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Bonsai Care & Knowledge

Wire Bonsai Scuplture 

These magnificent wire bonsai sculpture were done by Gary from Bonsai-Supplies.com. Pleas enjoy the video! 

If you would like to find out more about wire bonsai please feel free to contact us. 

 


 

Thinking Small Is a Japanese Art : Bonsai: You don't have to spend a lot of money at a nursery. Doing your own cultivating can lead to a rewarding hobby.

JOEL RAPP | Rapp is a Los Angeles free-lancer writer and the gardening editor of Redbook magazine. 

Although bonsai is an ancient Japanese art, you don't have to be either ancient or Japanese to love these fascinating little plants. In fact, bonsais are very "in" these days-- the hot horticultural item of the 1980s.

Hundreds of thousands of people a year buy bonsais for their own pleasure or as gifts for their friends. Actually, the literal translation of bonsai is "plant in a shallow tray." So, though most of us associate bonsai with dwarfing and shaping plants into incredible living sculpture, it really means simply dwarfing a plant. The shaping--whether done by bending and wiring or by trimming--is strictly the artist's option.

Before you buy a bonsai, however, a word of caution: As striking as a bonsai plant looks displayed indoors, most bonsais would prefer to spend the majority of their time outdoors. So only bring your bonsai inside once or twice a week or when you want to show it off for company.

Given the high cost of bonsai, how does the average person go about starting a collection?

The answer: Make your own bonsai. Aside from monetary savings, there are tremendous personal rewards in creating your own beautiful and exotic plant. Take my word for it: There's a special joy seeing full-sized fruit hanging from a tiny quince tree you created "from scratch" or brilliant red blooms covering your miniature bougainvillea.

Anybody can make a bonsai, and any plant can be made into a bonsai. Trees, flowers, grasses and fruits can all be dwarfed, but coniferous evergreens are probably the most popular for bonsai--perhaps because the average person inevitably finds a little tree more interesting than a little dandelion.

The most important factor in beginning to shape a bonsai is the right plant. Here in Southern California, pick a plant that doesn't need a hard, cold winter dormancy to survive, such as juniper, cypress, pine, serissa, zelcoba, Japanese maple, quince, bougainvillea or azalea.

How large or small or how young or old the plant you should choose is strictly up to you. You can begin with a very small, young plant or a larger, more established one. A plant that's 2 or 3 years old is probably best, since it's already had a chance to adapt to growing in a container.

Since it's very difficult to judge the age of a plant unless you've grown it from seed or a cutting yourself, you might as well just pick a plant you like as far as size, shape and variety are concerned.

If you can find a little plant that's pot - bound--overgrown and stunted in too small a pot--all the better. You're liable to find such treasures if you look in the back of large nurseries or where the nursery stows its "junk" plants. You may find a perfect candidate for bonsai back there--something gnarled and neglected and overgrown and pot - bound. These plants are perfect for bonsai, but difficult to sell, so you're likely to get it for a very good price.

Pick a plant with some semblance of a trunk and a good, strong lower branch about one-third of the way up.

The rules for turning whatever plant you pick into a bonsai are the same:

The first step is to take the plant out of its pot and remove the dirt from its roots with a chopstick or a pencil.

Carefully untangle the roots and remove the soil from around the root ball--but leave some soil around the inner root ball itself. This is important. Do not wash all the soil off the root system--this will severely diminish the plant's chances of surviving.

Once you've untangled the roots with your chopstick and carefully brushed away all the soil except that directly around the innermost root ball, take scissors and, snipping all around the plant (not just around the bottom), cut away about one-third of the root mass.

Treat the roots with a commercial root conditioner to prevent the plant from suffering shock, then set the plant in a shallow bonsai pot, which can be purchased in most nurseries and garden centers. Now press the plant down into the pot--adding potting mix if necessary.

In most cases the plant will be slightly mounded, or raised above the top of the pot. This condition will last for about a year, after which the plant will begin to sink slowly until the soil is a tiny bit below the edge of the pot.

It usually takes several growing seasons before you'll get the plant to conform perfectly to the pot. In a perfectly proportioned bonsai, the height of the pot would be no more than the width of the trunk of the plant.

You should only wire the plant if you want to alter the angle or direction of a branch or the trunk. If you decide you want to make a drastic change in the plant's shape, wait until the plant is well established--after about six months.

Bend the trunk or branch to the desired angle and wrap it with copper wire so that will hold its position. Depending upon the plant and effect you want, it often takes years and years of training before you can take the wire off the plant.

It's important to trim and prune your bonsai on a regular basis to keep it in scale with its container--a process much like shaping a hedge. You can also shape your bonsai strictly by trimming instead of wiring. This takes longer, but many experts feel this method is better for the plant.

You'll want to continue this trimming process for the life of your bonsai, or the duration of your own life, whichever comes first. Bonsais often live to be over 100 years old.

It's this trimming and pruning that determines the size of your bonsai and makes it look different from other plants. The difference is not due to the root trimming, which isn't needed after the initial trim. You only trim the roots so that the plant can be contained in its small, shallow dish.

Once you've finished making your bonsai, care for it just as you would the same species and variety if it were regularly potted, (remember, it's just a plant!), with these exceptions:

Feed your bonsai much less than usual--only about once every six weeks during the growing season which is spring and summer. And if there's one special key to bonsai care it's to be sure you water more frequently than usual--the plant's smaller, shallower root-system needs more frequent watering.

There are lots of books about bonsai, one of the best being "The Masters Book of Bonsai" (Kodansha International). Most include photographs, or at least elaborate illustrations that can help you make any of the classic bonsai styles: kabumono-- a pot containing a single plant with any number of stems;chokkan-- a single, upright tree; shakan-- a slanting form that imitates a tree growing at right angles to a mountain slope; or kengai--the breath-taking cascade.

I particularly like the look of yose-ue : several bonsai trees planted together to form a miniature forest, or grove. But while a book can be helpful, if you really want to get involved in making your own bonsais you should seek out someone who deals specifically in these beautiful living sculptures and ask for a hands-on lesson or demonstration.

The rewards of making your own bonsai are tremendous--and whatever you pay for lessons will soon seem cheap compared to what you'd pay for the ready-made plants.

 

 


What is Lu Jun Glaze ? 

Lu Jun glaze was created during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) and acquired its name because the surface of the glaze has a fluid appearance with many colors melting together to create a beautiful effect. It is a bi-color glazing technique, the blue glaze being applied as a simple all-over coat and the turquoise being blown on, to produce a delicate strippled effect. Opaque turquoise-blue glaze suffused overall with a finely mottled dark purplish blue.

Sometimes called the "Robin's egg" glaze, it was used from the Yongzheng period until the 19th century, and is called Lu Jun or 'Jun furnance' in China, suggesting that a connection was made with the Jun glaze of the song Dynasty, and because it was fired in a furnace at a lower temperature than the earthenware itself. 

For our line of Lu Jun glazed pots please check our glazed pots section for a variety of sizes and designs. 


What is Shohin Bonsai

A Shohin bonsai is defined as a bonsai tree no taller than 10 inches. The word "Shohin" literally translates to " small item" in Japanese. There is a even smaller classification of bonsai called "Mame" which translates to "bean sized" which are usually 3-6 inches tall and can easily fit into the palm of your hand.  

The allure of Shohin bonsai is they are much easier to work with because of their smaller size no turntable is need for viewing, pruning and trimming. No heavy lifting is required in moving and transporting them. Shohins bonsais are great for people with limited space as they take up very little room so you could have a large number of collections in the balcony or windowsills.  

Here at http://www.bonsai-supplies.com we offer a great selection of pots of different designs and materials suitable for Shohins. We have smaller gauge wires for shaping your Shohin. Lastly, fine and delicate tools for pruning and trimming your Shohin. All at our everyday low prices! 

 

Bonsai: Styling Your First Bonsai Tree

Bonsai professional and author of 'Bonsai' Peter Warren explains how to style and care for your first bonsai tree using a popular first bonsai tree, Chinese Elm. 


How to Use Common Bonsai Tools - Bonsai Trees for Beginners Series

As with and any other pursuit have the right tools make the work on hand much simpler and faster. Bonsai enthusiasts have many, many specialist tools available to them, in this video we show you how to use some of the common bonsai tools.


How to Repot Bonsai Trees a Tutorial - Bonsai Trees for Beginners Series

 

Re-potting a bonsai tree is an advance technique, it is something that every beginner is going to have to contend with at some stage of their bonsai journey. This video Tutorial should make the re-potting experience a more fruitful one for the Bonsai Tree and you.

 


How to turn a "Ugly Tree" into a "Work of Art" ! 

Mr Potter of Kaizen Bonsai uses his artistic skills turning a once "ugly" tree into a masterpiece.


 Successful grafting by using grafting tape

Mr Ryan Neil shows how to use grafting tape to succesfully graft. 


 

How to sharpen your Bonsai tools

This video will teach you how to sharpen your Bonsai tools. 


 

Indoor Bonsai Care

 


Bonsai for starters