Bonsai trees are a unique, living ornament for your home. Contrary to what you might think, they are not dwarf plants. They are regular trees that have been carefully cultivated to maintain a smaller-than-normal size. This means bonsai come in a wide variety of species, so you can have a whole miniature forest of different trees, if that strikes your fancy. Here is how to get started with bonsai in your home.
Bonsai has been around for more than 1,000 years. It emerged from Chinese horticultural knowledge and was refined by Japanese Zen practitioners. They appreciated austerity and simplicity, so would cultivate single trees in a pot. Gradually the practice spread, travelling to Europe after Japan opened up in the 1800s. Today, bonsai is a popular pastime time for gardeners, horticulturists, and anyone who enjoys the beauty of its living craft.
The best way to begin with bonsai is to buy some different types of bonsai trees. Many companies sell kits that include the plant and instructions to get you started. It’s a good idea to start with a hardy species, such as jade, that doesn’t need daily watering. As you get accustomed to taking care of bonsai you can buy plants that require more care.
These tiny trees require a bit more attention than ordinary houseplants. To keep your bonsai thriving, you will need a few items from the hardware store. The most important thing is to invest in some good sharp shears and cutters. Pruning is how you train the tree to the correct size and shape, so it is worth getting the equipment to do it right. Bonsai Empire has a detailed list of the various cutting tools available. Once you get further into bonsai, you will also need wire and wire cutters, as wire is used to train branches to grow a certain direction.
Like all plants, bonsai needs regular watering, though how often depends on the species. You should water your bonsai when the soil is dry to the depth of 2cm or so, watering it well to saturate the roots. You will also need to fertilise occasionally, according to the type of plant. Bonsai trees need to be repotted at intervals. If they are relatively young, every one to two years; older trees can go three to five years in the same pot. Be sure to use the correct type of soil for the specific tree to ensure it keeps thriving.
Bonsai plants can thrive both indoors and outdoors, especially in Ibiza’s mild climate. Arranging and rearranging bonsai is a great way to change the look and feel of your home or garden. You can group several plants together to form a miniature landscape, or choose a single striking tree to stand alone. Placing them alongside other plants can create pleasing contrasts. Let your imagination be your guide!
What type of tree would you love to have in miniature? Share in the comments.