterpiece will convey the magic of practicing bonsai itself and thus, the essence of bonsai must be taken into consideration.
The imprint left on bonsai by the Buddhist monks is, indeed, invaluable.
It is the Zen philosophy of life which is intertwined with bonsai in such a manner, that these two become inseparable.
In order to understand better the way Zen Buddhism influences bonsai, let’s take a look at the following example.
When a sommelier gets to taste a glass of wine, he/she would inevitably ask about the origin of the grapes, from which that very wine was made. And then, thanks to the attained knowledge through the years, the sommelier will understand what formed true, one-of-a-kind character of the wine.
However unusual, this example can help you understand better how the ancient knowledge merged with bonsai and became forever one with the art of bonsai cultivation.
In fact, the impact and imprint left on Bonsai by the teachings of the old, did not merely create the art as we know it today. This is what turned bonsai into a practice, a discipline, and not just simply a hobby.
The spirit and teachings of the Zen Buddhism can be found even in the most menial tasks, related to bonsai.
There are two major elements of the Zen philosophy, which influenced Bonsai in the most immense way, among others. These 2 concepts are known as Mono no Aware and Wabi-sabi.
Mono no Aware
Mono no Aware can be described as “a sensitivity to ephemera”.
Behind the vast term for anything ephemeral (because everything is, indeed, ephemeral, except for energy, which cannot be lost but only transformed), there is a beautiful sense of awareness.
That sense of awareness for the impermanence of everything on Earth brings peace to the consciousness.
It is only through realizing the fragility of life how one can learn to cherish peace and build harmony and balance in his words and actions.
Wabi-sabi similar to Mono no Aware, is connected to raising one’s awareness.
However, Wabi-sabi does not concentrate solely towards the impermanence of things but rather than that – it is all about acknowledging the “imperfect, impermanent and incomplete”.
Moreover, Wabi-sabi aims to denote that feeling of accepting the imperfections, flaws, or incompletion in life.
Nevertheless, Wabi-sabi is also experiencing the sweet nostalgia, which helps the mind release itself from the grip of the ephemeral because one can finally embrace the beauty, found in imperfections.
It is very delicate to describe such ancient terms, especially when one who is not a native Asian citizen wants to understand the deeper meaning of both Mono no Aware and Wabi-sabi.
It is through realizing these 2 concepts that a bonsai cultivator can truly master the discipline of nurturing those miniature pieces of art.
Bonsai is seen as something imperfect and temporary yet this is where the true power and magic of bonsai cultivation resides.
It is because of those delicate feelings and subtle, sudden awareness, which strike the mind with the very view of a bonsai tree; and this is the message which bonsai is supposed to convey through triggering those otherwise unusual feelings.
In order to reach out to those exact feelings, hidden in the Zen philosophy and the very essence of bonsai, here are the top guidelines one needs to follow to achieve that one-of-a-kind effect.
1 – Miniaturization
It is hard to put the mind in such a delicate state of awareness if one is to gaze at an ordinary tree.
But when faced with such an unusual miniature as opposed to the typical image of a tree we are used to, the person cannot help it but sink into the magic of bonsai.
That’s why, as a rule of thumbs, your bonsai trees should be small enough to fit a small pot or container.
Afterward, your mission is to keep that tiny size even though the time is passing and your tree, if grown in nature, would far exceed its miniature size.
2 – Proportions Among the Different Elements
When it comes to proportions in bonsai, the guidelines are pretty straightforward.
Every bonsai cultivator should strive for achieving the same proportions as thetree would show in its natural environment.
It is through this very approach that the sense of awareness in the contemplator is rising.
A bonsai tree should simply resemble the looks of a traditional tree, despite the difference in size and growing conditions.
3 – Symmetry vs. Asymmetry
Many newbie bonsai growers fall into the delusion that bonsai is supposed to appear beautiful, hence tidy.
But when it comes to Mother Nature, it is not tidiness and perfect symmetry which convey the real beauty.
Instead, it is the asymmetry, the tiny flaws, the “natural” looks which captivate the imagination and give the soul food for thought.
Thus, bonsai should not be perfectly symmetrical, just like this is not the case with any trees in nature.
4 – The Lack of Traces
One of the deepest beauties of bonsai is that when you take a look at the tiny trees, you don’t get to think about the hand which has shaped them.
Instead, it seems as if some miracle, or exception by Mother Nature is developing in front of your eyes.
And in order to achieve this effect, the bonsai gardener should strive not to leave any traces of his work on the bonsai masterpiece.
A bonsai tree in all its glory should appear as if taken directly from a forest, so genuine, so authentic, because this is how the concepts of Mono no Aware and Wabi-sabi can reveal their full potential.
5 – Poignancy
Just like we mentioned at the very beginning of this article, the one-of-a-kind feeling, which bonsai conveys, can be described as a sweet nostalgia.
But the sense of nostalgia is also intertwined with the sense of beauty, which each bonsai tree reflects upon the contemplators.
Both of these feelings are utterly important when it comes to cultivating bonsai trees because it is thanks to those feelings that Bonsai is such an amazing art and not merely a gardening task.
The Importance Of The Display of Bonsai
The way a bonsai cultivator will display a bonsai tree is no less important than all the rest of the aspects, related to creating bonsai masterpieces, such as shaping the leaves, branches, and trunk, for example.
It is through a proper display of a bonsai tree that a gardener can really achieve to convey the principles of Wabi-sabi and Mono no Aware.
The main purpose of exhibiting a particular side of the bonsai creation is to showcase the full beauty and skillfulness, imprinted in the art of Bonsai.
You can imagine the importance of this aspect much like shooting a movie.
If you are the director of a movie, you will be the one in charge to choose the most suitable angles for shooting the scenes the best way.
It is pretty much the same with displaying a Bonsai tree, except for instead of choosing the most appropriate angles to shoot a scene, you choose the most appropriate angles to reveal the absolute beauty of your Bonsai masterpiece.
While we discussed the aesthetics of a Bonsai tree, we mentioned how significant this aspect is but moreover, how deep is the meaning behind the Bonsai specimens’ beauty.
When it comes to the way a bonsai cultivator will display the fruit of his efforts, the meaning behind the proper display of the miniature trees is no less essentially linked to much more in-depth concepts, inherited through history.
Thus, just like with shaping and sculpting a bonsai tree, there are some major guidelines, regarding the way the prettiness of a Bonsai tree will be presented to the contemplators. In fact, the series of guidelines about showing the aesthetics of a Bonsai tree in its full glory are no less complex than the growing process itself.
1 – The Front Side of a Bonsai Tree
Just like we have a favorite profile of the face when we are taking a picture, so does a Bonsai tree have a “front” side which is considered more aesthetical to the eye than the other side.
Since with Bonsai, it is essential to be able to convey the subtle feelings which will make the contemplators truly sink into the magic of the miniature masterpiece, every Bonsai cultivator has to choose which side of the tree can transmute better the main concepts regarding Bonsai beauty and effect on the audience.
It is through this so-called front side that you can emphasize on the best features of your Bonsai creation.
2 – The Right Height of Displaying a Bonsai Tree
The angle from which the Bonsai tree will be looked upon is, indeed crucial. But it is not merely choosing the most favorable “profile” of your Bonsai masterpiece.
The height, in which the miniature tree is going to be displayed, also plays a very important role.
Let’s take, once again, the example of taking a beautiful picture of yourself. Apart from relying on your better profile, the picture must also emphasize the feeling you want to send off to those who will then look at your picture.
Thus, if the picture is taken from a low height (say the photographer is kneeling), your lower body parts, such as the legs, will appear much slimmer and longer.
In the case the picture is taken from above, you may emphasize on your face features instead of the body, for example.
When it comes to displaying a Bonsai tree, the height through which you will position your masterpiece will have a similar effect on the audience as the examples with taking a picture.By choosing the perfect height for presenting a Bonsai masterpiece, the cultivator is searching for the effect of showcasing a “real tree”. It is exactly the impression of looking at a “regular” tree that you are trying to convey to the audience.
And so once again, it is all about the Balance. If you place your miniature tree too low or too high, the entire effect can be ruined. That’s why the cultivator will search for that golden piece of harmony through
the right height in displaying a Bonsai, which will trigger the sense of sinking into the true value of this ancient art, where for a brief momentum, the gazer forgets about the ordinary world.
3 – Accentuating on the Beauty of Bonsai by Removing all Clutter
After taking into consideration the “front” side of a Bonsai tree, as well as the right height for positioning the miniature masterpiece as to convey the true meaning of Bonsai, there is one more factor which is of utmost importance.
Every bonsai cultivator has to think about the landscape, where the Bonsai masterpiece is featured.
If we take the example of taking a picture of yourself, you know fair well that the landscape will influence greatly the emotion and effect of the photo.
It is no different when it comes to exhibiting a Bonsai creation. If displayed outdoors, one must think in advance of the multiple factors in the surrounding environment, which will impact the impression a Bonsai leaves on the audience.
These factors include light, wind, and water, as all of these will cast a different imprint on the way a Bonsai triggers that feeling of beauty, simplicity and nostalgia.
It is also crucial to stick with simple display components, such as either stones and/or wood because these are the most natural among others.
All in all, clutter should be avoided at any cost, and that rule refers both to excessive light, wind, and the decorations in the landscape.
Nevertheless, not only the background should be taken into account but also the distance, from which the Bonsai masterpiece will be gazed upon.Ultimately, there is no need to get lost in the multiple guidelines, regarding the proper display of a Bonsai creation.
Just like everything in life, things are actually much simpler than they appear on the surface. All you have to do is remember that Bonsai is Art.
And every piece of art is best to be displayed in a distraction-free environment, along with appropriate light and the cultivator’s personal perceptions of the right proportions.
The freer of redundancies, additional accessories, and overall clutter – the better will a Bonsai recreate the true spirit and the subtle feelings which are to be conveyed upon the gazers.
Popular Bonsai Trees Styles And Specimen
What we discussed and learned so far is that the practice of Bonsai is built upon ancient rules and solid guidelines, which are deeply saturated with the true value and spirit of the Bonsai discipline.
But above all, Bonsai remains a form of art, which means there is much room for the imagination to play with the structure and shape of each miniature.
Indeed, there are so many unexpected styles in which gardeners can shape their Bonsai creation!
Thus, it is only right to call this practice a fusion of both sports and art, where the basic rules invisibly merge with the richness of one’s inner world of phantasy.
Below, we are listing the top 13 most representative styles for shaping a Bonsai masterpiece.
1 – Chokkan (Formal Upright)
Just like the name suggest, the Formal Upright style shows a Bonsai tree with a trunk, tapering straight.
Chokkan is considered the basis of bonsai style tradition.
The apex of the trunk is directly over the base.
This style is referred to as one of the most desired by Bonsai cultivators, however, it also proves to be one of the most complex to achieve, among others.
That’s because the creation of this particular style requires both a great symmetry and balance.
Thus, even a single branch, which is not thrown as it should, the whole impression can be ruined.
In nature, the tree species which resemble the Formal Upright Style the most are Cypress and Cedar trees, among others.
When striving for the Formal Upright Style, the branches of bonsai should appear regular at the start but progressively decreasing in width and level of foliage.
The progression goes from the thickest branches at the bottom of the tree to the thinner. As a result, the thinnest branches remain on top.
When it comes to the root status in the Formal Upright Style Bonsai, the roots should be clearly visible on the surface of the soil.
Also, the roots should extend from the center of the base, spreading symmetrically around the whole trunk base.
Image Credit: putudema.blogspot.com
2 – Moyohgi (Informal Upright)
The Informal Upright style, in its essence, resembles pretty much the Formal Upright.
Although, with the informal upright style, the trunk grows only predominantly upwards. The apex of the trunk is still directly over the base, though, which is why the Informal upright style is so close to the Formal Upright Style.
However, slight curves are also present with Moyohgi style.
What’s more, both the trunks and branches can follow a tortoise course, showing evidence of curving.
It is exactly through the twisting and unusual curves which add to the charm of that particular style, bringing the one-of-a-kind romantic aura, imprinted in the bending and curving.
Image Credit: Pinterest
3 – Shakan (Slanting)
Slanting is another intriguing bonsai tree style. The trunk is straight (much like with the Formal Upright style).
However, when it comes to Slanting, the trunks do already come out from the soil at a particular angle, and hence the name of this style.
Slanting can be described as achieving the unbalanced image of stability, which is why this style is so unusually interesting.
For this purpose, the apex of the trunk is directly over the base of the tree (similar to the Formal Upright Style) and there are no curves like in the Informal Upright Style.
But the uniqueness of Shakan style comes with the apex being slanted to the right or the left, leading to that tilted appearance the cultivator aims for.
Image Credit: faculty.montgomerycollege.edu
4 – Kengai (Cascade)
Both Cascade and Semi-Cascade styles are among the most beautiful ones.
That’s because the unusual shape in which the Bonsai trees are molded, makes up for the amazing cascade effect – meaning the tip of the Bonsai bends over and can even fall below the base of the pot.
Those particular styles are molded aiming to mimic the appearance of the trees that grow naturally over cascades or at the sides of mountains.
That effect is achieved as both the leaves and branches of cascade bonsais style are hanging below the tree trunk, creating the unique overflowing potential of growth.
Interestingly, apart from being astonishingly beautiful, the cascade style is also among the oldest forms of bonsai training.
The visual impact of Kengai is created by the stark angles between the trunk and the overflowing branches and foliage.
Cascade style is popular for cultivating smaller forms of Bonsai.
Image Credit: Bonsais
5 – Han-Kengai (Semi-Cascade)
Although very similar to the Cascade style, the Semi-Cascade bonsai style is achieved through focusing on the branches of the trees hanging at an angle, which is leveled exactly to the base of the trunk.
There are different interpretations of the semi-cascade style.
Thus, in some terminologies, this very same term can be applied to describe trees, with some of their branches found below the base while others above.
However, what is important is that the apex of the tree should be directly in line with (or only slightly below) the tree base or the bonsai tray itself.
Image Credit: Reddit
6 – Ikadabuki (Straight Line Raft)
The Straight Line Raft style is a recreation of a natural occurrence when a tree falls over onto its side.
It is exactly this natural occurrence that the Straight Line style aims to mimic.
After falling onto its side, if a tree does not die, then new branches will form, extending from the toppled tree trunk.
However, if a tree does not manage to survive the falling, its root system will not be intact, meaning the tree will be referred to as dead.
But on the other hand, if a tree manages to live long enough after the falling, eventually new roots will form.
Moreover, the new root system will keep growing and extending from portions of the toppled over trunk. The effect is admirable.
And just like in nature, bonsai trees can be also shaped into mimicking this very same phenomenon through applying the Raft style.
With this style, the trunks are in straight, upright line, and the trees are also in a straight, symmetrical line.
It is often the case that the trunks give the impression of looking like separate trees.
However, in reality, the illusionary “separate” trunks are simply branches of a single Bonsai tree.
These branches extend from a trunk, which has been once placed horizontally after applying the effect of the natural phenomenon of falling onto its end.
Image Credit: Pinterest
7 – Netsunari (Sinuous Raft)
The Sinuous Raft style is, in fact, extremely similar to the Straight Line Raft style.
That is true at least when it comes to the way the trunks grow new branches after the original tree trunk has been placed on its side to mimic the naturally-occurring phenomenon.
However, with Sunous raft style, the original trunk is bent and curving.
Thus, the branches which grow out of the oddly-shaped trunk are all at different levels and do not appear in a straight line.
Image Credit: Bonsai Bark
8 – Bunjingi (Literati – The Tasteful Elegance)
Literati is yet another astonishing Bonsai tree style, which focuses on reducing the branches to a minimum.
The name of this particular style comes from the so-called literati Chinese artists.
Literati artists created notorious paintings of sparsely foliaged trees with long, thin, and twisted branches and trunks.
Thus, when a bonsai artists strives to apply the literati style, he/she would aim to recreate it through the appearance of long, thin trunks which can often be bent and/or curved sinuously.
What’s more, the branches of Bonsai would be only very few, situated solely towards the upper end of the trunk.
Image Credit: Pinterest
9– Yose-ue (Group Settings)
Yose-ue style allows Bonsai cultivators to recreate a big landscape in a small pot. Thus, there are multiple trees, each growing with own roots altogether.
In the two-tree style, however, one of the trees would be dominant, meaning its roots would be larger. As a result, the trunk of the dominant tree would also appear bigger as opposed to the twin tree, grown in the same pot.
When 3 to 9 trees are placed together in a single bonsai tray, these are known as “group settings”.
Image Credit: Pinterest
Every bonsai gardener is free to choose the number of the trees, planted together, so there is no strict limitation regarding that aspect.
Also, the trees can vary in the size of their trunks in width and height.
However, there is an important rule when it comes to the positioning of the Bonsai trees in group settings.
As a rule of thumbs, even though differentiating, all of the trees should appear similar in shape, proportion and foliage.
Nevertheless, with group settings, there should be no more than 2 trees, placed directly in line with each other.
Both of these rules aim to simply help the Bonsai artists create a much more natural look of their settings.
If more than 9 trees are planted in a single tray, this is referred to as a Forest.
Image Credit: Pinterest
The Forest Bonsai style aims at creating a resemblance to a real forest by placing multiple tiny Bonsai trees together.
Typically, the tray used for creating a Forest is shallow and long.
When striving to apply the Forest Yose-ue style, the Bonsai creators should use the same tree species but it is best that all of those species would be of different heights.
Thus, the effect of gazing at a real forest can be achieved since in nature, the trees in every forest will differ in size and maturity.
The aesthetic appeal of this particular style has to bring pleasure to the contemplators and be able to raise their interest as if they gaze at an actual mini-forest.
Sometimes, the smallest trees are placed in the back of the miniature forest.
Thus, when looking at the Bonsai creation, the impression of deepness is casted on the gazer, as the forest appears vaster and more authentic.
10 – Fukinagashi (Windswept Style)
The windswept style is inspired by a naturally occurring phenomenon, when a tree was subjected to large wind forces from a single direction.
Examples of such trees, growing freely in nature can be usually seen on shorelines and mountain ridges.
In order to recreate this particular style, the bonsai cultivator aims for making both the trunk and all the branches appear slanted into a single direction, as if blown by the wind.
Image Credit: Home Stratosphere
11 – Hokidachi (Sweeping the Sky)
In translation from Japanese, hoki means broom and dachi means sticking upwards.
Interestingly, in this style, the trunk of the tree is trained to stand straight, just like with the Formal Upright Style.
However, when it comes to the branches, the aim is not that they become progressively shorter towards the end of the apex.
Instead, the branches and foliage of the trees extend outwards in all direction of the apex.
Thus, as a result, the leaves and branches form a crown-like, rounded appearance.
Image Credit: Pinterest
The elm tree is a marvelous example of a suitable specimen for applying the Hokidachi style, thanks to its multiple thin and pliable branches.
12 – Sokan (Split-trunk Style)
In Bonsai, the Sokan style is all about mimicking the case of a tree, which has been struck by a lightning or has been severely damaged by any other natural phenomenon.
Also known as Twin-trunk style, the effect which is achieved through this type of bonsai cultivation is a symbol of diverse intimacy.
The trunk of the tree in Sokan is hollow and deeply split. For this purpose, the trunk needs to be carefully chiseled and weathered by the designer.
Not all bonsai species will allow the cultivator to apply the Split-trunk style. The limited number of tree species, suitable to use for this style, are Deciduous trees, Conifers, and nonetheless, broadleaf evergreen species.
Image Credit: Pinterest
13 – Sharimiki (Driftwood Style)
Sharimiki style is also known as Sharikan or Sabamiki. This particular style aims to recreate the weaving of death and life, casting the impression of a very aged and weathered Bonsai tree.
However, it is good to know that the Driftwood style cannot be seen occurring naturally, except for in the cases when a particular tree is subjected to disease or/and very old in age.
When applying this style, the Bonsai artist will have to remove part of the bark of the trunk.
Subsequently, as the tree is exposed to elements, such as sunlight and excessive wind, the appearance of a weathered driftwood is achieved.
As a rule of thumbs, when using this particular style, it is crucial to remember that in order for the miniature tree to evolve, the Bonsai cultivator must not remove the entire bark.
Part of living bark must be left intact to connect the branches and leaves of the tree down to the root.
It is only under the bark that water and nutrients can be transported successfully from the roots all the way up to the top of the trees.
By utilizing the Driftwood style, every Bonsai artist can achieve an amazingly old appearance of his masterpiece, regardless of the actual age of the plant.
Image Credit: Pinterest
This style works best with species, such as pine, juniper and cedar trees.
Apart from the styles listed above, one must also look closer at the different parts of a bonsai tree, which can be shaped using other particular styles to complement the overall feeling of contemplating at Bonsai.
Trunk and Bark Surface of Bonsais
The type of trunk and bark of a Bonsai tree add so much value to the appeal of the miniature creations.
You can imagine impact of appearance of the trunk and bark of a Bonsai plant as the way the shape of your body and the clothes you choose to wear influence the impression you leave on people.
There are numerous terms, which are used to describe a particular trunk style of a Bonsai tree. For example, nebikanis the twisted trunk style, traditional to the Japanese.
On another note, there is also the deadwood bonsais style, which refers to plants with dead branches and/or trunks.
The trunk orientation, on the other hand apart from the trunk and bark style, is no less important when displaying and shaping a Bonsai creation.
As we already discussed above when listing some of the most popular bonsai tree styles, the trunk can be directed to grow straight upwards, which refers to the Upright Style (also known as Chokkan or Moyogi in Japanese).
With the Upright style, the tree will have its apex growing directly above the base of the trunk.
It is exactly through the position of the trunk that is used as a way to describe the various other styles we listed above.
For example, in the case of semi-cascade Bonsai growing style, the branches will be at the same level of the trunk, while with Cascade Bonsai style, the branches will exceed the level of the trunk, leaning downwards to create the impression of “hanging” in the air.
With the Slanted style, the trunk is seen as slightly slanting, hence the name.
When it comes to the placement of Bonsai roots, most trees are grown directly in the soil.
However, there are also different other styles regarding the positioning of the roots, applied to certain bonsai specimens.
One of these styles is the root over rock style, also known as dreshojo.
#1 – Ishizuki (Clinging to a Rock)
Another style, where the entire tree is rooted within a rock is called ishizuki. Ishizuki is translated as Clinging to a Rock, or also Planted on Rock.
The entire concepts of rooting a Bonsai within a rock aims for achieving a much more appealing appearance of the tree specimen itself.
In order to recreate this beautiful effect, a tree is designed together with a rock, which has many cracks and fissures.
Thus, the root system of the Bonsai tree will grow within the soil, filled within the rock’s cracks.
Sometimes, the bonsai specimen will start growing its roots within a perfect contour, following the natural shape of the rock.
On the other hand, in some cases, the roots may remain intact in the rock. As a result, the tree may start growing separately on the rock, escaping its containment.
Image Credit: Pinterest
#2 – Neagari (Exposed Roots)
Neagari can be described as an unintended ensemble of roots.
That’s because, some bonsai trees can be designed to grow roots clearly exposed and not covered by the soil.
As a result, the roots will extend freely from the trunk.
Interestingly, in some cases of applying the Neagari style, the roots may grow up to half of the height of the bonsai tree’s bark itself, creating beautiful twists and curls.
Image Credit: Helpfulgardener.com
#3 – Seki-joju (Root Over Rock)
Seki-joju style is often referred to as Growing on a Rock style, apart from also known as Root Over Rock style.
Although this particular style might look very similar to the Clinging to a Rock Style (Ishitzuki), there is a major difference which separates the two styles.
In Seki-joju, the roots of the Bonsai do not originate from the soil, placed within the cracks of the rock.
Instead, the roots spread from the soil and simply traverse over the rock. The effect of this traversing comes with the roots of the tree exposed closely over the rock itself.
Image Credit: Youtube
Number of Trunks
The number of trunks creates yet another dimension of Bonsai styling, which can be somewhat confusing to the newbie Bonsai gardeners.
However, one does not need to utilize or recognize all of these styles.
But on the other hand, it is always a great idea to understand better the different possibilities in terms of cultivating and shaping a Bonsai masterpiece.
As a rule of thumbs, most bonsais will consist of just a single tree with a single trunk.
But then again, part of the uniqueness of Bonsai cultivation lies in the multiple possibilities to recreate what Mother Nature would.
Thus, bonsais with a number of trunks, as opposed to just a single trunk, are not an exception, just like you can stumble across such type of trees in the wild.
Nevertheless, in the case of Forest Bonsai style adaptation, it is impossible to take care of just a single trunk.
You can grow a bonsai tree with multiple trunks coming off a single root.
On the other hand, you can also cultivate multiple trees, all placed in a single tray (the Forest Style we discussed above).
Thus, various sub-categories are formed to explain each of these trunk styles.
Probably one of the major obstacles in grasping easily the different trunk styles comes from the fact that many of these styles can be applied simultaneously.
In simple words, one bonsai tree can fit into many different trunk styles categories.
In such cases, the predominant style must be taken into consideration when describing the method of Bonsai trunk cultivation.
Below, you can take a look at all the different Bonsai trunk styles explained.
1 – Multi-Trunk Cascade
The entire essence of this particular style is very straightforwardly imprinted in its name.
Image Credit: Pinterest
Thus, it refers to Bonsai cultivation when there are multiple trunks, which extend below the base of the trunk in the cascade style
2 – Kabudachi (Multiple Trunk Styles)
Whenever a bonsai tree is designed with multiple trunks, extending from a single root, this is referred to as Kabudachi.
Thus, the Multiple Trunk style also becomes the term which shelters various styles, according to the number of trunks.
For example, in twin trunk style, 2 trunks emerge from one and the same root.
Image Credit: Bonsai Basics
Traditionally, when it comes to the twin trunk style, the trunks are either joined at the base or touch each other and then split just above the level of the soil.
More often than not, one of the twin trunks is thicker and taller than the other.
That is an important aspect which the Bonsai creator must take into consideration, as both of the trunks must be visible when the Bonsai creation is viewed from its “front” side.
Also, it is good to know that the branches of the 2 trunks may not grow towards each other.
Multiple trunk styles also include five-trunk, seven-trunk, and nine-trunk styles.
However, it is very unusual to see even number of trunks (except for, of course, the twin trunk style).
Thus, with multiple trunks style, the bonsai designer should avoid symmetry, as this is not the case if multiple trees grow altogether in nature.
The multiple trunks styles are also influenced by the natural occurrence of a number of seeds, germinating from a single cone.
Intriguingly enough, multiple trunk styles are also referred to as clump style.
One amazing variety of a clump style is the so-called Turtle Stump style. With this style, the roots do not emerge from the flat soil.
Instead, the trunks arise from an exposed and rather rounded formation of ground roots.
As a result, the shape resembles much the back of a turtle, and hence the name of the style.
2.1 – Sokan (Split Trunk)
For more information, check out the list of the top 13 most famous bonsai styles we provided above.
2.2 – Sankan (Triple Trunk)
For more information, check out the list of the top 13 most famous bonsai styles we provided above.
In Sankan style, there are 3 separate trunks, emerging from one single base, hence the name since san means 3 in Japanese.
Image Credit: Pinterest
Just like with the twin trunk style, there is usually a dominant tree trunk, which is thicker and taller than the rest.
3 – Yosu-ue (Multiple Trees with Own Roots)
For more information, check out the detailed list of the top 13 most famous bonsai styles above!
All of the different Bonsai styles are uniquely beautiful.
However, before being able to apply any of these, one must first acknowledge the specific requirements of the tree species he is dealing with in order to practice Bonsai.
For a start, every Bonsai cultivator should first decide whether he is going to grow a miniature tree outdoors or indoors.
How to Take Care of an Indoor Bonsai Tree
As a rule of thumbs, many indoor bonsai varieties are much more suitable for beginners, as opposed to outdoor bonsai specimens.
That’s thanks to the easier control over the growing conditions, which a gardener will have when cultivating a miniature tree inside.
In fact, there are multiple types of bonsai tree that, when introduced to a proper indoor setup, will require no more care and maintenance than any average houseplant.
The most suitable species of Bonsai trees for indoor growing are tropical and subtropical species.
These species include ficus varieties, serissa, sago palms, baby jade, and nonetheless, particular subtypes of elms.
When you choose an appropriate space to place your indoor bonsai tree, one of the major guidelines is to search for a spot, which receives a generous amount of morning sunlight.
However, it is also essential that this very spot does not get exposed to direct sunlight throughout the entire day.
It is also a great idea to place your indoor bonsai specimen outside during the warm months.
Thus, the tree can reap all the benefits of natural rain and sunlight, which comes with the full light spectrum, which is very rewarding for the plants’ development.
Keep in mind, though, that as soon as the weather worsens, it is crucial to bring your bonsai tree indoors.
And so, with the approach of fall and winter, your bonsai creations will be safe from the harsh environmental conditions.
Of course, in the case you happen to live in a tropical or subtropical region, you can easily take advantage of the suitable climate for growing your bonsais outdoors all-year-round.
How to Take Care of an Outdoor Bonsai Tree
When it comes to outdoor bonsai cultivation, there are 2 main categories of trees, which can be suitable to adapt to the conditions, provided by the outside environment.
These include Evergreen trees and Deciduous trees.
Evergreen tree specimens will maintain their foliage regardless of the season, including the fall and the cold winter months.
On the other hand, Deciduous trees will lose their leaves during the winter but then regrow them as the spring comes.
Examples of suitable Deciduous trees varieties, which can be trained to grow outdoors include but are not limited to maple trees, elms, apples, and larch trees.
During wintertime, Deciduous trees will have their leaves fall down and the trees will appear to be dead.
However, this is not the case, since, as we briefly mentioned above, as soon as the spring approaches, the trees will emerge from their dormant state. Thus, new, fresh buds and new green leaves will become visible.
It is important to remember that outdoor bonsais will require a bit more care than indoor specimens.
Here are some general good rules to follow when looking after an outdoor bonsai tree.
- Water your outdoor bonsais every couple of days
- Fertilize your outdoor miniature trees every few weeks
- Shield outdoor bonsais from the harsh sun during the hottest periods
- Protect your outside bonsais from extremely low temperatures during the winter
- Avoid frost at any cost
Bonsais are very sensitive to frost.
Thus, it is a wise idea to protect them from that unfavorable condition before it has already caused irreversible damage. For this purpose, you can utilize a specially designed plastic humidity tray.
In fact, taking advantage of a plastic humidity tray is a great move for both indoor and outdoor bonsai cultivation.
Humidity trays consist of pebbles, which rest in shallow water.
As a result, the well-moist pebbles help to keep the humidity levels balanced and your bonsai trees healthy in return.
Now, in order to truly understand the needs of a particular bonsai tree, one must look into the major type of plant he is nurturing.
Below, we are listing the main categories of bonsai trees, which can help you gain a better understanding of their most common demands and growth requirements.
Broadleaf Bonsai Tree Varieties
Just like the name suggests, broadleaf trees varieties have broad leaves, which can come in different shapes, colors, and sizes.
Broadleaf trees tend to be more challenging to grow but they compensate for being very rewarding for each effort by the bonsai cultivator.
Check out a brief outline on everything you need to know in order to succeed with growing successfully a broadleaf bonsai tree variety.
Choose the Tree Specimen Carefully
Before starting to grow a particular type of broadleaf tree, don’t let the appearance full you.
With this in mind, you cannot simply pick a broadleaf variety to match your current mood.
You should always think in advance and check out the growing demands of the exact tree specimen you enjoy for the looks.
There are thousands of various broadleaf trees specimen, so it all starts with doing some proper research.
How to Keep your Bonsai Broadleaf Tree Beautiful
Most broadleaf tree varietiesare deciduous, which means their leaves will fall out at some point.
In order to keep the miniature tree attractive and pleasing to the eye for longer throughout the year, gardeners can apply the technique of defoliation.
Defoliation includes removing all of the leaves of your tiny tree before they naturally fall off.
For this purpose, you need to clip each leaf with scissors, but leave the leaf stalk behind.
That manipulation is usually done during the summer months.
Thanks to the warm temperatures and favorable climate to boost growth, new buds quickly form on the leaf stalks 3 to 6 weeks after the initial defoliation.
The new-grown leaves will be slightly smaller in size, however, they will grow much more densely.
Nevertheless, the color upon fall of the second flush of leaves is even brighter than the original set.
Shades of red, purple, orange, and yellow will delight the eye long before the leaves fall as the winter approaches.
And even though the second set of leaves will not persist the whole winter it will last very much into the fall than it would typically do without defoliation.
As a rule of thumb, only healthy and vigorous-growing trees can undergo defoliation. That very process is a shock and not all plants will recover in the case they are already going through some difficulties.
Also, only fully formed deciduous trees can be defoliated.
Once a tree is defoliated, it will lose energy into recovering of the leaves, and thus lack behind in the development of the trunk and branches.
How to take Care of a Broadleaf Tree
In general, broadleaf tree types thrive on consistency and attention.
The more care you put in a broadleaf tree specimen, the more it will reward you and get back to you in response with enchanting looks.
Give plenty of water and make sure to water at any time when 1/3 of the soil dries out.
Don’t forget to check out for the soil’s dryness up to three times daily, especially if the tree is outside.
As soon as your bonsai tree drops it leaves, stop watering so frequently.
The lack of leaves marks a period of dormation when the tree does not need all that water since it has nowhere to transfer it.
Too much water can only cause root rot. A drink once a month is more than enough for you tree to survive and revive upon spring.
Once the sings of new growth show with the warming weather, start watering back to normal.
Where to Place a Bonsai Broadleaf Tree to Thrive
As there are so many different types of broadleaf trees, it is essential to do your research on the exact specimen you are interested in.
As a rule of thumbs, trees with narrow and thin leaves prefer more indirect sunlight. On another note, thicker and tougher leaves can tolerate more sunlight.
It is best to provide sufficient access to light especially during morning hours when the sun is not that harsh yet but the light is strong enough to feed the trees well.
How to Fertilize for Best Results?
It is no secret that deciduous bonsai trees are heavy feeders, meaning they require a good portion of additional elements to help them grow healthy, beautiful and strong.
Any well-balanced fertilizer should do the work for most of the deciduous varieties.
It is advisable to apply the fertilizer once a week at ½ strength. If the leaves grow too big or thick or/and your bonsai grows too quickly, cut the dosage to ¼.
In fall, when your broadleaf bonsai tree stops new growth, stop fertilizing until the beginning of new growth in the spring.
How to Repot a Deciduous the Right Way?
Deciduous trees will need a much more frequent repotting, as opposed to Confers, for example.
That’s because broadleaves tree types develop more quickly and hence the roots start poking through the drainage holes.
It is advisable to check the roots of Deciduous trees at least once a year. As a rule of thumbs, it is also about once annually that you will have to repot your beauties.
Examples of the Most Popular Broadleaf Bonsai Tree Species
Maples are exceedingly easy to grow and train, which makes them suitable even for beginner growers.
However, the enchanting looks of Maple tree is why both newbie and professional bonsai gardeners adore them.
In the spring and summer, their foliage is strikingly green, while in the autumn Maples award their cultivators with all shades of yellow, orange and red leaves.
When it comes to the winter, even though the leaves fall off, the beautifully shaped branches and trunks will still drive the attention and admire of the contemplator.
What’s more, Maple trees can grow nearly anywhere, and they are willing to take many of your mistakes as a bonsai cultivator with humor and grace.
Nevertheless, they take both wiring and pruning very well.
Bonsai cherry trees are probably one of the most captivating, among others, and they do not fall behind from their original cherry trees counterparts that grow in nature.
The blossom of cherry trees emits a heavenly scent, and they also do train very well.
However, escape the temptation for growing tiny cherry fruits on your cherry bonsai beauty because the stress and the energy needed to nurture the fruit might be too much to handle as to block the proper recovery of your masterpieces.
If there is any tree variety, easier to grow than a Maple tree, than this is none other than Elms.
Elm trees are just downright hard to kill! They can undergo defoliation with amazing success.
Furthermore, Elms can be defoliated multiple times during the year, as to keep their leaves intact longer.
Pruning mistakes are also tolerated great by Elms, and thanks to their fast growth, they bounce back to normal pretty soon.
Hawthorn trees are both quickly growing and less demanding than many other varieties you may choose to practice the art of Bonsai.
Just give them plenty of water and they can thrive almost anywhere! Moreover, as the leaves of Hawthorns are naturally small, they will require very little training.
Thus, with just a little proper pruning, you can develop a beautiful shape and structure effortlessly.
Coniferous Bonsai Tree Varieties
Coniferous tree varieties are among the most beautiful and also oldest forms of bonsai tree cultivation.
However, with Conifers, taking utmost care of your tree specimen might be challenging.
On another note, the multiple different varieties of Conifer trees can tolerate possible mistakes within a different ratio.
Some of the major categories of Coniferous trees include Cedar, Taxus, Juniper, and Pine families.
All of these categories have numerous subcategories, as well. Japanese Black Pine, Shimpaku Juniper, Cypress, White Cedar, Spruce, Japanese White Pine, and Larch are considered among the most dazzling when trained as bonsais.
How to Take Care of a Coniferous Bonsai Tree Variety
As Conifers are evergreens, they do act like any other average Conifer will do.
Thus, they need a period of cold winter to keep evolving healthy and strong. With this in mind, Conifers will not tolerate being grown indoors.
Most Coniferous trees prefer full sun to partial shade during the spring to autumn period.
Also, before they begin their dormant period in the winter, Conifers also thrive on plenty of water and high humidity.
At the end of the growing season, it is not uncommon to notice a few yellowing needles. Simply brush these away and don’t forget to remove any fallen needles from the growing pot, as well.
The perfect soil for Conifers included 70% organic material and 30% grit. Repotting is done as soon as the spring kicks in, with new buds forming on the branches.
It is essential to check thoroughly the condition of the root system before repotting.
If you notice curling or compression, you should gently trim the roots as to free them and stimulate new, healthy growth.
Next, you will have to repot your Conifer bonsai tree into a slightly larger pot than the initial one.
Young Conifers should be repotted every year to ensure the soil is nutrient-rich and supports their proper development and well-being.
For older Conifer trees, repotting every other year should be just fine.
As a rule of thumbs, don’t forget to use larger pots as the root system grows to provide a suitable environment for your plants to thrive, evolve, and undergo training and pruning with ease.
Watering and Fertilizing Conifers
When it comes to Conifers, the winter period when this type of trees get into a dormant phase is also the period when you will want to keep them slightly dries, as opposed to the spring to fall time.
Once the spring season begins and you notice bright green buds appearing, NPK fertilizers will do a great job for nurturing the tiny trees and boosting their healthy growth.
Subsequently, you will see the buds become longer and taller, gradually turning into the well-known needles.
How to Design and Shape Conifers in Bonsai Miniatures for Best Results
The best Conifer bonsai trees are those, which are grown, following the natural shape and flow of the tree specimens, found freely in the wild.
Thus, for a start, always study the appearance of the mature examples of Conifer species.
Most of them will have a conical, pyramidal form, and this is what you should also strive to achieve as a bonsai cultivator for best results.
Bonsai masters claim that Conifers lend themselves very well to the Informal and Formal Upright Style, among many other options.
More skillful bonsai gardeners can also train their Conifers into the Slanting style, as well as a Full or Semi Cascade.
As a rule of thumbs, whatever technique and style you choose for your Conifers, planning every step in advance is extremely crucial.
Coniferous tree varieties will not regrow the parts you take away for months, if ever, so it is best to act wise and think twice.
How to Prune and Train Coniferous Tree Varieties
You can start pruning a Conifer bonsai tree as soon as you have a clear idea on the shape you want to achieve.
It is important to apply aggressive branch pruning only late in the fall or during the winter, when your Conifer bonsai will be dormant as to undergo the pruning process successfully.
Make sure you leave a small stub when cutting branches any near the trunk. Doing so will help to invigorate the inner areas of the tree.
You can pinch off buds with bare hands in spring, which will stimulate thicker growth at the branch ends.
About a month after the initial pinching of the new buds, you can then clip off the candles shaped leaves with sharp pruning scissors to control vertical growth.
On another note, through wiring, you can train a Coniferous bonsai tree to attain more dramatic looks, such as being tilted horizontally or downward.
Simply wire one end of the pot and then wrap the other end of the wire to the branch or trunk you want to shape.
Enough tension should be applied when wiring but only as to move the branch/trunk slightly.
The goal is to keep wiring and increasing the tension as your tree specimen starts adapting to the technique. Remember that wiring does not inhibit growth but merely directs it.
As a rule of thumbs, do never shear a Conifer bonsai tree in order to achieve a desired shape.
In the case of shearing a Coniferous bonsai creation, the foliage tips will become, the growth will be slowed down and nonetheless, damage to all needle groups. In fact, shearing can even kill your bonsai.
Both pruning and training are complex techniques which take some time before one can master them properly.
Thus, it is best to be moderate and a tiny bit conservative, rather than causing more damage than good to your Conifer bonsai tree.
As the time passes, you will inevitable gain all the confidence and knowledge you need to succeed with the shaping of your Conifer bonsai the best way.
Examples of the Most Popular Coniferous Bonsai Tree Varieties
Japanese Black Pine
In the wild, some specimens can reach 40 feet (or even more!)
As a bonsai, this type of tree is very graceful and its irregular shape is pyramidal.
Japanese Black Pine, however enchantingly beautiful, is considered among the most hard to train, and it also grows very slowly.
Thanks to the tender foliage of the Shimpaku Juniper trees, it is very easy to work with this particular variety.
And even though the branches are so flexible and the overall structure of the plant is extremely soft, Junipers can withstand extremes of both cold and hot temperatures very well.
The trunks of Cypress trees have those beautiful, weathered looks, which are relatively easy to achieve in time through curving and training.
This type of bonsai tree is an excellent choice for growing alone or in group settings.
Both the wood and foliage of White Cedar trees are highly aromatic and hence, they possess excellent therapeutic properties.
The white cedar bonsai species are especially popular among aficionados of the deadwood style, and they grow perfectly in group settings, too.
Spruce trees tend to be more challenging to cultivate for newbie bonsai gardeners.
However, their tiny needles and exquisite looks are highly prized by the more experienced bonsai enthusiasts.
Japanese White Pine
Japanese White Pine trees have a very dense, eye-catching foliage.
The striking, pyramidal shape makes up for achieving dramatic looks when using Japanese White Pines in bonsai cultivation.
The color of the needles is less green and more of a cloudy, grayish cast, hence the name.
Larch trees are an exception in the Conifer family since they are the only Deciduous species, among the rest.
Before falling into a dormant state, a Larch bonsai tree will reward gardeners with bright autumnal colors.
Nevertheless, this type of Coniferous trees are endlessly interesting to study and delve into the art of bonsai.
Deciduous Bonsai Tree Varieties
Deciduous trees are split in 2 major categories: Indoors and Outdoors varieties. Indoor deciduous trees tend to be tropical and subtropical.
Outdoor deciduous trees come in 2 subcategories: evergreens and deciduous.
All deciduous trees fall into a dormant period during wintertime, just like evergreen bonsais do.
What’s important to remember is that during the dormancy, none of the deciduous trees, regardless of their category, can live indoors. Instead, they must be kept outside as to fulfill the needs of the dormant period.
The major difference between deciduous and the subcategory of evergreens is the falling of the leaves which is typical for deciduous varieties.
In fact, deciduous literally means falling off maturity. On the opposite, evergreens will keep their foliage intact throughout the entire year.
How to Take Care of a Deciduous Bonsai Tree Variety
If you know how to take proper care of a deciduous tree, your efforts as a bonsai gardener will be generously rewarded with extraordinary beauty.
Follow the easy expert tips below to achieve best results.
Choose the Right Location
Deciduous trees thrive outdoors.
With this in mind, you should only keep your deciduous bonsai tree inside for no more than a few days at a time, for example, when the weather goes abruptly harsh during the spring to autumn period.
For the rest of the time, during the spring, summer, and autumn months, you should place a deciduous tree in a location, where it can receive plenty of sunlight.
Suitable locations include balconies, the garden, or on a patio with equal success.
During the winter months, deciduous varieties need to be left in full dormancy, which means no access to sunlight and hot temperatures.
A garage or any other place where there is undisrupted darkness, as well as relatively cold temperatures, will work fine for letting your deciduous bonsai enter dormancy.
Watering & Fertilizing Deciduous Trees the Right Way
Deciduous trees require frequent watering as their beautiful foliage uses more water to complete the process of photosynthesis, than Conifers, for example.
Thus, it is important to keep the soil constantly moist but not to the phase of drowning your trees.
Essentially, you will have to water your deciduous bonsais almost every day in the case they receive plenty of sunlight and especially when the temperatures are high when the water will evaporate quickly.
As a rule of thumbs, water the bonsai using a hose or a can until the water starts flowing out of the drainage holes.
Ultimately, watering deciduous varieties the right way takes monitoring and acknowledging the needs and temper of your bonsais. But in time, it only get easier to find the balance.
During dormancy, you will still have to water deciduous varieties, although doing so about once every 2 weeks should work just fine.
When it comes to fertilization, there is no need to add any additional nutrients during the winter.
However, for the rest of the 3 seasons, it is essential to keep the soil nutrient-rich by applying a fertilizer each month to ensure healthy growth.
What About Repotting Deciduous Trees
Repotting Deciduous trees is done much less frequently, than with young Conifers, for example.
Every three years is the average recommended period to repot a deciduous bonsai tree.
For best results, this procedure should be executed in mid-summer.
How to Achieve the Best Results with Deciduous Varieties in terms of Aesthetics
The captivating appeal of Deciduous bonsai specimens is achieved through careful trimming and pinching of the branches.
Keeping the miniature size adds to the dazzling looks of deciduous varieties, however, there is a big pinch of art to that very process.
Probably this is exactly why growing a deciduous bonsai is such a rewarding experience, as you get to see the fruit of your efforts increasing in terms of the beauty which gradually reveals to you as a gardener.
Examples of the Most Popular Deciduous Bonsai Trees
Among the various Elms varieties, the Chinese Elm is among the most popular ones. In nature, Chinese elms can reach up to 60 feet.
Interestingly, if kept indoors, this type of elms tend to keep most of their leaves intact, even during the winter and they only become deciduous when placed outdoors.
A great choice for beginners, elms varieties are very forgiving in terms of pruning and training mistakes.
There are numerous species of maple trees, but some of the most popular ones are the Japanese Maple and Trident Maple.
These types of deciduous trees are very easy to grow because they are extremely sturdy.
Meanwhile, the exquisite colors they show in autumn are a true feast for the senses, turning from vivid golden to bright red hues.
Ginkgo trees are native to Japan but their fame for the excellent health properties for improving memory and blood flow receive world acknowledgment.
The notorious fan-shaped structure of the leaves of Ginkgo trees is hard to confuse with any other type of plant.
On top of that, Ginkgos tend to be very resistant, sturdy, and thus, relatively easy to grow.
As bonsais, Ginkgos can reach up to 16 feet and they grow stunningly yellow leaves during the autumn.
Amazingly enough, a Ginkgo tree can live up to 100 years old.
Apricot trees are among the favorite form of bonsais, hailed in China for their beautiful flowers and tiny fruits.
They can reach up to 17 feet and live up to 9 years on an average. Intriguingly, the flowers begin to show towards the end of the winter, while fruits begin to ripen in the beginning of the summer season.
Evergreen Bonsai Tree Varieties
Evergreens are the perfect choice for both indoor and outdoor cultivation.
As a rule of thumbs, evergreen species require diligent watering and a sustainable amount of additional nutrients to flourish in Bonsai form.
Growing evergreen in the small containers, which the art of Bonsai requires, doesn’t come without the challenges but isn’t deprived of many rewards for the bonsai gardeners just as well.
Most evergreens have a one-of-a-kind, pleasing and therapeutic aroma. Nevertheless, their shape is ideal to use as miniature Christmas trees when decorated.
Broadleaf evergreens will keep their leaves all year-round, however, evergreens which grow needles will have these shed off during the winter.
Evergreen varieties take only moderate pruning and they are easy to shape into a symmetrical and delightful structure.
Evergreen Bonsais From Seedling or Cutting
Every evergreen bonsai begins with taking a seedling or a small cutting from an evergreen tree.
Subsequently, the specimen is then placed into a suitable tiny container and taken care of until it reaches the desired size.
During this period of growing, both pruning and trimming the leaves can be applied to remove excess limbs.
Other suitable techniques include wiring and clamping some of the branches to achieve a particular shape or direct the miniature trees to grow into a particular direction.
How to Take Best Care of an Evergreen Bonsai Tree
Evergreens are not the most demanding types of bonsais, and thus, they are considered relatively easy to grow and train.
Follow the easy-peasy steps listed below to ensure you will be proud with your evergreen bonsai masterpiece.
1 – Watering
When it comes to watering evergreen the best way, it is good to remember that most evergreen varieties tend to tolerate dryness better than over-watering.
With this in mind, supplying your evergreen bonsais with water every 3 days or so should work just fine. For sure, it is a much better option to slightly underwater an evergreen than to over-water it.
In the case of the needles of your evergreen specimen turning brown, it is a good idea to increase the humidity by applying a gentle mist of water.
2 – Fertilizing
Fertilizing evergreens is of utmost importance for growing healthy plants, able to go through all the stress of training and pruning successfully.
A general rule of proper fertilization for evergreens includes the use of a high Nitrogen fertilizer about twice a month during the spring and early summer.
From mid to late summer, fertilization about twice a month should be enough. When the fall kicks in and during the entire winter period, fertilizing would be needed only occasionally (up to once every month or so).
3 – Pruning
Evergreen varieties are less demanding in terms of pruning and they generally require the application of pruning techniques mainly during the fall. During the spring and summer, evergreens will be focused on supporting new growth.
What is crucial to remember is to always use a carefully sterilized shears when pruning. That’s because evergreens are very susceptible to disease, spread by fungus and other bacteria, which can be found on the surface of your pruning tools.
4 – Sunlight
In general, most evergreens are aficionados of plenty and direct sunlight. Placing an evergreen bonsai tree on a generously sun-lit window is a great option.
When it comes to outdoor growing, it is important to protect your evergreen bonsais from the harsh winds, as they can be knocked down and die after a sudden storm.
More Rewards you can Expect from an Evergreen Specimen: Cones!
Even though tiny in size, bonsai evergreens will produce cones just like any ordinary evergreen tree will do.
These cones, however smaller in size than those of the “regular” evergreen trees, will drop off at some point throughout the year, containing tiny seeds inside.
Thus, increasing the size of your evergreen bonsai garden is both effortless and cheap.
Some specimens of evergreens which can produce cones include Needle Juniper, Silver Fir, and multiple varieties of Spruce trees, among others.
How to Increase the Aesthetic Appeal of an Evergreen Specimen in Bonsai
Evergreens are not picky about the container they inhabit, as long as it provides a reliable drainage.
Usually, a shallow container of between 1 to 3 inches deep is ideal for most evergreen trees.
However, it is still crucial to make sure the width of the pot will be enough to accommodate the intricate root system of your evergreen bonsais.
Repotting should be done every 2 to 3 years to stimulate new, healthy growth.
In order to increase the aesthetical appeal of evergreen bonsai masterpieces, you can add moss or pine straw to imitate the looks of a natural mini forest.
Adding colorful rocks or marbles at the bottom of the trunk is also a great idea to create a harmonious and eye-alluring landscape.
Evergreen bonsais make an excellent option for home decorations, driving attention and admiration to any common shelf, where they can be displayed.
Indoor fountains can also become a delightfully decorated spot with the addition of evergreens, placed along.
When grouped together in a setting, evergreen specimens can easily hide or fill empty spots in any room, and create a stunning miniature home garden to tingle the senses of both the hosts and the guests of the house.
Flowering Bonsai Tree Varieties
Just like every other flowering plant, bonsais which grow flowers to bloom require diligent care and proper understanding.
However, with the multiple alternatives over various flowering specimens, there is a little bit for every bonsai enthusiast, regardless of his level of experience with the cultivation of miniature trees.
With this in mind, some flowering bonsai trees will need more care, techniques and attention than others.
No matter what type of flowering plant is chosen by the bonsai gardener, one thing is for sure – the rewards of growing flowering miniature trees is truly rewarding.
How to Take Care of a Flowering Bonsai Tree Specimen
Watering & Fertilizing Flowering Bonsais
As a rule of thumbs, you should strive to keep the soil always moist but not to the point of drowning your bonsai beauties.
The skillful Japanese bonsai masters use a simple dipstick to check whether the soil has turned dry beneath the first layer of its surface.
Another no less easy and well-working method to understand when your flowering bonsai tree needs watering is to simply check the soil with your finger.
If it feels dry to the touch, then most obviously, your plant is thirsty and ready to take in a fresh gulp of water.
When you get more experienced with growing your flowering beauty, you will become able to tell whether the plant needs water by simply lifting the pot – you will know your plant so well, that you will use the weight of the container as a guide in watering.
For those of you who prefer to trust the technologies, a moisture meter will do an excellent job to make sure when to water your plant.
With flowering varieties, and especially since the tree specimens are so diverse, there can’t possibly be one common rule for watering which will suit all varieties.
Just remember to keep the soil moist using one of the techniques we listed above and avoid scheduled watering, as this does not work with flowering bonsai species.
That’s mostly because the water your bonsai requires depends on a huge number of interconnected factors, such as the temperature, access to sunlight, to name a few.
When it comes to fertilization, flowering bonsais require a quality fertilizer, containing all of the 3 elements – Phosphorus, Nitrogen and Potash.
How Much Sunlight for My Flowering Bonsais
Then again, with so many varieties of flowering tree specimen, it is impossible to announce a one-fit-them-all rule, just like watering cannot be put under a strict schedule.
Thus, it really pays to do your research on the specific type of flowering bonsai you are intending to grow.
Some general rules of thumbs, however, include that most flowering species will flourish when placed at a Southern location, with direct, unfiltered access to sunlight. That means no curtains or other sources of shadows around.
On another note, when pruning, trimming or repotting flowering bonsais, it is essential to keep your plants away from direct sunlight, as they will need time to acclimate from the shock caused by the techniques we listed above.
What’s the Best Soil for Flowering Varieties?
When it comes to practicing the art of Bonsai, each element is vital for the success of the cultivation.
What’s more, utilizing a suitable soil is probably one of the most important aspects every bonsai connoisseurs needs to take into consideration.
Your best move is to take advantage of professional bonsai potting soil, meaning a soil, which is made especially to suit the needs of bonsai plants.
The unique ingredients of bonsai potting soil make up for a quality water drainage while simultaneously retaining just enough water to keep the growing medium moist and hospitable.
Such type of soil is crucial for the well-being of bonsai creations, as it allows the roots breathe. Healthy roots mean a healthy, sturdy, and happy bonsai tree.
Quick Pro Tip: When repotting your bonsais, don’t forget to block the drainage holes at the bottom of the container for best results.
How to Prune my Flowering Bonsai Plant the Right Way
One of the greatest advantages of flowering bonsai varieties is that you actually have so little to do yourself as far as pruning is concerned!
That makes your mission as a bonsai gardener much easier, although this doesn’t the least deprive the art of cultivating flowering varieties any less intriguing, exciting, and rewarding.
It is just that your flowering bonsais will arrive after being initially pruned by the professionals.
Thus, you will have enough time to visualize the way you want your bonsai creation to look like as there will be no need of immediate trimming or pruning.
However, more experienced gardeners might choose to grow their very own flowering bonsai from cuttings, seeds or other young trees.
Anyway, whether you grow your flowering bonsai from a cutting or you receive an already developed specimen, as the time passes, you will have to trim and/or prune your blooming beauties only as to shape them into the desired appearance you have in mind.
Be extra careful, though, when it comes to the balance between the size of the roots and the body of the plants, which flowering varieties require.
Too much root, and the upper parts will not grow properly; too much top growth, and the roots might suffer, so make sure you pay attention to both of these aspects.
For trimming the leaves and small branches, you will need shear scissors or butterfly scissors. A concave cutter is used to remove the heavier branches, without scarring the bonsai tree.
Tropical Bonsai Tree Varieties
Tropical plant varieties are great for indoor growing since they flourish in temperature rates at about 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
Some of the most popular tropical species that make wonderful bonsai trees to contemplate and admire include Brazilian Rain tree, Bougainvillea, Ficus, Fukien Tea, Tabebuia, Shohin, and Aralia, among many others.
How to Take Care of a Tropical Bonsai Tree for Best Results
Just like the name suggests, Tropical varieties prefer a climate, close to the one, typical for the tropical regions of the world.
With this in mind, watering and humidity play a crucial role for your tropical bonsais’ well-being.
Watering & Fertilizing
There can’t possibly be any strict watering schedule for you to take as an average recommendation.
That’s because the amount of water your tropical bonsai trees require will depend on a number of factors, which are unique for each bonsai cultivator.
These factors include the access to sunlight, your choice of soil, your choice of a suitable pot, the size of your plant, the variety of your plant, and so on.
But watering is not anything complicated, as well. You simply need to strive for keeping the soil well moist and avoid drying out.
You can find out if the soil needs watering by simply slipping your finger about an inch into the soil. If it feels dry to the touch – then you know it is time to water your tropical bonsais.
Nevertheless, when you water your trees, it is a fantastic idea to soak them thoroughly.
Bonsai soil differs from regular soil as it is much better-suited to provide the much needed drainage to bonsais.
And so, in order to soak your miniature trees successfully, you can place your bonsai straight into the sink.
Let the water run and then leave it for a while, as if giving your tiny plant a short bath. You can either hold the pot so that the excess water can drain after the bath or you can let your plant absorb all the water, which is left in the tray.
Ultimately, what is important when it comes to tropical varieties is to keep checking the moisture of the soil on a daily basis.
As far as fertilization is concerned, it is, indeed, a good idea to give tropical bonsai plants some extra boost during the growing season, which is the springtime and the summertime.
However, above all, don’t use too much fertilizer because it can have the opposite effect to being beneficial.
If you are looking after indoor bonsai trees, using a regular fertilizer at ½ power every once or twice a month should work just fine.
In the case of outdoor tropical bonsai cultivation, organic fertilizers work best. Professional Japanese Bonsai artists like to apply a mixture of seaweed or liquid fish.
Make sure you do not feed fertilizer to your plants if they seem to be undergoing through some difficulties, such as diseases, a particular weakness or just after you have caused them some form of stress.
In such cases, applying a fertilizer will overfeed your tree and damage it irreversibly instead of doing any good.
How Much Light for my Tropical Bonsai to Thrive
Most tropical bonsais will flourish when introduced with plenty of natural sunlight.
Thus, placing tropical varieties right next to a bright window is generally recommended.
However, with the endless varieties of tropical plants which can be cultivated into bonsais, it is obligatory to always do your research on the exact specimen you are planning to grow.
One useful tip when it comes to outdoor cultivation of tropical bonsais is to always give your beauties some time to acclimate.
For this purpose, don’t place your tropical outdoor bonsais immediately at the most well-sunlit space.
Instead, position your bonsai at a shady spot first, so that it can adjust.
Subsequently, after a few days pass, you can move the potted miniature tree at a suitable location, where there will be an abundance of direct natural sunlight.
PRO Tips for Looking After a Tropical Tree Variety
1 – Provide your Plants with Fresh Air
Your indoor tropical plants will love it when you give them a gulp of fresh air by simply opening a close-by window.
During the cold winter months, you can try placing a fan over your bonsais, and you will notice how they will quickly perk up thanks to the proper airflow.
A consistent fresh air circulation results in healthy, happy plants.
2 – Keep your Plants Extra Clean
As your tropical bonsai grows, many leaves will fall and then get replaced with new ones.
Make sure to always remove the dropped down leaves from the soil as they will start to degrade, causing rot, which leads to multiple problems for your plants.
Bugs are not an exception with indoor cultivation, although there is a common mis-concept which claims outdoor plants are more susceptible to bugs and fungus.
However, this is not the case, and indoor varieties stand a huge chance of getting affected from the invasions of various tiny maggots.
Spray your bonsais about 3 times a week to keep them clean and disscipate insects.
Also, inspect the roots and leaves on a daily basis so that you can catch and treat any issues straight from the start.
In the case you notice unusual leaf loss, gummy greens and/or insects, you may have to treat your bonsais with a gentle insecticide.
You may need to keep repeating the treatment by spraying your plants every once in a week for about a month until you make sure all of the invaders are eliminated.
In order to make your plants strong and less susceptible to various threats and intruders, set your trees outside as long as the weather is favorable.
3 –Use Temperature in your Bonsais’ Favor
As we already discussed, tropical varieties will adore spending time outside, where the air flow is consistent and the sunlight is plentiful.
For best results, take your bonsais outdoors after you notice the temperature has reached 60 Fahrenheit.
When the summer is soon about to end and the evening temperatures drop low (under 60 Fahrenheit), don’t delay to bring your tropical bonsai back indoors.
On another note, winter months tend to be pretty challenging for tropical varieties, even when they are placed indoors.
Since tropical plants thrive on humidity, utilizing a humidity tray can help you keep your bonsais healthy throughout the cold months.
Also, don’t forget about providing regular air circulation and spray your tropical bonsai with water often to ensure it stays happy and strong to survive the winter.
How to Shape and Design Bonsai Tropical Varieties
Many tropical species will grow very fast, which means you will have to trim your bonsais more often as to shape them into your liking.
But on the other hand, there are also numerous tropical varieties which grow steady and slowly, and thus, you won’t need to use your shears that much.
Regardless of the growing patterns of your tropical tree, always make sure you do not cut too much when pruning, as this can weaken your plants.
Just be gentle and shape it to match your taste but avoid overdoing the procedure.
Bonus Master Tip:
When you are intending to prune a large section of your tropical tree selection, wait until the last few days of the spring or the first week of summer.
It is approximately during this period when your plant will be at the peak of its power and strength.
Subsequently, it will be able to endure the pruning successfully and recover quickly.
Shohin Bonsai Tree Varieties
Shohin translates literally into “small goods”.
Among all the different bonsai varieties, Shohin trees are supposed to reach no more than 12 inches in height and width.
In fact, many Shohin varieties can remain even smaller in size.
A good rule of thumbs is that the bonsai cultivator should be able to hold a Shohin in the palm of his hands.
Shohin trees are among the most challenging to cultivate but they are also among the most rewarding ones.
Fortunately, despite the challenges, even less experienced bonsai cultivators can achieve success with Shohin bonsais, as long as the right tools and techniques are adapted.
But above all, it is the patience of the bonsai gardener which is a key factor in growing Shohin trees.
How to Take Care of Shohin Bonsais for Best Results
As with all plants, when you adapt the right approach, you can make your Shohin flourish.
Below, we are listing the most important steps for successful cultivation of those tiniest Bonsai creations.
The Importance of Potting and Repotting a Shohin Tree the Right Way
The very first challenge with Shohin cultivation comes with the need to plant your tree in a super tiny, shallow pot.
It is exactly because of the small dimensions of the pot why your Shohin will require regular repotting since the soil will quickly run out of nutrients.
Nevertheless, the soil must be able to provide reliable drainage, as root rot is a huge threat with Shohin varieties.
Thus, transplanting into a larger pot is also necessary at some point in order to prevent compressing the roots too much, which can lead to the death or the weakening of your plants.
Root pruning is essential when working with Shohin bonsais because you need to make sure the growth below and above is kept in balance. And so, when repotting a Shohin, it is a great idea to gently comb the roots with your fingers, which will help to loosen them and aerate them, as well.
In the case you notice long, hanging roots, then you should remove these using sharp, sterilized trimmers.
Meanwhile, you will want to ensure the pot in which you are transplanting your Shohin has reliable holes at the bottom to provide the much-needed drainage.
Next, you want to add a layer of well-draining soil.
Some bonsai masters also tie wires at this point, and then pressed which will help to prevent the roots from tangling too much and will also help to ease your work with the next repotting.
Now, finally, you can place your tree into the pot and add nutrient-rich soil by packing the Shohin within the soil firmly.
To end the repotting procedure, you need to water your tree with plenty of water, as if you are giving it a short bath until the water drains well all the way down from the drainage holes.
These are the steps you have to apply each time when it comes to Shohin repotting.
Light and Watering Demands of Shohin Specimens
Both the light and temperature requirements of your Shohin plant will widely vary, according to the tree specimen you are dealing with.
For example, deciduous trees, such as the Japanese maple, will have different demands in terms of light and temperatures, as opposed to evergreen trees.
Thus, some species will thrive on warmer temperatures, while others will flourish in cooler weather; some will adapt well to indoor growing, and others will need to be placed outdoors, even during the cold, winter months.
Happily, a little bit of research on the exact tree specimen you are cultivating will get you a long way.
When it comes to watering your Shohin the best way, there are some much more straightforward guidelines.
Most of all, remember that the small amount of soil will make up for a very quick dry up of the growing medium of your Shohin.
As a result, frequent watering is a must. However, you must never leave the pot standing in water, as this can damage the delicate root system by leading to root rot.
It is best to provide a humid atmosphere, so that the soil and foliage will not dry out, and this can be achieved through gentle spraying with fresh water.
How to Train and Prune your Extra Tiny Bonsai like a Pro
Once the correct potting and growing conditions are provided, the real enjoyment of Shohin cultivation begins.
This is the time when you can let your imagination and fantasy run wild in terms of shaping your miniature tree to your liking.
But first, your best move is to study examples of large specimens of the tree you are cultivating into a Shohin bonsai.
Doing so will not only help you visualize better the structure you will aim to recreate; it will also help you to gain a proper understanding of your plants’ natural appearance which is crucial in the art of Bonsai.
As a rule of thumbs, there is really no limit to the variety of shapes, in which you can design and train your Shohin tree.
One crucial rule that you must always keep in mind is that you must not trim more than 1/3 of the foliage in one single year.
With Shohin, every trimming should be planned carefully in advance because once removed, a branch will take months to regrow.
But apart from that major rule, there are so many techniques and styles you can explore!
You can curve the trunk in once direction by tying wires. You can trim the branches by removing branchlets, using sharp trimmers.
Nevertheless, you can also nip off the buds with your fingertips.
If you want to give the canopy a more open shape, you may remove the branches from the center.
On the other hand, if you wish to achieve a conical form, you may trim the branches on the sides.
Cascade or more of a drooping shape can be attained through tying down the branches, as well.
Bonsai Tree Species from A to Z
Meet some of the Most Popular Bonsai Varieties you can Enjoy/ that Will Delight you
Apple Bonsai Tree
Apple trees fall into the group of tropical bonsai varieties. That’s because the apple tree is native to the American tropics.
Also known as Pitch Apple and Monkey Apple, you can expect to see beautiful white and pink flowers in summertime, while the tree is in bloom.
Subsequently, as the flowers fall off, miniature, coin-sized apple fruits will appear in the case you have taken proper care of your bonsai apple tree.
The roots are aerial and the leaves grow in dark green colors.
This particular type of bonsais can be molded into various styles and make a wonderful addition to lighten up any free space, such as an office desk or home shelf, to name a few.
Artificial Bonsai Tree
Not all the people have a green thumb, just like not all of us are good at maths, for example!
Thus, if you are not the type of person who does great with gardening tasks you can still admire Bonsai, even without the needed skills and/or time and patience to grow a real bonsai tree.
Artificial bonsai trees have become extremely popular.
More and more people appreciate the intricate beauty of Bonsai but simply lack the time to devote into bonsai cultivation because of the busy paced life we lead nowadays.
However, artists who can’t paint can also enjoy the delight of gazing at a masterpiece picture, and it is pretty much the same case when it comes to bonsai – beauty and artistry can be appreciated by all aficionados and not just by the artists who participate in the creation of the art itself.
In such cases, an artificial bonsai tree can help you enjoy the miniature trees without spending any energy on cultivation or maintenance.
And even though this cannot compare to the rewards and craftsmanship of looking after a real bonsai tree, it is still a fantastic way to bring a piece of nature closer to your heart, despite the artificial materials which compose those type of trees.
Azalea Bonsai Tree
Azalea Bonsai trees hold a very special and prized position in the world of Bonsai connoisseurs.
Among the many other amazing plant species, including both trees and shrubs in the realm of Bonsai, which can be trained and designed to look like miniature mature trees, Azaleas vivid the imagination with their one-of-a-kind looks.
Azalea trees add both color and bloom to the art of Bonsai. When shaped with care and precision, your tiny Azalea tree can reward you with dazzling clouds of blossoms in pink, red or white.
Interestingly, conventional azalea plants and other rhododendrons are typically shaped into compact shrubbery.
However, when it comes to azalea and bonsai cultivation, the shape most often resembles a stunning flowering tree.
But the beauty of azalea bonsais is not solely limited to when the tree is in bloom. Even when blossoms are absent, the leaves spark the visual interest of the contemplators with their extraordinary appearance.
Bahama Berry Bonsai Tree
Bahama Berry is known under many different names, some of which include Nashiainaguensis, Moujean Tea, Pineapple Verbena, and “I Dry, I Die”.
The way this type of tree variety is cultivated into Bonsai is no less intriguing than its various names.
Interestingly, when grown as an ordinary tree and in maturity, the Bahama Berry is pretty much unattractive, as compared to the looks it can be molded into through the practice of Bonsai.
Originating from the Bahamas Island of Inagua, this type of tree is a tropical variety and a member of the Vervain family.
When introduced to the principles of Bonsai, the slim, twisty nature of the trunk add to the graceful and alluring appearance.
Nevertheless, Bahama Berry Bonsais smell heavenly and despite the high-maintenance, they make a wonderfully rewarding experience for the more seasoned Bonsai cultivators.
Bald Cypress Bonsai Tree
Bald Cypress can live up to many, many years, and there are some specimens in particular, which are known to be over 1000 years old.
In nature, Bald Cypresses grow in very wet, swampy soils, such as those alongside riverbanks and flood plains.
Despite the obviously wetter climate loving temper of Bald Cypress trees, bonsai aficionados have managed to cultivate this particular variety from New York through Minnesota and all the way up to Southern Canada.
The forms of a Bald Cypress Bonsai tree differ much from the way a Bald Cypress grows in the wild.
With free growing varieties, the structure of the tree follows a circular shape.
When it comes to Bald Cypress Bonsais, though, the shape is much more dome-like than anything circular.
You can expect to see the needle leaves grow in rows of 2 along the slender twigs.
Bald Cypress trees are part of the Deciduous varieties, so leaves will fall off during the winter.
However, with this particular type of tree, much of the foliage may remain intact until springtime.
Bamboo Bonsai Tree
Most of the associations which come to your mind when thinking of a bamboo are probably related to the hallow bamboo stems, often used for building fences, for example.
Or it could be the image of cute pandas, munching on a piece of bamboo.
However, there is much more to bamboo that one can learn and especially when bamboo is cultivated as bonsai tree.
The so-called Nandina domestic plant is a type of bamboo, also known as heavenly bamboo or sacred bamboo.
Anyway, this type of bamboo is actually not a tree at all. Instead, it grows as a small shrub.
When merged with the practice of Bonsai, though, the tiny shrub resembles much the shape of a miniature bamboo tree, which is utterly harmonious and enchanting.
Black Olive Bonsai Tree
Black Olive tree species are among the most highly evaluated among Bonsai connoisseurs.
That’s mostly due to the lush leaves and the intriguing growth pattern of this type of Olive tree.
When grown into Bonsai, Black Olive trees will flourish, provided the climate you live in is warm.
Thanks to the genetics of Black olive specimens, these plants thrive on tropical and subtropical climates.
What’s more, if you happen to be located anywhere near the sea, you can cultivate your black olive bonsai tree with huge success since these species have a very high tolerance to salt.
Native to the geographic regions of Cuba, Puerto Rico, Florida Keys, and the Bahamas, those precious trees remain green all-year round, spreading both their beauty and vitality generously.
Bonsai Money Tree
Just like the very mention of the name suggests, the Bonsai Money tree is a symbol of prosperity and luck.
Nevertheless, it is believed that owning such a tree will bring wealthy harmony into your home.
Interestingly, the fame of the Bonsai Money tree is spread as far as the Orient, where people cherish the Jade tree for bringing “good fortune” to its owner.
Other popular names of this amazing tree specimen, apart from Jade tree, include Guiana chestnut, Malabar chestnut, Provision Tree, Saba Nut, and Pimpo.
Suitable for growing both indoors and outdoors, as long as warmth and plentiful of sunlight are provided your Bonsai Money tree specimen will reward you for your care and attention.
Bougainvillea Bonsai Tree
Bougainvillea is named after the French Navy Admiral, Louis Antoine de Bougainville, although this plant species has little to do with France.
Instead, the magnificently-colored blossoming woody vine variety is native to regions of South America, predominantly Peru, Argentina, and Brazil.
However, it was in 1978 when the Bougainvillea was discovered while a French Botanist – PhilibertCommerco, was accompanying Louis Antoine de Bougainville on a voyage, which aimed to circumnavigate the globe.
When looking after your Bougainvillea bonsai tree, keep in mind that this species require plenty of direct sunlight in order to flourish.
Interestingly, the enchanting purple-pink blossoms are not the flowers of this amazing plant but its leaves! The actual flowers grow rather small and bloom in yellow.
Boxwood Bonsai Tree
Boxwood trees varieties are extremely well-suited for Bonsai cultivation. In fact, if you have ever looked at photos of English landscaping, you have most certainly stumbled across this particular plant.
Two of the most famous types of Boxwood tree are the Japanese Boxwood (Buxusmycrophilla) and the Common Boxwood (Buxussempervirens).
Boxwood trees can be designed into multiple styles and their natural forms are easy to twist and shape into stunning living statues.
Meanwhile, the pom-pom like appearance is more than pleasing to the eyes of the contemplators.
With more than 70 varieties of Boxwood, these gentle creatures are very sturdy, so even beginner gardeners can succeed in cultivating the miniature Boxwood trees.
Bromeliad Bonsai Tree
There is something very special about Bromeliad bonsai trees.
Above all, these varieties have a striking durability, thanks to the intricate root system, which is a common characteristics of terrestrial Bromeliad species.
But what’s more, the leaves coloration ranges widely, giving off an additional sense of magic to plants, coming from the Bromeliad family.
The colors will vivid your imagination, varying from maroon through shades of green and gold.
On another note, some Bromeliad bonsais can show charmingly hued spots of red, cream, or purple undertones.
Nevertheless, the foliage which results from your efforts as a bonsai tree gardener can be broad and flat, or completely the opposite – symmetrical and irregular.
When all of these wonderful color potential characteristics are summed up, together with the deep and complex root system, which absorbs both water and nutrients very well, Bromeliad species are truly one-of-a-kind Bonsai varieties.
Buddha’s Ear Bonsai Tree
Buddha’s Ear falls into the AlocasiaCucullata plants family category, which is better known as “Elephant’s ear” plants family.
Nonetheless, you can find Buddha’s ear having many other names, such as Chinese Taro, Buddha’s Palm, Buddha’s Hand, Buddha’s First Lily, Hooded Dwarf Elephant tree, or NaiHabarala.
This type of plant is native to Southeast Asia, which is logical to assume with the Buddha’s trace found in the name of the species.
It may surprise you to learn that Buddha’s Ear bonsai trees can produce miniature flowers, which subsequently turn into tiny berries.
The leaves will capture your heart with their glossy, heart-shaped structure.
Buttonwood Bonsai Tree
Buttonwood bonsais have this stunning artistic presence, which can be hard to put into words.
Sadly, it is often the case that this particular type of tree is being neglected as less attractive than others.
But despite being commonly dismissed by many in terms of worthy appearance, Buttonwood Bonsai trees are actually incredibly rewarding to their cultivator.
Hardly can the traditions of bonsai cultivation be seen so truly, as with Buttonwood varieties.
Just wait until the appearance of deadwood is shaped into a beautiful swan, and you will understand your patience and effort have been worth every minute spent on nurturing your Buttonwood Bonsai.
What’s more, this very specimen makes for a great starter kit for healers, who wish to nurture it and coax into bloom.
Cactus Combo Bonsai Tree
Many people fail to associate cactuses with bonsai, although this combination is extremely low in maintenance but also comes with the one-of-a-kind beauty of cactus plants.
In nature, desert-dwelling cactuses are among the most astonishing and utterly unique plants in the entire world.
Did you know that the mighty saguaro cactus can reach up to 50 feet in height? Unfortunately, Saguaro is almost impossible to cultivate out of its natural habitat.
But with cactus combo bonsais, you can bring the vital energy of the mythical desert beauty straight to your home.
When talking about a cactus combo bonsai, what is essential to remember is that it consists of one or more cactus plants, grown together.
Most importantly, it is only specific varieties of cactus, which are being selected for growing into a bonsai combo.
These special varieties are carefully picked as not to reach more than 10 inches in height as to transmute the message of Bonsai art.
Probably one of the greatest advantages of household bonsai cactus plants is that they require little to (often) none care at all in order to keep alive.
Plus, they make a wonderful gift for your beloved ones, which can last for years to come minus the fuss when it comes to nurturing.
Cape Honeysuckle Bonsai Tree
For all the true bonsai aficionados by heart, who wish to find a truly mesmerizing species to cultivate, the Cape Honeysuckle tree might be just what you have been dreaming of!
With a rare beauty, capable to lighten up even the darkest days, when everything seems to go off track, the Cape Honeysuckle Bonsai tree blossoms in stunning, vibrantly-hued colors.
What’s more, it is not only the blossoms that vivid your imagination with their dazzling coloration but the foliage just as well.
You only need to make sure this unique type of shrub gets showered with plenty of sunlight, and get prepared to watch it spread like wildfire!
Cedar Bonsai Tree
Members of the Cedar family are capable to be turned into true Bonsai masterpieces.
Their striking beauty lies in the rough, cracked bark, which is often pointed out as the calling card of these plants species.
But on the other hand, the short needles, gathering in clusters that grow sparsely along the branches give the Cedar Bonsai trees a canopy like no other.
However, the enchanting beauty of Cedar trees is both immense and at the same time – rare. Yes, finding a Cedar bonsai tree tends to be a very challenging task.
That’s most probably due to the fact that Cedar trees require in-depth care and expertise of their cultivators, and hence, the low demand for that particular types of trees.
The low demand results in difficulties when trying to find a Cedar bonsai tree at most shops.
But if you have the luck to lay your hands on one of these astonishing creatures, you will be up for an unforgettable journey of easy growing, combined with challenging yet enjoyable and extremely rewarding styling and shaping of your Cedar bonsai.
Cherry Blossom Bonsai Tree
At the very mention of Cherry Blossom bonsai, many people will inevitably visualize the image of an elegant miniature cherry tree in bloom.
However, Cherry Blossom trees are actually part of the “prunus” species family. Prunus species include other fruit trees, such as apricots, peaches, almonds, and plums, to name a few.
Amazingly, there are over 430 varieties of the prunus family. It is none other than the prunusserrulata, which is also known as Cherry Blossom.
And even more, you can find Cherry Blossoms being referred to with other names, including Japanese Cherry, Hill Cherry, and Oriental Cherry.
When it comes to the origins of Cherry blossoms, these species are native to the Asian world, and are originally found in Japan, China, and Korea.
Cherry Bonsai Tree
You might be surprised to find out that a Cherry Bonsai tree comes from something as simple as a cherry seed!
In fact, you can try growing your own Cherry Bonsai from just about any ordinary cherry seed left behind after indulging in the juicy fruit.
However, specialized cherry seeds are also available to order online since you might not be that lucky with trying to grow your Cherry Bonsais from any average seed.
Anyway, it is essential to remember that both options exists in terms of cherry seeds for growing Bonsai.
After all, Bonsai is a practice and there is no additional genetic modification made on the seeds of the plants (or the plant itself) in order to turn them into miniature trees.
If you are considering to grow your very own Cherry bonsai tree, a one gallon pot will work great.
Many newbie cultivators fall into the delusion that placing the tiny cherry into a tiny pot will make the practice of Bonsai easier and better but this is not exactly the case with cherry trees.
That’s partially because cherries are slightly difficult to grow, and partially due to the lack of experience all bonsai creators have at the very beginning.
Also, choosing a suitable bonsai soil is a must for the well-being of cherry bonsais.
Chinese Elm Bonsai Tree
Chinese Elm Bonsai trees are among the most attractive varieties.
Thanks to the beautiful contrast between the twisting trunk and the multiple tiny leaves, along with strong branches and glorious twigs, the structure of this particular type of Bonsai is a pleasure to the eyes.
In fact, the magnificent contrast between the sturdy, thick tree trunk of Chinese Elms, combined with the extremely delicate branches, is what adds to the exotic hint of these types of bonsais.
Scientifically known as UlmusParfvifolia, Chinese Elm trees are native to Korea, Japan, and China.
It is none other but Chinese Elms which beginner bonsai enthusiast adore for their friendly, mild temper.
For a start, it is very easy to look after Elms and moreover, they are even more stunning to look at and admire their intricate twists and delicacy.
Chinese Elm trees tend to grow much better in warmer climates, though.
These types of tree will not tolerate cold weather. However, when nurtured properly, you can keep enjoying their marvelous shade of evergreen, which remains intact all-year-round.
Keeping in mind the Chinese Elm Trees dislike for cold temperatures, it is best to keep your Chinese Elm bonsai tree indoors in order to thrive.
Crepe Myrtle Bonsai Tree
Crepe Myrtle Bonsai Trees possess some amazingly interesting traits, which make them an excellent choice to add to the value of each Bonsai collector.
For a start, you can admire the crepe-like flowers in bloom, which are also the reason for naming this particular type of tree specimen.
But what’s more, the bark of Crepe Myrtle trees offers another dimension of pleasure to the senses.
From season to season, the bark sheds and thus, ranges in varying colors.
Crepe Myrtle is native to both Asia and Australia, and its leaves are deciduous, meaning you can expect them to fall off as the winter approaches.
Your Crepe Myrtle Bonsai tree will flourish when provided with plenty of sunlight, which will help to nurture the spectacular flowers to bloom.
Dogwood Bonsai Tree
Dogwood trees are perfectly well-suited to practice the art of Bonsai.
These charming fellows take both training and pruning very well, and thus, even newbie bonsai gardeners can achieve amazing results when taking care of a Dogwood Bonsai tree.
In their natural environment, dogwoods will grow at a modest rate. You can expect to see deep green vegetation, which goes through shades of purple and red in the fall.
As soon as the spring arrives, your dogwood bonsais will start sprouting blossoms of enchanting flowers, which emit a sweet perfume scent before they gradually enter the yearly spring greenery phase.
Contrary to many other bonsais, dogwoods are aficionados of shady locations and you don’t have to look for ways to supply them with plenty of daily sunlight.
Ficus Bonsai Tree
With the very mention of ficus bonsai trees, it is crucial to understand that there are actually about 850 Ficus varieties!
Some of the most popular ones include FicusBenjamina, FicusMacrophylla, FicusSalicifolia, and FicusRetusaMicrocarpa, among others.
A huge percent of ficus varieties take pruning with elegance and they respond very friendly even to restrictions in bonsai growth.
However, before starting to cultivate a Ficus tree, keep in mind that these plants are strictly suited for indoor growing.
They also love plenty of sunlight, so choosing a well-located sunny window or other appropriate location is a must.
But apart from these major guidelines, your Ficus Bonsais will be very forgiving to all your possible mistakes as a gardener.
And that is exactly why even beginners can do fair well with cultivating a ficus bonsai tree.
Fukien Tea Bonsai Tree
Fukien Tea tree can grow into a strikingly graceful bonsai, which will bring delight to anyone, who is lucky to contemplate it.
However, Fukien Tea is also one of the most challenging tree varieties which can be introduced to Bonsai cultivation.
Thus, if this is your very first time with practicing Bonsai or you have very little experience with this ancient discipline, it is best to avoid opting for a Fukien tea tree.
That’s because both cultivation and maintenance will require specific skills, which can only be attained through years of practice.
Nevertheless, pruning is also difficult if you lack the proper knowledge.
On another note, those who are more seasoned with Bonsais will love to experiment with the various shapes and techniques which Fukien tea trees allow to be applied.
Thus, every effort spent of sculpting your Fukien tea bonsai tree will definitely repay you in time and make you feel proud of your creation.
Ginkgo Bonsai Tree
Ginkgo biloba is a world-famous plant for its highly valued medicinal properties and the one-of-a-kind shape of the leaves, which makes it almost impossible to mistake it with any other tree variety.
What’s more, Ginkgo biloba is the only tree specimen, which has no currently known close relatives.
And nonetheless, it is also one of the most ancient plant specimens on Earth.
But keeping in mind the unique ability of Ginkgo trees to grow in all kinds of utmost harsh terrains, it is no wonder how these species managed to evolve and survive for thousands of years.
Interestingly, a Gingko tree is entirely capable to sprout along rocky surfaces, such as a cliff bank, for example.
Long before being introduced to the art of Bonsai, Gingko trees were native to Asia.
Ginkgo bonsai trees will reward their cultivators with beautifully yellowing leaves, which are expected to fall off with the winter season approaching.
Ginseng Ficus Bonsai Tree
The unusual appearance of Ginseng Ficus trees makes these species invaluable to Bonsai cultivators.
On the one hand, a Ginseng Ficus Bonsai tree is very hardy, with a high resistance to all your possible mistakes as a gardener, which makes it incredibly well-suited even for beginners.
But on the other hand, it is not solely the newbie Bonsai cultivators, who enjoy the looks of the Ginseng Ficus trees massive, thick trunks, along with the crown of dense foliage on top.
Despite the multiple Ginseng Ficus varieties, though, only about 6 of these are usually picked as more appropriate than the rest for practicing the art of Bonsai.
Native to Malaysia and Taiwan, most Ginseng Ficus trees grow several large roots, which do not tend to remain hidden beneath the soil.
Instead, they resemble the looks of trunks with many interesting twists and curves to delight both the Bonsai creator and the mere observers of those amazing miniature trees.
Grapevine Bonsai Tree
In their natural environment, Grapes are nothing less than climbing vines.
When it comes to cultivating those intriguing and well-known species as bonsais, though, the plants become bushy trees.
Moreover, as their growth patterns are quite vigorous, the size of grapevine bonsai trees is only limited to the taste and maintenance, provided by the Bonsai gardener.
While this is a great feature since it opens much room to the imagination of the cultivator, it also hides some possible disadvantages.
In order to grow successfully, a grapevine bonsai tree needs utmost care, along with high maintenance and carefully applied techniques if you want to see your miniature masterpieces to thrive.
But in the case you have the time to dedicate on daily nurturing, spent on looking after your bonsai grapevine, you will be rewarded with the exquisite appearance of those extremely fast growing specimens.
Green Mound Juniper Bonsai Tree
It is no wonder why bonsai enthusiasts simply adore the Green mound juniper trees.
The visual appeal of Green Mound Juniper bonsais is dazzling, with the beautiful hunter green leaves and the multiple shapes and designs which can be applied to increase the aesthetic value of the trunk.
But above all, and especially when compared to multiple other bonsai varieties, Green Mound Juniper Bonsai trees are much easier to grow and cultivate.
That’s also one of the leading reasons why novice bonsai gardeners often prefer to pick green mound juniper trees as part of their bonsai collection.
You can expect to cultivate a Green Mound Juniper Bonsai specimen with huge success, provided you comply with the tight grow pattern of a classical bonsai, which is typical for these species.
Whether you prefer to nurture your green mound juniper bonsai outdoors or indoors, don’t expect to face any issues since these plants are resistant to a very wide range of temperatures.
Hibiscus Bonsai Tree
A Hibiscus Bonsai Tree will grab the hearts of just about any aficionado of natural beauty.
And although it is almost impossible to compare various bonsais in terms of their incredible appearance, for sure, there is no other flowering species like the Hibiscus, growing strikingly vibrant flowers.
With so many colors to choose from, varying from Red, Purple, Yellow, and White, among others, a Hibiscus bonsai tree will truly captivate your entire being with its unique beauty.
Once in bloom, you can expect to marvel at the fantastic flowers during the whole growing season.
However, keep in mind that this exotic and rare beauty also comes with some challenges for bonsai cultivators.
The large size of both the leaves and flowers can be quite an intimidating task for enthusiasts, who lack experience with the art of Bonsai.
But apart from the possible obstacles, the payoff is worth every effort as you get to contemplate the gorgeous, colorful Hibiscus bonsais.
Himalayan Cedar Bonsai Tree
Did you know that the first Himalayan Cedar Bonsai Tree was cultivated in Australia? And this is far not the most interesting trait about Himalayan Cedars!
These tree species possess a truly wonderful scent, which is considered as highly therapeutic and capable of distressing both the mind and the body.
It is thanks to specific oils, produced in the bark, that a Himalayan Cedar tree can perfume the surrounding environment with its unique aroma.
What’s more, the green needles, once sprouted, subsequently show rich golden undertones, which are a true delight for the bonsai cultivators.
Typically, the shape of Himalayan Cedar bonsais is a conicle-like.
Mind that these trees can grow up to 15 inches per year if not trimmed on a regular basis.
But with the right care and proper pruning, the Himalayan Cedar bonsai will grow at about four to six inches per year.
Being evergreen specimens, you can admire the beauty and anti-inflammatory aroma of Himalayan Cedar bonsais throughout the entire year.
Jade Bonsai Tree
A Jade bonsai tree can be a wonderful choice for all of the novice horticulturalists who wish to practice the art of Bonsai since it has a very low maintenance profile, compared to many other bonsais.
That’s due to the origins of the jade tree, which fall into the Succulents family and are native to the Capetown area of South Africa.
Thus, jade tree specimens are highly resistant to droughts. In fact, a jade tree can store huge quantities of water in its leaves for quite long periods of time.
The leaves themselves are glossy, deep green, thick, and have an oval-shaped structure.
When it comes to the stems of jade trees, you can expect to see them grow thick and elegant brown.
As part of the Succulents family, jade trees typically inhabit desert regions with dry, sandy soils and long period of drought, as well.
As a result of these sturdy genetics, your jade bonsai tree will flourish only in suitable soil, which needs to be coarse and sandy, mimicking the attributes of the soil in its natural environment.
But then again, it is partially because of these specific soil demands and low watering and fertilization requirements of jade bonsais, which makes them suitable even for beginners.
Japanese Black Pine Bonsai Tree
The Japanese Black pine is one of the most popular and highly valued species, used in multiple Japanese architecture projects for many years.
Along with 110 pine varieties, the Japanese Black Pine is also part of the Pinus genus family. Scientifically, the term for Japanese Black Pine is Pinusthunbergii.
One of the most beautiful characteristics of Japanese Black Pine Bonsai trees is the extremely delicate, needle-like shape of the leaves, which always grow together is pairs.
Most of the hobby horticulturalists (but not only!) will be surprised to learn that the Japanese Black pine produces tiny reddish flowers in springtime.
Subsequently, those small flowers will give way to miniature brown cones.
If you are intending to cultivate a Japanese Black pine tree by practicing the art of Bonsai, it is good to know that these species are also pretty hardy.
They can resist both very strong winds and the ocean spray in their natural habitat, so the same features are translated into the miniature versions of Japanese black pines.
Japanese Maple Bonsai Tree
Many bonsai aficionados will automatically picture the looks of a Japanese Maple tree as soon as they hear the very mention of Bonsai.
The extreme popularity of Japanese Maple bonsai trees is due to multiple reasons but one of them is the striking beauty of those tree specimens during the fall.
Leaves of red, yellow, and orange hues literally lighten up the room with color and vitality.
Furthermore, Japanese Maple bonsais are cherished for their beginner-friendly character, and thus, they are often among the top recommended types to grow among the novice bonsai enthusiasts.
Anyway, it would be very inaccurate and not concise at all to limit the joy of looking after a Japanese Maple bonsai only to the newbie gardeners.
These tiny, dazzling colored in the autumn trees, are capable to bring life and elegance into every space, where they are placed, including your office desk.
Ultimately, Japanese Maples do not require too much efforts spent on either maintenance or care, which only increases their appeal among bonsai connoisseurs.
For those who are looking for ways to add a little bit of extra color to a room or to surprise a beloved friend, who is an aficionado of natural beauty, there is probably no better choice than the Japanese Maple tree.
Juniper Bonsai Tree
Juniper bonsais are probably one of the most popular varieties you can find available on the market, and that’s for some good reasons.
As a matter of fact, there are more than 50 different Juniper trees species, which can be found to thrive all around the globe.
However, despite the tremendous popularity of the various Juniper trees you can lay your hands on, the Chinese Juniper tree, as well as the Needle Juniper bonsai tree are among the most well-known and widely-spread.
It is not only because of the heart-melting beauty of Chinese Juniper bonsais and Needle Juniper bonsais why cultivators from so many different regions of the world choose to grow these varieties.
Both of them are amazingly easy to take care of, which makes them a suitable choice even for individuals, who are just starting to delve into exploring the ancient practice of Bonsai.
Moreover, those Juniper bonsai tree varieties will thrive indoors and outdoors with the same success.
Ultimately, given the right amount of water and light, your Juniper bonsai tree will flourish vigorously in just about any condition.
Junipers can be also described as the happy rebel children of the Bonsai family.
Their mild temper and low demands give Junipers a better chance of evolving and thriving when being slightly neglected, instead of being overly-pampered.
Thus, if you are already fighting with a busy schedule, a Juniper bonsai tree might be just what you are looking for.
Liquidambar Bonsai Tree
Liquidambar bonsai trees make a fantastic choice for people, who enjoy colorful beauty and find pleasure in gazing at the changing colors of deciduous varieties.
Astonishingly enough, even when all their leaves fall off with the winter just around the corner, Liquidambar trees are still strikingly pretty to contemplate, due to their capturing trunk and branches structure.
In the autumn, you can expect to see splendid shades of bright orange, burgundy purple, and dazzling red, along with multiple eye-catching undertones that will vivid your imagination.
You might be surprised to learn that the Asian Liquidambar has not been hybridized to produce any specific leaf colors during the fall, contrary to the American Liquidambar varieties.
The American counterparts are designed to show particular leaf colors.
However, the shades which Asian Liquidambars will exhibit are no less captivating, and also come with the sweet tingle of the surprise they bring to their cultivators, as there are no exact limit of the colors you can expect.
And while Japanese Maples, which are also deciduous trees, providing a colorful show during the autumn season, but needing cold temperatures to thrive and produce their beautiful leaf shades, Junipers will flourish in warmer climates.
Mimosa Bonsai Tree
In the scientific world, the Mimosa tree is referred to as Albiziajulibrissin.
When cultivated as bonsais, Mimosa trees promise the gift of granting their elegant and delicate beauty to the gardeners.
With one-of-a-kind, pom-pom like fizzy and tender flowers in bloom, Mimosa bonsai trees have become increasingly popular.
But it is not only the enchanting flowers, which give off the captivating appeal of a Mimosa Bonsai tree.
The extremely delicate, fern-like fronds are covered in multiple miniature leaves, which feel light and soft to the touch, dancing in the embrace of even the slightest flow of wind.
Another reason why Mimosa tree varieties are great for bonsai cultivation comes with the fact that they grow very quickly.
As a result, both sculpting and training Mimosa varieties is much easier, with the trunks and branches thickening much faster than those of many other bonsai trees specimens.
When taken proper care of, a Mimosa Bonsai can be literally turned into a living sculpture of art.
Needle Juniper Bonsai Tree
While we briefly mentioned the Needle Juniper bonsais just above in this list, when commenting on Juniper bonsais as a whole, the Needle Junipers do deserve a closer look.
First off, a Needle Juniper tree can reward both newbie bonsai enthusiasts, along with those who have a much longer-standing passion for bonsai cultivation.
That’s because Needle Junipers take training and pruning with ease and thus, they are considered very easy to grow.
But despite of their beginner-friendly growth patterns and demands, Needle Junipers can be shaped into resembling very old trees, which adds tremendously to their appeal.
In fact, the biggest trouble you will have if you decide to opt for a Needle Juniper bonsai tree will be none other but picking your favorite type, among the multiple species available!
Norfolk Island Pine Bonsai Tree
If you have ever visited nurseries and grocery stores somewhere around Christmas, you have most probably already stumbled across the Norfolk Island Pine tree.
Due to the resemblance in the appearance of traditional Christmas trees and the Norfolk Island Pines, many people choose the latter for their Christmas decorations.
Interestingly, it is often the case that people go as far as to place the typical X-mas ornaments and garlands on their Norfolk Island Pine Tree to celebrate the holidays.
However, when the looks of those tiny trees is compared to the trees, growing freely in their natural habitat, there are some huge differences.
Did you know that Norfolk Island is a tiny 13-feet square piece of land, located between Australia and New Zealand?
But what’s even more amazing is that Norfolk Island Pines, when in their natural environment, can reach about 200 feet height.
If you are enchanted by the appeal of Norfolk Island Pines, then keep in mind that these trees can be turned into a very nice bonsai, which will last for several years.
On another note, usual bonsai techniques need to be altered to match the cultivation of your Norfolk Island Pine Tree, though.
Oak Bonsai Tree
Oaks are part of the Quercus genus family, where there are more than hundreds of members of the same category. In order to grasp the vastness of
Oaks family, keep in mind that there are about 600 hundred species, native to the regions of South America alone!
However, not all of these tree specimens are well-suited for practicing the art of Bonsai.
But then again, those that are appropriate to undergo Bonsai cultivation, can be described as very gratifying to their creators.
Nevertheless, the lovely appearance of miniature oaks fills the heart and mind with joy and contentedness.
If you are considering picking an Oak Bonsai tree for your collection, you must be careful when it comes to root pruning.
The roots of Oaks need to undergo a particular type of pruning, as opposed to the typical methods, applied on most tree varieties.
When compared to Maples and Conifers, for example, Oak bonsais tend to be more challenging to nurture since they simply demand greater care and attention.
Pine Bonsai Tree
Many people visualize the image of a Pine tree whenever Bonsai is mentioned.
And indeed, Pines are among the most popular specimens in Bonsai cultivation.
Their intricate form and aged appearance are simply mind-altering and very rewarding to those growers, who are truly dedicated to the practice of Bonsai.
However, Pines are also not the easiest type of trees one can nurture into a Bonsai creation.
Thus, beginner-growers are advised to consider another tree specimen because the lack of experience with Bonsai can become a huge obstacle when taking care of a Pine bonsai specimen.
But on another note, if you are determined to enjoy the unlimited beauty of a Pine miniature tree, you can achieve the classical bonsai aesthetics and admire the evergreen tiny needles all-year-round.
Pomegranate Bonsai Tree
Pomegranate trees are very intriguing specimens to cultivate through the practice of Bonsai.
Although the leaves of your Pomegranate Bonsai tree will not produce bright and multiple colors during the autumn, the trunk compensates with its thickness and the attractive bark.
However, you must also keep in mind that being a deciduous tree, the foliage of Pomegranate trees inevitably falls off each winter.
But the rewards upon springtime will be worth the waiting.
Once the winter season is over, you can expect to see striking flowers on your Pomegranate bonsai.
As the flowers mature, tiny fruits will appear, increasing the exotic and rare beauty of this tree variety.
Even when all the leaves are absent, one can’t stop to admire the twisted trunk of Pomegranates trees.
The curved and intricate shape of the trunk also provides the much-desired gnarled and aged appearance of Pomegranate bonsais, which is utterly treasured and appreciated.
The story of how Pomegranate trees reach Japan is no less intriguing than the trees themselves.
Japanese have been cultivating Pomegranate bonsai trees for centuries, however, it was thanks to the Silk route that these tree species succeeded in reaching the Far East.
Up-to-date, there are many Pomegranate trees specimens, which all come in different colors, shape and size of the flowers and fruits they give way to.
Powder Puff Bonsai Tree
Powder Puff species of trees are part of the Calliandra genus families.
And although there are multiple varieties to choose from, each and every one will delight your senses with the one-of-a-kind looks of those beloved bonsai creations.
It is in the very name of this type of Bonsai trees, where one can find the secret of their whimsical beauty.
The delightful, mesmerizing showy flowers that bloom on Powder Puff bonsais, resemble puffy cotton balls.
It is no wonder why Powder Puff bonsai trees make such an excellent addition to each bonsai aficionado collection, as they elegantly add color and charm to any room or space they are placed at.
Apart from the unique fuzzy flowers in bloom, Powder Puff trees can be shaped into various Bonsai designs.
All designs look stunningly amazing along with the rest of the attributes, peculiar for Powder Puff trees, such as the thick trunk and the gentle, jade green leaves.
Preserved Bonsai Tree
Preserved Bonsai trees make a wonderful choice for all of the Bonsai connoisseurs, who simply lack the time, patience, will or skills to grow their own miniature trees.
Indeed, the art of Bonsai requires great patience and proper knowledge, along with huge imagination and willingness to dedicate a particular amount of time into studying, nurturing, and shaping your bonsais.
With the busy pace of life that most of us face nowadays, despite the big desire for delving into bonsai cultivation, sometimes, it can be impossible to turn your daily routines upside down and commit to the art of Bonsai fully.
On another note, it is also the case that not all people are born to be perfect gardeners, just like not all of us are born to be singers, or actresses, or pilots.
But for those who still wish to add of the rare beauty of Bonsai into their homes or offices, a Preserved Bonsai tree can be an excellent option.
All you have to do is simply dust it every once in a while to preserve its fresh looks.
With a Preserved Bonsai tree, though, you will not be able to play with the shape and structure of your miniature plants.
But then again, it is all about the low-maintenance.
The purpose of having a Preserved Bonsai tree is to add a bit of the one-of-a-king Bonsai elegance without the hard work, related to care, training, and pruning your bonsais.
Privet Bonsai Trees
Privet Bonsai Trees are part of the genus Ligustrum, which shelters over 50 different varieties of plants.
Most hobby gardeners already know Privets for their perfect shrubby shape, which makes them ideal as hedges.
However, when introduced to the principles of Bonsai cultivation, Privet trees make amazingly beautiful Bonsai creations.
That is mostly thanks to the ability of Privets to undergo both pruning and other Bonsai designing techniques with ease and success.
Privets are fast growers, and as such, regular trimming is required.
But apart from that and some common guidelines, regarding the choice of soil, repotting, and fertilizing, Privet bonsai trees are very sturdy and are also among the most highly-adaptive species.
And so, if you are just at the beginning of your Bonsai cultivation journey, Privets can make an excellent choice.
Anyway, experienced Bonsai gardeners will enjoy no less these low-maintenance but finely pretty tree species.
Pyracantha Bonsai Tree
Pyracantha plants are actually shrubs, and not trees, which are native to different parts of Asia.
But when it comes to Pyracantha specimens, there are approximately seven species, included in the same genus, unlike with Oaks, for example, where the tree varieties of the same family can outreach hundreds in number.
Moreover, all of the seven species of the same family are broadleaf and they also possess thorns.
In the case a Pyracantha tree is not trimmed, it can reach up to 18 feet in height.
But Pyracantha trees are not boring specimens at all. In addition to the evergreen leaves, your Pyracantha bonsai tree will produce tender white flowers in the spring.
Subsequently, those flowers will give off tiny red or orange berries as the autumn season kicks in.
Pyrancatha trees in their natural size are a favorite choice for adding beauty and style to outdoor landscapes.
When introduced to the practice of Bonsai, Pyracantha trees make wonderful indoor plants, as well.
Typically, Pyracantha Bonsais are pretty sturdy, and although they require frequent watering, even amateur bonsai gardeners can succeed with ease in nurturing their Pyracantha specimens into miniature masterpieces.
Redwood Bonsai Tree
The giant Redwood trees, which can grow to amazing sizes when grown in their natural environment, have gained world acknowledgment.
But when it comes to cultivating Redwood trees into bonsais, the rewards are no less satisfying to the gardener.
Although the Californian cousins of the Redwood tree species are the ones which are popular for their gigantic size and respectable looks, the most famous example of redwood species remains the Wellington, which is native to the Pacific Rim.
Typically, Redwood varieties can be found to thrive all around the globe since the Pacific Rim embraces a huge number of countries.
However, the most well-known Redwood tree can be seen in the Redwood National Forest in California.
The rare and majestic beauty of Redwoods has become an emblem of strength and authenticity of Mother Nature which one can feel when getting to know that Redwood trees are among the oldest living beings on the entire Planet Earth!
Ultimately, Redwood tree species have proven to withstand the test of time.
When introduced to the art of Bonsai, Redwood trees show to be very hardy and their evergreen leaves are nothing but joy for the senses.
Both beginner bonsai growers and the ones who are more experienced with the ancient practice can enjoy taking care of the relatively low-maintenance Redwood bonsais.
Rosemary Bonsai Tree
For most people, the very mention of Rosemary doesn’t at all trigger any associations with the art of Bonsai.
But the truth is, Rosemary plants actually make wonderful bonsais.
What’s more, these savory creatures are ideal for all of the bonsai connoisseurs, who wish to avoid the multiple complications, often related to bonsai cultivation, while still being able to admire and nurture a lovely bonsai masterpiece of their own.
Apart from seasoning, where Rosemary has a special place, these species show to be very sturdy and are also well-known fast growers.
Rosemary bonsai trees get extra bonus point for their usefulness, which exceeds the mere act of contemplating the beauty of the miniature trees.
Whenever pruning is applied to Rosemary plants, you can use the freshly-cut parts as seasoning and add the much-desired gourmet note to your dishes.
Rosemary is also considered a sacred spice, which is not only highly beneficial for the health but for the spirit, as well.
Furthermore, Rosemary plants are believed to carry superpowers and grant their owners luck and prosperity.
Don’t get fooled by the otherwise simple cares which most of us associate when it comes to growing something as common as Rosemary, though.
There are still some crucial steps you need to follow in order to cultivate your Rosemary bonsai tree with success and ease.
Sea Grape Bonsai Tree
The Sea Grape Bonsai Tree belongs to the buckwheat family. To be more specific, Sea grapes are part of the Coccolobauvufera genus.
These beautifully shaped trees are types of evergreens.
Although, with Sea grapes, the plants specimens are referred to as evergreen flowering trees.
That’s, of course, because a Sea Grape tree tends to grow delicate ivory-colored flowers.
Despite of the blossoming flowers, though, a Sea Grape Bonsai tree will rarely produce fruits.
Anyway, it is also not entirely impossible for you as a bonsai cultivator to enjoy fruits from your Sea Grape miniature tree but that is far more achievable when the plant is grown outdoors.
Indoor Sea grape bonsais stand a lower chance of producing fruits but then again, it is not entirely impossible.
If you are lucky to get the grape-like, purple fruit, you can use them to prepare mouthwatering homemade jams, for example.
Nevertheless, eating the fruits raw is also nothing less but a delight for the senses.
Another interesting characteristics of Sea Grape bonsais is their one-of-a-kind red vein, which looks as if it cuts through the leaves.
The round, leathery leaves appear stunningly beautiful with the red vein running through the entire base of the leaves.
That very same vein causes the entire leaf to turn red with age. The bark of Sea Grape trees is no less intriguing itself.
It has a smooth surface and yellow hues. A Sea Grape bonsai tree can be easily cultivated through a seed or a cloning.
Serissa Bonsai Tree
The Serissa Bonsai tree has most deservedly earned the nickname “Tree of a Thousand Stars”.
That exotic sobriquet comes from the fact that Serissa trees are covered in delicate white flowers, which remain present all-year-round, spreading beauty to anyone who is lucky enough to grow one of those uniquely elegant bonsais.
Nevertheless, it is not solely the ever-present tender flowers which capture the eyes of both the bonsai cultivator and the mere contemplators when looking at a Serissa bonsai tree.
The foliage is glossy, vital green with spiny branches, which make up for a dome-like canopy.
Serissa bonsais undergo training very well and can be shaped into endless stunning designs.
However, these trees also tend to be quite particular in terms of growing demands, so they do require some care and attention.
But with the ease of pruning and provided the right conditions, Serissa bonsais are unarguably among the most beautiful and rewarding bonsai specimens.
Ultimately, you can expect to see vigorous growth of your Serissa bonsai, and thus, styling and shaping becomes even more joyful, regardless of your level of experience with Bonsai cultivation.
Trident Maple Bonsai Tree
Trident Maple Trees are not merely ideal for the practice of Bonsai.
Instead, it is exactly Trident Maple trees, which are widely used throughout the entire globe for planting along sidewalks and parks in many of the world’s biggest cities.
Of course, there is no coincidence in choosing Trident Maple trees for the purpose of elevating the atmosphere of cities, which are in dire need of more trees to fight pollution and global warming.
One of the major characteristics of Trident Maples is that they are very sturdy creatures.
As a matter of fact, those species are so hardy, that they can undergo a tremendous array of rough conditions, including dry soil, the air pollution mentioned above, and nonetheless, severe pruning.
All of these unique traits, along with the majestic looks of Trident Maples make them ideal for bonsai cultivation.
Keep in mind that your Trident Maple Bonsai tree will grow at very fast pace, which obviously requires regular trimming.
Weeping Willow Bonsai Tree
If we had to rank all the various types of bonsais in terms of popularity, then there is no doubt that the Weeping Willow Bonsai trees would be among the top positions in the category.
It is not merely because of the wide availability of Weeping Willow trees on the market, though.
Weeping Willows are so mesmerizingly beautiful that it is hard even for the most cold-hearted individuals not to feel the sense of complete harmony along with the notorious sense of nostalgia, part of the postulates in Bonsai cultivation.
And while the very roots of this type of tree are said to be somewhere in China, Weeping Willows are among the most widely-spread varieties, effortless to find all around the United States.
Apart from the striking shape of the branches, which have granted the name of this tree specimen, the tiny catkins are yet another favored feature among horticulturalists.
The catkins start out colored in graceful Silver but as maturity sets in, their color turns tender creamy white. It is good to know, though, that a Weeping
Willow bonsai tree will last for about 25 years, and that’s in the case you have taken proper care of it.
Mostly due to the brittle nature of the branches, it is hard for Weeping Willows to exceed the 25 years life-span.
But for the time you are maintaining your Weeping Willow bonsai tree, you will be generously rewarded with the exquisite beauty of these nostalgically majestic creatures.
Wisteria Bonsai Tree
Wisteria plants can be seen to grow and thrive in many parts of the world, including Asia, the United States, and Europe.
It is no wonder why the 4 super stars of the Desperate Housewives blockbuster series inhabited the notorious Wisteria Lane Street, where the spectacular flowering plants were in abundance.
But it is hard to see more beautiful Wisteria gardens than those in Japan.
Image Credit: the-open-mind.com [Ashikaga Flower Park in Tochigi]
The incredible ability of the Japanese to represent the beauty of nature in the most whimsical way makes the pictures of the Ashikaga Flower Park look more like postcards than actual photos!
Image Credit: mirror.co.uk
Anyway, it is good to know that Wisteria species are actually shrubs but when introduced to the principles of Bonsai, they resemble incredibly well miniature trees in bloom.
Probably one of the rarest qualities of Wisteria Bonsai trees is the fact, that they will not grow their spectacular flowers for at least 10 years of the start of their cultivation.
On the one hand, this might turn off some Bonsai connoisseurs.
But on the other hand, this particular trait of Wisteria bonsais only adds to their rare exquisiteness and increases their value to the dedicated Bonsai aficionados.
All of your great deal of care and patience will be ultimately awarded once you get the chance to mesmerize into the beauty of the fragrant blossoms.
Zelkova Bonsai Tree
One can find the roots of Zelkova tree species in China and Japan, where they have initially originated.
There are two types of Zelkova trees which are suitable to turn into Bonsai masterpieces.
Zelkova trees are closely related to Elm trees, and as such, they are also referred to as easy to grow even by amateur bonsai gardeners.
One of the major advantages of Zelkova bonsais is that they are among the most highly-resistant in terms of diseases.
That particular trait is not to be underestimated.
And while many other bonsai tree varieties will suffer from possible diseases and challenge their cultivator, Zelkova plant species show to be very sturdy and thus, pose less possible problems to bonsai gardeners.
Most Zelkova bonsai tree species are associated with the Broom style. The branches create a lovely arc-shaped crown.
As what we can expect from a Deciduous tree variety, Zelkova bonsais leaves will change their color seasonaly.
But what is unique for Zelkova species is that the leaves will emit a subtle, sweet-smelling aroma, which is distinct when the weather is cold and will be no longer discernible once the leaves change color.
Now, at the end of our journey for getting to know better the origins, history and beauty of all the various bonsai trees species and styles, I want you to close your eyes once again and return to that bonsai tree garden of your dreams.
Feel the true meaning of the ancient Bonsai practice and let it sink all the way deep down to your heart.
Because one of the greatest rewards of indulging in the art of Bonsai can only be felt through the soul; the deepest essence of the invaluable knowledge, imprinted in Bonsai is invisible to the eyes.
What we see as mere contemplators of Bonsai is a tiny drop, compared to the ocean of beauty, forever embedded in this ancient discipline by the proud nation of Japan.