But to grow a bonsai it’s not only about gardening. It also has a therapeutic value, plus enables patience and fortitude and it’s a great activity for relaxing purposes. A bonsai can be with you until the end of your days. In fact, ancient Chinese believed that those who could take care of a miniature tree for a long time got eternity granted for their soul. For them a tree could be the connection between the holy and the human, between heaven and earth.
The first records of people growing bonsais are located in China. However the Japanese are responsible for developing and improving the art as we know it today. Contrary to what most people believe, bonsais are not genetically dwarfed plants, they are kept small by a series of techniques and steps that, if done properly, would allow the tree to live as long as their original specie. Any tree can be grown as a bonsai. However you have to think about many details before starting.
BEFORE YOU START
Before asking yourself how to grow a bonsai, you should consider which specie you would like to plant and also the conditions of your home, surrounding environment and climate. There are a few options that could be good for starters, such as the Chinese elm and the Japanese black pine. Keep also in mind that any tree can become a bonsai, but details like leave size should be thought about. A lot of people prefer trees with small leaves, because are easier to model.
There’s also another consideration you should make when planning to grow a bonsai: There are many ways to do it. You could star from zero, which means buying seeds from a shop or picking them up near the trees around your home or in the wild. You could also find or buy a young plant, called a “prebonsai”, which consist of a germinated tree in early stage. That way the whole process becomes faster, even though remember: to grow a bonsai is also an exercise of patience. The last option may be the easiest but also the least educational: that is to buy a full grown bonsai. In that case you would only have to do caring activities. It’s important to know: There are no “bonsai seeds”. If someone offers you such a product he’s either lying or don’t know much about bonsai. The seed which a bonsai comes from is just a regular tree seed, the process of making a bonsai comes later, after it is germinated.
THE CHEAPEST AND NICEST WAY
To grow a bonsai from seed is a slow and hard working process but is also the most rewarding way to do it. It may take years and you may fail at first, but as long as you keep trying and feel passionate about it you’ll be amazed by the results.
If you’re a starter then you’ll probably don’t want to wait that long for results. What most people recommend is to buy a prebonsai, or find one in a forest near your home (remember that a prebonsai is nothing more than a tree in its early stages). In case you decide the second option there are many considerations. You need permission from the landowner to do it. Also you have to be very careful on not damaging the roots when digging. There is also a specific time of the year to do it: the first weeks of spring.
When you grow a bonsai from seed you should do the planting on autumn, so they start germinating in spring. It’s always better to select trees that can adapt easily to the climate of the place you live; that way it’ll work in our favor.