How to Grow Bonsai?

Before answering the question of how to grow bonsai let us first understand what exactly bonsai means. Bonsai is the ancient art of creating miniature plants by adapting several techniques which enforce a controlled growth of the plants.

Bonsai plants are not genetically modified to be dwarf; rather it is the constant pruning and other controlling mechanisms that keep the plant small.

This art originated in China, where it is called as penjing, and then was picked up by other Asian countries like Japan, Korea, Vietnam etc. It was only in Japan that it fully developed and caught on the fascination of the whole world.

Some aspects that will answer your how to grow bonsai question are detailed as below

  • Selection of proper plant species to grow as bonsai.
  • Selection of a good source of plant material for the bonsai plant.
  • Selection of a good quality container for the bonsai plant.
  • Selecting of the bonsai style for the plant. We will cover this in detail shortly.
  • General care and maintenance of the bonsai plant which includes activities like pruning, repotting, fertilizing, watering and protection of the plant against extremities of weather and climate.

Basis of Bonsai Styles

If you really wish to understand how to grow bonsai then it’s always a great idea to get started with some knowledge about the possible design options. Here’s the basis on which bonsai styles are segregated

  • Trunk angle, lean and number of trunks can be used to differentiate styles. The lean could either be upright, slanting or cascading.
  • Exposure of roots like the Root over rock style or expose root style.
  • Based on the shape of the branches like broom style, weeping style or windswept style.

The various styles available to grow bonsai are listed below

  • Formal upright style

    The formal upright bonsai is designed such that the plant grows in a straight line with the apex in line with the trunk of the plant. Plant species which are most commonly used for the formal upright style are pines. The formal upright style gives a stately look to the plant.

  • Informal upright style

    In informal upright style bonsai the trunk emerges at an angle from the soil and curves one or more times but the apex falls relatively on the same line as the trunk.

  • Slanting style

    In the slanting style bonsai the trunk emerges at an angle to the soil and the apex is not in the same line as the trunk. Slanting style bonsai have either curved or straight trunk.

  • Broom style

    The broom style bonsai have a relatively straight trunk with foliage mass shaped in the form of an upside down broom.

  • Semi-Cascade style of bonsai

    In a semi-cascade style bonsai the foliage growth extends below the top rim of the bonsai pot but does not extend below the bottom of the bonsai container.

  • Cascade style bonsai

    In the cascade-style bonsai the growth of the bonsai plant extends beyond the bottom of the container in which the plant is potted.

  • Forest style bonsai

    In this type of bonsai plantation a group of bonsai plants, usually three or more plants are planted in the same bonsai pot. All the plants used usually belong to the same species.

  • Raft style bonsai

    The raft style bonsai is designed to replicate trees from nature which are flattened to the ground and some portion of the trunk is covered with soil, although it is not separated from the tree. This might have happened due to natural calamities like earthquake, landslide, avalanche etc. It is one of the comparatively difficult bonsai styles to grow.

In addition to these common styles there are several other bonsai styles, further more it is left to the imagination of the bonsai enthusiast to come up with new styles.

Hope you got a rough idea about various stages involved in growing bonsai and the specific designs that you may go for.

Although this article might not have answered your how to grow bonsai questions in entirety, I believe this will serve as a good starting point in your pursuit of bonsai knowledge.

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