Popular Bonsai Trees
The art of bonsai started with the Chinese – some say with the Han Dynasty (206 B.C. – 220 A.rclmaD.) other attribute it to the Tang Dynasty 200 years later – , spread to Japan with the help of Buddhist monks and was finally introduced in Europe in the late 19th century. It is the art of growing miniature trees and shrubs, a tribute to nature.
They are kept in shallow pots, which can differ in size, material and shape and have holes for proper drainage and for root wiring until the young tree is big enough to support its own weight.
Today there are many types to choose from; a flowering type is the Azalea bonsai, very common today and very beautiful; it should never be kept in full sunlight and fed fertilizer before blooming. Another flowering beauty, and even fruit-bearer (it bears tiny green-red sour apples), is the Flowering Crabapple, a good choice for beginners.
A favorite fruit-bearing bonsai is the Pomegranate, a colourful deciduous bonsai tree, with trumpet flowers and tiny ornamental fruit.
If your house is dominated by shade, a good choice is the Japanese Maple bonsai, with delicate and colourful foliage; it is easy to shape and should be done in spring along with pruning.
The Bougainvillea is a full sunlight-loving bonsai, very popular because of its varied coloured flowers, easy caring steps and fast growth.
If you want to get a Fukien Tea bonsai, a small genus of tropical trees, remember to keep it only one hour in full sunlight and re-pot it ever 2-3 years during spring.
A more demanding bonsai is the Magnolia, a slow growing shrub which will take 25-30 years to bloom white, star-shaped flowers. When in bloom and leafless, the Magnolia bonsai is striking.
There are many species which adapt well to bonsai techniques so be creative and make a small collection of your favorite trees even if you don’t have a huge garden to grow them in.
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