Bonsai is assumed to have originated in China around the year 200 A.D. It is said to have been developed by the Chinese healers who had to transport medicinal herbs and plants over great distances to attend to people who were ill or injured. The healers had to make sure the plants stayed fresh and did not lose their potency. Since they could not transport large trees wherever they went, the healers began to devise ways to shrink the plants and still keep them healthy.
Although deliberately shortening plants was initially done for practical purposes, this craft also began to be seen as a decorative art. Early attempts at making bonsai trees appear visually appealing, involved growing and twisting them into different shapes. Popular among these were those that resembled animals or mystical symbols. The art of developing bonsai trees grew immensely when it was exported to Japan in 800 A.D. The Japanese focused on growing bonsai trees for landscaping purposes and this style of growingbonsai trees is what is prevalent even today. Preliminary Steps Involved
As a beginner, it is best to obtain your cutting of the bonsai sapling from a nursery that stocks them. Select plants that are hardy, such as evergreen varieties or a species of bamboo. While choosing your sapling, opt for one with plenty of leaves and a sturdy trunk. You should also have some idea of what you want your plant to look like since you will have to mould it accordingly.
Your plant will then have to be planted in a suitable pot. Select the pot keeping in mind that it should be able to hold enough soil to cover the roots of the plant. At the same time, the pot should not be too small or it will not be able to give the plant the support it needs.
The key to keeping your tree small as it grows is to prevent its roots from growing too long. Before you plant your sapling in its pot, cut away one third of the roots beginning from the ends that are farthest from the stem. Focus especially on trimming the thicker roots. You will also have to trim the fine feeder roots slightly. Feeder roots are slender roots that grow close to the surface of the soil. These are the roots that are going to provide your tree with most of its nourishment.
Besides trimming the roots, your plant will also have to be pruned in order for it to be prepared to assume the desired shape. You can do this with a pair of pruning shears, and use a picture as a reference point for making the required changes. Ideally, your tree should have three well-defined sections. The lowest section will be the tree trunk, and hence, should be free of any branches. The middle section should have a few branches that extend in all directions. The top section should have many short branches and should also have a defined apex portion that resembles the pinnacle.
Once the pruning adjustments have been made, your sapling is ready to be potted. Place your sapling in a small pot with some soil and make sure the roots are covered completely. You can use basic potting soil to do this although bonsai dirt is preferable due to its better drainage properties. Bonsai dirt is nothing but a mixture of two parts each of granite grit and peat moss, with one part of loamy soil. Maintaining your Bonsai
A bonsai needs to be 'trained' so...