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Did you know that one Dragonfly can eat over hundreds of mosquito's a day. Keep some beautiful plants in your yard to attract Dragonflies. It’s possible to help reduce mosquito populations around your house without using nasty chemicals. Did you know that dragonflies are the biggest predators of mosquito's and can eat hundreds of them a day? This makes them a great addition to your garden and the safest natural pest control. They keep mosquito population in check.

Dragonfly Catching and Eating a Mosquito - YouTube

Dragonflies eat mosquitoes, both at the larval stage and as adults. Having a few dragonflies in your backyard will ensure mosquitoes do not trouble you during a high mosquito season. Another interesting fact is that Dragonflies are carnivorous in their minds, bodies and soul. A fun fact here. A Dragonfly can eat food equal to its own weight in about 30 minutes. Which roughly translates into a you trying to eat as much as 100 lb, let alone in half an hour. We don’t eat that amount of food in a week!

From the time they get out of their eggs as little nymphs, their limbs and mouth yearn for meat and seek out prey underwater. They are extremely fast swimmers and will eat just about anything that moves under the water surface and on. They have a hyper-thrust mechanism to give them the extra speed-boost when they are pursuing a critter that gives the Dragonfly nymph a run for its money. For a quick burst of speed, they eject water from their anal opening to act like a jet propulsion system, which makes it a near impossible feat for the nymph Dragonfly’s prey to even think of an escape.

If you think this is spectacular, wait till you hear this. Occasionally, the nymph will venture out of the water to get a quick snack from the land. It does this with such nonchalance that when seen this way, one would never really consider the dragonfly nymph to be primarily aquatic, and never ‘ever’ an aquatic insect with gills. As Nymphs, the Dragonflies eat mosquito larvae, other aquatic insects and worms, and for a little variety even small aquatic vertebrates like tadpoles and small fish.

Dragonfly catching mosquito's at a pond
Adult Dragonflies are born rulers of their domain and they prove it to just about every insect that thinks it can pull a fast one on this killing machine. The adult dragonfly uses the basket formed by its legs to catch insects while flying. The adult Dragonfly likes to eat gnats, mayflies, flies, mosquitoes and other small flying insects. They sometimes eat butterflies, moths and bees too.

From bees to mosquitoes, Dragonflies make a meal out of what they please and can hunt down insects on a whim, callously plucking them out of thin air after out-flying outmaneuvering and them in the chase that does not normally last very long.

To give you a little insight, the dragonfly that is many times the size of a mosquito or a housefly needs to flap its wings a mere 30 times a minute when compared to a mosquito’s 600 times a minute and the housefly’s 1000 flaps a minute requirement to keep them flying and in peak maneuverability. Such is the power that the dragonfly is equipped with and given its low-energy speed capability, very, very few insects can escape its basket shaped grabbing limbs that it uses to clutch on to its prey before crushing the critter into a gooey mass, with its powerful mandibles and swallowing it.

Adult Dragonflies eat just about anything that is edible and can be caught. They are a treasure for humanity because they keep mosquito populations under strict control by feasting on them when they are in abundance. Similarly, they also feed on ants, termites, butterflies, gnats, bees and other insects and tend to hunt in groups when large colonies of ants or termites are spotted.

They are considered a pest by apiaries because they can polish off a good chunk of the bee population before one can realize the threat looming large.

Writing about what dragonflies eat makes one wonder what would be the case if some of the older dragonfly species that have been found as fossils existed today. These fossil species belonging to the Meganeura genus were carnivorous insects with wings spreading to spans in the range of two and a half feet and made their food out of other insects and even small amphibians. If they were still alive today, we’d have to constantly watch our small pets to be sure they didn’t end up a Dragonfly’s lunch!

Dragonflies In The Garden: Nature's Mosquito Control - YouTube

Some plants that attract Dragonflies are floating plants that are not rooted under the water are also necessary for any dragonfly habitat. Females will lay their eggs on the underside of the plant or on the stems. The Western water lily is hardy in zones 10 and 11 and fanworts, which will grow in zones 6 through 11, are attractive options. Emergent plants are those that are rooted on the bottom of ponds but have stems and leaves that rise out of the water. Dragonflies love these plants because they use them during both nymph and adult stages. Water horsetail grows well in zones 4 through 11 and is a lovely dark green emergent plant that has a hollow stem with a few branches.

Interesting Bonsai articles can be found here:

Please click here for more information on --> Chinese Penjing Bonsai
Please click here for more information on --> The Origins of Bonsai
Please click here for more information on --> The Art of Saikei Bonsai
Please click here for more information on --> Japanese Tanuki Bonsai
Please click here for more information on --> How to Water a Bonsai
Please click here for more information on --> Bonsai Healing Methods
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Bonsai Fertilizer Explained

The best fertilizer is a bonsai fertilizer specifically formulated to provide an optimum level of salt in the soil solution when used as directed. In other words, Fertilizer is simply an alternate source of all the basic nutrients, such as nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium, and trace minerals that exist naturally in a healthy soil. Fertilizer feeds the soil, not the bonsai. Fertilizer breaks down in the soil, either by being dissolved in water or by microbial action, releasing its nutrients in a form that plant roots can absorb. Plants use nitrogen for leaf production, phosphorus for root and flower production, and potassium for flower production and general vigor. General purpose fertilizers are typically balanced. They contain all three major nutrients which are present in the proportions likely to be found in a healthy soil. These general purpose fertilizers are suitable for use on lawns, trees, shrubs, flowers, even vegetable gardens where there are no special problems with the soil.

Special purpose fertilizers are typically "unbalanced" featuring a greater proportion of one or the other major nutrients or special trace minerals or enzymes that suit them for particular situations or bonsai. For instance, there are bonsai fertilizers labeled for acid-loving plants such as azaleas that help provide iron in a form that these plants can use. Let the directions on the fertilizer be your guide and, when possible, use a specialized bonsai fertilizer to maintain its health. 

Fertilizing regularly during the growth season is crucial for your Bonsai to survive. Normal trees are able to extend their root system looking for nutrients; Bonsai however are planted in rather small pots and need to be fertilized in order to replenish the soil's nutritional content. I've found a very interesting video from an experienced Filipino Bonsai enthusiast that explains fertilizing methods.

Bonsai Tutorials for Beginners: Fertilizers - YouTube

What is NPK on fertilizer labels?

Don't be intimidated by the three-number code on bags of fertilizer. It indicates the levels of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) in the fertilizer. Nitrogen is responsible for the intensity of the color green in the plant. Phosphorous is good for maintaining the root system as well as the plant's blooming and fruiting. Potassium is necessary for the general vitality of the plant. You can read our article for more information about NPK.

What's the difference between liquid fertilizers and granular pellets?

Fertilizer is available in two types: liquid and granular. Choose the one that meets your needs in the form that is easiest for you to use. Liquid fertilizers are fast-acting and quickly absorbed. However, liquid fertilizers require more applications. Every time you water your bonsai, your washing away the fertilizer you previously applied. Granular fertilizers are applied dry and must be watered in. Granular fertilizers are easier to control because you can actually see how much fertilizer you are using and where it is being dispersed. Both fertilizer types are appropriate for bonsai gardeners, and most bonsai gardeners will use both types of fertilizer for maximum balance. 

Is there an advantage to using organic fertilizer?

The major elements needed for your bonsai are N, P, and K. The source doesn't matter to the plant. The salts will ultimately be employed by the bonsai in exactly the same fashion. The major benefit of organic fertilizer is that it releases nitrogen slowly and it is less likely to burn the roots of the bonsai if you accidentally over-fertilize. Some fertilizers, such as chicken manure or liquid fish-meal, have a distinct odor, so you may not want to use them on indoor bonsai. However, not all organic fertilizer will smell bad.

Also, organic fertilizers do not always contain all of the trace elements and minerals your bonsai needs. Therefore, you may need to apply several different organic fertilizers or apply them more frequently to compensate. It may be a good idea to alternate fertilizers (organic and non-organic) from time to time in order to give your bonsai a mixture of trace elements.

No matter which fertilizer you choose, the most important thing is to follow the directions on the package. Using too much fertilizer or using it too frequently increases the risk of damage to your bonsai.

Are there times when I should avoid fertilizing my bonsai?

Yes. Probably the most important rule about fertilizing is to never feed a tree that is under stress. You should never feed a newly re-potted tree, a dry tree, or a tree during dormancy. After re-potting, leave the bonsai alone for at least a month before starting feeding again.

Please see product review below, you can click on images for more details about the specific product.

Liquid and Non-Liquid Bonsai Fertilizers

  • Brand: Dyna-Gro
  • Rated: 4.5 stars on Amazon (Customers reviews here)
  • Type: liquid form
  • Price: below $10
  • Indoor plants: mix 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon per gallon of water with every watering
  • Outdoor plants: mix 1/2 teaspoon per gallon of water with every watering
  • Monthly feeding: mix 1 teaspoon per gallon
  • Hydroponic: 2-3 teaspoons per gallon of water for re-circulation type systems
  • 1 teaspoon per gallon for non-recirculating
  • Made in the U.S.A.

  • Brand: New England Bonsai Gardens
  • Rated: 4.5 stars on Amazon (Customers reviews here)
  • Type: liquid form
  • Price: $10 - $15
  • This premium bonsai fertilizer one of the best in the market according to reviews and is essential to keeping your bonsai trees healthy and strong.
  • Exclusive to New England Bonsai Gardens, a low dose 3-3-3 can be used for bonsai almost year round.
  • This water soluble bonsai fertilizer is odor free and especially recommended by bonsai professionals for indoor bonsai trees.
  • Contains Nitrogen for healthy foliage, Potassium for healthy root growth, and Phosphorous for bright and colorful flowers and fruits.
  • 1/8 ounce bottle should last about a year for a small bonsai (up to an eight (8) inch pot). Direct from New England Bonsai Gardens.
  • Made in the U.S.A.

  • Brand: Superfly Bonsai
  • Rated: 4.0 stars on Amazon (Customers reviews here)
  • Type: Non-liquid form
  • Price: $10 - $15
  • Slow Release - Special blend fertilizes immediately and throughout a 1-2 month period.
  • NPK optimized for Bonsai - Nitrogen (N) – for the growth of leaves on the plant. Phosphorus (P) for root growth, flower and fruit development. Potassium (K) for overall plant health.
  • According to instruction it's safe and easy to use - 1/4 Pellets can be picked up by hand or with a spoon
  • Rich in premium organic & natural ingredients
  • Easy Zip and resealable bag
  • Made in the U.S.A.

  • Brand: Tinyroots
  • Rated: 5.0 stars on Amazon (Customers reviews here)
  • Type: Non-liquid form
  • Price: $10 - $15
  • Most popular time release organic bonsai fertilizer. Always fresh stock from Japan.
  • Biogold is specially formulated for Bonsai, but will also work well with a wide range of plants.
  • Fermented - no bad smells. Does not attract insects, no mold growth.
  • Contains the three essential elements (Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potash) and micro-nutrients to produce a balanced fertilizer.
  • Triangular pellets - Will not roll off and out of your pot.
  • Imported fertilizer from Japan

  • Brand: Tinyroots
  • Rated: 4.5 stars on Amazon (Customers reviews here)
  • Type: Non-liquid form
  • Price: $15 - $20
  • This soil provides the plant support, moisture & drainage Bonsai trees need.
  • The soil component is a mix of 100% organic double-sifted compost mulch, calcined clay, vermiculite and Frit. It contains over 28 vital trace elements and minerals that are essential for the health of your Bonsai.
  • Perfectly blended for Ficus, Chinese Elms, Jades, Junipers, and other Bonsai species - two quarts of all-purpose blend Bonsai soil mix. 100% Organic and All-Natural Bonsai soil.
  • Specially formulated as an all-purpose potting medium for virtually any Bonsai tree.
  • Made in the U.S.A.

  • Brand: BonsaiOutlet
  • Rated: 4.5 stars on Amazon (Customers reviews here)
  • Type: Liquid form
  • Price: $15 - $20
  • Nitrogen-free fertilizer for Bonsai. Use this 0:10:10 fertilizer during the winter months and for newly transplanted Bonsai trees.
  • Formulated without nitrogen so it doesn't promote foliage growth, this formulation still provides a balanced delivery of phosphorus and potassium to keep your Bonsai tree's root system healthy and happy.
  • Made with natural-based fish. Rich in phosphorus and potassium, this unique formula stimulates budding and flowering, as well as vigorous root growth. Use this product on all types of flowering plants for abundant colorful blooms.
  • Spring feeding pines with 0-10-10 will help reduce needle length and candle extension, and encourages sturdy shoots. Fall feeding all trees with 0-10-10 will help to prevent nonseasonal soft growth that will not withstand winter, and will increase cold hardiness of the roots.
  • 8oz bottle contains enough to make 16 gallons.
  • Made in the U.S.A.

  • Brand: Eve's Garden Special Blend
  • Rated: It's a new product
  • Type: Non liquid form
  • Price: Below $10.00
  • Slow Release 16-9-12 Granular Bonsai Fertilizer
  • Time released Fertilizer, apply every 5-8 months on the surface of soil
  • Last for months of the year, essential to keep your tree healthy and strong
  • Safe for any house plants according to Eve's Garden
  • Sold Only by Eve's Garden in 5 oz pack in a resealable zip lock bag, enough for many Bonsai trees
  • Made in the U.S.A.

  • Brand: BonsaiOutlet Green Dream
  • Rated: 4.0 stars on Amazon (Customers reviews here)
  • Type: Non liquid form
  • Price: $20 - $30
  • Brings rapid and lush growth, Certified 100% Organic. Will keep your Bonsai trees happy healthy and thriving for years to come.
  • Perfectly balanced Bonsai fertilizer. N:P;K ratio of 7:5:5 balanced for Bonsai of all types.
  • Tiny 4mm pellets are absorbed by soil quickly. Harmless to pets and fish, including Bonsai ponds.
  • Recommended for outdoor use but safe indoors, Active organic components sterilized for safe handling according to manufacturer
  • Made in the U.S.A.

    Bonsai: the Endless Ritual | Extraordinary Rituals | Earth Unplugged - YouTube

    Interesting Bonsai articles can be found here:

    Please click here for more information on --> Chinese Penjing Bonsai
    Please click here for more information on --> The Origins of Bonsai
    Please click here for more information on --> The Art of Saikei Bonsai
    Please click here for more information on --> Japanese Tanuki Bonsai
    Please click here for more information on --> How to Water a Bonsai
    Please click here for more information on --> Bonsai Healing Methods

    Thank you for visiting my blog and feel free to subscribe to this blog and leave your message on the comment section below. Remember, good feedbags or bad remarks, it doesn't matter!

    Interesting Books on Bonsai can be found here:

    The Complete Book of Bonsai --> I've been into bonsai for 25 years and this is the basic Bible for beginner and intermediate bonsai enthusiasts. It has an excellent section on techniques, including pruning, wiring and whatnot, and it has a large species-specific tree guide. If you're into bonsai and want only one book, this is it.

    Indoor Bonsai The Great Selection --> Creating beautiful, healthy bonsai is a wonderful skill that anyone can learn, with a little time, patience, and this all-inclusive manual. With color photos and drawings to illustrate the points, it introduces all the cultivation techniques; offers expert advice on location, soil types, watering, and pest control; and provides intricate instruction on training the bonsai--including pruning, wiring and stretching it.

    The Secret Techniques of Bonsai --> In The Secret Techniques of Bonsai, the author of the groundbreaking Bonsai With American Trees teams up with his son to offer not only the basics for creating perfect bonsai, but also secret techniques they’ve developed over years of careful work and observation.

    Bonsai Survival Manual --> Problem solving when your Bonsai get sick. Expand your gardening repertoire as you create a captivating and exquisite miniature world. In this introductory guide, Colin Lewis covers everything you need to know to design, grow, and successfully maintain attractive bonsai.

    Bonsai and the art of Penjing --> Bonsai & Penjing, Ambassadors of Beauty and Peace describes how Chinese penjing and North American bonsai were later added to the Museum, making its collection the most comprehensive in the world. Stories of individual trees and forest plantings are featured, as are the roles played by the skilled and talented creators of these living art forms people such as John Naka, Saburo Kato, Yuji Yoshimura, Harry Hirao, and Dr. Yee-Sun Wu.

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    The Taikan Ten Exhibition

    The building is just down the street from the famous Heian Shrine, well known for a large and impressive tori gate. This exhibition is perhaps the second largest and most prestigious bonsai exhibition in Japan. I particularly like this show because it features displays. Both bonsai, suiseki and art objects are formally displayed, many with scrolls. This is not the common traditional bonsai exhibition. There were a few contemporary displays as well in good taste too.The Taikan-ten is one of Japan's leading Bonsai exhibitions, with an incredibly high level of Bonsai trees on display. It takes place each year in November, in the city of Kyoto Japan. The Taikan-ten is one of the few traditional shows that features Bonsai in displays, with scrolls and suiseki. But several contemporary displays can be found as well. The best of show is awarded the Prime Minister Award and some of the Bonsai masterpieces may reach easily 160thousand dollars.

    The entrance of Bonsai Taikan exhibition in Kyoto Japan

    Source: Julian Tsai & Bonsai Empire

    Source: Julian Tsai & Bonsai Empire

    38th Taikan-ten 2018,38回大觀展2018 - YouTube

    An interesting fact is although all the bonsai are beautiful, not all are of the high Kokufu Bonsai Exhibition quality. Professional bonsai artists nominate the bonsai for entry. There are two general sizes of display and I believe the entry fee is US $500 and $1,000 per display areas. The trees are classified by size, large, medium and small, and by type, evergreen, deciduous, satsuki, shohin bonsai, literati, forest and rock plantings. The suiseki are classified as those in water basins, daiza bases and figure stones. Most of the Bonsai exhibitions are in Autumn, that is when the Bonsai trees manifest their true beauty on display. 

    Source: Julian Tsai & Bonsai Empire

     Source: Julian Tsai & Bonsai Empire

    Source: Julian Tsai & Bonsai Empire

    Interesting Bonsai articles can be found here:

    Please click here for more information on --> Chinese Penjing Bonsai
    Please click here for more information on --> The Origins of Bonsai
    Please click here for more information on --> The Art of Saikei Bonsai
    Please click here for more information on --> Japanese Tanuki Bonsai
    Please click here for more information on --> How to Water a Bonsai
    Please click here for more information on --> Bonsai Healing Methods

    Thank you for visiting my blog and feel free to subscribe to this blog and leave your message on the comment section below. Remember, good feedbags or bad remarks, it doesn't matter!

    Interesting Books on Bonsai can be found here:

    The Complete Book of Bonsai --> I've been into bonsai for 25 years and this is the basic Bible for beginner and intermediate bonsai enthusiasts. It has an excellent section on techniques, including pruning, wiring and whatnot, and it has a large species-specific tree guide. If you're into bonsai and want only one book, this is it.

    Indoor Bonsai The Great Selection --> Creating beautiful, healthy bonsai is a wonderful skill that anyone can learn, with a little time, patience, and this all-inclusive manual. With color photos and drawings to illustrate the points, it introduces all the cultivation techniques; offers expert advice on location, soil types, watering, and pest control; and provides intricate instruction on training the bonsai--including pruning, wiring and stretching it.

    The Secret Techniques of Bonsai --> In The Secret Techniques of Bonsai, the author of the groundbreaking Bonsai With American Trees teams up with his son to offer not only the basics for creating perfect bonsai, but also secret techniques they’ve developed over years of careful work and observation.

    Bonsai Survival Manual --> Problem solving when your Bonsai get sick. Expand your gardening repertoire as you create a captivating and exquisite miniature world. In this introductory guide, Colin Lewis covers everything you need to know to design, grow, and successfully maintain attractive bonsai.

    Bonsai and the art of Penjing --> Bonsai & Penjing, Ambassadors of Beauty and Peace describes how Chinese penjing and North American bonsai were later added to the Museum, making its collection the most comprehensive in the world. Stories of individual trees and forest plantings are featured, as are the roles played by the skilled and talented creators of these living art forms people such as John Naka, Saburo Kato, Yuji Yoshimura, Harry Hirao, and Dr. Yee-Sun Wu.

    Bonsai with Japanese Maples --> With their delicate foliage, seasonal color changes, and intricate pattern of branching, Japanese maples are among the most popular and suitable plants for bonsai design. In this long-awaited book, internationally renowned expert Peter Adams discusses both the specific horticultural needs of Japanese maples as bonsai subjects and illustrates proven techniques for creating and maintaining beautiful specimens.

    The Modern Bonsai Practice --> The most current, useful information on growing Bonsai. Fresh, practical, definitive, comprehensive reference guide to the finest art of horticulture: growing miniature trees. Common sense bonsai answers separating myth from fact with depth and detail. Appropriate for both bonsai hobbyists and experienced practitioners.

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    Tree's and plants have something in common, the location of your indoor and outdoor is crucial for it's surviving and health in general. Both love bright spots but having said that it's just scratching on the tip of the iceberg. We can ask ourselves, why do certain trees reach centuries of lifespan and look healthy and thriving whereas others don't ? Although the success of growing a Bonsai is not all about location, it's certainly and important aspect. An additional factor plays the species of your Bonsai, especially if it originate from sub tropical climate or otherwise. A tree in India might thrive better than equally in Europe or America vice versa. 

    Different strokes for different folks, this rule of thumb applies not only to humans but also plants and trees in general. Deciding on what is the best location to place your Bonsai tree can be hard, as several factors (local climate, time of year, tree species, etc.) should be taken into consideration. Best is to know what species of tree you have and to look for specific information about it.

    Most outdoor trees are best placed on a bright spot, about half the day in direct sunlight and protected from the wind. Indoor trees are best placed on a bright position as well; usually right in front of a window facing the South. Place indoor trees somewhere with a constant temperature. (See picture above) A typical indoor Bonsai can be a Ficus, Carmona or Chinese Elm whereas a typical outdoor Bonsai is a Juniper, Pine or Maple. 

    45) Lighting for Indoor Bonsai and House Plants - Bonsai Trees for Beginners Series - YouTube

    Suitable amounts of light is critical for the survival and health of a plant. Low levels of light make a plant weak and susceptible to all kinds of pests and disease. Giving your plant the right 'strength' and 'colour' of light could make the difference between a vibrant or struggling bonsai... The first thing we have to do is identify the quantity of light that you’re looking at in the area that you’re going to put your bonsai. You use a little light meter for that. The light meter generally has a lux which tells you the density or intensity of light. On a good bright day, you could have around 100,000 lux outside in the bright parts of the world. In the tropical parts, maybe 6000K and on a cloudy day, it can go down to 4000 lux. On dark days, it can get even less. Indoors, the light levels vary quite significantly. The human eye can read at 198 lux, but even the plants that live in the undergrowth in the Amazon forest require at least 400 lux to survive. 

    Ficus’ and other indoor plants can generally manage at that kind of light level. Bonsais, on the other hand, generally need a lot more light. 3500 – 4000 lux is a good reading to have. You need to then choose appropriate lighting for the area that you’re going to have. Sometimes you can have light that creates heat. HID – High Intensity Discharge lighting. Then there is metal halide lighting (MH) and there’s also HPS or High Pressure lighting. They use a lot of electricity for one but they also generate a lot of heat, and the other thing about this kind of light is that it’s a general spectrum, so it goes across the entire spectrum of light.

    Most of the light, or 20% of the light is used by the plant. Using fluorescent light, which is the other type of light is more accurate and fluorescent lights are colour corrected. You can get very precise lighting for the plant depending on what your plant is doing, whether you want it to grow leaves and be used between 500K and 6000K. It is a blue light and then you have for flowering, you would use 2000 to 2700K which is on the red spectrum. There is a new mention in the plant light area, made from LEDS - light emitting diodes. They generally come in panels or in strips. They can be used right over the plant and sometimes, if it’s a long strip, can even put it within the plant to light up the area. It’s not advisable to run the light 24 hours a day because trees need to rest. Trees need to be dormant in the night. When you can feel the heat and light outside, that’s the best time to have your additional lighting or support lighting for the trees.

    Bonsai: the Endless Ritual | Extraordinary Rituals | Earth Unplugged - YouTube

    The Four Basic Things to Keep in Mind

    • How to position your Bonsai
    • Watering your Bonsai
    • Pruning and Shaping your Bonsai
    • Re-potting your Bonsai

    Over watering your Bonsai is the no. 1 Killer

    These factors play a crucial role in keeping your Bonsai healthy and stimulate growth. The positioning is crucial, as your bonsai should be kept away from direct heat or draft. The lighting is ideally in an area with plenty of sunlight. In addition, Bonsai's need humidity in order to keep their soil moist. Please always remember that the path to Bonsai longevity depends on your PATIENCE and dedication.

    The number one cause of most bonsai tree deaths is under-watering. Because the soil layer is so shallow, it is prone to drying out very quickly. Bonsai trees should be watered right when the top layer of soil appears dry. Depending on the type and size of your tree, as well as the type of soil you use, the frequency of watering can differ and can even be once a day. Therefore, it’s best to water each of your bonsai plants individually, instead of sticking to a routine.

    When watering your bonsai tree, the main goal is to fully saturate the root system with water. To ensure proper saturation, keep watering until water escapes through the draining holes. To allow for proper draining, many bonsai trees come with a tray to collect excess water.

    Over watering can also be detrimental for your bonsai tree. Symptoms of an over watered bonsai include: yellowing of leaves and the shriveling of smaller branches. If a bonsai is over watered, its roots are drowning in water and are deprived of oxygen which prevents further growth to support the tree. Over watering can also result from poor-draining soil. Although sporadic watering may seem an easy task, well it is not. An automated water drop irrigation system helps to water your bonsai sporadically. 

    To ensure that you are watering your bonsai properly, you’ll need to assess your bonsai tree daily. The rule of thumb is to water as soon as the soil appears dry.

    Bonsai Documentary: The Living Works Of Art - Japanology Plus - 盆景美丽的温馨图书文献艺术0 - YouTube

    Pruning is essential for keeping bonsai trees small and for maintaining their compact shape

    There are two main types of pruning: maintenance pruning and structural pruning.

    Maintenance pruning strengthens the tree by encouraging new growth. By cutting away young shoots and leaves it exposes the leaves underneath to air and sunlight which further strengthens the tree and benefits its overall health.

    Areas that require maintenance pruning include the branches, buds, and leaves. Pruning away branches encourages the growth of smaller branches and allows you to control the shape of your tree. Pruning buds away from branches produces a more compact leaf growth which encourages the growth of smaller leaves.

    Typically, you should prune your bonsai tree when you see new growth that’s starting to morph the shape of your tree in an undesirable manner. For flowering bonsai's, pruning should take place during the spring to encourage more flowers to grow the following year.

    Structural pruning is a more advanced technique that should only be done when the tree is dormant. It involves the removal of the tree’s primary structural branches and requires the skills of a professional to ensure that the tree can recover.

    Another way to properly shape your bonsai tree is to wire its branches. You can control the shape and growth pattern of certain branches by wrapping a thin wire around them. Wiring is best done during winter when the leaves of the bonsai tree have fallen off. Be sure to keep an eye on the branch’s growth and remove the wire when necessary. If the branch grows too fast, it can grow into the wire and cause scarring.

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    The art of Ikebana has been forgotten in recent years. Ikebana is simply magic, the art itself is a distinctive attraction that many people around the world admire. The good news is that Ikebana is making a come back for future generations. In ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arranging, blossoms, branches, leaves, and stems find new life as materials for art making.

    In contrast to the western habits of casually placing flowers in a vase, ikebana aims to bring out the inner qualities of flowers and other live materials and express emotion. Ikebana can be practiced by both amateurs and professionals, both of whom are able to achieve elegant results. However, like many other art forms, mastering the basics is fundamental to any practice, and only then can a person begin to experiment.

    Guided by precision, a core value of Japanese culture, beginners are taught basic technical skills like how to properly cut branches and flowers, how to measure angles in space for the correct placement of branches and stems, and how to preserve live materials along with the etiquette of maintaining a clean work station.

    Beginners are also taught how to sensitize their eyes to the materials, to be able to bring out their inner qualities, and understand how this changes with each arrangement. Beginner arrangements done in the Nageire and Moribana styles often make use of two tall branches and a small bundle of flowers. These pieces follow the three-stem system of shin, soe, and hikae elements that have traditionally represented heaven, man, and Earth, respectively. Now, on a practical level, they refer to the main stems that are employed. All other stems are called jushi, meaning supporting or subordinate stem.

    How to Learn the Basics of Ikebana - YouTube

    How does Ikebana look like ?

    Ikebana arrangements are not unlike sculpture. Considerations of color, line, form, and function guide the construction of a work. The resulting forms are varied and unexpected, and can range widely in terms of size and composition, from a piece made from a single flower to one that incorporates several different flowers, branches, and other natural objects.

    In Japanese culture, most native flowers, plants, and trees are embedded with symbolic meaning and are associated with certain seasons, so in traditional ikebana, both symbolism and seasonality have always been prioritized in developing arrangements. Some of the most common elements used are bamboo grass year round; pine and Japanese plum branches around the new year; peach branches for Girls Days in March; narcissus and Japanese iris in the spring; cow lily in summer; and chrysanthemum in autumn. Modern ikebana practices call for the same sensitivity to seasons, as well as to the environment in which an arrangement is being made.

    Sometimes, practitioners of ikebana, or ikebanaists, trim flowers and branches into unrecognizable shapes, or they may even paint the leaves of an element. Plant limbs may be arranged to sprout into space in various directions, but in the end, the whole work must be balanced and contained. At times, arrangements are mounted in a vase, though this is not always the case.

    In ikebana, it is not enough to have beautiful materials if the materials are not artfully employed to create something even more beautiful. Given a skilled maker, one carefully placed flower can be just as powerful as an elaborate arrangement.

    The Styles

    Patterns and styles evolved, and by the late 15th century arrangements were common enough to be appreciated by ordinary people and not only by the imperial family and its retainers.

    Ikebana in the beginning was very simple, constructed from only a very few stems of flowers and evergreen branches. This first form of ikebana is called kuge (供華).

    Styles of ikebana changed in the late 15th century and transformed into an art form with fixed instructions. Books were written about it, "Sedensho" being the oldest one, covering the years 1443 to 1536. Ikebana became a major part of traditional festivals, and exhibitions were occasionally held.

    The first styles were characterized by a tall, upright central stem accompanied by two shorter stems. During the Momoyama period, 1560–1600, splendid castles were constructed. Noblemen and royal retainers made large decorative rikka floral arrangements that were considered appropriate decoration for castles.

    The Rikka (standing flowers) style was developed as a Buddhist expression of the beauty of landscapes in nature. Key to this style are nine branches that represent elements of nature. One of rikka arrangement styles is called suna-no-mono (砂の物; sand arrangement).

    When the tea ceremony emerged, another style was introduced for tea ceremony rooms called chabana. This style is the opposite of the Momoyama style and emphasizes rustic simplicity. Chabana is not considered a style of ikebana but is separate. The simplicity of chabana in turn helped create the nageirebana or "thrown-in" style.

    Nageirebana ("thrown-in flowers") is a non-structured design which led to the development of the seika or shoka style. It is characterized by a tight bundle of stems that form a triangular three-branched asymmetrical arrangement that was considered classic. It is also known by the short form nageire.

    The Shōka ("pure flowers") style consists of only three main parts, known in some schools as ten (heaven), chi (earth), and jin (human). It is a simple style that is designed to show the beauty and uniqueness of the plant itself. Formalization of the nageire style for use in the Japanese alcove resulted in the formal shoka style.

    In Moribana ("piled-up flowers"), flowers are arranged in a shallow vase or suiban, compote vessel, or basket, and secured on a kenzan or pointed needle holders, also known as metal frogs.

    Jiyūka ("free flowers") is a free creative design. It is not confined to flowers; every material can be used. In the 20th century, with the advent of modernism, the three schools of ikebana partially gave way to what is commonly known in Japan as "Free Style". 
    (Source of information: Wikipedia.org)

    Ikebana: Flower Arrangement (Japanese documentary) - YouTube

    The Humble Beginnings of Ikebana 

    The roots of ikebana in Japan are believed to trace back to either the ceremonial practices of the native Shinto religion, or to a tradition of making floral offerings in Buddhism, which was imported from China in the 6th century.

    The first known written text on ikebana, called Sendensho, was penned in the 15th century. In it, readers find a thorough set of instructions on how to create arrangements that are appropriate to certain seasons and occasions; its directives make clear that the practice of ikebana embodies the evolved appreciation and sensitivity to nature that Japanese culture is known for more broadly.

    Around the same time, ikebana started to become a secular activity. The design of the Japanese home during this period reflects this transition: new homes were almost always built with a special recess called the tokonoma, which would contain a scroll, a precious art object, and a flower arrangement.

    Amidst the muted colors and flat planes of the traditional Japanese home, the tokonoma stood out as the singular place for color and decoration, and deep consideration was given to the objects placed there. In keeping with the Japanese culture’s reverence for impermanence, tokonoma displays were rotated regularly, with the changing seasons and during festive occasions. Arranging flowers in this context paved the way for ikebana and its recognition as a distinct art form.

    The Traditional Schools 

    Ikebana Flower Arrangement Pins
    In the 15th century, with the sudden ubiquity of the tokonoma and teachings of the Sendensho, ikebana practices began to flourish. First came the rise of the Ikenobo School, whose name refers to a long line of priests in Kyoto who followed the Buddhist tradition of presenting floral offerings in the temple. During this time, Ikenobo Senkei gained fame for his skillful floral compositions; today, he is considered the first master of ikebana.

    The secular style that Senkei practiced became known as Rikka, which means “standing flowers.” This type of ikebana is made with seven core elements (or sometimes nine), which are a mix of tree branches and two or three flowers—pine, chrysanthemum, irises, and boxwood are commonly used. These elements are combined, traditionally in an ornate Chinese vase, to create bursting, triangular shapes, with tall elements at the center and shorter ones shooting outwards. To be able to make the main elements stand upright without support requires a high level of technical skill. Rikka compositions are considered the most grand, but also the most rigid (even by today’s standards). They were originally intended for temples and later found in royal palaces and the stately homes of the rich.

    At the same time, a more modest approach to flower arrangement was also gaining popularity as an extension of Zen Buddhism and the Wabi-Sabi and Tea Ceremony aesthetics that grew from its core tenets. Japan’s most famous tea master, Sen no Rikyū, introduced an appreciation for imperfect, modest aesthetics in his tea ceremonies, which included the use of flowers. Rather than constructing over-the-top Rikka-style arrangements, Rikyū preferred minimalist, single-stem arrangements, like one morning glory placed in a simple vase made by a local artisan. These ceremonies led to the formation of the second major style ikebana, which came to be known as Nageire, meaning “thrown in.”

    In its early form, Nageire was free of the rules and formality that governed the Rikka style. As the antithesis to Rikka, flowers in Nageire arrangements were not designed to stand upright on their own and were instead placed in tall vases that supported the stems of the flowers.

    Rikka and Nageire represent two opposing viewpoints. Rikka, though technically a secular style, concerns itself with the the cosmos, harking back to its Buddhist origins. In contrast, Nageire’s more organic approach focuses more directly on connections with nature.

    The Transition to Modern Schools

    Due to over 200 years of political isolation in Japan, there were no further innovations in ikebana until 1868, when the country reopened to foreign exchange. People were quick to embrace Western customs, and in the world of ikebana, this catalyzed a series of radical changes.

    In 1912, the first modern school of ikebana, the Ohara School, was established. Its founder, Unshin Ohara, helped the art form evolve by introducing the Moribana style, and through it, implementing two major changes: the incorporation of Western flowers, and the use of a shallow, circular container to make flowers stand upright, with the help of the kenzan.

    The flexibility and variation that the Moribana style allows for has made it a favorite and a staple in almost every ikebana school today. At the core of Moribana is a three-stem system, whereby three flowers are almost always fixed to create a triangle. Compositions that do not follow this triangle system are known as freestyle. Freestyle is also used to describe more creative and original approaches to ikebana, where the maker uses their knowledge of form, color, and line from previous practice to develop new arrangements that don’t necessarily adhere to traditions.

    Changes continued with the creation of the Sogetsu School in 1927. Its founder, Sofu Teshigahara (whose father was also an ikebana master), is credited with elevating ikebana from a technical practice to an art at the level of sculpture, which is how it is has been viewed ever since.

    Teshigahara’s approach called for greater freedom and the use of other live materials. For him, the forgotten parts of nature—like dirt, rocks, and moss—were just as ripe with expressive potential as flowers. He heartily believed that excellent ikebana is not divorced from the life and times of its creator, and that a flower is an irreplaceable, expressive tool that reveals the soul. With these innovations, the Rikka style began to fade. At present, Ikenobo, Ohara, and Sogetsu are the most popular styles, with around 400 of these schools operating today.

    Ikebana Today

    In the mid-20th century, the internationalization of ikebana was spurred by the efforts of Ellen Gordon Allen, an American who studied ikebana while living in Japan. She saw ikebana as a means of uniting people from around the world. Beginning in 1956, Allen worked with the major ikebana schools to found a nonprofit organization called Ikebana International, which would propel a diplomatic mission: “friends through flowers.”

    In the decades since, chapters for all the major schools have sprouted up on a global scale. In recent years, the practice has inspired contemporary artists like Camille Henrot and a wide swath of floral artists, who use the tenets of ikebana to develop new, original creations.

    Anyone who practices ikebana today knows well that building relationships is at the core of the practice—relationships between materials, between students, and between teachers and their pupils.
    In Japan today, the word kado, meaning “way of flowers,” is the preferred term for ikebana, as it’s believed to more accurately capture the spirit of the art as a lifelong path of learning. 

    The impermanence built into this art, beginning with its dependence on nature’s seasons, lends itself to never-ending exploration and experimentation for ikebanaists. Teshigahara was firm in his conviction that a successful lifelong ikebana practice requires curiosity, not complacency. “We must strive to develop into artists with breadth and depth instead of remaining comfortable in our artistic niche,” he once said. “Our creations should vary. If we do not venture out we will never become outstanding artists.”

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    As simple as it seems, it's not that simple to discover the oldest Bonsai's on earth. These are the ones that are known to public, the youngest tree is estimated to be 300 years and above. Not only the age of these astonishingly well kept trees is a challenge but also the upkeep. Can you imagine if a 500 years old tree just dies in front of your eyes ? That would be the ultimate disaster but thank god trees are quite resistant over time. If you have trees that are older than the ones listed below, please feel free to let me know. I will be happy to include your Bonsai on this list. I firmly believe that there must be even older ones somewhere in remote areas in China. 

    First and foremost before going too much into details, what makes it a Bonsai ?

    A tree planted in a small pot is not a bonsai until it has been pruned, shaped, and trained into the desired shape. Bonsai are kept small by careful control of the plant's growing conditions. Only branches important to the bonsai's overall design are allowed to remain and unwanted growth is pruned away. Roots are confined to a pot and are periodically clipped. Bonsai may have a stylized or an exaggerated form, but it is always reflective of the tree as found in nature. The appearance of old age is prized, and in fact, bonsai may live to be hundreds of years old. The living bonsai will change from season to season and from year to year requiring pruning and training throughout its lifetime. As time goes on, it will become more and more beautiful.

    Bonsai, which is the Japanese art of growing small trees in containers, dates back to about the 6th century BCE. During this time period, Imperial embassy personnel and Buddhist students would travel to China and bring back container plantings called penjing (the ancient art of depicting artistically formed trees and landscapes in miniature).

    One of the hallmarks of the art of bonsai is that with proper care, a tree can survive for many years and be passed down as a family heirloom. The following list covers the seven oldest bonsai trees in the world and their storied pasts.

    Chabo-hiba Cypresses
    Estimated: 275 years old
    Location: Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA

    Source: bark.com

    The Chabo-hiba Cypresses are a part of the Larz Anderson Collection of Japanese Dwarfed Trees at Harvard University’s Arnold Arboretum. Anderson, who served as an ambassador to Japan brought back a large collection of bonsai trees to the U.S. in 1913. After his death, his widow Isabel Anderson donated 30 plants to the Arnold Arboretum with the rest of the trees added to the collection after Isabel’s death in 1949.

    The jewels of the collection are the six Chabo-hiba (hinoki cypress) trees, ranging in age from 150 – 275 years old. These trees are the oldest still living bonsai trees in America.

    Yamaki Pine
    395 years old
    Location: Washington D.C., USA

    Source: National Geographic

    In recent years, the Yamaki Pine has become one of the most famous bonsai trees in the world as its true history was uncovered in 2001. The bonsai tree, which has been residing in the U.S. National Arboretum, was donated to the United States by Masaru Yamaki in 1976 as a 53-specimen gift for the country’s bicentennial and is a survivor of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan during World War II.

    The National Arboretum was unaware of the bonsai tree’s history until two of Yamaki’s grandchildren came to check up on the tree in 2001. Yamaki’s grandchildren provided the museum with the tree’s history and even told them that there was news footage taken at the Yamaki Nursery after the blast showing the tree unharmed in the background.

    In 2015, the National Arboretum honored the tree’s history as it was the 70th anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing.

    Sandai Shogun no Matsu
    500 years old
    Location: Tokyo, Japan

    The Sandai Shogun no Matsu, which is a five-needle pine, is one of the National Treasures of Japan. The bonsai is thought to be over 500 years old and is named for Shogun Tokugawa Iemitsu. Iemitsu had the tree when it was already about 200 years old and since then, the bonsai has been passed down from emperor to emperor.

    This bonsai tree has been cared for by Japan’s emperors for over 500 years and today, the Sandai Shogun no Matsu is displayed in the Tokyo Imperial Palace collection.

    The Atami Red Pine Bonsai
    600 years old
    Location: Atami, Japan

    Yes, Bonsai can be large trees too. The red pine bonsai located at the Akao Herb & Rose Garden is not only one of the oldest bonsai trees, but it is believed to be the largest bonsai in the world. The tree is over 16 feet tall and over 30 feet wide and while its size is atypical for a bonsai, the red pine still qualifies as a bonsai tree as it is contained in what can technically be considered a pot.

    The tree is so massive that a support had to be added in order to hold up one of its main branches.

    The Shunkaen Bonsai Tree
    800 years old
    Location: Shunkaen nursery, Tokyo, Japan

    Source: Bonsai Empire

    The Shunkaen Bonsai Musuem, which is owned and operated by Kunio Kobayashi, is home to two of the oldest bonsai trees in the world, both of which are estimated to be over 800 years old.

    Kunio Kobayashi is a bonsai master who has been practicing the art for over 30 years. Kobayashi opened the Shunkaen Bonsai Museum in 2002 to help spread Japanese culture, especially the art of bonsai and to exhibit the work done by him and his apprentices.

    Visiting the bonsai garden of Kunio Kobayashi - YouTube

    The Mansei-en Juniper Bonsai 
    1000 years old
    Location: Omiya, Japan

    Source: Bonsai Empire

    The 1,000 year old Juniper bonsai tree is located in the Mansei-en bonsai nursery which is owned by the Kato family. The Juniper tree was collected from the wilds of Japan and tested to be over 1,000 years old.

    Mansei-en is one of six famous bonsai gardens that make up the Omiya Bonsai Village – it is the oldest garden located in the village as the Kato family has owned this garden since the 19th century and it was officially opened to the public in 1925. The garden is also home to old bonsai trees, including a 700-year-old Shimpaku Juniper tree (which can be seen in a picture on the website linked in this paragraph).

    The Ficus Bonsai 
    1200 years old
    Location: Parabiago, Italy

    Source: Bonsai dilettante

    The Ficus retusa Linn, which is found at the Crespi Bonsai Museum in Italy, is believed to be the oldest existing bonsai tree in the world at an estimated 1,000 years old. Luigi Crespi, the founder of the Crespi Bonsai Musuem, spent ten years trying to gain ownership of the bonsai tree and he succeeded in 1986.

    The tree had previously been previously taken care of and shaped by Chinese masters and during its first years in Italy it was shaped by Japanese bonsai master Shotaro Kawahara. Crespi and Alberto Lavazza have since been taking care of the tree. Once the Crespi Bonsai Museum was founded in 1991, the tree was placed in a glass pagoda and became the centerpiece of the museum.

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    Japanese Maple Bonsai on Display

    First and foremost, thank you for visiting my blog. You will be surprised to find out that tropical, sub tropical and non tropical trees can be suitable to start with a Bonsai. The art of Bonsai shaping and tree training is one of the oldest, most intricate arts in the gardening and botanical industry. The word bonsai is derived from the Japanese words bon, meaning tray, and sai, meaning tree, with a literal meaning of planting miniature trees inside a tray. Although originally started in Japan, there are similar traditions that are practiced in other cultures, such as the art of Penjing in China and hon-non-bo in Vietnam. These living, miniature natural masterpieces increase greatly in aesthetic appeal and financial value as the tree matures over time. There are a variety of different styles of bonsai trees, as well as many different species of tree that can be used to create a Bonsai. Styles of Bonsai include informal upright, formal upright, cascade, literati, semi-cascade and raftbonsais, all of which can range greatly in size from miniature, small, medium and large. Both flowered and fruit trees can be used.

    Trunk And Bark Surface

    The type of trunk and bark on the bonsai play an important role in its style. There are many terms used to describe different bark and trunk forms – for example, a bonsai with a twisted trunk is known in the traditional Japanese as a nebikan, while those species with dead branches or trunks are known as deadwood bonsais.

    Trunk Orientation
    The direction and orientation of the major trunk of a bonsai tree are used to describe a growing style. For example, if the trunk of the tree has its apex directly above the base of the trunk (where it enters into the potting soil), it is known as an upright style. (Chokkan and Moyogi in Japanese). If the trunk is slightly slanted, it is known as an informal upright, and if the branches hang lower than the base of the trunk, the style is known as cascade. Branches at the same level as the base of the trunk are known as the semi-cascade style.

    Root Status

    Most bonsai trees are planted directly into soil; however there are certain bonsai species that are planted with their roots over rocks. This root-over-rock style is known as deshojo, and a similar style in which the entire tree is rooted within a rock is known as ishizuki.

    Number Of Trunks

    Most bonsais consist of just a single tree with a single trunk. However, there are also specialised styles for those bonsais with a number of trunks, or multiple trees, also known as forest style bonsais. There are style categories for trees with multiple trunks coming off a single root, as well as for completely separate trees in one tray known as forest style. In addition, the configuration of multiple trunks and roots also plays a role in the style categorization – multiple trunks growing from a mass of interconnected roots are known as raft or sinuous style, and the Japanese terms yose-ue is used to describe any number of multiple, separate bonsais in one tray. These classification systems of bonsai styles can be quite confusing, particularly as the styles are not mutually exclusive – a single bonsai tree can fit into a number of different categories. In these situations, the bonsai is generally described by the style which is most prominent.

    The Woodstock of Bonsai in Guangzhou, China 盆景展 - YouTube

    Apple Bonsai Tree

    The Apple bonsai tree, also known as the Pitch Apple or Monkey Apple tree is native to tropical regions in America. It grows into various bonsai styles with dark green leaves and aerial roots, and grows white and pink flowers in the summertime. After the flowers drop off, it grows small, coin-sized miniature apple fruits.

    Artificial Bonsai Tree

    Perhaps these people have so-called “brown thumbs” and generally fail to take care of anything they try to grow, or maybe they simply live such busy lives that they do not have the time or the energy to devote to growing and shaping a real bonsai tree. Some would condemn these individuals as being unworthy participants in the art of bonsai, but beauty and artistry can be appreciated by more than just artists. People who wish to own a bonsai tree without devoting much maintenance and upkeep time can either purchase an artificial bonsai tree or make one on their own.

    Azalea Bonsai Tree

    Within the realm of bonsai, the ancient art of training trees and shrubs to look like miniature mature trees, azaleas hold a prized position. Azaleas add color and bloom to the art of bonsai. When crafted with artistry and precision, an azalea bonsai flowers in clouds of pink, white and red. While conventional azaleas and rhododendrons are typically shaped into hedges or compact shrubbery, azalea bonsai are most often shaped to resemble flowering trees. Even when not in bloom, their leaves provide visual interest.

    Bahama Berry Bonsai Tree

    In its full-grown form, the Bahama Berry tree is nondescript and unattractive. When kept as a bonsai tree, however, the slim, twisty nature of the trunk makes for a graceful and pleasant smelling bonsai tree. The Bahama Berry is also known as Nashia inaguensis, Moujean Tea, Pineapple Verbena, and “I Dry, I Die”. It is native to the Bahamas Island named Inagua, is a member of the Vervain family, and is a relative of the lantana. This bonsai can be high-maintenance when it comes to care but the pleasing appearance and aroma of the tree make up for the unstable nature of the plant.

    Bald Cypress Bonsai Tree

    In the wild, the Bald Cypress tree grows in wet, swampy soils along riverbanks and flood plains. Specimens of this plant have reached ages as old as 1000 years. Although the tree generally likes wetter climates, it has been grown as far north as Minnesota, New York and Southern Canada. The circular strands the tree grows in are far different than how a Bald Cypress bonsai plant will grow. When looked at from afar, the strands of tree take on an almost dome-like shape. Needles on the tree grow in rows of two along the slender twigs. This deciduous plant loses its needles in winter, but may dried leaves will often remain on the Bald Cypress until springtime.

    Bamboo Bonsai Tree

    When most people think of bamboo, they imagine the fast-growing hallowed stems that are used for building, cooking, and feeding pandas. What most people don’t imagine is the Nandina domestica plant, also known as both heavenly bamboo and sacred bamboo. Despite the name, heavenly bamboo isn’t bamboo at all, but rather a small shrub.

    Black Olive Bonsai Tree

    The Black Olive species is one of the most beloved types of Bonsai because of its lush leaves and interesting growth pattern. Native to the Florida Keys, Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Bahamas, the trees tend to do best in warm climates and have a very high tolerance for salt, making them good options for those who live by the sea.

    Bonsai Money Tree

    The Bonsai Money Tree is considered by many to be a symbol of good luck and prosperity for those who own one. Its binomial name is Pachira aquatica, and it is also known as Malabar chestnut, Guiana chestnut, provision tree, saba nut, and Pumpo.

    Bougainvillea Bonsai Tree

    Bougainvillea Bonsai is a genus of ornamental flowering plants that are native to South America — mainly Peru, Brazil, and Argentina. It is named after the French Navy Admiral, Louis Antoine de Bougainville. Bougainvillea was discovered in 1768 by Philibert Commerco, a French botanist, who accompanied Bougainville on a voyage to circumnavigate the globe.

    Boxwood Bonsai Tree

    For anyone who has ever seen photos of English landscaping, Boxwood will be a familiar plant. Known for its pom-pom like design and ability to be shaped into living statues, Boxwood is actually a plant that is well-suited to be made into bonsai trees. The two most popular species of Boxwood are Buxus microphylla (Japanese Boxwood) and Buxus sempervirens (Common Boxwood).

    Bromeliad Bonsai Tree

    Bromeliad bonsai trees are considered to be especially durable due to a complex root system characteristic of most terrestrial bromeliad species. Leaf coloration on these particular bonsai trees ranges from maroon through shades of gold and green. Other trees in this species may display spots of cream, red or purple. The resulting foliage can be broad and flat or symmetrical and irregular. It’s these characteristics, along with the deep root system that better absorbs nutrients and water, which make bromeliad bonsai trees stand out from other types of bonsai trees.

    Buddha’s Ear Bonsai Tree

    The Buddha’s Ear is part of the “elephant ear” form of plants whose full scientific species name is Alocasia cucullata. The common forms this plant goes by are Chinese Taro, Nai Habarala, Buddha’s Ear, Buddha’s Palm or Hand, Buddha’s First Lily, and Hooded Dwarf Elephant Ear.

    Buttonwood Bonsai Tree

    The Buttonwood Bonsai is a unique tree that is sometimes dismissed as unattractive or less than worthy of the species but it can also be said to have a distinct artistic presence. The ancient reputation of the Bonsai for being a survivor of time, yet delicate in nature, is no better displayed than with the Buttonwood Bonsai. This specimen makes a great starter plant for healers to nurture and coax into bloom. As the appearance of deadwood takes shape into a beautiful swan, all of your patience and efforts will be rewarded.

    Cactus Combo Bonsai Tree

    Desert-dwelling cactuses are some of the most unique plants in the world. The most well-known cactus is the mighty saguaro which can reach over 50 feet in height. While the saguaro is nearly impossible to maintain away from its natural habitat, a cactus combo bonsai is a way to have a beautiful cactus in your own home. A cactus combo bonsai is a potted collection of one or more small cactus plants. Specific varieties of cactus are selected so that the collection will only reach a maximum height of 10 inches. Unlike many other houseplants, the cactus combo bonsai is easy to take care of and requires very little effort to keep alive.

    Cape Honeysuckle Bonsai Tree

    If you love bonsais and want to find a more interesting species to take on, you will love the Cape Honeysuckle Bonsai. Truly a unique specimen, this shrub lives to soak in the sun and spread like wildfire. Recognized by its stunning, vibrantly-hued blossoms and foliage, the Cape Honeysuckle bonsai has been known to mesmerize all walks of life with its rare beauty.

    Cedar Bonsai Tree

    Members of the cedar genus make striking bonsai trees. Their rough, cragged bark is the calling card of the species. And the short needle clusters that grow sparsely along the branches to give them a canopy like no other trees. But the cedar bonsai’s beauty is both unique and rare. Cedar trees are rarely sold as bonsai. They require care and expertise to grow correctly and therefore are not in great demand. This can make them difficult to find in shops. But if you can get your hands on one you’ll find them easy to grow and an enjoyable challenge to style and shape.

    Cherry Blossom Bonsai Tree

    Cherry blossom bonsai has many names, including Japanese Cherry, Hill Cherry, East Asian Cherry, and Oriental Cherry. It is part of the “prunus” species of plants, which also include fruit trees like peaches, almonds, plums, and apricots. There are almost 430 varieties of this species — prunus serrulata is commonly known as cherry blossom. Cherry blossoms are native to the regions of China, Japan, and Korea.

    Cherry Bonsai Tree

    A cherry bonsai tree comes from a simple cherry seed. You can order specialized seeds online or try your luck with a fresh cherry seed from your fruit. There are no special genetic modifications that are made to a seed to make it small; bonsai is a practice and not any sort of specific plant.

    Cherry bonsai trees require a special bonsai soil for optimal health. It is best that beginners choose a larger pot as well. Many beginners start with a tiny pot for a tiny tree, but they are much more complicated to grow. A cherry tree would do great in a one gallon pot.

    Chinese Elm Bonsai Tree

    The Chinese Elm bonsai tree, known as the Ulmus Parvifolia, is one of the most attractive bonsai trees available. It is categorized by its beautiful twisting trunk, small green leaves, strong branches, and fine twigs. In fact, one of the main attractions of the Chinese Elm bonsai tree is the beautiful contrast between the thick and sturdy tree trunk all the way to the extremely delicate branches. They are native to Korea, Japan, and China, and extremely popular, especially amongst beginner bonsai tree enthusiasts. It is very easy to care for and even more stunning to look at. The Chinese Elm bonsai tree tends to fair much better in warmer climates, where the leaves remain a magnificent shade of evergreen. This type of bonsai tree does not fare well in cold weather conditions. They are best kept as indoor bonsai trees, as if they are left outdoors, the color will diminish and become deciduous.

    Crepe Myrtle Bonsai Tree

    The Crepe Myrtle Bonsai is a small tree, native to Asia and Australia, with deciduous leaves. The Crepe Myrtle has a lot to offer for any Bonsai collector. Not only for the crepe-like flowers that it’s named for, but for the varying colors of the bark as it sheds from season to season. This particular Bonsai has a lot of interesting traits that will be discussed in this article.

    Dogwood Bonsai Tree

    When you see a dogwood in its natural surroundings, you’ll notice that the species will grow at a modest rate. The dogwood releases deep green vegetation that shifts to fall shades of red and purple. In the spring, the dogwood sprouts blossoms of perfumed flowers prior to its yearly spring greenery. Therefore, when you choose a dogwood for your new bonsai tree, you’ll have selected a striking tree variety to train. The species also easily accepts pruning and enjoys a shady environment.

    Ficus Bonsai Tree
    Ficus is an enormous genus with roughly 850 species. Many of these species respond well to the rigorous pruning and restrictions of bonsai growth.

    Fukien Tea Bonsai Tree

    Growing and sculpting a Fukien tea tree into a bonsai design is not a project for the beginner. While it offers many unique characteristics to the bonsai design, the Fukien tea tree is one of the more difficult varieties to sculpt. Everything from cultivation, maintenance and pruning should be done by someone with experience. Of course, the end result of all this effort is paid back in full. For those up to the challenge, the Fukien tea tree promises a beautiful, graceful bonsai.

    Ginkgo Bonsai Tree

    Ginkgo Bonsai is the potted and manicured version of the commonly known Ginkgo biloba, a tree native to Asia that is known for its medicinal benefits. One of the only known living trees that has no currently known close relatives, the Ginkgo biloba is unique in its ability to grow in terrain that is typically perceived as “harsh.” For example, these trees are capable of sprouting along cliff banks and other rocky surfaces.

    Ginseng Ficus Bonsai Tree

    Ginseng ficus bonsai trees are very hardy and easy to take care of. Many beginning bonsai enthusiasts choose these trees to raise. They grow dense foliage, and they have very thick trunks. There are many different ficus trees, but only about six species are usually used for bonsai gardening. Ginseng ficus trees are native to Malaysia and Taiwan. These plants usually have several large roots that look like tree trunks.

    Grapevine Bonsai Tree

    Grapevine bonsai plants grow quickly and they require a lot of maintenance and care to grow successfully. Grapes are climbing vines in their natural environment. However, grapevine bonsai plants grow to become bushy trees, and their size is only limited by how the gardener wants them to look. Growing a grapevine bonsai correctly can ensure that these plants thrive.

    Green Mound Juniper Bonsai

    It’s easy to understand why the green mound juniper bonsai is one of the most popular bonsai for novice growers. Compared to other bonsai, care and maintenance of the green mound juniper is relatively easy, and it naturally develops the beautiful hunter green leaves and tight growth pattern of classical bonsai. These hardy trees are tolerant to a wide range of temperatures, and can be adapted to either indoor or outdoor growing.

    Hibiscus Bonsai Tree

    When it comes to flowering bonsai, nothing is more striking, colorful, and unique than a hibiscus. The large leaf and flower size can be an intimidating obstacle to anyone attempting to shape a bonsai from a hibiscus, but the payoff is a gorgeous plant that produces striking, vibrantly colored flowers the whole growing season and provides a wide variety of flower colors to choose from.

    Himalayan Cedar Bonsai Tree

    The Himalayan cedar bonsai is a dwarf variant and was first cultivated in Australia. The tree sports light green needles with rich golden undertones and the oils in its bark produce a wonderful aromatic scent. When properly pruned and cared for, the Himalayan bonsai cedar grows between four to six inches a year. If it is not regularly trimmed, however, the tree can grow as high as 15 inches. Its typical shape is conical shape.

    Jade Bonsai Tree

    The jade tree plant, or Crassula ovata, is native to the Capetown area of South Africa. The jade tree plant is part of a plant classification known as succulents. The jade plant has thick, glossy, deep green, oval shaped leaves and thick, brown stems. Succulents typically grow in dry areas such as deserts and its leaves hold water for long periods of time. The jade plant prefers coarse, sandy soil similar to the soils found in its natural desert habitat. Because of this, jade plants are good plants for the novice horticulturalist because it’s very low maintenance.

    Japanese Black Pine Bonsai Tree

    As one of the 110 species included in the Pinus genus, the Japanese Black Pine bonsai tree is known by the scientific name of Pinus thunbergii. This beautiful plant is characterized by delicate needle-like green leaves that always grow together in pairs. During springtime, the Japanese Black Pine will produce small reddish flowers. Later, it will also grow small brown cones. This hardy species can tolerate very strong winds and ocean spray. In Japan, the Japanese Black Pine has been one of the most popular plants to use in architecture.

    Japanese Maple Bonsai Tree

    For a majority of men and women who are bonsai enthusiasts, the Japanese Maple bonsai tree is extremely popular. It is a beautiful bonsai..
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    What do you do when you live in a country with limited space but want to exercise your green fingers or express your love, and even your spiritual reverence, for nature? Well, you can always do things in miniature - ikebana and bonsai are your two main options. Though the word 'ikebana' literally means 'living flowers', it is actually the visual presentation of cut stems, flowers and other features to represent an aspect of nature in miniature. Bonsai, on the other hand, means 'pot plant' and the art form involves raising living trees, often over a period of several years. While they are small, bonsai are not actually different from the trees we see around us, they are not miniature species. Rather they are small branches of a tree, carefully chosen, pruned and cultivated so that they look like smaller versions of their own species. They are also displayed in a way that shows off their best features, usually in a simple, shallow pot. Bonsai is about the combination of the plant and the pot. There are many different styles of bonsai such as: broom style - a tapered trunk topped by a symmetrical area ofSaikei is similar to and often confused with bonsai, but is actually closer to ikebana. Different species of small trees as well as other plants, rocks and sand are used to create miniature landscapes.
    Classical Japanese Bonsai Paintings

    Foliage; cascading style - the pot is kept on a platform and the branches 'cascade' down below it; windswept style - resembles a tree that has grown up in an area exposed to strong winds.

    Gardening in many forms has been enjoying something of a boom in Japan in recent years and those with limited space have been rediscovering the charms and challenges of this part of their native culture. As I said, bonsai are real trees in miniature and are not usually suitable as houseplants (some species have been developed for indoors). Usually they are hardy and can handle most weather. In fact, their growth may be adversely affected by artificial (ie. indoor) light and heat conditions, depending on your climate and the origin of the tree species. 

    Even a small city apartment balcony can be big enough to build up a collection, something of an oasis for many urban dwellers. The smallest of bonsai, called mame (bean) can be just a couple of inches tall and a collection may also have trees a couple of feet high. The most popular are about 6 inches to a foot.

    For the more serious gardener, it is possible to grow bonsai from seeds, cuttings, a branch while it is still on a living tree or even prune and adapt a tree from a garden center. But these are long and laborious processes, taking several years before you have any kind of 'finished product'. Indeed some of the most prized bonsai have been around a lot longer than their owners. Some enthusiasts go to great expense to buy bonsai from dealers but if you just want to dabble or test the waters, it is possible to start off with a good guide book and a domestic plant (cheaper than imports) from a hobby or gardening shop for just a few thousand yen. I watched a program on TV last night where bonsai amateurs had to guess the values of various high-quality specimens. The most expensive looked similar to the one in the photo above and was valued at over 5.5 million yen (almost 50,000 dollars!). Special qualities that made that particular specimen so valuable included the unusual (for the species) thickness of its trunk and branches and its old age.

    In a nutshell - how the art of Bonsai started

    The history of bonsai (pronounced bon-sigh) is cloaked in the mist of the past but it is now widely accepted that it was the Chinese who first created the miniature landscapes and trees that we now know as bonsai.

    In Japanese, bonsai can be literally translated as "tray planting", but since originating in Asia so many centuries ago - it has developed into a whole new form. Called penjing by the Chinese, bonsai was believed to have had its start in the Han Dynasty. In this essay I will discuss some of the legends and facts surrounding the beginning of bonsai. One of the earliest Chinese legends contends that it was in the Han Dynasty (206 B.C. - 220 A.D.) that an emperor created a landscape in his courtyard complete with hills, valleys, rivers, lakes and trees that represented his entire empire. He created the landscape so that he could gaze upon his entire empire from his palace window. This landscape form of art was also his alone to posess. It was said that anyone else found in possession of even a miniature landscape was seen as a threat to his empire and put to death. 

    Another Chinese legend relating to the beginnings of bonsai points to a fourth century A.D. Chinese poet and civil servant named Guen-ming. It's believed that after his retirement he began growing chrysanthemums in pots. Some historians believe this was a step towards the beginning of bonsai in the Tang dynasty some 200 years later. The earliest documented proof of bonsai was discovered in 1972 in the tomb of Prince Zhang Huai, of the Tang Dynasty (618 - 907 A.D.) who died in 706 A.D. Two wall paintings discovered in the tomb show servants carrying plants resembling bonsai. In one of the paintings a servant is seen carrying a miniature landscape and in the other painting a servant is shown carrying a pot containing a tree. 

    Omiya Bonsai Village - Saitama - 大宮盆栽村 - 4K Ultra HD - YouTube

    Bonsai comes to Japan 

    Even though it's the Japanese who get most of the credit for bonsai, it wasn't until the Heian period (794 - 1191A.D.) that Buddhist monks brought bonsai to the island. For many years following the arrival of bonsai, the art was practiced by only the wealthy and thus came to be known as a nobleman privilege. The fact that the art of bonsai was limited to the noble class almost caused the art to die out in Japan. It was with the Chinese invasion of Japan in the fourteenth century that the art of bonsai started to be practiced by people of all classes. Once the art was practiced by all classes, bonsai began to grow in popularity in Japan. The Chinese influence on the early bonsai masters is apparent since the Japanese still use the same characters to represent bonsai as the Chinese. After the establishment of bonsai in Japan, the Japanese went to great lengths to refine the art and a lot of credit must go to these early bonsai masters. The refinements that they developed has made bonsai what it is today. 

    Bonsai Comes West 

    The earliest bonsai to come to the west came mostly from Japan and China. The showing of bonsai at the Third Universal Exhibition in Paris in 1878 and later exhibitions in 1889 and 1900 increased western interest in bonsai and opened the door for the first major bonsai exhibit held in London in 1909. In these early years many westerners felt that the trees looked tortured and many openly voiced their displeasure in the way the trees were being treated by bonsai masters. It wasn't until 1935 that opinions changed and bonsai was finally classified as an art in the west. With the end of World War II, bonsai started to gain in popularity in the west. It was the soldiers returning from Japan with bonsai in towns that sparked western interest in the art, even though most of the trees brought home by these soldiers died a short time after their arrival. They survived long enough to create a desire in westerners to learn more about the proper care of their bonsai. The large Japanese-American population was invaluable to Americans in this respect. Their knowledge of the art of bonsai was of great interest ot many Americans learning the art. Today, bonsai are sold in department stores, garden centers, nurseries, and many other places. However, most of these are young cuttings or starts and not the true bonsai produced by bonsai masters. Most trees purchased today are known as pre-bonsai and are for the most part only used as a starting point. To create a true bonsai work of art you need to learn as much as possible about the art and the trees you use. Information is your key to success and it is important to read as much as possible. It is also a good idea to join a local bonsai club so you are able to discuss the subject with experienced bonsai enthusiasts. As your knowledge and confidence grow, creating your own bonsai works of art will become easier and your enjoyment of bonsai will grow.

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    Bonsai tree diseases can be very dangerous, and even fatal, to your plants. By recognizing the signs and treating the problem quickly, you will increase the chance of recovery and help prevent the spread of infection. Some trees are more susceptible than others to particular diseases or fungi, so it is important that you research your species and understand which illness are most common for your type of plant. Although an early sign of disease may be a late sign to react, however it's still on time to take necessary measures to save the tree from dying off completely. Diseases may manifest during change of season from fall to winter or from spring to summer. Transitions are the greatest enemy to detect diseases timely. From Chlorosis to root rot, there are hundreds of different diseases, however this article tells you about the most common diseases found in plants. It would madness to cover all diseases at once in a single article and a one pager would certainly not be sufficient.

    Cause and Prevention of Bonsai Tree Diseases
    Efficient in fighting diseases in Plants and Bonsai

    Once you know what causes the various bonsai tree diseases and illnesses, it will be much easier to know how to keep your plant healthy. When it comes to protecting your bonsai, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

    Improper care can cause your tree to become sick or stressed and make it more susceptible to illness and disease.

    A strong, healthy plant is much less likely to contract viruses or develop fungi and moulds, so the best prevention is to give your tree everything it needs to stay in good health and protect itself from bacteria and disease.

    You can prevent bonsai tree diseases by:
    • keeping your tree clean and free of dust and debris
    • keeping soil free of fallen blooms, fruit, or leaves
    • providing sufficient lighting, fresh air, and ventilation
    • making sure that soil is properly aerated, not too compacted, and replenished when needed
    • repotting to prevent your plant from becoming pot bound
    • applying fertilizer correctly
    • using proper pruning techniques and applying wound paste to encourage healing

    Signs of Bonsai Tree Diseases
    There are several bonsai tree diseases, viruses, moulds, and fungi that can affect your bonsai, and recognizing a few common signs will let you know when your plant may be in trouble. Most diseased trees will show at least one of the following symptoms:
    • distorted or discolored leaves and flowers
    • loss of leaves out of season
    • yellowed, wilted, dried, or falling leaves
    • slow growth
    • wilted or drooping branches
    • dieback – the gradual dying of shoots and leaves beginning at the tips

    105) Why is my bonsai tree dying - YouTube

    Treatment of Bonsai Tree Diseases

    Once you discover the presence of disease, the first priority is to make sure that you prevent it from spreading to the rest of the tree or to other plants in your collection. It is important to examine your bonsai regularly for signs of illness or infection. This will allow you to catch any problems early, and take all the steps necessary for a quick recovery. If left unattended, some bonsai diseases can cause severe damage, or even death.

    If your plant becomes infected, you should:

    1. Immediately remove your tree to a secluded location away from other plants to prevent cross-contamination or the spread of disease and infection.

    2. Remove all affected leaves or infected growth.

    3. Spray healthy foliage with a recommended fungicide.

    4. Check for possible causes of disease such as root rot, poor ventilation, or over-moist soil.

    5. Sterilize all tools used in pruning the affected tree.

    6. Place the treated tree in a well ventilated area with proper lighting to prevent reinfection.

    Common Bonsai Tree Diseases

    Black Spot: This fungus mostly attacks foliage and will appear as black spots or patches on the leaves. Eventually, the leaves will yellow, shrivel, and drop off. Once a leaf is infected, it must be removed from the tree to prevent spreading. Spray healthy foliage with a fungicide. Since water will encourage spores to travel to other parts of the plant, it is important that you do not water your tree until after all the affected areas have been removed

    Leaf Spot: Similar to Black Spot, this fungus is characterized by white, black, brown, or grey spots (depending on the species), on leaves or small twigs and branches. Typically, blemishes will be white at first and then change to a darker color as the disease progresses. Eventually, lesions will develop, and foliage will wither and die. Any affected leaves, fruit, or branches must be removed immediately, the soil cleaned of any debris, and healthy foliage sprayed with a fungicide.

    Efficient multi purpose handheld sprayer
    Mould or Mildew: Mildew is a fungi that thrives in damp environments with insufficient sunlight and poor ventilation. A White (Powdery Mildew) or Black (Sooty mould) substance appears on the foliage, stems, or branches and can cause distorted growth, discoloration, and loss of vigor or dieback. It is impossible to completely eliminate the mildew from infected leaves, therefore the affected foliage and shoots must be removed as soon as possible. Spray the tree with a fungicide to prevent reinfection. Sometimes, Black Sooty Mould can be caused by an infestation of aphids or scale insects. Removing the pests by hand and/or spraying your bonsai with a mild insecticide will help eliminate the insects, but infected foliage will still need to be removed and a fungicide applied. Make sure to place your tree in an area with sufficient sunlight and ventilation.

    Rust: This is a fungal disease that appears as yellow, orange, red, or brown raised bumps or blisters on the undersides of leaves. Eventually, the leaves will curl up and fall off. Although Rust infections are not usually fatal, they can cause severe damage to your tree. It is important to remove the affected area and treat the healthy foliage with a fungicide. Remember to place the plant in a well ventilated area to prevent reinfection.

    Chlorosis: This is a condition caused by a lack of chlorophyll and results from a damaged or compacted root system as well as nutrient deficiencies such as a lack of iron. Leaves will turn yellow but the veins will remain green and the plant will begin to wilt. Adding chelated iron to the water and taking proper care of your tree's roots will help treat chlorosis.

    Root Rot: Improper drainage can cause roots to turn brown and mushy. Leaves will also become
    Excellent book by Leslie Buck
    discolored, branches may weaken and break off, and growth will be stunted. Affected roots must be pruned away and the bonsai transplanted into fresh soil. Make sure that your choice of container and medium allows for sufficient drainage so that roots are not over watered.

    Scab or Canker Diseases: These diseases can appear as a fading of leaf color, poor growth, or a swelling of the bark. Many canker infections develop after pruning, and treatment requires cutting out the infected areas and then applying wound paste. Other scab and canker infections may be caused by too much nitrogen or improper fertilizing. By following recommended fertilizing and pruning procedures you can prevent the occurrence of these diseases.

    Red spider disease: The red spider is a common pest in both indoor and outside gardens. Bamboo bonsai plants are susceptible to this mite, as it eats the foliage. In addition to the red coloring, other species of red spider mites are yellow, orange or even green. They mature in only three weeks and start spinning webs on the bonsai trees. Many are resistant to pesticides, so some gardeners introduce predatory mites, including Phytoseiulus per-similus, to eradicate the problem. Gardeners might introduce one or two predatory mites per bonsai tree.

    While prevention is the best way to stop the spread of disease and infection, there are times when even the healthiest plants fall victim. Recognizing the signs and beginning treatment immediately will help give your plant the best possible chance of recovering while also protecting the other trees in your collection. The bottom line is that prevention is better than healing. Prevention also costs less and the loss of a Bonsai can be avoided. I have written an article on Bonsai healing methods which goes one step further in Bonsai healing. If you wish to obtain more often updates on Bonsai world you can feel free and subscribe to news letters. (see right column at the bottom) In addition, your experience and comment or suggestion below is highly appreciated. Thank you!
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    The validity of creating a single bonsai from two separate sources of plant material (one of which has been long dead) has often been a matter of considerable debate within the western bonsai community. Such creations are referred to by the Japanese as “tanuki” bonsai and by many Westerners as “phoenix grafts.”

    Regardless of their name, the process in their creation is basically the same. A large and interesting piece of dead wood is used as the centerpiece in the planting. A die grinder or dremel tool is fitted with a router bit and used to inscribe a groove in the deadwood and then a young leggy plant (most often a juniper) is nailed, screwed or otherwise affixed in the groove.

    With the passage of time the young plant grows into the groove, the screws are removed and the composite creation, which is then shaped using traditional bonsai techniques, begins to take on the appearance of an ancient tree similar to many of the California and Colorado junipers we see collected from the American desert southwest.

    The Japanese Viewpoint

    Classical Tanuki Sake Set

    In the hands of a skilled bonsai artist the finished creation can be spectacular, but is it “valid” bonsai? Many Westerners, including this author, say “yes,” but among the Japanese the question is mute. Understanding how such creations got their name may help the reader to understand the Japanese viewpoint on the matter.

    The word “tanuki” translates from Japanese as “badger,” 狸 or たぬき, an animal which is regarded in the west as particularly vicious and aggressive. However, in Japan badgers are regarded as sneaky tricksters. A popular Japanese folk story tells of a tanuki who dresses up as a Buddhist priest and visits each house in the village tricking the residents into giving him free food and money. In another more x rated version the tanuki visits a “house of ill repute.” 

    One can well imagine what he convinces the residents to provide. With this kind of a history it’s easy to understand how the word “tanuki” has come to mean “something that is not what it appears to be.”

    This is not to say the Japanese never make tanuki bonsai… they do. They regard it as a fun and enjoyable diversion, but not to be considered in the same category as regular bonsai. You will not see tanuki displayed in professional shows in Japan because in the last analysis, they do not regard tanuki bonsai as valid. Like the tanuki of fable, such bonsai are not what they appear to be. They are,… in fact,… fake.

    Tanuki Bonsai - EXPRESS - YouTube

    A Western Approach

    But are they fake? Perhaps it is a question of viewpoint. The term “phoenix graft” was first coined by noted bonsai artist Dan Robinson. His garden in Bremerton, Washington is a spectacular collection of collected and classically designed bonsai, but also includes an impressive collection of tanuki or as Jerry would say… phoenix grafts. Like the phoenix bird of classical Greek mythology, rising reborn and more glorious than ever from the ashes of its own funeral pyre, the phoenix bonsai uses long dead ancient wood and young new plant material to create a new artistic vision greater than the sum of its parts.

    If, like a painter or sculptor our objective is to create a work of art which evokes an emotional or intellectual reaction from the viewer, then perhaps this type of bonsai is as valid as any other. We must ask ourselves a question. Do we honor our teachers by bringing new insights and new approaches to the art or do we simply pollute and debase it? It is a debate which will continue in the western bonsai community for many years to come.

    It is not our purpose here to offer a solution to such a debate, but rather to simply present the mechanics and techniques for creating a tanuki bonsai. Whether you choose to display the finished creation at a bonsai exhibit is a matter for you to decide. Call it what you will, but always remember the words of another great artist. “A rose, by any other name, would smell as sweet.”

    Selection of Deadwood

    Classical piece of deadwood before bleaching
    By virtue of the fact that deadwood is being used in its construction, a tanuki bonsai is a temporary creation at best. Whether “temporary” translates at 2, 22 or 202 years will depend largely on the kind of wood you choose for its creation. Water is the enemy. Any deadwood that is in constant contact with moisture is eventually going to rot and require repair or replacement. Therefore, not all deadwood will work, no matter how interesting its shape. It needs to be dense and very hard. The piece used in this article is a juniper snag collected from the western desert, very old and hard enough to pound nails with.

    The upper portions of the deadwood which do not come into contact with the soil mass will weather fine, but those portions which extend into the soil mass are in contact with moisture will rot quickly if they are not dense enough. Some people like to paint the deadwood with a wood preservative to ward off the effects of moisture. This can be a good idea. There are many varieties available in the marketplace. However, you should take care that the chemical will not leach into the soil and damage the live tree planted next to it.

    Container Selection

    Tanuki bonsai are not instant bonsai. You will be working with relatively young plant material which needs time to grow. Assume that you are a good three to five years away from being able to display the tree in an exhibition. Initially, you should select an oversized container. Eventually you will transfer the planting to a container suitable for showing. For now, something as simple as a large plastic bus pan or a wooden growing box will serve you well. Lots of room for root growth will also translate as lots of top growth. We selected an oversized mica training pot.

    Bonsai lime sulfur to bleach deadwood
    Plant Selection

    Junipers are most often the plant material of choice for making a tanuki bonsai. This stems from the fact that most ancient trees with this much dead wood usually fall into the evergreen class. More often than not, they are junipers, but pines, yews, firs, and hemlocks might also be fair game. Remember the objective is to create something which looks like it could have been dug out of the landscape… not created for Disneyworld

    Be guided more by the mechanical considerations. Fairly young, spindly plant material is required with a trunk diameter not much larger than your index finger. The material selected should be very flexible and willing to put up with having holes drilled through its trunk and getting banged a scuffed about during the creative process. Junipers and pines are very flexible and put up with this kind of treatment.

    If you select azalea you will discover that the trunk and branches snap easily and that its delicate bark cannot withstand the bruising it will receive. At least for your first attempt, try to keep your problems to a minimum. In this instance we have selected a Shimpaku juniper. Bonsai lime sulfur is used to bleach deadwood --> click here for more details

    Assembly Protocol

    What follows is a step by step guide to creating a tanuki bonsai. Complete these steps exactly in the order listed. Artistic considerations are not the focus of this article, only the mechanical steps necessary to complete the planting. The traditional practices of asymmetrical balance and proper triangulation of the finished planting are the same as they would be for any bonsai. How you position the deadwood, where you cut the router groove and how you position the trunk and branches should be based on solid principles of bonsai design.

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