Penzai is an ancient Chinese practice of growing small plants in pots. Penzai literally translates to “tray scenery”, but loosely means potted landscape. The practice moved through Asia and eventually into Japan. Bonsai trees, a Japanese pronunciation of Penzai, became popular during the Heian period in 794 to 1185.
Bonsai is a strictly decorative art form. It is meant to be a contemplative piece for the viewer and an exercise in patience and ingenuity for the grower. Unlike most horticultural projects, there are no food or medicinal purposes for these plants. Since it is not meant for large scale landscapes, it is a very focused effort.
The trees such an important part of Japanese culture that there is one that is a National Treasure. A five hundred year old five-needled pine is considered to be one of these treasures. This potentially oldest know living tree can be seen in the Imperial Palace in Tokyo.
Most plant material can be suitable. If it is perennial, has woody growth, and remains small in containers, it can be used. It should also branch and respond well to pruning.
Even though practically anything can be used in this craft, there are some favorite species. Plants with small leaves or needles make good fodder because they are visually appealing on the small scale. Ficus is also a good choice because it is easy for beginners and responds well to trimming and bounces back relatively easily.
Source material is the first question in any project. This can come from many different sources. Since an aged and weathered appearance is desired, starting from seed is usually not a viable option. Usually source material comes from partially grown and even mature plants.
There are many intricate techniques in forming a tree. Leaf trimming defines the shape and cleans up the trunk. Pruning is usually the first step. It involves cutting off pieces of the plant to make it an appropriate shape. Wiring is used to hold trunks and branches in place. Clamping can be used in place of wiring if the specimen is too tough. Grafting can be used when a new piece of growing foliage is wanted in a place that didn’t have foliage before. Defoliation can be used to make smaller new leaves grow in the place the large old ones were in. Deadwood is yet another technique used. This entails removing the bark from an entire branch to give the look of dead wood.
Bonsai trees can be beautiful sculpture to contemplate, a lifelong hobby, or both. The rich history and cultural significance make them a lovely addition to any home or garden.
It does not matter what type of bonsai tree species you have in your house. They are all beautiful; they all make excellent gifts and all of them require more or less the same type of care. Bonsai tree care is important whether you have an indoor or a bonsai ficus tree. Please visit our website for all the free information you’ll need to get started.
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