ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Bonsai Miniature Trees and Natural Scenes

Updated on January 19, 2016

Bonsai is the art of transforming trees and landscapes into a small container. Bonsai, which is translated as planting tray, first arrived in Japan with Buddhists priests. It is an art form that takes years for the practitioner to perfect. Trees and plants in small containers can range from 2” to 24 “. Some trees live for 20, 30, or 50 years, but are pruned to remain in the small container. The Mane bonsai are mature trees that measure 2 inches tall.

The Buddhist Art Form

The practice or hobby of Bonsai portrays a gentle respect for nature. As with many art forms that relate to practices that the Buddhist brought to Japan, high-ranking nobility were the first to enjoy and practice the art form. The Zen Buddhist monks with the emphasis on simplicity practiced bonsai by removing all from the plants leaves revealing the simple elegance of nature. Later in the 17th century, many Japanese outside of priest and nobility began to practice the hobby. When Japan was open to Westerners, the art form began to be studied by foreigners and respected as a form of art. The core elements of bonsai are to portray the beauty, truth, and the essence of life. Buddhist use the art to reveal how human should shrink from their evil nature just as the full ground tree shrinks in size.

Natural Scenes

Some arrangements have an entire landscape with lakes, mountains, grasses, and other natural formations. There can be small houses, people, and other man-made additions to these natural scenes. The trees should appear as it would in a natural scene only in miniature form. The decision to add figures to the natural scenes depends on the designer. The designer will dwarf the tree or plants depending on the scene he has chosen. The scene, plant, and dish chosen should complement each other for a harmonious scene

Types of Bonsai

In Japan, Bonsai is usually a lifelong hobby. There are contests and showing where the public can enjoy the works of these masters. There are multiple types of bonsai arrangements.

They are:

  • Formal Straight. The trees trucks or limbs may be twisted, but the plant continues to grow straight up.
  • Slant Cascade. This type of bonsai often looks as if it is bending with strong winds.
  • Rock. This type of bonsai is transplanted with the roots wrapped around a rock or in soft rock that will allow the roots to grow through.
  • Forest. This type of bonsai is similar to a miniature forest in nature.

Creating a Bonsai

Creating a miniature tree can be accomplished by precise pruning.

  • Trimming the roots
  • Cutting the taproot
  • Size is also determined and controlled by the size of dish.
  • Trimming the tree to the desired shape, and viewing from all sides.
  • To miniaturize leaves, the first leaves of spring should be removed and the second growth will produce smaller leaves.

Some designers require that the tree be wired to grow in a certain direction. Also twisting branches daily will slow down the growth of the tree. The tree, like any other, must have fertilizer and sun light. Most trees will be kept outside in the natural environment and never allowed to become completely dry. Depending on the types of plants, water should be done daily, and in some cases several times a day Depending on the type of plant, care should be taken not to over water. Only plants grown inside can be kept inside during the winter. Misting of the leaves may also be required during warmer days.

  • Bonsai prefer the morning and evening sun. Put the container where it can have both while allowing it to be positioned in a shaded area from the hot mid-day sun.

The Chinese version of the Bonsai is called pun-sai and is a more free form than the Japanese versions.

Landscapes of Bonsai can include sand in areas that draws on the Zen Gardens design. Some gardeners prune the trees to look like they are windblown while others may stretch their small tree across a rock for a breathtaking arrangement. Plants will take on shapes that are part of their natural growth and may provide for a result that the practitioner will have to respect and work into the design

Tools You'll Need

What is needed to start a bonsai plant is:

  • A tree. Choose plants that grow best in your area.
  • Choose your dish. Give thought about the color of the dish and how it may compliment the natural color of the tree you plant.
  • Study designs and think what type of look is desired when the bonsai should have when mature.
  • Punning equipment
  • There are books and clubs that can help along the way.
  • Once your tree begins to grow, it can be replanted depending on the size and the final designed desired.
  • Techniques for different designs maybe complicated and guidance may be needed.

This is a hobby that may take a lifetime. One does not have to practice Buddhism to enjoy the practice of bonsai. Many masters feel they are never finished. It is also a gentle hobby that requires quiet time and contemplation


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      Great post! I have a japanese maple bonsai tree and it's quite the pleasure when I have to prune and wire it. Bonsai trees are becoming more popular and many people try to grow their own. Here's another rather humorous post about bonsai that you might find interesting :


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)