How to care for bonsai – top tips for caring for compact plants

While flowers may seem like an obvious choice for budding gardeners, bonsai trees can help add a sense of calm to your home. These plants have long been associated with the art of bonsai originating in China in 221 BC.

The ancient art of growing bonsai is over a thousand years old.

Although these beautiful trees are commonly associated with Japan, bonsai cultivation began in China, where they became associated with Zen Buddhism.

Shannen Godwin, spokesperson for JParker’s, said, “Bonsai is a living art form that results from the vision of replicating the natural growth and shape of trees, even on a much smaller scale.

“We have noticed that this technique has started to become more popular as people look to improve their skills and the appearance of their gardens.

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“It is important to learn that anyone can engage in this ancient practice and find comfort in it, because it is so much more than a variety of trees; it’s a way to bring many varieties to life.

Most Britons, when they think of bonsai, imagine a small potted tree kept in the corner of a living room.

But, some bonsai trees can and should be located outdoors. Here’s a guide to caring for these quiet plants.

How to choose your bonsai

There are many types of bonsai and not all types are the same.

Not all species will be adapted to the unpredictable UK climate.

In most cases it will be too cold to grow bonsai outside the UK.

Most Brits choose to grow bonsai indoors, these compact plants take up little space and can be grown in a container making them the perfect houseplant.

A popular bonsai species well suited to growing indoors is the Ficus, it is easy to grow for novice gardeners, so if you have recently started gardening this might be the perfect choice for you.

Other popular varieties include; Carmona Bonsai, Chinese Elm Bonsai, Crassula (Jade) Bonsai and Serissa Japonica (Snow Rose) Bonsai.

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How to take care of your bonsai

Instead, you should aim to discourage growth at the top of your bonsai, encouraging it to grow downwards.

Your tree should look full and mature on the lower branches and more spindly at the top.

A popular option is to choose a tree with an interesting trunk because the bonsai roots are visible.

The bonsai’s roots are as much a part of the plant’s display as its green foliage.

The branches of your tree will also require attention. They can be shaped in a pattern of choice or you can even shape the branches to grow from side to side.

This can be done by completely stripping the tree of its branches and then rubbing the buds from the side where growth is not desired.

How to water bonsai

These plants have very specific watering needs, to water your bonsai you should submerge the entire bonsai plant in a bucket of water whenever the topsoil seems completely dry. It’s usually about once a week.

Once you have completely submerged your tree in the bucket of water, wait until all air bubbles have risen to the top.

When this has happened, the bonsai has absorbed enough water and can be removed from the bucket.

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