The art of creating a bonsai is attributed to the Chinese and Japanese, who pioneered this art and made it accessible to the whole world. This art is over a thousand years old. In China it was during the Han Dynasty (206 B.C. – 220 A.D.) miniature gardens were created. Legend has it that an emperor of this dynasty wanted to view his entire kingdom from his window, hence a garden was created, complete with hills, valleys, rivers, lakes and trees.
However, some historians believe it was during the Tang dynasty some 200 years later, the art of bonsai was cultivated. It was during the Heian period (794 – 1191 A.D.) that Buddhist monks brought bonsai from China to Japan, where the Japanese perfected and refined this art, much of what we see, understand about the art of making bonsai can be safely credited to the Japanese. It was in the 19th century, bonsai came upon the western shores, and from then on bonsai art has dominated the landscaping scene. There are many bonsai trees types one can choose from, an amateur can also learn this art with relative ease by practicing and applying some tried and tested techniques. Read more on bonsai tree care instructions.
Bonsai are basically trees grown in pots, containers and trays, yet are very different than plants and trees planted in containers. Bonsai is not be confused with dwarf trees, they are full sized trees that are grown using basic bonsai techniques: root reduction, potting, pruning, wiring, defoliation, etc. The bonsai trees are basically miniatures of the large sized trees, and not dwarfs. Bonsai is not meant for production of food and medicine, but strictly meant for landscaping and home decor. A bonsai may be shaped in various formal or informal styles; slant, cascade, windswept, etc. Bonsai tree pots could be simple or unusually shaped trays made of plastic, wood, stone or ceramic. A bonsai tree pot has drainage holes in the bottom to allow excess water drainage, for covering holes with mesh to prevent soil from falling out, and for wiring the roots until the tree can bear down its sown weight. Read more on the art of growing a bonsai plant.
Bonsai Trees Types
There are a number of different types of Bonsai trees one can cultivate. Before you decide upon a tree, it is advisable to learn as much as one can about the tree’s basic requirements and amendments required to grow them as a bonsai. Following is a list of few bonsai trees types:
Azalea Bonsai: Azalea Bonsai is the most common form of bonsai known, and best for an amateur. The azalea has pretty flowers that accentuate the bonsai’s beauty. It should never be placed in full sun, and must be fed with suitable fertilizer before blooming starts.
Japanese Maple Bonsai: A shade loving bonsai, the Japanese maple bonsai tree is popular for its delicate foliage that turns a startling shade of red, orange or yellow. It is easy to shape in any desired style, however all pruning and styling should be done in spring.
Fukien Tea Bonsai: Fukien Tea bonsai tree is a very small genus of tropical trees that should be placed in direct sunlight for not more than an hour. As the leaves on the shoots are quite tiny, one can wire new shoots to shape the tree. It should be re-potted every 2-3 years, in early spring.
Pomegranate Bonsai: One of the favored deciduous bonsai trees, the pomegranate can be quite a colorful addition to your bonsai collection, with its bright green tiny leaves, red trumpet shaped flowers, and tiny round orange-ish red ornamental fruit.
Magnolia: A Magnolia is primarily a very slow growing shrub, that can be cultivated as a bonsai. This one requires patience, for it will be a good 25-30 years before it begins to bear flowers. The flowers are star shaped and white. With no leaves on the Mongolia, the flowers look extremely dramatic on the bonsai.
Flowering Crabapple: Any apple species would look great as a bonsai, but the flowering crabapple beats them all when it comes to absolute beauty. One can try different styles on crabapples too, although the upright formal type is more favored. The tree bears white, pink or red flowers and tiny green-red sour apples. They too are a great choice for beginners.
Bougainvillea Bonsai: This versatile tree or shrub, with its varied colored flowers and bright green foliage is one of the most abundantly found bonsai in most plant nurseries. They are easy to take care of and will grow real fast. They can very well be styled in a cascading manner, and are one of the few ones that enjoy full sun.
Other bonsai trees types include Jade bonsai, Dwarf Juniper, Chinese Elm, Bamboo, Cheery trees, Ginkgo, Cypress, White pine, Boxwood, etc. As you can see the list is endless, so one can create new beauties ever year, and keep adding on to your bonsai collection.