What is Bonsai?

Bonsai is the practice of growing trees in pots. Not all plants are equally effective as bonsai. Plants used for bonsai should have small leaves, or leaves that become small under bonsai culture, attractive bark or roots and branching characteristics for good twig forms.

The aim of bonsai culture is to develop a tiny tree that has all the elements of a large tree growing in a natural setting. This look is achieved, principally, by branch and root pruning and shaping, but other factors are also important.

A presentable bonsai can be created in a few seasons. Cultivating these miniature potted trees is both an intriguing hobby, and a means of adapting a wide range of plants to specialized and decorative uses.

When demand for the small trees outstripped the supply, Japanese gardeners began to train bonsai from native trees. They shaped the trees to give them the illusion of age and naturalness. Overthe years, the Japanese devised standards of shape and form, which gradually began the classic bonsai styles.

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