Never failing to impress, bonsai trees are ethereal and intriguing to look at. They are simply miniature trees that mimic the form of their full-sized counterparts. Cultivating them is an art form that takes creativity, balance, and patience. They are a splendid way to replicate nature’s beauty and are very high in demand these days. Bonsais may also be a bit pricey but only because they take a lot of effort to nurture and grow. 

This style of gardening is an ancient art form that began in China nearly 2,000 years ago. It was a symbol of prestige that was reserved for Chinese royalty. It later spread to Japan in the 12th century from where it also got its name. Bonsai translates to ‘plant in a container’ in Japanese. More simplistic forms of art were incorporated by Zen monks, and the trees came to represent spirituality. It was how the Zen ideas of nature, change, and elements were expressed on a small scale. 

With the right kind of care and attention, Bonsai can last for very long and are passed from generation to generation. It is important that you understand basic bonsai care if you want to create your own. 

Bonsai need care on an everyday basis as they tend to dry out due to their shallow root systems in the small, shallow containers. They can catch the infection by the same pest and disease problems that attack normal-sized plants or trees of that variety.

How to Make Your Own Bonsai Tree

Making a Bonsai involves utilizing growing and training techniques including root pruning, heavy crown pruning, and root confinement in shallow containers.

Bonsai can be made out of any perennial, woody-stemmed tree, or bushy shrub. Certain species, however, are more suited to making bonsai than others. Some are chosen because of their aesthetic value, while others are chosen due to their low maintenance requirements and resilience when they are cultivated as bonsai trees.  You can even create them with volunteer seedlings you can find in gardens or from young nursery plants. 

Different Types of Bonsai Trees

You can select a bonsai tree on the basis of the properties you desire. Most people however are emotionally drawn to a bonsai that they resonate with. Here are the different types of bonsai you can choose from-

1. Cherry Blossom Bonsai

The Japanese national flower, the cherry blossom, is profound both symbolically and culturally. It is popular among both bonsai enthusiasts and novice gardeners for its beautiful blooms and delicate foliage. It is commonly thought to symbolize friendship.

The cherry trees are not just ideal because of their attractiveness but they are also low maintenance, easy to shape, and adaptable. These are single-trunk, deciduous trees and produce pink and white flowers which are abundant during spring. 

Care Requirements:

Cherry blossom bonsai requires special bonsai soil which has the capacity to hold more water and is slightly acidic.  They are accustomed to temperate climates which are between 0 and 18 degrees. You can leave it in the full sun outdoors. Water it generously during its growing period in summers and spring and once a week during its dormancy period. 

Cherry blossoms have an average life span of about 30 to 40 years. They are more suitable for the Northern states in India.

2. Azalea

Azalea bonsai is a symbol of feminine beauty, gentleness, and vulnerability. It is much sought after due to its having a rich amount of lovely flowers when it blooms. Besides being attractive, it easily adapts to container cultivation and root pruning, trunks up substantially quickly, and develops new buds on old wood exceptionally well. They are smaller leaved in size which makes them popular among the bonsai artist.

They develop gorgeous red, white or pink blooms just like their full-sized counterparts. They can make excellent gifts for women as they enhance feminine virtue and increase love and harmony at home. 

Care Requirements:

They are sensitive to frost and can be kept best in temperature ranges between 35 to 55 degrees Celsius. They need cooler climates to thrive and dislike the full sun. Keep it in the filtered sun for about 2 or 3 hours.

Azalea bonsai should not be left with dry soil and should be watered every day at least once during the growing period.

3. Juniper

Juniper trees are another popular choice for bonsai lovers. They live for over 700 years and belong to the Cypress family of plants. There are over 50 species of these evergreen trees and shrubs that are popular as bonsai trees. All of them can be cultivated as bonsai trees. 

Juniper trees stand for cleansing, power, protection, and warding off evil. It is said that having a juniper tree in your home will keep it safe and get rid of negativity and evil. One loves them as bonsai trees because not only is their foliage well-suitable with their miniature stature but also because they are so hardy and can withstand aggressive pruning.

Care Requirements:

Place your Juniper tree outside in a bright spot where it can get 3-4 hours of sunlight. They thrive in -3 to 7 degrees Celsius temperatures. It is best to keep them inside in frost conditions. 

Place the tree in well-draining soil and let the soil dry out completely before watering. Avoid overwatering the bonsai.

4. Ginseng Ficus 

If you’re just a beginner in your journey of growing bonsai trees, ginseng ficus is an excellent choice. These evergreen trees are very hardy and forgiving. They are identified by their broad oval-shaped dark green leaves and distinctive-looking aerial roots. 

Ficus bonsai is said to lift the mood of anyone who passes by its energy field. They represent new beginnings, joy, unity, and harmony. They are a great choice for anyone who wants to alleviate their sorrow and bring more joy and mutual understanding into their lives.

Care Requirements:

Since these are low-maintenance trees, they don’t need much sunlight. You can keep them indoors too as a houseplant in a bright location. It requires a temperature of 15 to 25 degrees Celsius during the day. 

Water the plant regularly whenever the soil gets dry. The soil should be moist at all times. Sandy clay soil is suitable for this bonsai as it can hold water but also can drain water that’s not necessary.

5. Boxwood 

There are over 70 species of boxwood that are available with common boxwood being the most popular. Common boxwood is hardy and grows rapidly. One can grow it easily and is tolerant to excessive pruning. It is popular as an ornamental plant due to its pom-pom-like appearance. This evergreen tree has a thin bark and shallow root system. Its flowers are yellowish green which attracts bees. All parts of boxwood are poisonous and should be away from pets.

Boxwood trees were highly present throughout the Christian faith and as shelters. As they are slow growing, live longer, and have all-year-round foliage, these trees represent immortality. 

Care Requirements:

Boxwoods should be in partial sunlight. It can’t tolerate severely cold temperatures and needs protection. Boxwood bonsai needs a lot of water during its growing period. One needs to water it regularly during summers, at least once every 1 or 2 days. In winter, you should water it once a week. It should be in sandy loamy form. 

6. Dwarf Jade

Dwarf jade is an evergreen bonsai with a hard trunk that gives it a mature look. They are a great selection for beginner bonsai enthusiasts as it is easy to care about. They are quite similar to the common jade variety but their smaller foliage makes them more suitable for bonsai.

Jade bonsai is popular for bringing prosperity, friendship, positivity, and good luck into your life. It’s also known as the lucky money tree and friendship plant. 

You can place the plant in warm temperatures outdoors in the full sun. If you place it indoors, make sure it gets ample sunlight. 

It prefers well-draining coarse, sandy soils similar to that found in the deserts. You just need to water the bonsai occasionally in the summer, about once every 10 to 20 days. In winter, water the jade bonsai once a month. Overwatering can lead to root rot so be careful of doing so.

Care Tips 

  1. Hardy clay pots are ideal for growing bonsai. There are 2 types of pruning that a bonsai requires. One is structural, which involves wiring to hold the bonsai in place by supporting it. This is essential for achieving the desired shape you want. 

2. The second type is maintenance pruning which is ongoing and is vital for its health. 

3. You will need to be patient with your bonsai as it won’t look like what you want immediately. It will take a minimum of 4 to 6 months for it to have a pleasing appearance. 

4. Research the look you want to achieve for the bonsai. Once you’ve decided on this, start trimming the branches you want to remove in order to maintain the design. Look out for new growth that is spoiling the desired look of the bonsai. 

5. You can snip the top of the bonsai to restrict its height. Also, don’t allow too much foliage in it as it can cause it to become a shrub rather than a miniature form of itself.

6. You can wire the branches when they are not growing in the way you desire them to. When you wire them tightly yet gently, they will slowly move. Once they have achieved the desired shape, you can remove the wiring. 

7. Bonsai is not just a hobby but a way of life. It can become a lifelong hobby you need to keep perfecting. Many bonsai even outlive their owners. As you’re responsible for it, you need to learn the proper skills of trimming, pruning, grafting, wiring, shaping, and watering. You can attend classes on it and connect with other bonsai enthusiasts.