Adding a plant is a great way to lift a room scheme, but if you are looking for something just a little bit different, then why not try a bonsai tree, says Sangram Bhoite
Bonsai can bring an air of calm and class to many interior design schemes, and can provide a relaxing hobby too. Bonsai is an ancient and living art form. It originated in China more than 1000 years ago but the trend of bonsai, especially as an important component of interior designing reached India only half a decade ago. Bonsai is the art of cultivating miniature trees. In Japanese, bonsai is literally translated as 'tray planting.' But today it has grown into a whole new form. It is the art of dwarfing trees or plants and developing them into an aesthetically appealing shape.
Bonsai trees at home
Bonsai can be developed from seeds or cuttings, from young trees or from naturally occurring stunted trees transplanted into containers. Sow the seed and transplant it with a group of seedlings. After they get old, it is very difficult to plant many trees in a small container. Purchase a plant from a nursery in a container, which has a large diameter at the base or trunk. Most bonsai range in height from 2 inches to 3.33 ft. Their branches and trunk are wired so that they grow into desired shapes.
Many a times people want to give their bonsai plants an ‘old branch broken by wind or lightning’ look. Do not try to cut with a knife. It will look artificial. Try to snap it by hand, if difficult to snap then use a knife for a little help and finish off by hand. Also, you can peel off the bark from the tree or part of the tree or from only one side. Use a knife and your finger.
Shapes can be created with wiring. Copper wire is the best. It is flexible and easy to bend and hold better. The size of wire to use is gage number 10, 12, 14, 16, 18. The smaller number is a heavier wire. Make your own decision on which number wire to use. Any wire can be handled and bent to the particular branch or trunk. Remove the wire when the plant establishes a certain form. It will take 6 months to one year or longer. Various styles or shapes of bonsai are cascade style, slanting style, informal upright, formal upright, raft style. Heating the tray from the bottom of the pot produces quick growth from seed into seedling you.
Look after them
In the summer, bonsais need cool nights, sunny days, and mist or rain almost daily. If your climate does not offer these conditions naturally, you must supply them. Avoid any extremes in temperature, light, rain, and wind. Water the entire plant daily, but do not let them become water-logged. More bonsai are killed by over watering than by desiccation. Placing bonsai on a slatted stand in the garden is a good way to keep drainage conditions optimum. Bonsai should receive three to five hours of direct sunlight a day, but the site should be shaded in the afternoon if possible.
Apply fertilizer only before and during active growth. A houseplant fertilizer diluted from one quarter to one half strength will suffice. Remember that simplicity is very important in Japanese aesthetics and bonsai should be displayed in an uncluttered environment where the details of the plant can be appreciated.