The practice of bonsai gardening is an ancient art form of literally miniaturizing trees. The practice itself is at least 2000 years old, and was developed during China’s Han dynasty. The Chinese word meaning bonsai gardening, pen’jing, literally means “tray scenery” or “tree or shrub planted in a shallow tray”. It was given the name bonsai by the Japanese, who embraced the style around the ninth century.

Bonsai gardening is certainly one of the most unique and beautiful forms of art in the area of gardening. Since it began in ancient China to the present day, it has developed into many striking individual styles. Once miniaturized, however, maintaining the look and well-being of the bonsai requires a bit of care and attention by the gardener.

There are a mixture of styles to be found in the art form of bonsai gardening. These styles include:
– formal upright
– cascade
– forest
– slant
– literati
– root-over-rock

Bonsai grown in the more formal upright style have upright trunks which are straight and tapering. Cascade style bonsai are intentionally groomed to resemble trees that grow on the sides of mountains. Forest style bonsai are relatively self explanatory. They comprise few trees planted together in odd numbers. This type of bonsai gardening is intended to copy the diversity of age and height which is natural in the wild.

Slant style bonsai are aptly named. Their trunks are straight, as in the formal upright style, but lean at a slant from the surface of the soil. Literati bonsai were inspired by ancient brush paintings of trees that grew in inhospitable climates. They therefore don’t have many branches. What branches they do have are usually clustered at the top of the trunk, which is usually contorted. In the root-over-rock style, the roots of the bonsai are wrapped around a rock at the base of the tree.

An important part of bonsai gardening is discovering how to care for your bonsai. Bonsai require a warm location with plenty of light in order to thrive. Avoid placing them near window sills, because of the varying temperatures that can occur from drafts.

Watering is not done as you would typically water your average houseplant. Bonsai trees require immersion of the entire pot or tray in water for several minutes. Once removed from the water, allow the bonsai to drain. During the summer, bonsai should be watered daily, and every other day during the cooler months.

Bonsai also require a lot of fertilizer. Fertilizer should be given to the bonsai only after it has been watered. A typical feeding schedule would be once every two weeks during the summer months, reducing that to once a month for the rest of year.

Bonsai are living trees, and so grow and develop new branches and limbs over time. When the time comes to prune this new growth, follow the original pattern of your bonsai. Remember, you only need to preserve the look of your bonsai, so don’t trim too much – only enough to remove the new sprouts and shoots.

When you’re just starting out, there’s a lot to learn. So it’s a good idea to have some bonsai information on hand, such as Bonsai Gardening Secrets. If you want to create and own beautiful Bonsai Trees, then this quick and easy step by step guide to creating your very own Bonsai Trees is invaluable.