Bonsai trees are truly fascinating plants, with a long history and heritage, there are many things beginners fail to realize about bonsai. If you are new to the bonsai community, you probably want to learn as much information as you can before you pick up a hobby as intricate as bonsai gardening.
Here are some of the interesting facts about bonsai trees you should know:
1. The Art of Bonsai Cultivation Dates Back to 2000 Years Ago
The earliest evidence of bonsai dates all the way back to the records of the ancient Chinese dynasties. From ancient paintings and manuscripts, it can be determined that the first bonsai trees were cultivated around 600 AD, however, scholars speculate that potted trees were grown even earlier with some suggesting that they date as far back as 500 or 1000 BC.
2. Most Bonsai Trees Start Off as Normal Tree Shoots
If you have grown a bonsai from a seed or cutting you might already know this, but bonsai trees don’t start off looking as attractive as the grown trees you’d buy from a bonsai nursery. For the first few years, your tree will likely look like a stick in a pot. It’s only through different wiring, training, and pruning techniques that you would be able to achieve the traditional look that people envision when they hear the word bonsai.
This is why most beginner enthusiasts stick to the option of buying grown and trained bonsai trees rather than growing one themselves.
3. Bonsai Trees Are Not Dwarf Trees
Contrary to the popular misconception bonsai trees aren’t genetically dwarfed trees, although natural dwarfing does exist in plants.
Bonsais keep their small size by being confined to the container they are planted in through the careful cutting of roots and branches.
4. The Largest Bonsai Collection is Made up by Over 3000 Trees
The largest bonsai collection in the world is owned by Mrs. Prajakta Kale who owns over 3500 bonsai trees. She dedicated the last 35 years to the art of bonsai and spends between 8 to 10 hours daily tending to all her trees.
5. Bonsai has Deep Roots in Zen Buddhism
The art of bonsai shares a lot of common practices with the philosophy of Zen Buddhism. Calmness of the mind, patience, finding balance and harmony in life, and appreciating the living mature are only a few of the virtues that Zen Buddhism promotes.
The aesthetics of perceiving as well as taking care of bonsai trees are shaped in harmony with nature through the Zen Buddhist philosophy.
6. The Smallest Bonsai in The World Can Fit in Your Palm
The smallest common size bonsai trees, known as Shito or fingertip size, grow between to and four inches in height and can fit in the size of your palm. They are often found in pots that are no larger than a thimble, which also leads to their other common name, thimble bonsai.
7. You Can Turn Almost Any Tree Into a Bonsai
One of the most fascinating facts about bonsai that many people often don’t realize is that almost any tree can be made into a bonsai. If you want to make a specific tree into a bonsai all you need to do is take a clipping of that tree and root it into a pot. Once the sapling is rooted in you can prune it and train it to turn it into a beautiful miniature of the tree.
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