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Special Section on Growing and Sculpting Bonsai Trees

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What Is A Bonsai?

When you hear ‘bonsai’, probably the first image that comes to your mind is a miniature tree.

    Aesthetic miniaturization of trees that are grown in the containers is an art form practiced by Japanese, Chinese and Koreans.

    For the Chinese, it is ‘penjing’, for the Korean ‘bunjae’, whereas for the Japanese, the term is ‘bonsai.’

    The Chinese were the first to grow miniature-size trees in containers. They started doing so around 200 CE.

    Did you know that it was how herbal healers transported medicinal plants?
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bonzai sculptured decorative tree     Bonsai trees are grown for both indoor and outdoor enjoyment and display.

     There are various kinds of bonsai – slant, formal upright, informal upright, raft, literati, cascade, semi-cascade and the forest/group.

     The slant style bonsai is like the straight trunk of any upright tree. The apex extends to the right or the left of the base. The formal upright is similar to a straight and tapered trunk. This is as opposed to the informal upright that has curves and bends with the apex usually found directly above the roots.

     The raft bonsai is considered to be a rare phenomenon because it takes place after a tree is toppled from natural force or erosion. The branches then expose the edge of the trunk. Roots grow from these buried portions. 

cascading bonzai tree design
     Cascades are models of trees that grow on the side of the mountains and the water’s surface. The tip or the apex of a cascade bonsai reaches underneath the lip of the pot.

forest or group bonzai   A forest or group bonsai is a group of trees that grow altogether in a pot. These are usually of a similar species.

     Bonsai are classed according to their sizes. There are styles and techniques associated to the shito and mame bonsais. These are the bonsais that are grown in pots as small as thimbles.

     The bonsai enthusiast knows that the smaller the size of the bonsai, the greater the care required. The miniature sized bonsai often requires special attention.

               Japanes garden with bonzai specimens

             Bonsai is often found in the center of a garden set alongside an
             urban or wild landscape.

There are Many Benefits to gain from Bonsai Growing as a Hobby

      Long-Lasting – Plants are living creatures just like us. Moreover, they can even live longer than we do as long as we continually care for them properly. If you choose a bonsai growing hobby, it’s definitely one that can and will last a lifetime if you wish.

     Relaxing – There’s something uniquely soothing about caring for bonsai plants. As you go about your daily routine in watering and cutting bonsai plants, you’ll find your stress slowly leaking away leaving you with an overall feeling of contentment.

     Bonsai growers are a special lot a little bit removed from your regular gardener or plant fan. They are patient, skilled and determined and they seem to speak a language that's all their own.

If you've been bitten by the bonsai bug and are still in denial,
            here are a few more reasons why you should give in:

    yes you can bonzai fruit trees A chance to create a living work of art — Growing bonsai is more than just having a green thumb and knowing which soil goes with what species. It can actually be an artistic endeavor.

replanting a bonzai tree     It's relaxing — The whole process of growing bonsai requires a zen-like state of mind.

     Pruning, trimming, repotting, watering – these are simple, regular processes used with most plants but with bonsai, they are taken to a higher level.

     Growing bonsai is a test of patience — People say that patience is a virtue and it is absolutely true with bonsai. Growing it is a test of persistence and if you haven’t got it, better consider a different hobby.

     A chance to watch something grow old with you — Bonsai isn't a plant you can trifle with. Once you choose to grow bonsai, you are expected to be in it for the long haul. Bonsai can grow to be your age and many prized plants have grown to be more than a hundred and continue to become sturdier, healthier and more beautiful as the years pass.

     Growing bonsai is aesthetically logical — Bonsai is attractive. People grow them, gravitate towards them, admire them because they are beautiful living works of art. So if you feel yourself falling, give in. It will be worth it.
Growing bonsai gives you a chance to create a lasting memento of your passion.

    It may, in fact, become one of the best legacies you can leave to your children and your grandchildren.

bonzai display

Growing Bonsai is Easy and Fun

     Bonsai trees aren’t difficult to care for. If you have the experience of growing other household plants, then you’re sure to succeed with a bonsai. The only difference is that Bonsai trees are actually shrubs and trees.

bonzai clipper tool     Their heights are stunted artificially by tying the branches using wires or pruning branches and roots. This practice started in China and was later adapted by the Japanese.

     Please don't think that planting a tree in a small container can magically turn into a bonsai. It takes continuous shaping and pruning. It also depends on the kind of species you have.

But it doesn't have to be a mystery!

... and you don't have to go far to find advice and instructions that will guide you to creating your own beautiful Bonsai trees.


1. BonsaI books are available from many sources. Here's an inexpensive guide with getting started help for the beginner and expert advice for the more advanced gardener.

Growing, timming and grooming book on bonzai techniques

        CLICK HERE for
        ordering information

   Everyone has to start somewhere. “Bonsai Trees: Growing, Trimming, Pruning, and Sculpting” – is a definitive guide to get you on your way.

  You’ll not only get information on successfully growing bonsai trees, you’ll learn how to craft them into a work of art
with these guides -
  • How to Plant your bonsai

  • Prune and trim your bonsai into the style you want

  • Wire the tree

  • When and how to water and fertilize

  • Repot the plant

  • Where and how to display your bonsai

  • Take care of outdoor bonsai in cold weather

  • And much, much more!

2. Dallas Bonsai Garden offers  a complete line of Japanese bonsai supplies  — tools, pots, soils, mud men, books, instructional videos, Japanese bonsai picture books and magazines.

3. Bonsai Tools available from Johnson Roth Ltd.
Catalog page here

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