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Here in this blog, I will talk to you about following
- What is a bonsai tree?
- How does it benefit you?
- How to maintain it and keep it healthy
- Why should you get one
What is a bonsai tree?
In order to know what it is a bonsai tree, first, we have to understand the meaning of the word and a bit of its history.
The word “Bonsai” (often misspelled as Bonzai or banzai) is actually a Japanese term which, literally translated, means “planted in a container”. This art form is derived from an ancient Chinese horticultural practice. Then later was then redeveloped under the influence of Japanese Zen Buddhism.
It has been around for well over a thousand years. The main goal of growing a Bonsai is to create a miniaturized but realistic representation of nature. Bonsai are not genetically dwarfed plants, but interesting enough any tree species can be used to grow one.
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The Chinese characters for their older dwarf potted tree landscapes were adopted to name the Japanese art-form. Bonsai in Japanese is written as 盆栽. In short, the definition of Bonsai can be explained as:
“Bon” [left character] is a dish or thin bowl (“a modified vessel which has been divided or cut down from a deeper form”).
“Sai” [right character] is a tree or other growing plant which is planted – “planted,” as would be a halberd or spear or pike stuck into the ground.
“Bonsai” thus means or denotes “a tree which is planted in a shallow container".
We now know the literal translation of Bonsai is "tree in pot", but what is the meaning of a Bonsai tree? A Bonsai tree is a replication of nature, in the form of a miniature tree, without displaying the human intervention too clearly.
The connotations or added/implied Bonsai tree meanings include:
- A general tree-like shape or style (although not necessarily natural to that type of plant growing full-size in the wild).
- A profile that is not as detailed as a photographically-real tree but has just enough features to easily suggest a full-grown tree.
- Relative smallness, compared with those same types of trees outside of the container, for ease of transport and ability to keep nearby.
- A sense of naturalness which has been subtly accentuated by human intervention but which is not spoiled by stark evidence of human interaction.
- A particular representation of something much more than itself, and thus allowing each viewer to interpret what is shown and to build-upon this based on his or her own experiences and memories.
- Something so valued that it has received care for virtually every day of its [hopefully long] containerized life.
- Something held in such high regard that it was allowed to be brought temporarily into the house for honored guests even though it contained soil from the garden.
- A portable oasis and transportable miniature garden which can represent the seasons and vast or favorite landscapes close-at-hand for meditation or contemplation assistance.
- These are just a few points, it is up to you to decide what Bonsai means to you.
Methods such as pinching buds, pruning and wiring branches, and carefully restricting but making sure not to abandon fertilizers are used to limit and redirect healthy growth. Most Bonsai are kept under four feet (or about a meter) in height. However, plants with smaller leaves are much easier to design. In fact, any plant species that has a woody stem or trunk grows true branches, can be successfully grown in a container to restrict its roots/food storage capability.
Look around at your trees, bushes, hedges, plants in the nursery or wild landscape – essentially any of those can be starter material. Carefully collected during the appropriate growing or dormant season with proper permission. Most native plants can be grown outdoors; material from more tropical climates needs at least some protection from the elements in the temperate zones. So it is only recommended that you use plants that are native to your environment.
How does it benefit you?
How does a bonsai help you is simple it gives you focus and encourage you to grow yourself as your bonsai would grow? This is done by learning what does your bonsai require in order to grow into something that reflects your own personality. The carefully pruning, watering, fertilizing and use of wires to shape the branches of your bonsai reflects the twists and turns in your own life and the mistakes you make while growing your own bonsai reflects the mistakes you made or may make in your own life.
In short, your bonsai is an exact reflection of your life in a tree form. It never ends because you are always learning about yourself and the world around you. The skills you learn while growing this tree are valuable because you will slowly learn patience, control, logic and with time will reach a certain level of enlightenment as well as inner peace.
How to maintain my bonsai and keep it healthy
How to maintain and keep your bonsai healthy, there are a few simple factors like with all plants the basic.
How often do you water your bonsai? There are a number of factors that determine this;
Water your trees when the soil gets slightly dry -
Here is a useful tip on how to check. Use your fingers to check the soil at around 0.4’’ (one centimeter) deep. But never let a tree dry out completely!
Never water on a routine -
A second useful tip, observing your trees individually, instead of watering them on a daily routine, until you know exactly what you are doing. This way it is a more natural cycle for your tree.
Use the right soil-mixture -
The last tip and most important, soil-mixture greatly influences how often trees need to be watered, for most Bonsai trees a mixture of akadama, pumice and lava rock mixed together in a ratio of ½ to ¼ to ¼ should be fine. However, use a mixture that retains more water (by using more akadama, or even potting compost) only when you cannot water your trees that regularly.
Please take note that it doesn't really matter at what time you water a Bonsai. Some advice to avoid watering (with very cold water) during the afternoon, when the soil has been warmed up by the sun and will cool down rapidly when using cold water. The reason it may cause problems for the plant. Though this can be taken into consideration, it should always be clear that you should water your tree no matter what time it is, as soon as the soil gets slightly dry!
How to water Bonsai trees?
As explained previously, water when the soil gets slightly dry. When the tree does require water though, it needs thorough soaking so the entire root system is wetted. To do so, keep watering until water runs out of the drainage holes, and possibly repeat the process a few minutes later.
The best method is to water a tree from above using a watering can with a fine nozzle; this will prevent the soil from being washed away. I would recommend using collected rainwater is better (as it doesn’t contain added chemicals), but when this is not readily available there is no problem in using normal tap water.
Why should you get one?
So, in fact, you must make a choice of buying and spending time on creating a bonsai tree. The benefits are there and are well worth it. As well as helping your place look more stylish and adds a bit feng shui and provides balance in an environment where there may not be any nature.
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