How to Make an Instant Bonsai Tree

Views: 31846 | Last Update: 2009-03-27
Making an instant Bonsai tree can be done by trimming back a blue star juniper plant to take the traditional Bonsai tree shape. Use a variety of small trees to create a living sculpture with helpful advice from a sustainable gardener in this free video... View Video Transcript

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Yolanda Vanveen

Video Transcript

Hi this is Yolanda Vanveen and in this segment we're going to talk about how to make an instant bonsai tree. Now bonsai is a tradition that's been used in the Orient and Japan and China for thousands of years, as long as 2,000 years ago they've been training trees to grow very small and miniature by cutting the roots down very tight and keeping the plants very short by trimming them constantly and using wires. Now there's really no way to make an instant bonsai tree. Just like there's no way you can become a black belt in karate in two minutes, it's just impossible. But there are ways that you can take a tree or a plant and give it a bonsai look or a bonsai feel very quickly. And it'll still a beautiful plant. Now this little blue star juniper is great for bonsai because it stays small and compact as it is and it's just growing naturally as it is right now but by just trimming out the bottom branches and a few of the upper branches, you can give it a bonsai look very quickly. So by just cutting off the smaller branches on the bottom, being careful not to cut off the main branches, you will change the look incredibly and by putting it just in a small container so it can be seen, it will be very beautiful very quickly. So the trick with bonsai is to train it to stay small. So by cutting the roots and cutting the bottom branches you can give it a lot more look to look like a bonsai. And the rule of thumb is you want to cut every third branch once you get the bottom branches off. So just by cutting the bottom branches you've changed the look. And then by going through and either taking a wire and you can actually wire the plant so that it turns over the container a little more. So by just bending it down just a little bit you have more of a bonsai look and you can do that with each side or you can do it with just one of the sides. And you want to thin it out too. So every third branch you want to cut out. And then theoretically all the remaining branches you want to actually tie at least two or three together using a wire so that they stay more compact and it's not as bushy. So just by cutting out every third branch, all of the sudden you've thinned it out quite a bit and it has more of a bonsai look. And generally bonsais either tip to the left or the right or they have some kind of a visual cascading feel. So just by trimming it out and actually sending it to the side a little bit, you can have a little more bonsai look to it. But it doesn't matter what type of shrub you use, there's many different shrubs that can be used in bonsai and generally they either go to one side or the other so you wouldn't leave two sides. So many times just by pinning the sides together too, you have a little more of a compact look. By constantly trimming the tree out, you can train it to go up and be more of a shape or have more of a flat wave on the top and then that way you can enjoy your beautiful juniper for many years as a bonsai.