Chinese Art Of Bonsai – Penjing

Chinese Bonsai Tree

Chinese Bonsai, also called Penjing, is about creating a miniature tree or a landscape in the container. Chinese artists believed that by better understanding nature they will improve their spiritual development.

This beautiful art form was originated in China thousand years ago. Bonsai was created by highly educated aristocrats of China, inspired by nature, poetry and landscape paintings. These different art forms were linked closely together.

Each area of China had its own bonsai style, specializing in a certain species of tree, certain training techniques and certain type of design. There is a deep Chinese philosophy behind each bonsai tree and landscape scene. It is more about revealing an untold story and discovering mysteries of nature. [Read more…]

Japanese and Chinese Bonsai Differences

Chinese Bonsai TreeChinese Bonsai, known as Penjing, was created in China thousand years ago and got to Japan during period of Zen Buddhism around 1195.

Once it was introduced into Japan, bonsai art began to develop in its own way.

At first, only aristocrats of Japan had access to this kind of art. It was a symbol of prestige and honor. But as time went by Chinese bonsai got very popular and was introduced to the public.

Simple bonsai art was refined by Japanese artist, who created a set of rules and shapes. Because Japanese bonsai art was born from Chinese bonsai they both have a lot of similarity that makes it sometimes quite difficult to distinguish. [Read more…]

Is Chinese Bonsai An Art of a Tree Torture?

I never thought about Chinese Bonsai as a tree torture and I was very surprised to see a series of bonsai by Chinese artist Shen Shaomin presented at Frey Norris Gallery. Shen shows them trussed and tugged by the thumbscrew brackets, collars and barricades that engineer their growth.

Chinese Bonsai Tree Chinese Bonsai Tree

[Read more…]

Chinese Bonsai Rules

Chinese Bonsai TreeChinese Bonsai (Penjing) has much less strict rules and is more philosophical and spiritual form of art than Japanese bonsai. Chinese and Japanese bonsai have their differences but are very closely related and are sometimes difficult to distinguish.

A high quality Chinese bonsai composition has to look entirely natural. Although there is more freedom in the Penjing, many of the general bonsai rules still apply.

To create a successful Chinese bonsai composition you need to know basic training techniques and be familiar with plant maintenance like re-potting, watering, feeding and etc.

After learning main Chinese Bonsai Styles and rules you’ll have better control of your bonsai. It will make it easier for you to pick the right tree for your bonsai. [Read more…]

How To Water Your Bonsai Tree

Bonsai trees like regular trees need water to survive. Most of the beginners run into a problem of overwatering or underwatering the tree. Don’t feel bad. We all have done it. We all killed a few trees before getting it right. Watering bonsai the RIGHT way takes time and practice.

Regular trees in the natural environment can adjust and regulate their water intake by growing more or less roots. If there is not enough water, trees will extend their roots far into the ground searching for moisture. As a result, trees that grow in drier climates have larger root system.

If the tree grows in a wet climate where there is a lot of moister available, it doesn’t need long roots to get enough water. Those trees usually have a shallow root system. Bonsai plants need considerably less water proportional to its size.

Since bonsai grows in a small shallow pot with a little compost, it doesn’t have the ability to adjust or regulate water intake. Also, because there is not much soil in the pot, it dries out quicker and is greatly affected by the surroundings, like humidity levels, temperatures, season, location (outdoors/indoors) and so on. [Read more…]

Where To Buy Bonsai Tree

Once you have decided on growing conditions and bonsai style, it is time to buy the plant. When it comes to buying a plant for bonsai you have several sources:

1. Specialized nurseries

It is always best to buy from the dealer that is specializing in bonsai, because they know what trees are suited for the local climate and how to take care of them. Trained staff provides bonsai trees with proper care assuring that you are getting a perfectly healthy tree, unlike department stores and farmers market, where employees know nothing about bonsai.

2. Garden center

Most of the garden centers sell established bonsai trees, but be careful buying plants that are newly potted and pruned to create an instant bonsai. Avoid buying plant that has torn or damaged leaves. Shrunken and dried buds might be an indicator of incorrect watering. Buds should be well formed and shapely bursting with life and strength. And don’t forget to check for pests and diseases. [Read more…]

How to Choose a Bonsai Tree

You need to consider few things when choosing a bonsai tree. First decide where you are going to put your bonsai tree, whether you would like to grow it outdoors or indoors. This will directly determine your choice of bonsai tree.

Outdoors or Indoors

A lot of people think that bonsai are houseplants but most of the bonsai are hardy trees and cannot live indoors. Imagine digging out a maple tree from your yard and bringing it indoors. I will not survive for long. Bonsai maple is just a smaller version of the real tree.

If you want to grow your bonsai tree outdoors make sure your winters are not too cold and not too warm for the species you select. [Read more…]

How To Fertilize Bonsai Tree

Like any other container plant bonsai trees need to be fertilized. Very often in the fertilizers are called plant food. That can confuse many beginners. Fertilizers are NOT food but rather vitamins for the tree. The real food for plants comes from water and oxygen. In natural environment, trees have long roots and are able to gather necessary elements from the soil and water. [Read more…]

Bonsai Tree Repotting Step-by-Step

Bonsai should be repotted every few years. The best time of the year for repotting is during spring or early summer when buds are starting to swell. The frequency of repotting depends on the plant specifications, but repotting technique is the same.

Flowering apples and cherries should be repotted in early fall. Azaleas and quince should be repotted immediately after they have finished flowering. Bonsai repotting has many advantages. It improves soil quality because soil breaks down over time. Fresh soil helps to bring more air to the roots of the plant.

Repotting process involves removing old roots making room for new ones, which helps to keep your bonsai small. Bonsai repotting also helps water retention since fresh soil holds water much longer. You can prevent potential pests and diseases by checking roots after removing your bonsai from the pot. [Read more…]

Bonsai Tree Tools

Bonsai professionals use a lot of different tools to style their trees. While it can be overwhelming for the beginner, there is no need to panic. You don’t have to get every tool out there. I would suggest starting with the basic tools and expending your collection later.

Three Must Have Bonsai Tools

There are three basic tools that you will need: Traditional Shears, Concave Cutter, Wire  Cutters. Each of these tools does a specific task that you will need to perform. With proper care, these tools will last you for years, so it is a great investment. All of them are high quality and are sold at reasonable prices. [Read more…]

Top 7 Bonsai Repotting Mistakes

Bonsai repotting is not as difficult as many bonsai beginners think. A while ago, I posted step-by-step instructions that make bonsai repotting the easiest thing you’ve ever done. Today, I will tell you what bonsai repotting mistakes you should avoid:

1. Using the same pot

Young bonsai grow faster than well established ones, so make sure to use a larger pot when repotting your bonsai tree. New pot should be clean and dry.

2. Cutting too much

When root trimming make sure to leave the root mass near the trunk undamaged. By keeping the inner root mass closest to the trunk unharmed, you bonsai will remain strong and healthy. [Read more…]

Trident Maple Bonsai Tree

Trident Maple Bonsai TreeThe Trident Maple Bonsai, botanical name Acer buergerianum, is native to eastern China and Japan. The Trident Maple got its name because it has leaves with three-pointed lobes.

One of the main features of Trident Maple is that it can take heavy root pruning, which makes it perfect for bonsai. You can use different styles with Trident Maple bonsai tree, including curved-trunk, broom, group plantings, and clump styles. Root-over-rock style is also very popular because of the rapid root growth.

Trident Maple Bonsai Watering

Needs to be watered on the daily basis during its growth period, from the middle of spring to the end of summer, since roots have high water content. Trident Maple bonsai tree requires much less water during winter time, so keep the soil moist but well drained. [Read more…]

Japanese Maple Bonsai Tree

Japanese Maple Bonsai TreeBotanical name for Japanese Maple bonsai is Acer palmatum. Native to Japan, Japanese Maple is one of the most popular deciduous bonsai trees. It has flexible branches that response very well to training and wiring.

Leaves go through wide range of colors, from green to orange, to deep red, as they mature. Many styles can be applied to Japanese Maple, including semi-cascade, triple-trunk, raft, curved-trunk,broom, group planting, and clump styles.

Japanese Maple Bonsai Watering

Japanese Maple bonsai tree needs more water during growing season. From middle of spring to the end summer water once a day in the evening when the temperature is cooled down. In the winter water when necessary to prevent soil from drying up.

Japanese Maple Bonsai Hardiness

Japanese Maple Bonsai TreeJapanese Maple bonsai tree can tolerate freezing temperature for a short period of time when mature enough. I would recommend protecting it from sever freezing to avoid frost damage. Japanese Maple bonsai tree does the best in the temperatures from 30F – 90F. The ideal landscape is USDA Zone 5 or 6 depending on the variety.

Japanese Maple Bonsai Pruning

During growing season cut back leaves of healthy trees to reduce leaf size and intensify fall leaf color. To maintain the style you can pinch new shoots regularly. This will promote a beautiful network of branches. Winter is a good time to prune main branches.

Japanese Maple Bonsai Fertilizing

Japanese Maple Bonsai TreeFertilize every other week from spring to the end of summer. Use nitrogen-free fertilizer during fall. There is no need to fertilize during winter.

Japanese Maple Bonsai Repotting

Young Japanese Maple bonsai trees need to be repotted annually. Well established maples, that is older than 10 years, should be repotted once every three years in the spring before buds open. Best soil to use is Japanese Akadalama clay.

Japanese Maple Bonsai Pets and Diseases

Japanese Maple bonsai tree generally is problem-free. Make sure to provide good air circulation to avoid powdery mildew development. If the tree is stressed, aphids and scale might also be a problem. During growing season check leaf surface regularly to catch any problem before it becomes severe. Have a great day.

Buying Japanese Maple Bonsai

Japanese Maple Bonsai TreeThere are a lot of different places you can get a Japanese Maple bonsai from. My friends and I buy all of our bonsai trees online from “Bonsai Boy” Nursery located in New York. I tried buying bonsai trees from other sites, but they had much higher prices and the trees were not always properly trained.

“Bonsai Boy” has the lowest prices and highest quality bonsai trees you can find. This family operated company has been in business since 1993. It has been really great experience and I feel lucky finding them. To buy Japanese Maple click on the links below:

Buy Japanese Maple Bonsai Tree SmallOnly $39.95!
Buy Japanese Maple Bonsai Tree LargeOnly $69.95!
Buy Japanese Maple Bonsai Tree (29 years old)Only $295.00!

~Susan Brian

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Chinese Elm Bonsai Tree

Chinese Elm Bonsai TreeThe Chinese Elm is the best elm for creating a bonsai tree. Chinese Elm bonsai tree is native to China, Korea and Japan. The botanical name for Chinese Elm is Ulmus Parvifolia. Chinese Elm bonsai from China and Korea sometimes mistakenly named Zelkova sinica.

Chinese Elm bonsai tree has small glossy green leaves and corky bark. It responses very well to pruning by producing mass of new shoots. This is really a great tree for bonsai because you can use any style you like including slanting, straight-trunk, group planting, and broom styles. [Read more…]

Juniper Bonsai Tree

Juniper Bonsai TreeThe Juniper Bonsai has multiple varieties like Juniperus chinensis and Juniperus procumbens ‘Nana’ that can be used to make a great bonsai. Native to Japan, Juniperus chinesis, also called shimpaku, is the easiest of all the species to work with.

Because Juniper bonsai tree is hardy plant tolerant to severe pruning and wide varieties of soils, it is one of the most popular bonsai plants among bonsai growers. It is an evergreen with shredding reddish brown trunk and bluish green leaves that look like miniature branches.

The Juniper Bonsai tree is very tough plant with flexible branches that response very well to training and wiring. You can create any style with it except for broom. “Driftwood” is the most popular style used for Juniper tree.

Juniper Bonsai TreeJuniper Bonsai Watering

Water daily during growing season from spring to fall. Keep the soil moist during winter. Although Juniper bonsai is drought tolerant it does better in moist well drained soil during winter.

Juniper Bonsai Pruning

Branches should be pruned during spring and summer. Removing new shoots regularly will prevent the inner foliage from dying off. Sometimes one of the branches would die without any apparent reasons.

This is a natural process that happens once in a while, so there is nothing to worry about. To keep the branches clean, you need to cut all the shoots that are growing down from the undersides of the branches.

Juniper Bonsai Hardiness

The Juniper Bonsai tree likes cold temperatures but need to be protected in the winter from sever freezing. It does well in the temperatures from 20F – 90F. The ideal location is USDA Zone 4.

Juniper Bonsai Fertilizing

Juniper Bonsai TreeThe Juniper Bonsai tree needs to be fertilized every two weeks during growing season with general bonsai fertilizer. No need for fertilizing during winter.

Juniper Bonsai Pets and Diseases

The Juniper Bonsai tree might experience problems with scale and spider mites. Fungal infections can develop on congested foliage. It can be controlled by pruning out affected branches and applying anti fungal treatment.

Juniper Bonsai Repotting

The Juniper Bonsai tree should be repotted every two years during spring when younger. Older specimens don’t need to be repotted that often. For Juniper bonsai older than 10 years, repot every four or five years.

Buying Juniper Bonsai

Juniper Bonsai TreeThere are a lot of different places you can get a Juniper bonsai from. My friends and I buy all of our bonsai trees online from “Bonsai Boy” Nursery located in New York. I tried buying bonsai trees from other sites, but they had much higher prices and the trees were not always properly trained. “Bonsai Boy” has the lowest prices and highest quality bonsai trees you can find. This family operated company has been in business since 1993. It has been really great experience for me.

Buy Shimpaku Juniper Bonsai:

Buy Shimpaku Juniper Bonsai (Small)
Only $45.95!
Buy Shimpaku Juniper Bonsai (Medium)Only $49.95!
Buy Shimpaku Juniper Bonsai (Large)Only $64.95!

More Juniper Bonsai Trees >>

~Susan Brian

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