Selecting a Plant to make into a Bonsai

As mentioned earlier, all trees can actually be made into a bonsai. However, some specific features and characteristics make certain plants and trees more suitable for this type of gardening. Additionally, hobbyists who are still starting out or understanding this practice could have a shorter learning curve by choosing the beginner-friendly species over the more difficult ones. Some plants are also more effective than others. If you are clueless or confused with the tons of choices you have, you could never go wrong by looking at the following requisites.

· Perfect scaling of all parts of the tree or plant. You have to bear in mind that the bonsais are intended to be a miniature representation of nature. Once the tree has already been made into a bonsai, all parts should be perfectly scaled with the bonsai?s size. It is highly advisable to choose trees with small leaves or trees with leaves that can be trimmed down in size. Definitely, plants with overly big leaves would not be a good option.

· Attractive bark. In bonsais, the trunks are regarded to be the image of maturity. The girth is a must and should never be missed out. However, the proper proportion to the entire tree should also be observed and followed. A good bonsai is characterized by the balanced appearance of the trunk. To achieve this, trimming of one or two of the main branches may be called for.

· Balanced look of the branches. The branches serve as the basic form for the bonsai. Avoid trees with branches that look too lopsided or top heavy. While choosing your bonsai specimen based on plant features could be quite a challenge, you should also not take for granted the importance of where you are getting your plant from. There are also a handful of principles in sourcing your bonsai specimen that you should bear in mind.

· Indoor vs. outdoor. Where you intend to place your bonsai should be one of the first issues you decide on. This decision will play a crucial role on your choice of plants. Some plants are more suitable for indoors while others are intended for your outdoor Zen garden. Deciding on this could already shorten the entire process as it crosses out the other options that would not fit what you are looking for.

· Prevailing climate. The weather conditions in your area will dictate which plants will live long and which will not survive. You may be fancying citrus trees for your bonsai but the cold climate in your locality is not conducive for their growth and survival. Additionally, cherry trees would also not survive in areas with warm temperatures. The safest approach is to choose plants that grow well in your area.

Indeed, one could not underestimate the amount of effort and attention that one places on his bonsai fascination. Choosing which plant or tree to use could already eat up so much of your time. Nevertheless, this is just the beginning ? the start of a wonderful and fruitful relationship between you and your prized bonsai.

Introduction

Though the practice originated in Japan, bonsai has become a widely accepted and popular hobby, form of art or horticulture activity in different areas of the world. Most horticulture experts and enthusiasts would always label a successful bonsai as a masterpiece. It was first popularized in Asia several centuries ago but the practice has undeniably remained strong today.

In fact, bonsai has already made its mark in the Western culture. In this modern age, more and more individuals from all around the globe are still taking interest in this form of art.

Indeed, more than any other horticultural endeavor, bonsai bears charisma that is not to be undermined.

Caring for Your Bonsai

We all know what plants? basic needs are: water, light, and the right amount of fertilizer so that they would grow and thrive. However, every kind of plant has its own unique requirement and some plants are easier to watch over than others. Same is true with bonsai. Some trees may require unique care. This is most especially true with indoor bonsai.

If you want to get a little more sophisticated with your plant management skills, here are a few tips on how to effectively take care of your plants.

The Right Amount of Water

As caring for any plant, watering is important. Since bonsai are kept in small pots to keep the tree miniaturized, they require regular watering. This is most especially important during warm weather. You may be able to tell when your plant needs watering by lifting it and feeling its weight or by touching the top of the soil. When the soil is dry, it is time to water it.

Humidity

Humidity can also affect the health of the plant so you have to make sure that you water the plants regularly especially if you live in an area where hot weather is prevalent. Some use a special misting process to keep their plants healthy and nourished consistently with water. With indoor bonsai, you can use a simple sprayer to cool them down during hot weather as well as clean the leaves. Yellow or brown dry leaves are indications that the plant may not be getting the humidity that it requires. You can keep these plants for most parts of the day in the bathrooms or kitchen since these rooms are the most humid in the house.

But, as was already mentioned, different plants require different levels of moisture in between watering. There are plants which flourish on moist soils while there are those which prefer completely dry dirt. Do some research and ask professional horticulturists to determine the water requirement of the plant that you intend to take care of.

You can check the level of moisture within the soil by using a stick or your finger and pushing it below the topmost part of the soil. If the soil is dry underneath, you may need to water the plant again. When watering potted plants, it is best to use a watering can to conserve water. A watering also offers you the ability to water well around the base.

If you have the capability to do so, use warm water instead of cold water when watering plants because the latter has a tendency to shock the roots. After watering them, you can provide them with a humidity boost by spraying water on the leaves. Take a closer look at the pots that you buy because some decorative pots are not designed with drainage holes. You can still use these ornamental pots by placing the plant in a smaller container with a hole and putting the plant inside the decorative pot. Just make sure you do not put the pot at the bottom of the container. You can put some rocks at the bottom of the decorative pot and place the plant container on top of them.

The Right Amount of Light

Plants need light. They can only produce food through photosynthesis, a process which requires sunlight. Different plants require different amounts of light. Generally though, bonsai trees need more light. Thus, if you are growing a bonsai indoors, it is important to place them where there is enough light.

Here are the different types of lights that various plants may require:

· Direct sunlight refers to sunlight that directly hits the plant without any blockade

·Indirect sunlight means that there is light inside a specific area but it does not directly hit the plant

· Diffused light is the type of light that is filtered using a screen or thin curtain before it hits the plant Light enables the process of photosynthesis and this natural method only occurs in the presence of light and it converts carbon dioxide and water into oxygen and sugars.

Generally, flowering plants and those with colorful vegetation require direct sun. However, plants that are used as ornaments require less sunlight so indirect light is ideal to these types of plants. Signs of lack of light in plants include pale-colored leaves and weak stems. On the other hand, indications that your plants are being exposed to too much sunlight are burn marks and dry, shriveled leaves. If you see these on your plants, you better place them in areas in the house where they would not be reached by direct sunlight.

Heat

Avoid placing your bonsai close to sources of heat such as oven, stove, television or radiators. The heat will dry out the tree and eventually kill it.

Nutrients

Bonsai trees also have unique nutrition needs, and novice horticulturists ought to know the right amount of fertilizers for their plants so as not to overfeed them. There are three major forms of plant nutrients:

· Spikes are solid plant nutrients that are placed directly underneath the soil. They slowly release the nutrients needed by plants to grow.

· Water-soluble nutrients are the type of fertilizers that are mixed with water and poured onto plants. This type of fertilizer is ideal for house plants because they can be easily and evenly distributed all throughout the pot

· While the ones that are sprinkled at the base of the plant before watering are called granular plant nutrients

Feeding

Like any plant, a bonsai also needs proper nutrition. Feeding promotes growth and health.

There are various ways of feeding a bonsai tree and these include liquid or granular feed. Small trees/ bonsai benefit from liquid feeds while the larger ones benefit granular feeds. This is because the granules can easily be washed off smaller bonsai easily. Meanwhile, liquid feeds need to be mixed with water. Work on small amounts every two weeks.

Always follow instructions and the schedule in putting fertilizers into the soil. Feeding your bonsai less is a bit better than overfeeding them.

Repotting

Many of those who are new to growing bonsai are scared of repotting their bonsai tree, most especially when the tree has already established roots in its pot. However, it should be noted that bonsai trees, like any plants, need to be repotted from time to time. Your bonsai can grow quickly and when its roots are too big or too much for its pot, it may need repotting. Repotting will help keep your plant healthy. This usually is needed every couple of years.

To do this, you?ll need to ease the tree out of the pot. Check out the roots. Bonsai trees that need to be repotted needs have plenty of roots and little soil. If this is the case, you?ll need to tease out the long roots, letting the roots hang down from the root-ball. Trim the long roots, put fresh or healthy soil in the bottom of the pot and replant the tree gently into the soil. Avoid feeding in a month or so.

Other Plant Care Tips

Make sure that you always pick a container that is designed with drainage holes. To keep the dirt from pouring out through the holes, you can place a tiny piece of net on the holes before placing the soil for the plant. If possible, use gardening soil instead of the dirt in your backyard. Wet the soil first before planting.