Passionate bonsaï-growers confirm that growing a tree in a pot demands nimble fingers and constant attention ! Naturally fragile, these miniature trees sculpted by hand need professsional attention if they are to survive !
There is no standard bonsaï , nor do bonsaï “seeds” exist ! Growing bonsaï is an ancestral Chinese art which consists of cultivating a “normal” tree or a bush in a pot. Almost all trees can be grown in this manner. Indeed, despite what people think, bonsaï-growing is not limited to specific types of trees. Needless to say, some trees with small leaves are easier grown than others.
The most frequently grown bonsaï are the black Japanese pine tree, the Japanese white pine, juniper trees, the Chinses elm and the Japanese maple trees. Other trees like the spindle, the olive tree, the cyprus, the cedar or even the vine give great results after a few years of intensive care. In fact, despite what people think, the most important aspect in the art of Bonsaï is the complex branch and root cutting techniques, and the repotting and watering necessary for bonsaï growing.
Another commonly held belief is that Bonsaï are indoor plants. This is completely false – the bonsaï is a tree, and prefers to grow in the garden or on a balcony, except in periods of severe frost. These trees need close attention, as they are rendered fragile by the fact that they grow in little soil and that they are miniaturized. For example in the summer, they need to be watered several times a day. Many beginners learn the hard way – leaving a bonsaï unattended for several days will kill it. This demand for constant attention explains why bonsaï growers are so passionate and patient. Indeed, the art of growing Bonsaï requires many years of practice before being fully mastered. Growing the “perfect” bonsaï demands great patience.
This art is recommended for gardeners with a ‘zen’ attitude ! It is highly recommended to learn the technique and the know-how from confirmed, specialst growers. The oldest recorded bonsaÎ is a Japanese white pine which dates from the year 1500. It can be seen in the Tagagi Bonsaï Museum in Tokyo.