The Art of Bonsai

Apartments usually call for paucity of space. An easy alternative to having large plants in your house is to switch to bonsais. Here are some tips for bonsai plants that add a touch of nature to your apartment.

What are Bonsai Plants?
~ ‘Bon’ means ‘tray’ and ‘sai’ means ‘plant’, together pronounced as ‘bahn sy’.

~ The art form originated around the Third Century BC in China and later travelled to Japan.

~ Bonsai plants can be cultivated indoors and outdoors in trays/pots.

~ Plant species that can be cultivated as bonsais include flowering plants like pomegranates, apricots and plum and conifers like spruce and pine.

Bonsai as an Art Form
~ You can classify a bonsai plant on the basis of its size, shape, age, and the number of trunks.

~ Most people want their bonsai plant to look like a 100-year-old tree with thick trunks and old bark, which can be achieved by regularly tending to the plant.

~ Before planting the sapling in a shallow tray, check that the roots of the plants are healthy. ~ Trim the unwanted parts of the root.

~ Place the plant in a shallow tray and cover it with a layer of soil.

~ Plant other plants around this sapling. Use moss as it helps the plant look aged and also helps in retaining the moisture.

~ There is no need for extra fertilizers for the initial six months, just sprinkle water on the moss regularly.

~ After six months, you can change the look of the bonsai plant. You can get bonsai wires and wire the trunks or branches of the plant and leave it on for the next three to six months.

~ After that, you can remove the wires and leave it or re-wire the plant to a new shape or position.

~ Now you can take the plant out from its soil, clip the roots if they are too long and re-plant them into a new pot in fresh soil.

Selection of Bonsai Plants
~ The appearance of a bonsai plant depends on the personal care and attention it receives.

~ Select either outdoor or indoor plants depending on the amount of light, temperature and humidity that is required by the plant.

~ For outdoor plants, choose hardy species like spruce, pine etc.

~ For indoor plants, choose tropical plants like natal plum or ficus.

~ Most flowering plants are a combination of indoor and outdoor. They are the ideal choice for a bonsai as you can place them inside during winters and outdoors during summers.

Published in Tips4me.com, 7th May, 2007.

The Lifestyle Portal

Tanya is a graduate in Sociology from Sophia College, Mumbai, a post-graduate in Communications and Media from SNDT Women’s University in Mumbai and holds a Master's Degree in Journalis & Mass Communications from Chandigarh University. A former writing mentor and a seasoned lifestyle writer, Tanya writes columns on The Lifestyle Portal of life and living.

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