Bonsai plants are all tree. By definition, a bonsai tree is a tree in a pot if we literally translate the word bonsai from Japanese to English. However bonsai as an art form requires more then a tree in pot which some may call a stick in a pot.
A few elements are essential to a great bonsai tree and here is a list of the elements I consider the most important when designing a bonsai in the most respectuous manner of the japanese art form of gardening.
- A well developed, rounded crown with delicate branches
- Trunk must have a gradual taper, an interesting shape and a smooth bark without any marks or scars.
- Excellent branching structure with detailed ramification (short internodes.)
- Healthy and vigorous green foliage or needles
- Branches need to start at roughly one-third of the trunk eight.
- Strong buttress and realistic surface roots to make the tree seem solid and stable
- Natural appearance of the soil with moss or fine rock.
- Pot must complement the trunk color and be a suitable size and shape.
However, some characteristics are considered a fault to bonsai appearance that must be avoided at all cost since they are pretty hard to correct, and aesthetically they are breaking the balanced look of a great bonsai tree. Here they are:
- Inverse taper of the trunk big on top to small on bottom- One sided or inexistent surface roots.
- Branches that are too thick or thicker then the trunk
- Totally symmetric branches on both side of the trunk
- Cluster of branches creating a swelling.
As noted, these are pretty hard to correct and leaves an impression of imperfection and unbalance from the exposed bonsai tree. Without being the absolute truth about bonsai, with these pointers in mind, you should be able to increase the bonsai look of your tree in a pot and please all your fans.
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