For centuries, the bonsai tree has been part of the Japanese and Chinese cultures. It involves the cultivation of small, miniature trees, shaped by strategic pruning. Bonsai trees originate from saplings, seedlings or stunted trees. Patience and skill is required to create a bonsai tree. Almost as important as the plant, is the container used to house the miniature tree.
Training Pot and Soil
Select a non-glazed training pot for your new tree. Special bonsai training pots are available at gardening centers. The training pot will typically be the plant's home for at least the first year. A training pot is shallow, with large drainage holes. This helps the tree's roots become accustomed to the confined space. When preparing the pot, purchase potting mix designed for bonsai trees.
Identify the Front
Identify what will be the bonsai's front. While a bonsai can be viewed from all sides, it is necessary to determine the front of the plant to assist in the ultimate shaping and nurturing of the miniature tree. The front should be the side of the tree where the trunk (rather than the leaves) is more spectacular.
Determining the Shape
Allow the original shape of the plant to determine its ultimate bonsai shape. Bonsai styles include the clump, forest, cascade, slanting and upright styles. While you may prefer the windswept cascade style, that may not be the ideal choice for your young seedling or sapling. In its own way, the original plant will suggest what shape is the most ideal.
Keep the bonsai tree outside. According to the Georgia Agricultural Education website, bonsai gardening is an outdoor activity. While the small trees resemble houseplants, they advise growing the trees outside, to avoid killing the plant.
Bonsai trees require constant attention. Because of the small pot, the soil dries very quickly and in some situations needs daily irrigation. Water the bonsai tree in the mornings A bonsai tree can die after missing one day of water during a hot season. If you intend to go away on vacation, arrange for a plant sitter.