Growing your own bonsai need not start by being expensive. Plants are free if grown from seed or cuttings and the rewards to be had in terms of appreciation of the final result, and the experience gained, is a joy beyond compare.

Creating a bonsai is a fairly simple procedure, if you follow the necessary steps for growing and shaping the selected tree. It is also important to select a tree for the climatic conditions in your region – some trees will thrive in certain regions while others may not survive. After deciding on the desired bonsai material, the next step is to prepare the appropriate size pot. A pot that is too small, or a pot that is too large can hamper the growth of the bonsai. In addition the pot should have an outlet or opening at the bottom to allow water to drain freely. The amount and type of soil is also an important consideration, usually a mixture of organic and inorganic compounds. To allow for proper placement in its container, you may have to cut some of its roots. By reducing the mass of roots in the pot, pruning provides space for young vigorous roots to grow and absorb water and minerals. Remember, it is the trimming of the roots while confining the tree to a shallow container that keeps the tree miniaturized.

After setting the tree in its container, pruning the leaves, trimming new shoots and wiring the branches into an aesthetically pleasing form follows. There are six classic bonsai styles and a growing list of non-classical styles as bonsai art involves new cultures and new species. Aesthetics, however is not an end in itself, but is linked to the physiology and good health of the bonsai.

Once you have proudly completed your work of art, you should become familiar with the basic rules for maintaining your tree in good health so that it can reward you with many years of pleasure. Method and frequency of watering, lighting requirements, trimming and repotting, prevention of diseases and insects, and plant fertilization are just a few of the topics with which you should become familiar. There are numerous books on the subject of bonsai which can provide step-by-step instructions on these subjects . Happy Growing!

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