How To Create your Own Bonsai Tree
Bonsai trees are small trees cultivated in Japanese and other Asian gardens. However, these delightful plants are no longer limited to Asian homes. You can create your own bonsai tree with the right materials and a lot of patience and nurturing. Here’s how it’s done.
- Get a bonsai plant. As a beginner, your best bet is to buy a bonsai plant and maintain it yourself. Unless you’re an expert gardener, it’s very difficult to grow a bonsai from seeds. You can purchase a cutting from a bonsai grower. Select one that has a sturdy trunk and plenty of leaves. Some popular trees that are made into bonsai are ficus, cedar elm, Japanese black pine, wisteria and juniper. If you’re unsure, stick with a ficus tree.
- Get the pot or tray. Unlike traditional gardening, bonsai requires a shallow pot. That is why its name literally translates to “tray gardening”. Fill it up with the appropriate bonsai soil, which you can also purchase from the bonsai dealer. If you use regular soil, it may not work for the overall health of the plant. Using bonsai dirt is better than regular potting soil because it has more suited drainage properties.
- Trim the roots. Before planting the cutting into the soil, you need to trim the roots. This is one reason why bonsais don’t grow up to be very big plants. Right at the start, the roots are trimmed to prevent its growth. Cut off a third of the length of the roots to prepare it for planting.
- Prune the plant. Once you planted the bonsai in the soil, you need to prune the branches regularly. Include pruning the feeder roots, which are the roots that are close to the soil surface and provides the plant with most of its nourishment. Trimming the feeder roots and pruning the branches is the way to control the growth of the plant
- Train your bonsai. To force the growth of the plant in a certain way, use aluminum foil to tie down a portion of the trunk. This will help contain the plant and redirect the growth of the branches as desired. This is the method used to create a certain look for your plant.
- Repot after every two years. Regularly prune the branches and leaves of the bonsai to minimize the growth of foliage. After two years, your plant will have outgrown its pot so it’s time to transfer it to a wider pot. When you transfer it, you need to once again cut of a third of the roots to minimize its growth.
- Give it TLC. All plants need adequate sunlight and water, and bonsai trees are no exception. You may also use fertilizer on the soil for more nutrients, as it is depleted by the plant after several months.
Bonsai enthusiasts claim this hobby fosters discipline and patience while incorporating one’s love for gardening. Once you get a knack for this challenging yet delightful hobby, you may decide to work on another bonsai tree.