What is Bonsai?
Bonsai is the Japanese art form of growing trees in containers, these are shaped and styled to represent miniature versions of full size trees or forests. We use the term “Bonsai” to describe all miniature trees in pots but actually this covers “Penzai”; which is the Chinese art form that Bonsai derived from and “hòn non bộ” which is the Vietnamese form of creating miniature landscapes.
Are Bonsai easy to grow?
As with all plants it takes time to learn the best way to grow and maintain Bonsai; however there are plenty of easier trees for beginners to take advantage of. You should look for trees that are quite sturdy, grow well and that you won’t have to work too hard to encourage its growth. Buying from an experienced seller is a must when buying your first Bonsai tree, here at Stones Garden Centre we are specialists in Bonsai and can advise on the best plants for you.
What Bonsai Trees are the best for beginners?
By far the easiest trees to grow are the Hemlock and Maple; you may also choose Juniper, Cherry Blossom, Azalea, Elm, Pine or Cotoneaster as these also make great first Bonsai.
Shaping and Styling a new Bonsai Tree
If you plan on shaping your own tree it is better to choose one which is young so that it has small and supple branches, these will be easier to bend and shape with wire than an older, more established tree with thicker branches.
Forest Style – A very popular style with beginners is where you have several trees in one pot with varying height to create a forest, mostly 3-5 are used in a forest scene but for larger groups odd groupings are preferred.
Upright Style – This is the most formal shape with a central tapering trunk, when there are a few curves in the trunk of an upright tree this is then known as the informal upright style.
Cascading – a beautiful style that creates a flowing, cascading tree with the branches being weaved around the pot back and forth.
Good Bonsai tools are really important, it is recommended that you have a rake, shears, branch cutters and wire cutters.
GENERAL CARE & MAINTENANCE
The best way to start to learn the watering requirements for you tree is to once a week submerge the pot and soil into a tub of water, once all the air bubbles have stopped reaching the surface of the water the soil should be adequately soaked. Remove the Bonsai from the water and allow the excess water to drain. Working out the right amount of water is imperative to the trees survival, too much water and the roots will rot, too little and they will dry out. As a general rule of thumb the soil should be damp to the touch but not soaking wet, never let the tree dry out.
We have a selection of specially formulated soil for Bonsai in-store, the exact requirements and mix will vary dependant on the tree that you have. Some species will require a more free draining soil or slightly more acidic than others. If you are unsure of what you need just ask and we will do our best to guide you.
Pot shape is really important, you should look for a pot that is 2/3 to 3/4 as wide as the canopy of the Bonsai tree, the height of the pot should be able t cover the trunk, but can vary dependent on the way the roots grow. If the pot is too small your tree will lack substantial growth.
With such shallow roots Bonsai are at risk of drying out quickly, it is important during summer months to make sure that they are kept in shade to stop the soil and delicate leaves drying out quickly, If keeping your tree inside make sure it is near a window or doorway so that it gets plenty of light.
Trimming is similar to pruning and is essential to promote growth, we recommend buying a book on shaping and trimming as if done incorrectly can ruin a tree forever.
Re-potting will need to be done after a years growth, the roots will start to beome very dense and will need teasing out with a rake and more room to grow. You should plant into a larger pot to encourage new growth and development of your tree.
Looking for a custom designed Bonsai?
We can make customised Bonsai trees, got an idea or looking for a specific type and shape of Bonsai? Then give our Bonsai team a call on 01795 580 411 or email firstname.lastname@example.org with your requirements.