A bonsai is a great thing, it’s a mini tree that you can look after and tend and love, kind of like a pet. Except it won’t be as happy as a Labrador to see you when you get home. So where did this idea of cultivating mini trees come from? Well a long, long, long…looong time ago the Japanese were quite taken with the Chinese culture and they decided that they kinda like the idea of growing tiny trees so they adopted the art of pun-sai, now a called bonsai.
But growing a bonsai is not only about gardening. It also has a therapeutic value, it is calming to trim and prune and tend to these little plants, plus it is supposed to make you more patient and it is a great activity for relaxing purposes. A bonsai can be with you until the end of your days. In fact, ancient Chinese believed that those who could took care of a miniature tree for a long time got eternity granted for their soul.
So how do you grow your own bonsai and guarantee everlasting life? First and foremost it must be said that bonsai is an art form and it takes dedication and patience and whilst growing a bonsai tree from seed may seem like hard work, it is very rewarding when you see the first sprig of greenery shooting up through the dirt.
NetFlorist has it’s very own grow your own bonsai kit, simply log on to their site, choose from the selection of bonsai trees available and you can get started. First things first, when you crack open your bonsai starter kit you will see a ceramic pot, a bag of planting soil, seeds, drainage mesh, and an instruction pamphlet. It is super important to read over the instructions because, depending on the type of bonsai tree that you have selected, the instructions will change.
In order to get your seeds to grow you’re going to have to germinate them, this is where you leave the seeds in water for a few hours, kick-starting their life spark so to speak. Each grow your own bonsai kit comes with quite a few seeds to increase your chance of growing a bonsai. Depending on the type of tree, germination will either involve placing the seeds in hot water for 12hrs or putting them in tepid water for 5hrs and then removing, but again this is entirely dependent on the type of tree. So please, please read the instructions beforehand, you don’t want to kill the plant before it’s even had a chance to start. I chose the grow a coral tree which means my seeds had to be soaked for 5 hours.
Once you’ve germinated your seeds it’s time to prepare the bonsai pot-
- Place the disk of drainage mesh over the drainage hole so to stop the soil from falling out.
- Fill the pot with soil until it is 2cm from the rim of the pot.
- Place the soaked seed on top of the soil and cover with 1cm of soil, so that they can’t be seen any more.
- Soak the filled pot in a bowl of water 3cm deep for 15 minutes and remove.
- Water the seeds on top so that the soil is shiny and black.
- Once you have planted the seeds position the whole pot in a sunny place, but not on a window sill that gets direct light because the sunlight intensifies the suns heat which will kill the seeds.
- Water the seeds regularly to prevent them drying out. The soil shouldn’t ever be allowed to be a dry, grey colour.
- Don’t stand the pot in water permanently- drainage is as important as watering.
It is going to take a while for the plants to start showing their little green heads, like as long as 3 months. But HAVE PATIENCE, as the saying goes “build it and they will come.” If you are are lucky enough to have more than one seedling pop up then you can transplant the extra seedlings into another pot, or, even better, when they get a little bigger you can plant them in your garden!
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves! When your seedling is 5 to 10 cm tall, has lots of leaves on it, you should nip the top growing shoot to encourage it’s branches to spread. This is the first step to shaping your bonsai
As the branches develop, nip off the growing tip when the branches are long enough but remember to keep the lower branches of your plant longer than the upper ones and space them evenly around the trunk by removing any unbalanced growth.
And there your have it folks! How to grow your own Bonsai. It may sound like a lot of extra work but trust me when I say that it is a very rewarding thing to see a plant, that you grew from scratch, standing proud in its little pot. All you have to do to buy and send a grow your own bonsai plant is log on to NetFlorist and get shopping online now!