Let Your Creativity Go Wild
Plants must be grown in a small space for bonsai. Contrary to popular belief, cultivating bonsai does not constitute cruelty because, despite the fact that it requires restricting root growth and routinely pruning the plant’s top and roots, it can be kept in a miniature form for hundreds of years (in some cases) and outlive its relatives that are growing in the wild or in gardens. If given the right care and attention, the bonsai, like other trees and shrubs, can still produce blooms and fruit.
The bonsai should have scaled-down leaves in addition to a smaller trunk and branches to resemble a miniature tree. As a result, smaller leafed plants are used for bonsai.
Discover the bonsai trade and art
It’s common to refer to dwarfed plants as bonsai. But historically, the term “bonsai” referred to potted, stylized trees made by Chinese and Japanese artisans. In reality, it is generally accepted that the Chinese were the ones who first started gathering and transplanting the small trees they found growing naturally on mountain tops and hillsides, but the Japanese were the ones who refined the bonsai technique. Although being dwarfed, bonsai trees are groomed and cultivated to resemble an old, small tree. Everything about it, from the leaves to the stem, seems like a miniature tree. The artist’s pot and landscape are both a part of the finished bonsai.
This thorough course on bonsai covers all the details of choosing, cultivating, and caring for bonsai in a variety of environments.
- Learn about the pruning and training methods used to develop bonsai trees.
- Discover additional plant species, and choose specimens that are suitable for bonsai creation.
- From fervent amateurs to those that desire to run a bonsai nursery
- 100-hour, self-paced course with top Australian and British horticulturists as instructors
Creating Bonsai follows the 20/80 rule.
“As with most things in horticulture; growing bonsai requires 20% knowledge that is specific to bonsai (ie. equipment, techniques, using the right plants, understanding the traditional forms); and 80% general horticultural skill (ie. soil, nutrition, water management, pest control, plant identification, etc)”
There are 8 lessons in this course:
- Plant Taxonomy Botanical/Horticultural Nomenclature, The Binomial System, Botanical Classification, Plant Families and Species, Hybrids, Varieties and Cultivars
- Pronunciation of Plant Names
- Groups of Plants
- Resources reference books, organisations, magazines and journals, nurseries, bonsai shops, seed suppliers and the internet.
- Methods of Propagating Plants sexual propagation, asexual propagation
- Seed Propagation collecting seed, storing seed and sowing seed
- Cutting Propagation stem cuttings, hardwood cuttings, semi-hardwood cuttings, leaf cuttings, leaf bud cuttings, root cuttings, factors affecting rooting of cuttings, striking cuttings, after care.
- Propagating Mixes and potting mixes
- Other Propagation Methods layering, air layering and grafting.
- Plants for Bonsai
- History of Bonsai
- Types of plants suited for use as Bonsai sourcing Bonsai material
- Some plant choices
- Bonsai Styles and Techniques
- Classification of styles of Bonsai eg. formal upright, informal upright, slanting or leaning, semi cascade, cascade
- Other styles of classification eg. sakei
- Japanese classification
- Bonsai Techniques
- Bonsai Containers preparing the container
- Wire wiring a bonsai
- Tools needed for Bonsai work pruning tools, potting tools and wiring tools.
- Creating Bonsai
- Principles of Design roots, trunk and branches.
- Evaluating the Bonsai and assessing additional features
- Pruning and shaping the bonsai plant prune and grow techniques
- Wiring wiring techniques and grooming
- Branch Patterns in Bonsai jins, shari and driftwood
- Root Evaluation in the Initial Stages of Bonsai potting the Bonsai, rock planting, clasped to rock design and root over rock.
- Bonsai Culture and Maintenance
- Soils Soil composition, colloids, structure, texture, chemical properties, improving soils, improving texture, improving structure, improving fertility.
- Soil for potted bonsai principle components
- Particle characteristics particle size, sorting, particle shape, particle surface texture
- Growing Medium Mixture functions of a growing medium, properties of a growing medium, drainage, water retention and colour and appearance.
- The Nutrient Elements macronutrients and micronutrients
- Common Pest Problems on Bonsai eg. aphids, borers, caterpillars, scale and thrips.
- Common Fungal Diseases of Plants eg. Anthracnose, Powdery Mildew and Rust
- Watering and Fertilising Bonsai symptoms of water deficiency, symptoms of excess water and fertilising.
- Repotting and Root Pruning the Bonsai
- Maintenance Pruning for Bonsai removing dead/diseased wood, controlling the type of growth, controlling shape and size, rejuvenating, leaf cutting, basic rules of pruning, points to consider when pruning.
- Placing the Bonsai
- Landscaping Principles for Bonsai
- Principles of Landscape Design – Unity, Balance, Proportion, Harmony, Contrast and Rhythm
- Qualities of Landscape Components – line, form, mass, space, texture, colour and tone
- Creating Landscape Effects
- Landscape Applications for Using Bonsai – group plantings, saikei, bonseki, bonkei, miniature gardens, rock gardens, water gardens.
- Bonsai in Tubs and Landscape Features
- Special Assignment
- Research a particular aspect of bonsai of interest.
Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school’s tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.
- Display a comprehension of the taxonomic order, a knowledge of the plant species ideal for bonsai, and a knowledge of the plant kingdom.
- Recognize the bonsai propagation techniques employed.
- Find out which plant species are most suited for bonsai.
- Discover the various bonsai styles and methods used to create them.
- Recognize the bonsai-making procedure.
- Recognize the fundamentals of a flourishing bonsai culture.
- To better develop bonsai landscapes, be familiar with landscape design ideas.
- conduct research on a specific topic related to bonsai that the student is interested in.
How You Plan to Act
- Create plant review sheets for various plants that can be used as bonsai.
- Create a list of connections and resources that a bonsai grower could find helpful.
- Find out what makes a good propagation mixture.
- To determine whether nursery stock is suitable for bonsai manufacturing, visit a nursery and look at the plants there.
- cultivate many plant species with the potential to be used as bonsai.
- Choose various plants and decide which bonsai style each one is best suited for.
- Create a list of the most widely utilised plant species that you think are used for bonsai today.
- Discover the various bonsai plant styles by visiting a bonsai house, bonsai farm, bonsai nursery, or other location where bonsai are on display.
- evaluate, wire, shape, and bonsai-pot various plants.
- Get soil from two distinct soil types, test it for drainage, and give it a name.
- Purchase (or create) a potting mixture that you believe is suitable for growing bonsai in.
- Tests should be done to identify the potting mix you have acquired. Check the potting mix’s drainage.
- Visit a garden or nursery where bonsai plants are being grown to inspect the plants for pests, illnesses, and unusual environmental conditions.
- Create a little garden container with a bonsai plant in it.
- Choose the greatest outdoor placements for three different bonsai using your knowledge of landscaping principles, as well as the finest indoor places for temporary displays. While planning where to put the bonsai, take pictures or make sketches. Include these pictures with your homework submission.
- Purchase a variety of plants, make them into bonsai using the knowledge you have gained throughout the course, and either take pictures of or draw the results before reporting on your work.
What Various Bonsai Types Exist?
There are various categories in which to place bonsai. In Japan, one method is as follows:
- One straight trunk, or chokkan, with a consistent taper from the base to the top. The lowest branches start after they are developed, which is roughly one-quarter of the way up the trunk from the base. As you climb the trunk, the branches switch sides.
- A single main trunk that is bending slightly to the left or right is known as a shakan.
- A single twisted trunk known as a bankan (bent trunk) (e.g. bending in 4 directions).
- A single tree having two distinct trunks, one longer and thinner than the other, is called a sokan (twin trunked) tree.
- Saikei is a living landscape that frequently combines water, rocks, and plants.
- Many trees are growing together in a clump called a kabudachi (up to 9). As the bases are all close together, they can nearly seem like one tree. Each tree’s trunks are branched to create odd numbers of trunks (e.g., 1, 3, 5, etc.).
- One plant that is divided into multiple trunks at the base is called a netsuranari (various trunks from the one root). Typically, there are three to five trunks, but never more than ten.
- Yoseue (collective plantings) is the practise of placing multiple plants in a single container to simulate a forest.
- A tree that is twisted and bending to one side is called a kengai (drooping trunk). This mimics the look of trees that grow in exposed areas, like a rocky outcrop on a mountaintop. When displayed, these plants may be unsteady, which is a drawback.
- Ishizuki (tree with a stone) is a tree whose roots extend past a rock and into the ground below.
- Suiseki (stone without plant) refers to the arrangement of one or more stones in a bonsai pot without the presence of any plants at all.
Advice on Picking a Bonsai Pot
The container used to display bonsai is an essential component of the art form. For many years, or for many years in the case of older trees, the bonsai may stay in the same container. So, it’s crucial that the container matches the tree or composition inside. It might be helpful to imagine it as like a picture frame. It must enhance the image rather than detract from it by being overly colourful, elaborate, or huge. A bonsai container should also complement its contents. Despite the fact that bonsai containers are typically relatively shallow, they must be able to store enough growing medium for the plant. A fruit tree, for example, will require a deeper container to ensure there is enough water for fruit development. Also, they must have enough drainage holes and be frost proof to prevent breaking and cracking outside.
Selection of a Container
- Less air exists between the soil particles in deeper pots. The earth beneath is compressed by the weight of the soil on top. Thus, deeper pots require a more porous soil mixture.
- Wider containers provide greater stability (less likely to tip over).
- A pot must have an adequate number of big drainage holes so that water may flow out of the bottom of the pot fast.
- In a round pot as opposed to a square pot, roots tend to coil more.
- If the base is more tapered, root coiling at the bottom of a pot is diminished.
- When there is damp soil, compost, or mulch underneath the container, roots frequently push through the bottom. Therefore, it is ideal to stand pots on top of a dry, level surface made of stone or paving.
- The surface of the pot can be covered with a layer of coarse sand to help with weed management and moss control.
The Best Bonsai Container to Use
All bonsai pots will have drainage holes, and on occasion, containers may also have holes for poking wire through while repotting the bonsai or sealed sections to retain water (to create a lake). To provide for adequate root aeration, drainage holes are crucial. Plants that are too wet won’t grow well and can even perish. Drill drainage holes into the base of the container if you prefer the way it looks without them.
Originally, clay-based materials like porcelain, stoneware, and terracotta were used to create bonsai pots. A bonsai pot’s interior shouldn’t ever be glazed; however, the exterior can. Bright colours can be effective if there is some cohesion with the contents, but unglazed pots in earthy tones typically look more appealing. However, not all examples will work well with subtle glazes, cracked glazes, or speckled glazes. Marble, soapstone, and other stone-type containers are available in several nations. A variety of alternative pot materials, including plastic, are also appropriate as long as they meet the needs of the bonsai. Keep in mind that the pot is a crucial component of the bonsai.
There are many different sizes of bonsai pots, ranging from thimble-sized mame pots to pots that are eighteen inches deep. Group plantings and landscapes do nicely in wide, shallow containers. Cascade-style plantings or semi-cascade bonsai are ideally suited to tall pots, which can be round, square, hexagonal, etc. No matter the bonsai style, simpler forms like these are preferable to more ornate ones. A more formal look would work better with a rectangle or square container than a circular or oval one. The majority of retail stores with a focus on bonsai provide a variety of Tokaname-regional Japanese containers.
The breadth of a bonsai container should be about equal to the spread of the branches. By placing the tree in a container that is too big for it, it should never appear misplaced or out of place; the opposite should also be true. The obvious exception is the cascade-shaped bonsai, which need deeper pots to balance their cascading form. As a general rule, the depth of the pot should be roughly equal to the width of the base of the trunk. Another rough rule of thumb is that a horizontal tree needs a container that is two thirds to three quarters its width, or a vertical tree needs a container that is two thirds to three quarters its height. In order to offer enough soil and water for the bonsai plants, smaller containers must be deeper in relation to width than do wider containers. When planting bonsai, one should also keep in mind that a dormant deciduous tree will appear larger once it sprouts leaves.
Certain pots will function better when they have legs or a base stand. Because they raise the pot above the shelf level, these legs can help a pot drain. The pot must be level in order to allow for the best drainage. You can adjust uneven pot base stands by filing or adding filler as necessary. A bamboo mat, a straightforward stone slab, or a plank of wood can be used to complete the bonsai exhibit.
WHO MIGHT STUDY BONSAI?
Bonsai is a hobby for some people and a career for others.
A bonsai hobby can grow into a business if you are passionate about it. If you want, little backyard bonsai collections can develop into a successful side hustle. There will be a bonsai department at many retail garden centres. Some people purchase the bonsai they sell, while others might make their bonsai on the spot. There are nurseries that specialise in bonsai and those that only sell bonsai plants.
You will be able to share your excitement for this art form with others and attract consumers if you learn how to make bonsai properly and comprehend what you are doing.
You may enrol in this course for any number of reasons, but by the time you’re done, you’ll know a tonne more about bonsai and be able to see much more options for your hobby, business, or career.