Bonsai Trees for Dummies

If you are a gardener it is very likely that you have at least heard of Bonsai trees. Growing them is truly an art form on it’s own.

The word quite literally means a tree grown in a container or tray. The art of growing your own Bonsai involves carefully nurturing and shaping the developing plants so that they remain small and grow self contained from the plant tray.

Because they are growing in a tray rather than outdoors, they need extra special care to remain small and to stay healthy.

Extremes of anything will damage or limit the trees growth. The type of soil and ambient temperatures will have to be closely monitored. Even a small deviation either way may put the life of the tree in danger and may be counter productive.

If you over water the growing tree it will basically drown, form fungal growths and the roots will rot. Conversely If you don’t give the tree enough water, it’s roots will shrivel up and the plant will die.

The continuing development of your tree involves a complete system that works together to help the tree develop or not. If even just one variable is off then your tree may wither and die.

There are a various styles which would dictate the shape which your tree would grow into. A formal upright tree looks just like a miniature version of a full sized tree. It is the simplest to look after because there is very little experimentation needed to develop it. The two lowest branches have to pruned so that they grow slightly forward to provide balance. The Junipers and Spruce are the types of trees easiest to work with for this.

Another style is very similar to the formal upright except the top of the tree will curve to the left. The target is to have the tree look like it is in motion. The best trees for this style would be the Maple and Crab Apple tree.

The Slanting Bonsai tree has a very obvious slant to either side. The lowest branch should be growing out on the opposite side of the slant to provide balance. They are known as leaners; similar to trees that may sway or grow because of wind or gravity to grow in a slanted position.

The Cascade Bosai tree has an interesting look. The tree begins to grow upwards and then drops down below the container. This tree is a bit more challenging to grow because trees tend to grow up and not down, which is unnatural. It looks best planted off center in the tray.

A semi cascade Bonsai tree looks like a tree that started growing up straight and then cascades down. The cascade and the branches should lean slightly to the front, as this represents the front of the tree. The recommended trees for this style are the weeping willow and junipers.

Other styles are the Literati and Windswept.
It is always best to decide before you begin the process of planting the tree. If you change your mind, you will need to uproot it which could potentially damage the tree and cause it to die.