Planting a tree in a small pot does not automatically turn it into a Bonsai. To create a Bonsai involves continual pruning and shaping of suitable species of shrubs or trees to produce a style that you desire.
You start the hobby of growing Bonsai with a young tree or shrub. Suitable species include Bottlebrush, Ironwood, She Oak, Silky Oak, Crepe Myrtle, and Fig. Ask your local nursery for other suggestions that are suited for your climate.
When choosing a plant consider the following points:
- The plant will need material for you to work with, so look for a tree with many branches.
- The plant should have a wide trunk, preferably wider at the base.
- The leaves of the plant should be naturally small.
- The lowest branches should start close to the ground.
- To add the illusion of age to the tree, try to find a plant with radiating roots present.
- Make sure the plant is healthy.
When choosing a pot for the plant, aim for shallow pots unless the tree you choose has a thick trunk. The wider the trunk the deeper the pot. The pots must have drainage holes, and pots that have been glazed on the inside prevent the plant from breathing. Using your artistic flair, choose a pot by its colour and texture, and ask yourself whether it will suit the plant you have purchased.
After you have chosen a plant it is a good idea to plant it either in a large pot or in the ground until it has matured. This will speed up the growing process and give the roots greater strength. To increase the mass of branches, prune the tree continuously.
When you feel the tree has matured enough to be styled into a bonsai, prepare the pot by covering it¡¦s drainage holes with insect screening or thin fabric. This prevents the soil from clogging up the holes when you water the plant.
When you fill the pot with potting mixture choose a mixture for outdoor plants. The Bonsai is not an indoor plant. The tree will not be as strong once it has been potted, so style the tree before you remove it from its location.
When you unpot the plant from its initial location, get a stick, and loosen the soil from around the roots. Scrape up to a third to a half of the old soil away. Using a pair of scissors, trim the roots that are exposed outside of the existing soil. You can now place the tree in the pot, filling the rest of the pot with your potting mixture.
After decorating the top of the potting mixture with pebbles, moss or fine bark, you are now ready to style the plant. You can shape the trunk of the tree by using wire.
Wind a thin piece of wire around the trunk of the tree and to the branches you wish to shape. Bend the tree gently allowing the wire to hold it in place. The wire can be removed from the tree when the branches do not spring back if the wire is released.
With continuous pruning and trimming, your artistic talents will show as the tree matures. You have now created a Bonsai.