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What Are Bonsai Trees?

Many people think of tiny little Japanese trees cut and pruned to a miniature size, but literally speaking Bonsai means ‘plant in a tray’. Although they are smaller than their wild counterparts they don’t have to be a couple of inches tall. If grown in a pot in the garden they will however be smaller than in the wild.


Misconceptions about Bonsai trees

Many people believe that training Bonsai trees is a cruel passtime because the cultivator starves the tree and cuts it to such an extent that it becomes unhealthy. Quite the opposite is usually true.

While they are cut and pruned quite heavily to keep them to the size of the pot, they are usually transferred from pot to pot regularly and are fed and watered much more often than their wild cousins.

Contrary to belief, Bonsai trees do not originate from Japan. There are records dating back more than 2000 years that show Bonsai being grown in China.

These Bonsai weren’t as small as the Bonsai that people often envisage and were grown on an individual basis outdoors in pots.

It was however, the Japanese that took this art form and progressed it to the level it is at now. This has led to quite different styles in Japanese and Chinese Bonsai.

The Chinese Bonsai being much more freestyle and more lightly pruned than the Japanese miniature Bonsai that are very heavily groomed and pruned and look much more like miniature natural versions of the full sized plants.

Bonsai trees do not live shorter lives than wild trees. They regularly live for many centuries and are traditionally passed down from generation to generation of the family.

They live almost the same length of time as their wild cousins and are often much healthier because of the attention they receive.

The advantages of growing Bonsai

Not everyone has a large garden where they can plant numerous trees and let them grow as big as they want. Even those who do have large gardens still need to wait for many years before the tree becomes truly established.

By growing Bonsai, you don’t need any more room than the size of your pot. Because they grow too a much smaller size it is possible for anyone who is interested in growing Bonsai trees.

You can even grow them inside if you can recreate the correct conditions for the tree you want to grow.

Growing Bonsai trees can fast become an addictive hobby and requires attention to detail, foresight of how the tree will grow and plenty of time and care.

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