The Japanese art of Bonsai needs a lot of perfection and can be challenging even to a seasoned bonsai expert, but the efforts are worth the pleasure. Though many give up after some time complaining that the plants have dried up or are not growing properly, patience and perseverance can be fruitful.
Here Are Some Guidelines For Beginners Of This Beautiful Art
Selecting Your Tree
The type of tree depends on your individual choice but keep the climatic conditions of your place in mind when you select. Also decide whether you want your bonsai to be indoors or outdoors. If you are too confused, take the advice of your local nursery guy. Though many people love growing their bonsai garden from scratch, as a beginner, you would do better to get a trained bonsai from a nursery. But since they are grown by professionals, they might be heavy on your pockets. So if you want the complete experience of it and also keep your passion economical, train your own bonsai!
The Right Soil
There is no soil that can be perfect for every bonsai. Soil needs vary from one tree to another hence choose it according to what you decide to grow. Ideally, the right soil should have adequate drainage so that it does not retain any extra water and also have the right retention capacity so that enough moisture content is present. But then, the proportion will change according what you grow. For instance, pines require less water retention soil while flowering plants might need more water. Special soils for bonsai are available commercially but you can also mix your own soil according to your plant’s needs.
This is one of the toughest part of bonsai maintenance. It is said that in Japan, a novice requires over three years to master the art of watering bonsai plants. This is not an exaggeration but don’t let it dishearten you. As a beginner, you need to carefully observe the water requirements of your trees. Ideally, bonsai should be watered 2-3 times a day but again, it depends on individual plant needs. Just make sure the soil is never too dry. Also, the best time for watering is early morning. Similarly, see that water does not retain in the container as this too can be harmful for your tree’s health. Drizzle some water on the leaves too, as this will help wash away any dirt or grime that block the pores in the leaves. Some experts also suggest immersing the whole plant in a bucket of water once in 2-3 weeks.
You may doubt the importance of this aspect of bonsai but you will realize gradually that it is something you cannot ignore. Bonsai need adequate sunlight to grow well but placing in direct sunlight, particularly in summer can turn disastrous. If you are having it outdoors, move it into the shade at noon. If you want it indoors, place the pot near a window where sunlight streams in. Adequate humidity is another factor for the plants so if it is a bit dry inside your home, place a drip tray beneath your pot so that the excess water in it will gradually evaporate creating humid conditions for the bonsai.
The pots used for bonsai are either glazed or unglazed ones. The glazed ceramic pots in pastel hues are used for flowering varieties whereas the unglazed ones in earthy tones go well with foliage plants. This again depends on your choice and scheme of design. However, make sure that the depth of the pot or container approximately equals the trunk of the bonsai.
While choosing fertilizers for your bonsai, choose the one with the right NPK (Nitrogen, Phosphorous, Potassium) mix. Though experienced people will know what ratios of NPK are suitable for which plant, as a beginner, go for the ones with equal ratios, like 5:5:5 or 10:10:10. If you are using inorganic soil then your plant would need some extra nutrition. Traditional bonsai professionals use slow release fertilizers but you can also go for soluble fertilizers. Remember, your plants need their food but overfeeding can be dangerous, so go according to their specific requirements.
Pruning helps plants to have a healthier growth. When it comes to bonsai, pruning has two purposes. One is the aesthetic aspect, where you prune to give a beautiful, balanced form to your bonsai. The other purpose is to maintain your plants growth by cutting off some shoots and leaves, enabling new growth of shoots and foliage. This crucial part of bonsai is going to require a lot of patience and quite a bit of time for you to master it.
These guidelines may seem easy but as you will realize, they will take up a lot of your time. Nevertheless, bonsai an ancient art cherished by many around the world and once you are successful at it, it’ll become your prized possession for sure!