Bonsai, or “tray planting”, is the Japanese art of using cultivation techniques to produce miniature trees that mimic the shape aspect of full size trees.
Similar practices exist in other cultures, including the Chinese tradition of penzai or penjing from which the art originated, and the miniature living landscapes of Vietnamese hòn non bộ.
The Japanese tradition dates back over a thousand years. “Bonsai” is a Japanese pronunciation of the earlier Chinese term penzai.
Bonsai are ideally suited to indoor gardens, small garden ideas and even unique landscaping designs.
Bonsai is primarily aimed at aesthetic contemplation for the viewer, and the pleasing exercise of effort and ingenuity for the grower.
By contrast with other plant cultivation practices, bonsai is not intended for production of food or for medicine. Instead, bonsai practice focuses on long-term cultivation and shaping of one or more small trees growing in a container.
Bonsai can be created from nearly any perennial woody-stemmed tree or shrubs species that produce true branches and can be cultivated to remain small through pot confinement with crown and root pruning. Some species are popular as bonsai material because they have characteristics, such as small leaves or needles, that make them appropriate for the compact visual scope of bonsai.
The source specimen is shaped to be relatively small and to meet the aesthetic standards of bonsai. Throughout the year, the bonsai is shaped to limit growth, redistribute leaf energy to areas requiring further development, and meet the artist’s detailed design.
Bonsai uses cultivation techniques like pruning, root reduction, potting, defoliation, and grafting to produce small trees that mimic the shape and style of mature, full-size trees.
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