A Beginner’s Guide to Bonsai – Times of India

You can turn your bonsai into showpieces as long as you follow the right techniques. We list the basics of bonsai.

1. Anyone interested and little space to grow plants, even on a windowsill or balcony, can build and enjoy the Bonsai collection.

2. The 3 main techniques for growing your own bonsai trees are cultivation, pruning and shaping.

Growth- select a tree from a nursery that has a thick trunk. take a small ceramic container for planting bonsai – usually the depth of the pot should be equal to the thickness of the trunk of the plant. Place a plastic net at the base of the container, so that the water can drain out. Now add the specially prepared bonsai soil made from garden soil, cow manure, broken brick pieces, sand and organic manure (available on the market). Cut 1/2 to 1/3 of the existing roots of the plant. leaving most if the fine white roots (called feeder roots) and some thick old roots. Plant the tree in the pot.

NOTE – materials are important, so if the soil is good, the bonsai will take a few months or even a year to grow, and two years for the fruit to flower

Cut: Generally, the roots and foliage must be pruned. Bonsai pruning is one of the most enjoyable aspects of bonsai growing.

Root pruning: Due to the small containers, the bonsai roots are stunted. By pruning the roots, you will ensure that there is space for new roots to grow, which is essential for bonsai health and growth. Prune the roots twice a year and change the soil when done.

Foliage size: This is vital for aesthetic reasons. Practice in mind a specific design for your tree and mold it into the shape you desire. Removing dead leaves helps keep it healthy and beautiful.

Shaping: To create the desired shape, you can use wire (copper wires are best) to help the branches grow according to your design. Make sure the wire is the right thickness and doesn’t break the branches. Hold the branch you are wiring with both hands and carefully wrap the wire around it.

3. Select plants that can be easily pruned and shaped, and those that have rough bark.

4. For flowering and fruit bonsai, four to five hours of direct sunlight is essential.

5. Avoid overwatering. Alternate days are sufficient.

6. Ready-made bonsai trees are available. Plant them in containers with given steps

7. Bonsai trees are kept indoors, but a suitable place is on the windowsill, balcony, terrace or garden shelf. Avoid keeping them in an air-conditioned room for a long time.

8. Although bonsai can be grown from seed, more developed material is already available. Seedlings, cuttings or young trees with smaller leaves are generally preferred.

Courtesy entries: Jyoti and Nikunj Parekh, Co-Founders and Director, The Bonsai Study Group

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