Cherry Blossom in Full Bloom
A bonsai is created beginning with a specimen of source material. This may be a cutting, seedling, or small tree of a species suitable for bonsai development. Bonsai can be created from nearly any perennial woody-stemmed tree or shrub species.
A Bald Cypress
Small trees grown in containers, like bonsai, require specialized care. Unlike house plants or other plants used for container gardening, tree species in the wild generally grow roots that are several meters long, as well as root structures encompassing several thousand liters of soil. In contrast, a typical bonsai container is under 25 centimeters at its largest dimension and 2 to 10 liters in volume.
One of the oldest bonsai trees in history is a Japanese White Pine. It's estimated that its birthday was in 1625 - nearly 400 years ago.
Branch and leaf (or needle) growth in trees is also larger in nature. Wild trees typically grow five meters or taller when mature, whereas the largest bonsai rarely exceeds one meter. Most specimens are significantly smaller. These size differences affect maturation, transpiration, nutrition, pest resistance, and many other aspects of tree biology. Maintaining the long-term health of a tree in a container requires some specialized care techniques.
Bonsai During Winter
Bonsai During Fall
40 year old Coast Redwood
Chinese Banyan Over 40 Years Old
A 30-Year-Old Hibiscus
A Bonsai Designed to Mimic a Forest
The source specimen is chosen for its relatively small size and to meet the esthetic standards of bonsai. When the candidate bonsai nears its planned final size, it is planted in a display pot, usually one designed for bonsai display in one of the few accepted shapes and proportions. From that point forward, its growth is restricted to the size of the pot.
A Beautiful Azalea
Cascade Style of Bonsai
Bonsai now has a world-wide audience. There are over 1,200 books on bonsai and the related arts in at least 26 languages available in over 90 countries and territories. So if you fancy trying to grow some of these beautiful examples of bonsai art, and to create something to last a lifetime, there are many online blogs and videos to walk you through the process.
Root Over Rock Style
A Japanese Maple That is Approximately 100 Years Old
60-Year-Old Crabapple Tree
Bonsai is occasionally confused with dwarfing, but they're actually two different things. While dwarfing refers to the creation of permanent genetic miniatures of existing species, bonsai simply concerns growing small trees from regular stock and seeds. Bonsai also uses cultivation techniques, namely pruning, root reduction, potting, defoliation and grafting. These techniques are designed to produce small trees mimicking the shape and style of their full-sized counterparts.
Trident Maple With Exposed Roots
Atlas Cedar Over 50 Years Old
Another Azalea (My Personal Favorite)