Creating your first bonsai should be fairly simple and need not be expensive. Your victim, opps, I mean specimen, can be picked up from almost any plant nursery for a few dollars. Just visit any local plant nursery and ask them if they have any srubs that have been set back in the more ‘undesireable’ areas. Tell them that you are looking for something to practice your bonsai skills on and they will be able to point you in the right direction.
Selecting you Bonsai Specimen
It is important to base your selection for the conditions in your area. Some trees thrive in certain areas and may have a hard time in others. After making your selection, the next step is to pick out an appropriate size pot. If the bonsai pot is too small or too large it will effect the growth of your bonsai. In all cases, the pot must have at least one hole in the bottom to allwo water to drain freely.
The type of soil you use will also make a difference in the health of your bonsai. A misture of about a 50/50 mix of orgainic and inorganic material is a good rule of thumb to use as it will provide just enough moisture retention and allow sufficient drainage. To be able to place your chosen speciment in it’s new pot it will most likely be necessary to cut off some if the roots. It is the cutting of the root mass and placement of the tree into a shallow container that keeps the tree in its miniaturized form. Wrap some copper wire around the roots and thru the bottom holes to stabalize the tree in the pot.
After placing the tree in its pot, you are ready to cut off a few branches, prune a the leaves and start shaping your specimen into the aesthetically pleasing form, it will soon take on the look of a real bonsai.
There are six basic and more classic styles of bonsai and a big list of non-classic styles that you will want to get familiar with as your bonsai art evolves with new species of trees. Once you have completed your work of art, you should now start to get familiar with some basic rules for maintaining the health of your tree so it will reward you in the many years to come. Method and frequency of watering, lighting required, trimming and repotting are just a few of the concerns that is important for the proper care of your bonsai.
Numerous books are available on the subject and I recommend that you do some reading. Surfing the internet is not a bad place to begin learning what you need to know either. I will be posting more about the proper care for bonsai as my time allows.
For now be happy and keep your bonsai happy!