Bonsai Plants: Getting Started

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Bonsai Plants: Getting Started

Staff Writer · Sep 21, 2009

Indoor plants give an apartment a warm, cozy feeling; bonsai plants (banzai trees are small trees) take that warm feeling to a higher level. They are appealing and beautiful, they are a millennia-old art form, and with a few simple instructions they can be easily grown in your apartment.

The Whole Form

The bonsai tree is an art of growing miniature trees developed in the 7th century in Japan. Bonsai trees join with the pot to create a delightful form; the pot is integral in growing the tree. Since bonsai literally means ‘tray planting’, one can understand that the tray is highly important to this art form.

Shaping the Tree

A bonsai tree left unshaped will look nothing like a bonsai tree should; nature should not be allowed to take its course without any intervention or it won’t achieve the desired look (to actually look like an actual large tree, on a small scale). There are five main styles to tree maintenance: formal upright, informal upright, slanting style, cascade, and semi-cascade. Formal upright has a traditional Christmas tree-like taper from small at the top to flaring evenly to a larger bottom. Informal upright is similar to the formal upright, but it is more windswept and organic looking in appearance. Slanting style is for trees that have a leaning trunk, with the branches high away from the base and angling to the side the trunk leans. Cascade style has a naturally tapering trunk and angling foliage so that the tip of the tree dips below the base of the container. Semi-cascade, like the cascade, projects down to the ridge of the container but not below it.

Watering the Bonsai

The frequency in which to water the bonsai depends on the environmental conditions. If it is subjected to a drying wind or high heat that will quickly rob the soil of moisture, it will need more frequent waterings. If the trees are kept outside, they should be watered from several times a week to daily in the summer and less in the winter as the rains wet them naturally. If the air is excessively dry, a misting of the branches and trunk once a week will help the bonsai stay moist.

Keeping a Bonsai Inside

A bonsai can be kept inside easily, but only if it is an indoor bonsai. When purchasing the tree, be sure that it is not an outdoor bonsai, as those plants can only be happily indoors for 3 days a month. Elm, Baby Jade, Bay Leaf, Banyan Fig, Brazilian Raintree, Brush Cherry, Ficus, and Chinese Flowering White can all be grow easily and happily indoors. The bonsai should get plenty of light and regular fertilization, as with any indoor plant. If you live in a mild climate, place the tree on a patio or porch as often as temperatures permit. The bonsai likes the same kind of temperatures that you do, so if you are comfortable outside, your bonsai will be as well.

Enjoy the Beautiful Bonsai

Your indoor bonsai tree can grow into a beautiful living art piece with proper care. It will bring many hours of enjoyment and a more beautiful atmosphere to any room.

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