Which Indian trees are best suited for bonsai?

Mr. Ponnuswami, based in Coimbatore, the first Indian to become an international consultant to the World Bonsai Friendship Federation in the United States, talks about this art form

Mr. Ponnuswami, based in Coimbatore, the first Indian to become an international consultant to the World Bonsai Friendship Federation in the United States, talks about this art form

Apart from coconut and palm trees, you can make bonsai from any Indian tree. Preferably choose a tree with small leaves as it adds to the miniaturized effect. Different varieties of ficus, rain trees and blueberries are just a few of the many options.

Are dwarf trees found in nature?

About 40% of my bonsai collection comes from nature, abandoned buildings, wells, etc. I have a peepal bonsai tree that is about 90 years old now, which I got from an abandoned well near a factory. Of course, more work needs to be done on these naturally stunted trees. You need to keep an eye out for these natural wonders.

What are the essential conditions for a bonsai creation?

Bonsai should have all the characteristics of a large tree, such as canopy, trunk line, root line, fruit and flower yield, etc. The older the tree, the more valuable it is. There are 1400-year-old bonsai trees in the Japanese royal palace, for example, which are kept as royal heirlooms.

Some people think stunting of trees is gruesome. What do you think?

Of course, in bonsai we slow down the growth of the tree, pinch its leaves and twist the branches according to our design. But do we not prune the trees, do we not harvest the leaves of tea and other plants, do we not pick flowers and fruits for our table, or do we cut down no trees for wood? Bonsai doesn’t get any more or less macabre than that.

How has the art of bonsai impacted you as a person?

It is a fascinating activity and the plants are a pleasure to watch. Bonsai has increased my powers of concentration and cured me of my hot temper and touchy nature. I spend more than an hour a day tending to my bonsai and time flies. It serves me as a form of meditation; it keeps me peaceful and negates my worries.

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