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BellaOnline's Japanese Culture Editor

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Bonsai Tree - True Art in a Plant

Guest Author - Joy Alari

The Bonsai tree is a form of Japanese Art, where miniature trees are grown in containers, the origins of the Bonsai tree can be traced back a thousand years and its neither cultivated for food or medicine but solely for Art and viewing pleasure.

The oldest known Bonasi tree is 500 years old and counting cos it still growing at the Tokyo Imperial Palace, the Bonsai tree is a National Treasure of Japan and during the second World War, the gardeners who loved and cared for these trees, continued to care and protect the Bonsai trees, even at the expenses of their lives!

If you want to get the full potentials of a Bonsai tree, you must really devote time to it, cos Bonsai trees need special as well as long term care. Propagation of a Bonsai tree, is either by getting stock directly from a nursery, cutting, layering or even getting it straight from the wild and buying from a grower.

There are different styles for Bonsai trees, the popular ones are:
Slanting: Also called Shakan, these type of Bonsai tree always have a straight trunk with its tip, slanting down to the right or left of its root.

Formal Upright: These type of Bonsai tree are called Chokkan, they also have a straight upright trunk but the branches grow from the thickest at the bottom, to the shortest at the tip.

Informal Upright: Similar to the Formal Upright but it adopts a curve as it grows, they are also called Moyogi.

Cascade: Also called Kengai, these Bonsai trees are modeled after plants, that grow either on a mountain side or on water.

Semi-Cascade: Also called Han Kengai, the tip of this Bonsai tree always grows lower than its pot.

Raft: Also referred to as Netsuranari, this Bonsai tree grows in a very peculiar way, its branches at the top grows in group of trunks, which always makes it appear like a forest of trees!

Bonsai trees can be kept in or outdoors but the former is usually better, they are mostly grown in containers such as ceramic pots, which comes in different shapes and sizes but must have drainage holes at the bottom, which is covered with screening to prevent infestation by pests and to also ensure that soil is not lost. The best pots must have vertical sides for easy care, especially for the tree’s roots.

Some Bonsai trees have being known to grow, as high as 60 to 80 inches and as low as 1 to 3 inches, today there are many exhibitions in Japan that showcase these beautiful amazing works of Art, one of such exhibition is held every February in Japan.

There are also several books, teaching the art of cultivation and care but here are some vital tips, to keep this amazing tree maturing nicely.

Tips for caring for a Bonsai tree

1. You must water the tree regularly or as when required, as most Bonsai soil need to either be moist or dry.

2. Always use the right type of soil and fertilizer for your Bonsai tree.

3. If you want to repot the tree, try to do it in intervals or as required by the age of the tree.

4. Wiring of the trunks and branches with a clamping device, is also very important as this is what creates the desired shape of your Bonsai.

5. Where you put your Bonsai is also vital, most species do well indoors and others don’t, so much thought should be given, to the type you want to cultivate and where you want them placed.

6. Selection of the container should suit the size, height and thickness of the trunk.

7. Defoliation also helps for short term dwarfing of foliage, though this is for certain species.

8. Deadwood Bonsai Techniques such as Jin and Shari are very helpful, as they aid in the maturing of the tree.

9. Trimming of the tree is very important, so also pruning of its trunk, branches and roots.
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Content copyright © 2014 by Joy Alari. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Joy Alari. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Ching Kin Min for details.

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