The Art of Bonsai may be defined as the miniaturization of big trees. Some major pruning must be done to the below ground portion of the tree as well as above. You will soon discover that it is possible to create bonsai from most any species of tree. The trick is to understand the requirements of the species you select and duplicate for them what you have taken away, which is their natural habitat. Don’t let the idea of this scare you it is not that difficult to do.
Here are some Tips to help get you started
It would be best to purchase your very first bonsai from a bonsai store but if you don’t have one close by you should try to obtain a small juniper from your local plant nursery. The advantage of purchasing from a Bonsai store is that some of the design has been done for you and it will have been placed into a bonsai pot.
Either way you will have to give your bonsai some thought as to how it will look in the future. This will require that you get familiar with the basic styles of bonsai. There are many styles but the five basic are: Formal Upright; Informal Upright; Cascade; Sem-Cascade; Slanting and Windswept.
You as the Artist can choose any of these styles; however, some trees have design inclinations already as you purchase them. Some will have straight trunks or may have overflowing branches that suit the cascade style. You should study your recent purchase for any inspirations toward a certain style. After you get familiar with what the different styles look like it will soon become obvious to you which style would be the one to pursue for your newly acquired specimen.
You must also learn to prune both the roots and the crown of your bonsai starter tree. Pruning means to cut off some portions to make them more robust or to promote more growth while at the same time you are keeping the future shaping and style of your tree in mind. You will also have to repot your bonsai every one or two years. This will require more pruning to the roots. Repotting and pruning also encourage them to grow faster.
Bonsai must be provided with at least some extra protection for the cold during the winter months. If you have a deciduous tree they must be allowed to have their dormancy period which is brought on by the cold. If you have a tropical or sub-tropical you should keep them indoors all winter long because they don’t need the dormancy period and cannot stand much severe winter cold. In contrast, if a deciduous is left indoors all through the winter they will not know that it is time to go dormant and will soon die. I plan to cover proper winter care for bonsai in another article.