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Bonsai - Culture & Care

1. What is bonsai?
2. How can I make a bonsai?
3. Can I keep bonsai indoors?
4. How do I water bonsai?
5. Do I need to fertilize bonsai?
6. How do I protect bonsai from pest and disease?

 

What is Bonsai?

Bonsai is the art and science of growing miniature trees and shrubs in decorative pots. It has been derived from two Japanese words 'bon' meaning shallow container and 'sai' meaning a plant. However, merely having a tree in a shallow container does not necessarily make it a bonsai. A bonsai is an artistic replica of a natural tree in miniature form. It is essentially a work of art and is produced through expert care and manipulation of natural plants. It is a picture of illusion of a real tree

How can I make a Bonsai?

Anyone who has grown trees and plants successfully in pots or window boxes can make a bonsai. It does require a certain amount of care and a proper technique. It is not always necessary to grow the trees for bonsai from seeds. It can be made from cuttings and readily grown plants. Select trees which have interesting trunks, are bushy and have branches growing from low down the trunk. The more branches there are, the greater the scope for creating interesting bonsai shapes. The top growth is cut back to make the trees smaller and emphasize the trunk. The location of the branch is gently moved to achieve the desired shape. It is wrapped with copper or anodized aluminum wire. The wire serves as the brace and is left on the tree till the change becomes permanent. Some of the roots are cut back leaving enough to ensure healthy growth of the trees.

Can I keep Bonsai indoors?

Bonsai cannot be treated like houseplants and therefore cannot be kept indoors. They require 3 to 4 hrs. of sunlight everyday. It is therefore best to grow them outdoors. They can occasionally be brought indoors for a very short time.

How do I water Bonsai?

Just like an ordinary tree bonsai should be watered just enough to keep it in good health. Over watering is as harmful as under watering. When watering, always water from above to simulate fine shower of rain. Water the leaves as well as the soil around the base of the tree. Water the soil until the water begins to trickle out of the drainage holes in the bottom of the pot. During the summer it is very essential that the tree is watered twice - once in the morning and once in the evening. During winter, when the tree is resting, it is not necessary to water daily. It should be watered just enough to keep the soil damp.

Do I need to fertilize Bonsai?

It is a popular misconception that the plant has been deliberately starved of food and nutrients in order to keep it dwarfed. Bonsai may be small but they are healthy and vigorous trees. They therefore need to be fertilized the same way that a normal tree would have been. A water soluble fertilizer (e.g. Plantakola, Bahar, Maxigrow, Suphala N.P.K. 15:15:15) can be applied when Bonsai are watered. You can also use Neem extract in small quantities and Vermicompost.

How do I protect Bonsai from Pests and Diseases?

Bonsai are susceptible to attacks from pests and diseases in very much the same way that other plants and trees are. However, because a bonsai is relatively small the problem of pest control and eradication is much simpler. The area around them need to be kept clean. They should receive at least 3 to 4 hours of sunlight everyday. Plant disease is mainly caused by fungi. Regular spraying of insecticides in mild dosage prevents the tree from being damaged. You can use Rogor, Malathion Furtan.