These series of articles will be for those who would like to plant and grow own bonsai trees. When I started with bonsai trees two decades ago, the term bonsai was not so known like today. You can today buy bonsai in a shop and these little trees are very popular and have good image.
These tutorial will cover outdoor bonsai growing but in most cases it will much indoor planting too. If you are planning to seriously start with bonsai trees I recommend not to buy ready bonsai in a regular shop. The best way is to make the bonsai yourself. Why? Good question. First, it is incomparable cheaper. Second, you do not known health status of the selected bonsai.
So how to start? As the first point, the selection of a plant is important. It has no sense to choose some trees that has extreme conditions and requirements for nutrition, sun and water. For outdoor bonsai I would recommend Juniperus chinensis. It is a great tree for cutting, it is always green and you can make it look old in one, two years. It is very famous even with professional Japanese masters.
1, Where to get the plant? Not in supermarket or in some bonsai shop. You have probably bought some big trees or perennials into your garden. They will sure have plenty of small Juniperus chinensis boxed in black containers for a good price. These plants have good and strong root structure and will not so simply die. When you choose one, choose ones which looks robust, healthy and imagine how they will look when you cut out unneeded branches.
2, Get the bonsai pot. You can get it in many places today, even there where you got the plant. Basic rules for beginners. The pot is selected for the bonsai not the bonsai for the pot. How big should it be? The bigger the better so it match all the root structure. The pot do not need to be as high as the black container but about 1 cm about the root base. And one important point. The pot must have hole at the bottom and be ceramic, no plastic things.
3, Find some small stone. Stone? What for? Find a stone that you can put on the hole of the pot, it must be so big that it will cover the hole and do not fall out.
4, Soil. Buy a peat and combine it 50-50 with soil from your garden.
5, Finale planting. So you put the stone on the hole. Put a little bit of prepared soil on it so it cover the bottom of the pot. Take out the complete plant with soil and roots from a container. Never separate the soil from roots. This will kill the plant in most cases. Now put the bonsai in the pot, the tree should not be placed exactly in the middle, you can put it a bit more on the left side or back side from point of your view. This point of view is very important and will be your final point of view, the way how will people see the bonsai in your garden and you should place bonsai that way on its permanent place in your garden. Final step, put a bit of soil on top and beside the tree and fill all spaces and hard press the soil so the tree is stable. You can put a bit of gravel or moss on top. Whats next? Spill it good with water and place on its permanent place. The tree should have enough space for planting and not be covered by some other plants. I would recommend to leave the bonsai in this stage at least for one, two month before cutting. And cutting will the theme of the next article about bonsai trees.
Juniperus chinensis bonsai
Photo Credit: Cliff (CC BY 2.0)