HOW TO: Take care of a BONSAI tree

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A bonsai is a small tree that is grown in a pot and of Japanese origin. The goal of growing bonsai is to create a small tree that has all the characteristics of a large tree growing naturally. This shape is mainly achieved by pruning and shaping the branches and roots, but other factors are also important.

VOCABULARY:  Grown, Goal, Pruning, Shaping, Branches, Roots

The shape of the trunk, its aged appearance, the moss and the growth in the container help to think of a small tree as seen in its natural setting.

A beautiful bonsai can be created in a few moments. Growing these plants in small pots is both an interesting hobby and a way to transform different types of plants for unique and decorative purposes. But patience is needed. A bonsai needs to be watered every day during the growing season and because these plants are rooted in shallow pots you must be so careful when pruning. Bonsai plants are kept outdoors for many years, but sometimes these miniature creations are brought indoors for display.

Only certain plants, trees and vines can be kept indoors all the time as do bonsai. Bonsai, as an art form, originates from ancient Eastern culture.

VOCABULARY:  Container, Natural setting, Pots, Hobby, Patience, Shallow pots, Outdoors


Watch the video below and then answer the questions below.


        1. What type of plants can survive inside your house?
        2. What atmospheric conditions do you need inside your house for these plants to survive?
        3. How much direct sunlight does a bonsai need each day and where should you place the tree to achieve this?
        4. When should you water a bonsai?
        5. What is ‘pruning’

The art of bonsai was originated in China and was developed further by the Japanese. In the 13th century, the Japanese collected and planted wild trees that had been created by nature in their natural setting.

Those Japanese miniatures were the original bonsai trees. When the demand for small trees became greater, Japanese gardeners began to grow bonsai trees from local trees. They then shaped the trees to give them a look of age in nature. Over the years, the Japanese developed a pattern of shape and form that gradually evolved into the popular bonsai we know and expect to see today.

VOCABULARY:  Further, Shape and Form, Gradually

European bonsai are more independent in concept, look and style than Japanese bonsai. European bonsai growers have understood that horticultural and decorative rules are important but intended for Japanese bonsai cultivation. For this reason, the Europeans took the varieties of the East culture and planted them in a way that the Japanese had never cultivated before. Therefore, Japanese terms and names are not used in this article.

Principles of Bonsai growing and nurturing

Not all plants are as effective when grown as bonsai. To create the illusion of a mature plant, look for plants with the characteristics listed below.

      • Small leaves or needles

      • Short internodes, or distances between leaves

      • Attractive bark or roots

      • Branching characteristics for good twig forms

All parts of the trunk, branches, stems, leaves, flowers, fruits, buds and roots of a good bonsai tree should be in perfect size and proportion of the tree in nature. The trees used for bonsai should have small leaves and branches that become smaller under the planting bonsai trees. Plants with large leaves, such as avocado could look good if chosen as a bonsai project.

VOCABULARY: Horticulture, Decorative, Cultivated, Stems, Leaves, Buds, Avocado

The sycamore also grows large leaves. Certain types of maple and oak trees are more suitable for bonsai planting and develop more suitable looking leaves. Among the trees with small leaves and needles are spruce, pine, zelkova, pomegranate and some oak and maple trees. The trees chosen for bonsai may have beautiful bark and the trunk should give the impression of maturity as in nature.

The trunk should be round, but it should be equal in proportion to the whole tree. The bark should slowly reach the top of the tree in a natural form. Sometimes, one or two of the main branches need to be shortened to emphasize the straight line of the trunk to give the impression of the trunk having the right shape. To age, the upper third of the mature bonsai root system is usually exposed.

If you want to learn more about Bonsai trees and how to take care of them I have a short ebook on and .br  Below is the link.


VOCABULARY: Sycamore tree, Oak tree, Suitable, Needles, Spruce, Pomegranate, Shortened, Emphasize, Impression,
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