I remember the first time I was exposed to the beautiful artistry of Bonsai. When I was about 5
years old, I was visiting relatives at my uncles house in Tokyo, Japan. After a while, some of us
kids went out to the back “yard”. In Tokyo, as in most places in Japan, land is a real premium,
so the back “yard” was really just a small rock garden. It was in that small, simple, yet beautiful
rock garde, that I saw my first bonsai tree. It was so tiny, yet proportionally perfect. I later
found out that it was more than 40 years old! I was hooked!
Bonsai or the art of growing miniature trees, requires patience and know how. In this article I
will touch on 5 things that every aspiring Bonsai artist should know, in their quest to learn how to grow bonsai.
How To Grow Bonsai – Key #1…Bonsai Are Not Houseplants.
For the most part, bonsai are outdoor plant and should remain outdoors all year long. Of
course, that does not mean that they cannot come indoors to be enjoyed for a short while, just
that a majority of the time they need to be outside. Bonsai are temperate climate plants that
require a period of dormancy. Dormancy is a survival strategy that temperate climate species
have evolved to stay alive over the winter. These plants have an internal clock that tell them
when to slow their growth activity, so that they may survive any extreme or freezing
temperatures. For the home bonsai artist, you will need a place outside to keep your plants.
How To Grow Bonsai – Key #2…Bonsai Must Be Trained.
Bonsai are trained to look a certain way through a number of different techniques. This can be
accomplished through manipulating the trunk and branches through pruning and wiring. This is
where the heart of the bonsai artistry resides. To make mistakes in this area of training could
lead to deadly results. Don’t be disheartened though. Anyone, with some proper training
and time can learn how to properly train their bonsai.
How To Grow Bonsai – Key #3…Bonsai Must be Fed and Watered.
Just like all other plant life, bonsai require three things to survive: sun, food and water.
Assuming your bonsai resides primarily outside, as the bonsai artist, your primary concern is to
feed and water your trees. Feeding your bonsai with the proper nutrients and trace elements is
crucial to promote proper and healthy growth. Watering improperly is probably the most
common mistake made by beginners. Again, with the proper teaching resource, whether that is
a Master Bonsai artist or a reputable how to book, anyone can easily learn how to properly
care for their bonsai.
How To Grow Bonsai – Key #4…Bonsai Require Time.
Many first time bonsai artists think that “owning’ a bonsai is what it is all about. This is not what
bonsai is all about. Bonsai is all about the enjoyment of caring for them and ultimately their
creation. Remember: bonsai truly is an art form and as such requires time to perfect. As an
aspiring bonsai artist you will need time to learn how to properly care for and train your tree,
but you must also have the time to see it come to fruition. Bonsai are not created over night. A
typical bonsai may not even be placed into a bonsai pot until after a few years of training. Don’t
rush the process, enjoy it!
After reading this article, I hope you have come to understand a little more of what the art of
bonsai is all about. Have fun!
You can learn from the Bonsai Masters how to grow, train and care for your own bonsai art!