What Does A Bonsai Tree Symbolize?

bonsai representation

 

What A Bonsai Tree Symbolizes

Bonsai originated in China as the art of penjing and moved to Japan to become the art form we know today. Bonsai is the art of scaling trees down in size. Techniques are used to mimic the look of trees as they are found in nature. These techniques are used to reflect looks of simplicity, harmony, balance, and age in the bonsai tree. If you are unfamiliar with bonsai traditions, the symbolism in the tree can be undetectable. Understanding the meanings of these symbols can help you appreciate the bonsai on a deeper level.

 

Simplicity

Simplicity is not only found in bonsai traditions, but in Japanese culture as well. In Japanese culture, simplicity is evident in their art, homes, offices, gardens, and in the way they live their lives. Simplicity also symbolizes their respect for nature.

In bonsai, simplicity is not only evident in the trees themselves, but in the pots in which they live as well. The containers in which they live are neutral toned, which represents simplicity in nature. Bonsai are not meant to be over the top art pieces. They are meant to be styled as natural as possible, without unnecessary ornamentation. No matter how simple or intricate the bonsai is, there is a sense of simplicity within.

 

Harmony

Harmony is another highly valued and common aspect of Japanese culture that is also present in bonsai tradition. The unity in textures and shapes represents harmony found in nature. Co-existence with elements can be seen in the bark’s curves and the lines in the branches. Jagged edges and crooked corners can be seen on the bonsai represent life’s most difficult times.

In Japanese culture, harmony can be seen in many aspects of their lives. The emphasis in trying to have a conflict free environment is seen in the Japanese laws, customs, rules, and manners. People generally try to prioritize harmony in groups and in where they live. This is followed by much of the country, as the crime rate is one of the lowest in the world. It is rare to see anger expressed between people. the different aspects of the bonsai tree is said to represent different people’s opinions.

 

Balance

When looking at a bonsai tree, you will immediately notice the balance in the tree. This aspect is very crucial in the bonsai tradition. The shape of a triangle is used in the design, representing stability and strength. In this tradition, the isosceles triangle is used, rather than the equilateral triangle popularly used in Western cultures. This creates a look of deliberate imperfection commonly used in Japanese art forms. These triangles create a sense of movement in the tree.

 

Age

Specific things can be done to bonsai trees to display the appearance of age. manipulation of the trunk, branches, and roots can be used to show the different stages of life.

Exposed roots are used to give the look of age and erosion. Another display of age is trunks breaking surface at some sort of angle and continuing to grow in circles. This also symbolizes overcoming elements of nature. A smooth trunk with no blemishes gives off a youthful look, while a scarred trunk symbolizes age. One aspect that can represent the evolution of the tree is to place a dead trunk within the tree. Branches facing upwards symbolize youthfulness, while branches facing down symbolize age. Fully, luscious growth represents youthfulness, while sparse growth represents characteristics like those of an aged tree.

The elderly in Japan are treated with more respect than those in other countries. There are more people over 65 years old that in an other age group. The homes of the Japanese are often very diverse in age, having multiple generations under the same roof.  This is seen in the bonsai trees with a mixture of youthful and older traits.

 

The aspects of bonsai represent many different things, including but not limited to simplicity, harmony, balance, and age. All of these aspects are common in Japanese culture and in the bonsai tradition. The main goal of the bonsai is to display the qualities of the tree as it is seen in nature. Every bonsai tree represents something different, depending on the grower and the viewers perspectives.

How Hard Is It To Grow A Bonsai Tree

When you are new to the world of horticulture, you are probably amazed at just how fascinating this pastime can be. There are so many different varieties of plants and trees that it could take several lifetimes just to get through it all. One particularly fascinating example would be the Bonsai Tree. First of all, the Bonsai tree doesn’t refer to just a plant, but this is an art form that has been cultivated for several centuries. The main purpose of the Bonsai is to create a miniaturized tree that is cultivated to grow in a small container and is designed to appear like a much larger tree. Bonsais were originally called dwarf potted trees, and this is a tradition that dates back to a thousand years or more. Indeed, the earliest known reference to a Bonsai creation was in a Medieval art scroll from the year 1195. If you are interested in this discipline, then there is a lot you need to know about it. Keep these considerations in mind.

There are many different types of Bonsai trees and they have several different scientific names each.

Examples such as the Ginseng Ficus, Oriental Ficus, Brush Cherry, Chinese Elm, Norfolk Island and a multitude of others all indicate an endless amount of choices for you to consider. When it comes to scientific names, Bonsai families such as the Vervain family, the Bromeliad family, the Cedar, the “prunus” variety, and the “Succulents” variety and many others are all categories that have been delineated by scientists.

Appropriately caring for Bonsai trees is a must.

One of the things that you will quickly learn is that the Bonsai can be a very delicate plant! However, as long as you know the basics, you will be able to properly maintain the plant and keep it healthy for as long as possible. Here are some things you need to know:

Watering

There are many factors that go into watering your Bonsai tree appropriately. The first thing you should do as a beginner is to thoroughly observe each of your trees INDIVIDUALLY before you water them. Avoid watering your Bonsai trees at a set routine. Instead, you should only water your Bonsai trees when you notice their soil has a slight dryness to them. Additionally, you should incorporate a soil mixture that holds in more water and use a watering tool that consists of a fine nozzle.

Fertilizing

When fertilizing your Bonsai tree, it’s all about Nitrogen! The quantity depends on the season and there is a rating that you will need to pay attention to. Generally, a high NPK rating of 10:6:6 should be utilized in the spring, a balanced NPK rating of 6:6:6 should be considered in summer, and a lower NPK rating of 3:6:6 should be used in the fall. Of course, these guidelines only apply to outside Bonsai trees. An inside example will generally only required the balanced NPK fertilizer, but it will be used year-round. Many Bonsai enthusiasts swear by the Biogold brand for their fertilizer.

Pruning

When it comes to pruning, you must keep the following goals in mind: you want to ensure that your tree always emulates a fully-grown and lifesize version and you want your Bonsai to be healthy and have as much eye appeal as possible. Usually, the best time to prune your Bonsai tree is when it is showing signs of new growth.

Wiring

Bonsai tree enthusiasts use the wiring method to reposition the branches. This practice can be done on a year-round basis for Bonsai tree species. You can use either annealed copper wire or aluminum wire.

Don’t underestimate the importance of repotting your bonsai tree.

Repotting is important in order to keep your Bonsai growing correctly. Of course, this all begs the question, how frequently do you have to repot your plant? It depends on the size of the pot and the species of the tree. Species that are younger have a tendency to grow faster, thus they will need to be repotted often even once a year. A good rule of thumb is to simply check and see how the roots of the tree are holding up. If they are starting to wrap around the soil, it is time to repot your tree.

Pests

Finally, there are pests we have to contend with. Aphids are the biggest problem as they can eat away at the underside of the tree. However, simply spraying them off with a hose or placing lacewing larvae will remove all of these aphids. I typically like to release a box of 1,000 ladybugs once a month as soon as the frost is gon for the year.

Keeping all of this information in mind is sure to help you have a Bonsai tree that lives and prospers for a long time.

How Much Light Does A Bonsai Tree Need?

bonsai light

 

Bonsai Light Requirements

The amount of light a bonsai tree receives is crucial for the tree to grow properly. Indoor and outdoor trees have different needs as they are different species. Time of year is also a factor in how much light your bonsai may need, particularly for outdoor trees. If you think your tree is getting too much, or not enough, light, there are things you can do to fix it.

 

Indoor Bonsai

Indoor bonsai trees are either tropical or subtropical. The reason only these trees can survive indoors is they need high, stable temperatures all year, as opposed to outdoor bonsai that need to be exposed to all the seasons. These trees need constant light all year round, for at least 5 hours a day, in order to survive. In order to receive this light, they need to be placed in front of a South facing window at all times. If the tree is moved away from the window by even a few feet, the light intensity will decrease significantly and can eventually kill the plant. An indoor bonsai needs as much light as it can get, and light from the sun isn’t always enough. Grow lights may be required for many trees.

 

Outdoor Bonsai

Outdoor bonsai trees need lots of direct sunlight. However, too much sunlight can be a problem. Too much sunlight can burn the tree’s leaves or make the tree more prone to diseases and pests as their internodes and leaves grow too large. If your summers are especially hot, a spot in your garden or balcony where the tree can get afternoon shade is preferable.

 

Time Of Year

For indoor bonsai trees, the time of year does not affect how much light they need. They need a high, consistent amount of light all year round.

On the other hand, outdoor bonsai have dormancy periods in the winter, and have different requirements as a result. During this dormancy period, the trees stop growing and do not need as much light. It is completely normal and healthy for the trees to not receive as much light, or even as much water, in the winter. Do not try to bring the tree out of dormancy by heating it, this will kill the plant.

 

Grow Lights

Even if your bonsai tree, indoor bonsai trees in particular, are receiving as much sunlight as possible, it is still likely that your tree is not getting enough light. Sometimes, even outdoor trees need artificial light if they are particularly picky. In this case, the grow light should be used to mimic the passing of the seasons, running the lamp longer in the summer, shorter in the winter.

Buying a smart grow lamp is another option. Smart grow lamps are able to track the time of day and period of the year. This is a very easy way to make sure your bonsai is getting enough light without lots of hassle.

 

Shade Nets

While bonsai trees thrive with lots of light, sometimes, in certain climates, too much direct sunlight can be harmful. In areas with extreme heat and humidity, a shade net can be used to protect your tree form the harsh climate. Signs that your outdoor bonsai is being harmed by the sunlight include dried leaves and having to water constantly as a result of water evaporating too quickly.

Shading cloth is measured by the amount of light allowed to infultrate, ranging from 40% to 80%. 40% cloth is typically used for temperatures ranging from upper 80 to lower 90 degrees Fahrenheit. 60% cloth is recommended for temperatures in the mid 90’s to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. And for temperatures over 100 degrees, 80% cloth is recommended. Shading cloths can also be used to protect trees from excessive wind.

 

The amount of light a bonsai tree needs is determined by the placement, time of year, and species of the tree. Indoor trees need consistent light all year round because they have no dormancy period. Even right up against a South facing window, it is possible that your tree is not getting enough sunlight and needs artificial lighting. This artificial lighting should be used for around 10 hours a day for the best results. Outdoor trees, on the other hand, do have dormancy periods. During this time it is okay for outdoor bonsai to not receive as much light as they do in the summer.

How To Look After Your Bonsai Tree

How To Look After Your Bonsai Tree

 

Looking After Bonsai Trees

Caring for bonsai trees is not as hard as one may think. It, of course, does require some work, but there are only a few key guidelines you need to follow in order to grow a healthy bonsai. Some basic aspects of taking care of a bonsai include watering, fertilizing, and lighting.

 

Watering

Watering is one of the most important parts of caring for bonsai trees. Whether indoor or outdoor, these trees are often killed accidentally because of under- or over-watering. One general rule to follow is to never water any bonsai on a routine, instead, water when the soil gets slightly dry. When watering, water generously until the water starts to drip out of the drainage holes. When the water stops dripping, water once more. For some bonsai, watering every day can over-water the plant, causing the roots to rot. Other symptoms of over-watering are yellowing of leaves and shriveling of small branches. Under-watering in bonsai will cause the roots and leaves to dry out. Check the bonsai’s soil every day, or even twice a day for outdoor bonsai in the summer.

To see if your tree needs watering, we suggest using any of these three methods.

The first is to simply insert your finger about a centimeter into the soil and feel if the soil is moist. If it is moist, do not water your plant. If it is dry, water generously.

Another way is to use a chopstick. Place the chopstick one to two inches into the soil. After 10 minutes, remove the chopstick and look at it. If the chopstick is discolored, the soil is moist and does not need to be watered. If it is not discolored, the soil is dry and should be watered. After use, clean the chopstick and store it in a dry place.

And another way that is popular with beginners is to use a moisture meter. The moisture meter is a device that measures how moist your plant’s soil is on a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being the driest, 10 the wettest. To use, insert the probe down to the roots. If the number is 3 or under, it is time to water your bonsai. If the number is 4 or above, you do not need to water your bonsai. After use, clean the probe and store in a dry place.

 

Fertilizing

fertilizer is also very important for bonsai trees. Any fertilizer you use should have Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium. Nitrogen helps with leaf and stem growth, Phosphorus helps with root growth, and Potassium promotes health all throughout the tree. Outdoor bonsai should be fertilized during their growth season, which is from early spring to mid autumn. Indoor bonsai grow rather consistently all year with no dormancy or growth periods, and should be fertilized every three to four weeks all year.

There are two ways you can fertilize your bonsai: with solid fertilizer and liquid fertilizer. To use solid fertilizer, place the fertilizer into small cups or baskets (to make sure they don’t get washed away or eaten by birds) and place them into the soil. For liquid fertilizer, there will be directions for each individual brand on the bottle that you can follow.

 

Lighting

Lighting needs for indoor and outdoor bonsai differ because they are different species.

Indoor bonsai need to be placed in front of a South facing window at all times to receive direct sunlight. Moving the plant even just a foot away from the window will cause the light intensity to go down significantly and can cause the plant to die. This light alone may not be enough for the plant and artificial lighting may need to be used. If you do use artificial lighting, leave the light on for about 1o hours a day.

Most outdoor bonsai need to be placed outdoors all year long, even in the winter, to receive the proper sunlight they need. If the summers in your area are particularly hot, a place where the plant can have afternoon shade is ideal.

 

A lot of taking care of bonsai trees are taking care of the watering, fertilizing, and lighting. Be sure to water your bonsai with the appropriate amount of water and only when needed. With lighting, the main concern is with not enough light, so looking into artificial may be necessary. And also be sure to fertilize your tree in order to promote the maximum amount of growth. With the proper water, fertilizer, and light, your bonsai should grow perfectly healthy.

How To Water A Bonsai Tree Indoors

How To Water A Bonsai Tree Indoors

 

Watering A Indoor Bonsai Tree

Watering is one of the most important parts of growing a bonsai tree. When to water and what to water with are both important factors to consider before watering. Indoor bonsai trees have different watering needs because of the amount of sunlight they receive and other climate differences.

 

When Should I Water My Bonsai?

One general rule of watering bonsai is to never water on a schedule or routine. Your bonsai should be watered when the soil gets slightly dry. Try not to let the soil become completely dry as this can harm the plant. You should also avoid watering your bonsai when the soil is still wet as this can cause the roots to rot.

As for the time of day you should water the plant, it doesn’t really matter. Some suggest not watering in the afternoon as the soil has been warmed by the sun and will be cooled down significantly after watering. However, it should be noted that you should water your bonsai as soon as you see that the soil is dry, no matter the time of day.

 

Using The Right Soil

Bonsai soil is crucial in letting the water drain properly. Bonsai soil should include Akadama, Pumice, and Lava rock at a ratio of 1/2, 1/4, 1/4. Regular gardening soil should not be used for Bonsai as it will not allow for proper drainage and aeration which will cause rot in the plant’s roots. So long as you use the proper soil, over-watering should not be a big problem

 

What Water Should I Use?

What water you use when watering your bonsai doesn’t really matter so long as there’s no harmful chemicals in it. If you are able to collect rainwater, this is the best option. If you are unable to do this, using tap water is perfectly fine. When using tap water, you should let it sit overnight to allow for any chlorine in the water to evaporate.

 

How To Water My Bonsai

When watering bonsai, you should use a fine nozzled watering can to avoid disturbing the top layer of soil. Water the plant generously and allow for the water to leak out of the drainage holes. Once the water has stopped dripping, water again. To determine when to water the plant, check the amount of moisture in the soil. There are several methods you can use to check the moisture in the soil.

The first method is to simply use your finger. Insert your finger about one centimeter into the soil. If the soil is moist, you do not need to water yet. If the soil is dry, water.

Another popular choice is to use the chopstick method. Simply take a clean, dry, wooden chopstick and insert it about one inch into the soil and wait about 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, remove the chopstick and look at it. If the chopstick is discolored, the soil is still damp and you do not have to water your bonsai. If the chopstick is dry, it is time to water your bonsai. After use, clean and dry the chopstick to contamination and store in a dry place.

And another option often used by beginners is to use a moisture meter. Moisture meters determine how moist your soil is on a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being the driest, 10 the wettest. If your scale reads 1 to 3, you need to water your bonsai. Anything higher than 3 means your bonsai is still at least a little damp and watering is not needed. After use, clean and dry to avoid contamination and store in a dry place.

 

When watering your bonsai, some factors should be considered. Watering on a schedule should never be done, as every bonsai has different needs and these needs are nearly impossible to predict. Water as soon as the soil gets slightly dry. Do not water when the soil is still wet as this can cause rot in the roots. Either tap or rain water can be used to water bonsai so long as there are no harmful chemicals. You can use your finger, a chopstick, or a moisture meter to see how moist the soil is. If the soil is moist, do not water the bonsai. If the soil is dry, water your bonsai immediately.

Are Bonsai Trees Hard To Take Care Of?

Are Bonsai Trees Hard To Take Care Of

 

Caring For A Bonsai Tree

Taking care of a bonsai is not as hard as one may think. There is, of course, some work to be put in just like with any other plant. Bonsai trees have some guidelines that should be followed to ensure your bonsai is as healthy as possible. Here are a few aspects that should be paid attention to.

 

Lighting

Lighting requirements differ slightly depending on where the bonsai is placed. In general, though, bonsai trees need a minimum of 5 hours of light a day. If bonsai do not receive enough light, or if they receive too much light, they could die.

Indoor bonsai trees should be placed directly in front of a South facing window at all times. Placing the tree even one foot away from the window will decrease the light intensity significantly, weakening and eventually killing the tree. Even if the tree is directly in front of a window, it still may not receive enough light to survive. Artificial lighting for around 10 hours a day can help with this significantly.

Outdoor bonsai will get the light they need if they are placed in the right climate for that species. In particularly hot summers, the tree should be in a spot where it can get afternoon shade as to not burn the leaves. The lack of light in the winter will not hurt the tree as it is part of the dormancy period process. These trees should generally be left in the same spot all year unless the tree needs to be moved for protection from sun exposure or extreme frost.

 

Watering

Bonsai trees should not be watered on a routine, but when the soil becomes dry, just like with regular house plants. This also means that you should not water the plant when the soil is still wet. Each individual tree has it’s own watering needs, but you can check to see if the tree needs to be watered with a couple easy options.

The first way to check the soil is with your finger. Simply put your finger about one centimeter into the soil. If the soil is dry, water the tree. If not, it is not quite time to water.

Another option is to use the chopstick method. Take a clean, dry chopstick and insert it into 1 or 2 inches into the soil. After 10 minutes, pull out the chopstick and look at it. If it is dry and has no change of color, it is time to water your bonsai. If there is a slight color change, the soil is still a little moist; check again in the next day or two. If it has darkened, the soil is still very moist and does not need to be watered. Rinse off the chopstick and let it dry to reuse it at a later time.

 

Soil

Bonsai trees should be grow in inorganic soil. Inorganic soil is soil that contains no organic matter, like volcanic lava and fired clays, organic soil contains dead plant matter such as bark and peat. Inorganic soil allows for good drainage and aeration, unlike organic soil.

Components of your inorganic soil should include a mixture Akadama, Pumice, and lava rock. Deciduous trees prefer a ratio of 1/2 Akadama, 1/4 Pumice, 1/4 Lava rock. Coniferous trees prefer a ratio of 1/3 Akadama, 1/3 Pumice, 1/3 Lava rock.

 

Fertilizing

Because of the small pots bonsai are planted in, they are unable to replenish their soil’s nutritional content, and therefore need to be fertilized to stay healthy. Any fertilizer you use should contain Nitrogen, which helps with with the growth of the stems and leaves, Phosphorus, which helps keep the plant’s roots healthy, and Potassium, which helps with the overall health of the tree.

Outdoor bonsai should be fertilized throughout the growth season, early spring to mid autumn. Indoor bonsai can be fertilized all year because of their lack of a dormancy period.

 

Repotting

Repotting is crucial for the health of the tree. Not repotting will cause the tree to become pot-bound, making it very hard for the tree to grow and thrive. Young bonsai should be repotted every one to two years, while older bonsai should be repotted every three to five years. Just like when watering, the trees should not be repotted on a routine, but when needed. Check to see if the roots of the tree circle around the root system. If the roots are still contained in the soil, wait another year. The tree should be repotted in early spring, when the tree is still in it’s dormancy period.

 

Bonsai trees, whether indoor or outdoor, are relatively easy to care for. With the proper care with lighting, watering, soil, fertilizing, and repotting, the tree should be healthy. A healthy bonsai tree makes for an easy to care for tree.

How To Take Care Of A Bonsai Tree Indoors

How To Take Care Of A Bonsai Tree Indoors

 

Caring For Indoor Bonsai

Indoor bonsai trees are either tropical or subtropical trees. These trees grow in climates with consistently high temperatures. Common indoor bonsai are Ficus, Jade, and Carmona trees. Indoor trees differ from outdoor because indoor trees do not have a dormancy period that outdoor bonsai have. This means that these indoor trees grow all year with no break in the winter. Caring for your bonsai includes providing proper amounts of water, fertilizer, light, humidity, and temperature.

 

Watering

Watering your bonsai is one of the most important parts of caring for a bonsai. One general rule of watering your bonsai is to never water on a schedule, only when needed. Water when the soil is slightly dry, not when the soil is still wet.

One common way to check the soil is to use the chopstick method. Simply place a chopstick about an inch into the soil and wait 10 minutes. If the chopstick is damp, you do not need to water yet. If it is dry, you should water your bonsai.

Another way to check the soil is to get a soil moisture meter. A soil moisture meter measures the moisture of the tree’s soil at the root. This is measured on a scale from 1 to 10, 1 being the driest, 10 being the wettest. When the soil is below 3, your bonsai needs to be watered. Store the meter in a cool, dry place and clean before and after use.

 

Fertilizing

Bonsai need to be fertilized to replenish it’s nutritional content. The fertilizer you use should contain Nitrogen, Potassium, and Phosphorus. Nitrogen helps with the growth of the plant’s stems and leaves. Potassium helps with the health of the bonsai overall. Phosphorus helps with growing healthy roots and growing flowers and fruits.

Fertilizer should be used on indoor bonsai all throughout the year. The frequency in which you should fertilize varies depending on how old the bonsai is. Older bonsai do not have to be fertilized as much.

 

Light

Proper lighting is another crucial part of ensuring your bonsai is healthy and thriving. Place your tree in front of a South facing window to get the highest light intensity possible. Moving the plant even a foot away from the window decreases the light intensity significantly, which will weaken and can eventually kill the tree. Artificial lighting may be needed if the climate in your area is cold with low light, or even if light intensity isn’t a problem. If artificial lighting is needed, leave the light on for around 10 hours a day.

 

Humidity

Indoor bonsai need high humidity, higher than the conditions of your house. To increase humidity levels you can place a humidity tray filled with water under the bonsai’s pot and misting the plant a couple times a day. Be sure the roots do not touch the roots, as the roots will rot. You can also try opening your windows during the day for air circulation.

 

Temperature

The temperature each bonsai prefers varies slightly depending on the species. Generally, bonsai like temperatures from 50 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. However, many bonsai with no dormancy period like temperatures from 64 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit during the day, and 57 to 61 degrees Fahrenheit at night.

While tropical trees enjoy the normal temperatures of your house, sub-tropical trees can handle lower temperatures. During the winter, these trees thrive in a low temperature room.

 

Indoor bonsai trees have specific care guidelines that differ from those of outdoor bonsai. Watering the tree should never be done in a routine, but when necessary. Checking the soil is relatively easy, and eventually you should be able to see rather than feel when watering is needed. Fertilizing should be done every few weeks all throughout the year. Fertilizer should contain Nitrogen, Potassium, and Phosphorus. Indoor bonsai need the same amount of light all year round because they do not have a dormancy period where they stop growing. Artificial light can be added if needed. Humidity levels should be relatively high, and can be raised with the help of a humidity tray underneath the plant’s pot. These trees prefer a relatively high temperature all year, around that of your living room. With the proper care, your bonsai will thrive.

How Much Light Do Bonsai Trees Need?

 How Much Light Do Bonsai Trees Need

 

Light Requirements For Bonsai Trees

While some bonsai trees get the light they need outdoors, some indoor bonsai need to be exposed to artificial light to survive if they do not get enough natural light. The amount of light your bonsai tree needs depends on factors such as species, placement, and time of year. As a general rule, bonsai need at least 5 hours of sunlight a day, but this number varies by the factors previously mentioned.

 

Outdoor Bonsai

Outdoor bonsai trees are those that live in temperate zones, like pine trees, pine trees, and certain junipers. Most outdoor bonsai need lots of direct sunlight. If the summers in your area are particularly hot, afternoon shade can protect against the leaves burning. If the trees do not get enough light, they will be more prone to diseases and pests as their leaves and internodes grow too large.

 

Indoor Bonsai

Indoor bonsai trees are tropical or subtropical trees like Chinese elm, ficus, and carmona trees. Indoor bonsai trees should be placed in front of a south facing window at all times to provide the highest light intensity possible. Moving the tree even a foot away from the window will decrease the light intensity significantly, which will weaken and can eventually kill the plant. If your tree is not getting enough light, which is highly probable even if it is in the correct spot, you can add artificial light for around 10 hours a day. Having the proper light intensity will greatly enhance the health of your bonsai.

 

Grow Lights

Grow lights can be used if your bonsai is not getting enough direct sunlight. Usually, indoor bonsai will need some form of artificial light if temperatures are low in your area. Even outdoor bonsai may need artificial lights if it is particularly picky. If this is the case, you can run the light longer in the summer, and shorter in the winter to mimic the seasons.

Another option is to buy a smart grow lamp. Smart grow lamps are able to track the time of day and the time of year and will adjust the light accordingly.

 

Shade Nets

Some species of outdoor bonsai may need to be shaded so the plant can survive. If your plant is heat sensitive, a shade net can be used to filter the intensity of the sunlight and lower the temperature in the given area by up to 10 degrees Fahrenheit. The nets allow for the plants to get the sun they need without the damage. The material is graded by how much light is infiltrated, ranging from 40% to 80%. 40% cloth should be used for temperatures ranging from upper 80 to lower 90 degrees Fahrenheit. For temperatures in the mid 90’s to 100 degrees Fahrenheit, 60% cloth is recommended. And for temperatures over 100 degrees, 80% cloth should be used. Shade nets can also be used during windy times to protect the tree.

 

Time of Year

Outdoor bonsai tree’s light requirements change depending on the season. These trees have a dormancy period in the winter, requiring less light. Dormancy periods are when the trees stop growing in order to survive the cold temperatures winter brings. Be sure not to expose a dormant tree to any high temperatures as it will cause the tree to come out of dormancy and possibly die.

For indoor bonsai, the time of year does not affect their light requirements as they do not have a dormancy period in the winter. These trees grow the same throughout the year no matter the season. Light and temperatures should stay consistently high all year.

 

How much light a bonsai tree needs depends on the species, time of year, and placement. Some bonsai receive enough light from the sun, while others need artificial light in order to thrive. Most of the time outdoor bonsai get enough light from the sun. Indoor bonsai almost always need artificial light, especially if temperatures are consistently cold outdoors. If your outdoor bonsai is being damaged by the sun’s intensity, a shade net can be used to protect the tree and lower temperatures in that area. Whether an indoor or an outdoor tree, sunlight is a very important role in keeping the tree alive. With the right care, your bonsai will thrive.

What Does A Bonsai Tree Represent?

What Does A Bonsai Tree Represent

 

What a Bonsai Represents

Bonsai is a Japanese tradition derived from penjing, a Chinese art form. This tradition was reinvented by the Japanese over a thousand years ago and brought us the bonsai we know of today. The bonsai represents many things, including but not limited to simplicity, balance, harmony and age. The art of bonsai is using horticultural techniques with artistic applications to replicate a miniaturized version of the tree as they are viewed in nature. Each person who practices this art may have a different idea of what the bonsai represents or means, but individuals may interpret the tree differently based on their own thoughts and experiences.

 

Simplicity

Simplicity is a common theme in Japanese culture. The tree itself as well as the pot it lives in express simplicity. This also represents the respect for nature in this culture. No matter how keenly designed the bonsai is, there are elements to simplicity in it. Many of the bonsai pots are simple, neutral colors like those found in nature. Bonsai are not meant to be over-the-top looking trees, they are made to look as natural as possible without unnecessary ornamentation. Pots are not meant to be colorful or designed, as this draws attention from the star of the show: the tree. In Japanese philosophy, it is said that things with less power have greater effects. This philosophy is seen in the simplicity of the bonsai.

 

Balance

When looking at a bonsai, one element you may immediately notice is the balance in the tree. Unlike the common use of equilateral triangles in Western culture, bonsai use the triangle with no equal sides, the isosceles triangle. Many eastern art forms use this triangle to create deliberate imperfection. This is valued in Japanese culture as a natural balance. The asymmetry signifies freedom, movement, and continuation of life.

 

Harmony

Harmony is another valued quality in Japanese culture. Unity in textures and shapes is a common theme in many bonsai trees, relating to the harmony seen in nature. The co-existence with the elements is seen in the curves in the trees bark and lines on the branches. There are even symbols of difficult times in life in the jagged edges and crooked corners of the bark on the branches and bark. The different elements to a single bonsai is said to represent the opinions of different people.

Harmony is a big part of Japan’s conflict avoiding culture. Preventing as much conflict as possible is emphasized in the rules and manners in Japan. People in Japan prioritize harmony in groups and try to make Japan as harmonious as possible. This mentality seems to work, as Japan has a very low crime rate. In general, you’ll hardly ever see two individuals show anger towards each other

 

Age

Different characteristics on a bonsai tree represent different life stages. Branches, trunk, and roots can all be manipulated into representing age in one way or another. Smooth texture and lack of blemishes express youth, while a scarred trunk represents old age. Branches growing upward symbolize youth, while drooping branches symbolize old age. Lots of growth represents a youthful tree, while sparse growth tends to represent old age. Exposed roots also give the appearance of age. The incorporation of a dead trunk in the tree can represent the evolution of the tree.

The elderly in Japan are treated with great respect and live longer than those in other countries. It is common for bonsai trees to have both youthful and aged components to them. This is also seen in the households of many Japanese families. Households often have several generations living in the same house.

 

Bonsai trees are traditionally very symbolic. They represent simplicity, the balance in nature, the importance of harmony, and different ages. A bonsai grower’s main goal is to reflect the qualities of the tree in nature to the bonsai. Bonsai are simple, yet beautiful and symbolic trees. The balance in the tree is reflected to the balance in nature. The harmonious qualities in the tree reflect to those in the culture itself. How old the bonsai looks to be can be not only represented by the age of the grower, but of the household they live in. While growers have their own story to tell through the tree, it is up to you to interpret it.

How Long Do Bonsai Trees Take To Grow?

Growing A Bonsai Tree

 

Growing a Bonsai Tree

Growing a Bonsai tree is a very rewarding process that is also pretty time consuming. Growing from seeds gives you the maximum amount of control over the growing process. The process of growing from seeds takes about three years before you can start training the tree. If you buy an already grown tree, you can start training right away.

 

Getting Seeds or a Tree

Bonsai trees are created from normal trees, thus there is no such thing as “Bonsai seeds”. In getting started with seeds you can either find a tree in your local area and buy or collect seeds of that species, or you can find a different tree you like and buy those seeds online. Another option is to buy a Bonsai tree online to start pruning and wiring immediately.

Seeds that grow naturally in your local climate can be planted in autumn and will grow fine this way. However, if you are growing a tree that does not grow in your climate, or if you are planting a local tree out of season, you may need to use a process called stratification.

 

Stratification

Stratification is the process in which seedlings are subjected to cold to make them go dormant. Many species of trees are programmed to survive winter and grow in the spring to enhance the length of their first growth season. Most species need to be introduced to cold in order to grow. This should be done for a few weeks. A majority of tree species need to be soaked in water then stored in a refrigerator for one to two months. The exact time varies from species to species.

 

Styling and Shaping Your Bonsai

After about three years, your Bonsai is ready for training. Training techniques include pruning and wiring. Pruning is cutting leaves or branches off the tree to help structure the shape of your Bonsai in the most natural looking way possible. Deciduous trees should be pruned with twig shears, while conifers and some pine trees should be pinched by hand. There are several reasons why you may trim your Bonsai. Unusually shaped branches with twists and turns or too thick branches at the top of the tree should be removed.

Wiring your Bonsai is used for repositioning and bending branches. The wire should be removed a few months later, before the branches are scarred. For many species, wiring can be down all year, but for most deciduous trees should be wired in the late winter. Scars can be caused during the growth season because the branches grow very thick, very fast, causing the wire to cut into the bark.

 

Caring and Maintaining Your Bonsai

When your Bonsai is young, caring for the tree is very crucial. Under-watering and not providing enough light could stunt the growth of your tree. Watering your Bonsai should be done only when needed, and thoroughly, to promote healthy growth, never on a routine. Over-watering the tree will rot the roots, under-watering will dry out the tree and kill it. Repotting your Bonsai every two years is also vital for the Bonsai because the tree may become pot-bound, meaning it becomes hard to store and soak up water. Fertilizing the Bonsai is also important for the health of the tree. Regularly fertilize during the growth season for the best results.

Be sure you know whether your Bonsai is an indoor or an outdoor tree. Deciding on which Bonsai to get can largely depend on what kind of climate you live in. Tropical and subtropical trees need constant light all year round with no dormancy period. Outdoor Bonsai, on the other hand, have dormancy periods in the winter and need cold weather in this time.

 

Whether you grow them from seeds or buy a grown tree, growing your Bonsai is an amazing experience. When your Bonsai is around three years old, training can begin. Pruning is necessary for the health and look of the tree, and wiring is good for further enhancing the tree’s look. In the early stages of growth, watering and lighting are particularly important for the tree’s health. With all the proper care your Bonsai will grow healthy and beautiful in no time.