The most fascinating aspect in the art of bonsai is that no two trees are the same. Each tree has been crafted and trained to the owner’s individual liking.
When you buy a bonsai online from Nursery Tree Wholesalers, the tree will already be well shaped and pruned when it arrives at your door. However, within a few months’ time, you can begin to shape your bonsai tree into your own, personal bonsai with your unique taste. Before you being this process, remember that the goal of bonsai is to mimic what is found in nature. In other words, you want your bonsai to look like a miniaturized version of a full size tree found in nature. While there are “rules” in bonsai, it is also important to remember that these “rules” are more like guidelines, and you are free to follow each as you choose, which will eventually lead to a bonsai tree that is uniquely crafted by YOU.
Step 1 – Design The Shape
Draw what you want you bonsai to look like on a piece of paper. What style do you want it to be? If it already looks how you want it to, draw a picture of the tree itself so you remember how to prune down the new growth while still maintaining the same shape. You have to have a vision to know where you are headed, otherwise you could end up with one crazy looking tree.
Step 2 – Don’t Fiddle
It is easy to fall into the trap of constantly fiddling with your tree, especially for beginners. Don’t do more than you need to otherwise you might damage the health of the tree. Trees need time to grow to stay healthy and only need to be trimmed every 3-4 months.
Step 3 – Don’t Neglect Lower Branches
When a tree grows, the braches at the top of the tree will always try to “steal” the sunlight and nutrients from the lower branches, leading to disproportionate growth which is not usually desirable in bonsai. Make sure you trim the upper branches to allow light to reach the lower leaves so the bonsai maintains a “full” look.
Step 4 – Defoliate
To defoliate means to remove leaves. You need to defoliate older, bigger leaves (big leaves are not what we are going for in bonsai) which will encourage the tree to produce new, smaller leaves. Cut the leaves at the base of the stem and be careful not to disturb the actual branch. We recommend that you only defoliate during the spring, where the tree has time and strength to replace the cut away leaves with new ones.
Step 5 – Wire The Branches
Bonsai trees are often trained to give the illusion of a full size tree “gracefully blowing in the wind”. This effect is achieved by gradually bending the branches through wiring. So feel free to bend the branches to your will, but do so with great care so you do not damage the tree. Please click to read more about wiring.
Step 6 – Maintain
Maintain the health of your bonsai tree through fertilizing, watering, and proper placement. The healthier your tree is, the better it will look and the longer you can enjoy it. If you maintain the health of your tree, you could end up with an ancient bonsai tree.
*Anytime you trim, defoliate, or wire your bonsai make sure to water thoroughly when finished to help replenish the tree.
Step 7 – Smile And Be Happy With Your Work
That is all.