What is a Bonsai?
Bonsai is a Japanese art form or a practice of growing miniature trees and shrubs in a tray or a wide-mouthed shallow pots. The term bonsai is used universally as an umbrella term for all miniature trees and shrubs in a container or a pot.
In Japanese ‘Bonsai’ refers to – Tray Gardening or Tray Planting. (Bon – Tray/Basin + Sai – To plant). The term Bonsai is often mis-spelled as Bonzai or Banzai.
Bonsai is a process by which certain trees and plants are artificially restricting the growth by various pruning the roots and pinching of the shoots and branches. By this way, a tree can grow in a small tray for many years and still can give the same shape or result as its original counterpart does. A bonsai grower gives more important to the shape the tree holds by an efficient method of crown and root pruning. Bonsai growers often use a wiring method to make the tree grow in a a direction they want it to be. It may take a few to many years for a particular tree or shrub to give the desired look of a bonsai specimen.
Nowadays, many show interest in this practice, because these Bonsai Trees make an excellent conversation pieces or an ornament plants in any house. Since the bonsai has acclaimed a world-wide audience, now all the Botanical Gardens/arboretums and Flower Shows are never without these Bonsai Miniatures.
Some take this Bonsai Gardening as a hobby and we can see many training programs are conducted throughout the city for educating this art form among the commoners.
Modern Bonsai trees are of two kinds, One is Indoor type and the other is Outdoor type. Different kinds and species are chosen for each type.
Indoor Bonsai Trees/Plants:
Hawaiian Umbrella tree (Schefflera arboricola, True Indoor Bonsai), Jade, Ficus retusa Tiger Bark’ bonsai, Ficus, Boxwood, Gardenia, Camellia, etc.
Outdoor Bonsai Trees/Plants:
Juniper, Cypress, Cedar, Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum), Birch, Beech,Elm, Oak, etc.
Bonsai can be started from seed, grown plant or tree cuttings or branches. Starting from seed takes more years, so it is better to start from a grown plant or a cutting which makes the bonsai process much easier.
If you want to grow your own bonsai, there are several Bonsai Kits are available from many big nursery gardens which will generally include the plant sapling, tray/pot, gravel, guide wires, instructions, soil, fertilizer etc. Look for a type of your own liking and start bonsai gardening today.
Popular Plants Choice for Bonsai Technique:
Juniper (Juniper procumbens nana), Jade plant (Crassula argentea & Crassula ovata), Chinese Elm, most Maple trees especially Japanese Maple (grown for their attractive colors and unique leaf shapes), Ficus, Desert Rose (Adenium), Bougainvillea, Camellia, Cedar, Boxwood, oaks, beeches, Cypress, Dogwood, Cherry Tree, Plum Blossom, Banyan Tree, Fig and Fuchsia are the most common among the bonsai trees.
Bonsai Plants Suitable for Indian Climate:
Some of the trees suitable for Indian Climate are Indian rubber bush or Rubber Tree (Ficus elastica), Pine, Pomegranate, Flame Tree (Royal Poinciana or Gulmohar), Golden Shower Tree (Cassia fistula), Auracauria cuci (Christmas Tree), Fig, Desert Rose (Adenium), Bougainvillea, Blue Jacaranda (Neel gulmohur), Silver Oak (Grevillea robusta), Lime, Bamboo etc.
Bonsai gardening requires a lot of patience, continuous monitoring and caring and shaping. Because if you leave it unattended for a while, then you will ruin plant.
Adenium (Desrt Rose) is used as a bonsai plant in many places nowadays. Adenium is flowering plant with thick caudices bearing a lots colorful bloom all over the top. Since this plant can grown in pot for many years with a thick caudex, naturally resembling a small tree, it is widely used for bonsai.
Bonsai Garden @ Semmozhi Poonga:
There is a big Bonsai Garden in Semmozhi Poonga which showcases a wide range of Bonsai varieties, previously imported from China. There are many bonsai trees from very small as 1 foot to as big as 5 feet. Out of which, Ficus Spiral Stem Bonsai Trees (Ficus Tree with Shaped Tree Trunk) stands out from the rest. There are two of them in the Bonsai Garden and it draws the attention from everyone visiting the park. I spent most of my time looking at the grandeur of the stem structure of the trees there.
Some of Adenium Bonsai Photos:
I have always wanted to grow a bonsai of my own since I first saw these miniatures in “Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Gardens”. This year I have bought an adenium plant for this purpose and planning to do a complete research on these bonsai variety before i step in to action. You can see my plant in the below picture.