All About Bonsai
If you have ever seen a Bonsai plant, you know just how impressive those miniature trees are. But did you ever take a moment to consider the history or meaning behind this tradition? Once you discover the story behind these plants, chances are you will find them even more awe-inspiring!
The History of Bonsai
By 700 AD, the Chinese had developed the art form called “pun-sai,” which involved special techniques to grow dwarf trees in containers. At that time, the Chinese elite circulated pun-sai among themselves as luxurious gifts. By 1200 AD, the Japanese adopted this art form, giving it the name we know it today, “Bonsai,” which translates to “tree in a pot.” By the seventeenth century, this practice had spread from the elites to the common people, and by the nineteenth century, this art form had expanded to the West. Today, it continues to be a strong tradition not only in Japan and China, but in the entire world.
The ultimate goal of Bonsai is to understand the emotion that trees evoke in us and then focus that feeling into a miniature statement about nature. Any plant that can be grown in a small container can be cultivated into a Bonsai. Some of the most popular plants to use include pines, maples, and flowering trees like cherry and plum.
The artist places the plant in a container and heavily prunes its branches and roots over many years, until it reaches its most beautiful and balanced form. The artist should choose a container that best suits the tree in terms of shape, size and color. The trees can grow as tall as one meter (three feet) or be small enough to fit in one’s palm. A Bonsai is never truly “finished,” as long as the tree is alive and growing. For this reason, it is sometimes called “an art without end.”
Are you interested in creating your own plant? Here are some helpful resources to get you started:
You can grow your own bonsai using our tree growing kits!