From valuable lessons for newcomers, to helpful reminders for old hands, this article is filled with tips for everyone.
The philosophy behind it was naturalism and Confucianism. It is the chinese philosophy that true freedom will be found in nature. Adapting your mind to nature will give you piece of mind and freedom from suffering, selfishness and greed.Some references say that the Japanese were start first to start Bonsai but such references do not understand the historical background of bonsai.
Bonsai is a Japanese word, that means PLANTED IN A CONTAINER , The Chinese word for Bonsai is PUN-JAI.The Korean word is BUN-JAE.They all mean the same thing.
1. How to make a Bonsai
The most important thing is to understand is the philosophy of Confucianism.
When traveling in the mountains or other natural landscapes we find tree branches broken by lightening, trees bent over and slanted by the wind, trees standing on a base of a rocky mountain, trees crooked by rocks or whatever. These are very interesting scenes of nature. We try to copy them with trees of such natural beauty. We try to make a copy of a grove of trees in the mountains, or a total view of the mountain itself when planting trees in one pot.
These elements should be sought before we start to trim and bend plants. This is how a Bonsai is made.
The first step is to take the plant out of the container if you want to make the Bonsai in a container. A plant in the ground should be worked at, on the ground.
Grove appearance or mass planting: Sow the seed and transplant it with a group of seedlings. After they get old it is very difficult to plant many trees in a small container.
Old tree appearance :
Purchase a plant from a nursery in a container, which has a large diameter at the base or trunk. Trim off all the branches from the base of the trunk. This will expose that old look. Also, you can propagate from cuttings or air layering.
Branches broken by wind or lightning: Do not try to cut with a knife. It will look artificial. Try to snap it by hand, if difficult to snap then use a knife for a little help and finish off by hand. Also, you can peel off the bark from the tree or part of the tree or from only one side. Use a knife and your finger.
Appearance of another tree growing together or unusual appearance: Use budding, cleft, and side grafting.
Pruning roots :
Cut roots to encourage new root growth. You can cut 1/3rd of the total root mass, from the side and bottom. If it is difficult to cut because there is too much soil around the root, then wash it out with water. It is easily planted into a small pot. If you want to plant in the ground, you do not need this kind of process.
Pruning Branches :
Never trim a Bonsai with shears. It appears artificial.Always use thinning or heading back. Cut off straight upright branches, downward branches and unnecessary branches.
Shapes can be created with wiring.
ide open branches can be tied together. Copper wire is the best. It is flexible and easy to bend and hold better. The size of wire to use is gage number 10, 12, 14,16, 18. The smaller number is a heavier wire. Make your own decision on which number wire to use. Any wire can be handled and bent to the particular branch or trunk.
Start twisting around the trunk 1/4 to 2 inch apart and between the branches. For a small a branch area use smaller wire and closer to 1/4 inches apart. This will make a certain form and hold it.
3. Soil mixture
Use 50% of sand, 25% of peat moss and 25% of loam soil.
4. Decoration on the surface of the soilDisplay with stone or small rocks and moss around.
Remove wire : When the plant establishes a certain form. It will take 6 months to 1 year or longer.
Repotting : If the soil is old or the roots are getting too large, it should be repotted. At that time you can trim off the root mass.
Watering : In a container, water dries out fast and if you use a shallow pot (what they call a Bonsai pot). It will not hold much water. Should be watered frequently. You can tell by looking at the surface of the soil.
Display : Should be left in full sun light but if it is in a shallow pot it will dry out too fast. Therefore, display in a at filtered light area which has less evaporation.
Insect and disease control: Same as other plants.
Fertilizing : Fertilize with complete fertilizer.
6. Popular plants used for BonsaiBamboo, Camellia, Cypress, Beech, Ash, Ivy, Flowering quince, Dogwood, Hawthorn, Persimmon, Ginkgo, Holly, Juniper, Pine, Flowering plum, Pyracantha, Oak, Willow, Wisteria, Elm, Azalea and spruce.