Want to Grow Something Fun and Different? How About Bonsai

Are you thinking about growing something fun and different? Bonsai is a great option to consider.

Let’s Look at the Ancient Oriental Art of Bonsai

Bonsai is from the Japanese word bon, meaning container, and sai, meaning planting, so a planting in a container. The correct pronunciation is more like bone-sigh, not Bahn-zai.

Bonsai is an Oriental art form referring to how a plant is trained—so many different types of plants can be trained as bonsai. While they need more care than other houseplants, they’re fun. So if you’re looking for an exciting and unusual plant for your home or office, would a bonsai work?

Are Bonsai Plants for Me?

Well, here are a few things to know:

The vast majority of plants grown as bonsai must have some direct sun. Watering, too, can be a challenge because of the very shallow containers in which they are grown. Water when the soil is dry about a half inch down—this may be two or three times a week. Never allow a plant to wilt.

Even established plants need hands-on maintenance—root pruning and shaping. Then there is the training. In Japan, there are specific guides for training. If you’re giving someone a bonsai as a gift, you might want to give them a book on bonsai, particularly one with pictures.

What Kinds of Plants Can You Use?

You need to find out if your plant is indoor or outdoor. Outdoor plants like small evergreens and deciduous trees like Japanese maples are relatively easy to grow—just not indoors!

Both evergreens and deciduous trees need a lot of sun during the summer and a cold winter, so they are best suited for growing outside during the summer and living in cold frames for the winter. Because their roots are above ground and exposed to the elements, they cannot be unprotected. Lacking a cold frame, You might try mulching the plant well for the winter.

Bonsai can be a little more work than other plants, but they are not difficult if their conditions can be met, and they are beautiful and rewarding.

The Richmond Bonsai Society is an excellent resource for those starting bonsai. Be sure to come in and check out our selection of “starter” plants.

To read more posts from Bonnie, visit our blog

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