Bonkers for Bonsai


We know an 11-year-old boy who has developed a lofty interest in growing bonsai.  This post was kindled by him. 

Bald Cypress Bonsai


Bonsai is actually pronounced (bone-sigh).  Bonsai is an art form that can provide a lifetime of studying and understanding trees.  It is the art form of growing miniature trees to look like full-size mature trees from the inspiration of nature.  However, the plant is not dwarfed genetically.  The plant,(from regular root-stock), is kept small by growing it in a pot and using several techniques to keep it miniature.  The tree can grow very old as a bonsai and often becomes a prized possession.  Some of these trees outlive their owners and are passed down through the generations.  


A good quality bonsai tree can be purchased from a bonsai nursery.  It is worth seeking one out because you can ask a million questions and they love to share their knowledge.  Be sure to get some guidance on maintenance such as fertilizer, pruning, water needs, and re-potting.  The tree should feel firm in its pot.  


There are many books written about growing bonsai.  A well written book should give a lot of information about technique, tools, re-potting instructions, different styles, plant directory for indoor and outdoor, how to display it, soil types, working with the wire, propagating, and collecting plants from the garden.  I looked through quite a few books when I was seeking information for growing bonsai and the best I found was “Growing Bonsai, A Practical Encyclopedia“, by Ken Norman.  This book provides step-by-step instructions with pictures.  This book, with its fabulous pictures and instructions, will turn anyone into a bonsai enthusiast.  It makes me feel like I could create one of these works of art too.  One day I will. I would like to collect some bald cypress and start a small forest with bonsai ferns growing underneath.  I would also like to bonsai a kumquat tree.  How sweet would it be to see miniature kumquats growing? 



My Fukien Tea Bonsai Tree

I bought several bonsai trees at the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival last year.  The vendor was  informative about pruning technique and sold me three breathtaking trees.  Unfortunately I didn’t ask the right questions. One of the trees was completely unable to survive in my climate and the other tree (hibiscus) died overnight from lack of water.  I think it needed to be watered twice a day, not just once.  That was an expensive mistake.  The final surviving tree, a Fukien tea, has become my treasure. It is approximately fifteen years old and blooms lilliputian white flowers.  It requires care, but not too much.  I move it inside quite often to display it and then move it back out to it’s  “spot” after a few days. This year I will put my “blinders” on when I walk past his booth.  His beautiful display opened my eyes to the beauty of bonsai and made me notice them when I never did before.  However, this year I am going to try my hand at creating my own. 

Come grow with us!

2 Responses to “Bonkers for Bonsai”

  1. I have reviewed quite a few bonsai books on my blog that you might find of interest. Always thrilled to see others discover the art of bonsai!

  2. i’m holding some jade bonsai and a ficus for a friend. they are so amazing looking. i’m looking around for info on them. great pix

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