Bonsai trees are works of art that originated in China. No two bonsai trees are exactly alike, though they all share many of the same basic design principles. Although it is possible to purchase a bonsai tree already shaped, it's rewarding to create a bonsai tree from scratch. Creating a bonsai trees requires time and patience, but it is a satisfying endeavor.
Put soil in a container that drains well and is a few inches deep so there is room for the roots to grow. Add enough soil to cover the roots, but not so much that the lower branches will be covered. Gently add the plant to the soil. Good plant choices include juniper, banyan fig, bamboo and red Japanese maple or any other small garden shrub. Select a dwarf variety plant if the container is small.
Shape the plant by cutting off small twigs, particularly near the bottom of the plant. Cut the branches so they are symmetrical and approximately the same length on each side of the tree.
Wire the tree to help shape the tree as it grows. Wrap wire around each branch and bend the wire in the direction you want the branch to grow.
Remove the wires before the tree grows so much that the wires cut into the bark. As the tree matures, it will hold its shape.