The Magical World of Bonsai
This dwarf Juniper bonsai tree from Japan is the most popular evergreen in the U.S. When we think of a traditional bonsai tree and what it should look like, we think of a "Juniper Procumbens Nana." It is very hardy, long-lived, and tolerates many adverse conditions. This is an excellent tree for the beginner.
In order to appreciate bonsai you must imagine yourself scaled down several times up until you reach the size of a gnome. Then you may envision yourself resting under a bonsai tree and enjoying its shade. You could almost hear its leaves moving as they follow the breeze. The tree will look so majestic through your eyes because of your small size! Now awaken, and grow back to your usual human size and enjoy the bonsai in all its magnificence: this miniature tree is so precious! Look at its particulars and how adorable its little branches are. The leaves are so tiny you can hardly believe you are admiring a real tree. Yet, bonsai trees are not the fruit of imagination, rather they are the result of some very smart Chinese practices.
The word bonsai derives from the Chinese term ''penzai'' which depicts the typical tray pots used to raise bonsai trees. Bonsai trees can be basically created from any tree that is allowed to grow in a small pot and has its roots, branches and trunk pruned. Their main function is for personal contemplation, making them great conversation pieces and sources for hobbies.
In order to thrive, bonsai need some tender loving care. Water them too little or too much and this may have some devastating effects on the tree. Indeed, bonsai need the correct amount of water, too little may cause the tree to suffer from drought, too much may create the ideal grounds for fungal infections and root rot.
As small as bonsai are, it must not be forgotten that they still retain special needs as if they were normal big trees. Deciduous varieties will still lose their leaves and others may need to be kept outdoors because outside is their ideal environment. Trees that are native of other countries will require a replication of the climate of their country of origin to effectively thrive.
Most original bonsai that derive from the Japanese tradition require generally moderate temperatures, humidity, and access to full sun in the summer. These trees become dormant in the winter and may need near freezing temperatures. In order to meet such requirements, the tree most likely must be kept outdoors.
There are several types of bonsai styles exhibiting straight upright trunks, curvy trunks, trunks that emerge from the soil at a specific angle and some bonsai are grown in a forest style creating the illusion of a small forest. Unlike what some people think, creating a bonsai is not cruel. With the right amount of water and nutrients bonsai get to thrive and often even outlive the average life span of their full grown species.
Creating a bonsai is part art and part horticulture, giving life to unique masterpieces. While it may some time and a lot of patience to create bonsai, contemplating it can be a great rewarding experience like no other. Just imagine yourself as being a gnome wandering in a bonsai forest...
One of the most popular indoor bonsai, the dwarf jade is also one of the easiest to grow. It adapts well to low light, is easy to maintain, responds to any training style, and develops quickly.