Bonsai trees are grown with the purpose to resemble real life trees; looking old but remaining miniature-sized. There are different methods to propagate trees suitable for Bonsai purposes, ranging from having full control on their shape and size (starting with seedlings or cuttings) to buying a ready-made tree in a shop.
This part of the website will provide you with detailed information about the different Bonsai propagation techniques. Use the menu on your right to navigate through the propagation pages or read the Bonsai cultivation basics below.
Images; propagating cuttings and digging out a tree from nature.
A Bonsai tree is not a specific kind of tree; it is a combination of techniques to create and maintain a miniature tree that reflects nature. This means that any kind of tree can be selected to grow as a Bonsai tree; some species however are particularly suitable (as they naturally have small leaves for example). Having said this, there are several methods of cultivating trees intended to be trained into a Bonsai, which will be discussed accordingly.
The easiest way to acquire a Bonsai tree is simply to buy one. Most garden centers and a growing number of online Bonsai shops offer trees at affordable prices. Be careful to select a tree that fits your wishes well, i.e. in selecting an indoor or outdoor variety. Continue reading about buying a bonsai tree, or find a bonsai retailer near you.
Although cultivating Bonsai trees from seed or from cuttings will take a considerable amount of patience, it can be very rewarding. Seeds are widely available in forests and parks during autumn, but can also be bought online. Cuttings can be collected year-round, preferably in summer. Keep in mind that it will take at least three years of unrestricted growth before you can start shaping your seedlings/cuttings. Continue reading on growing bonsai from seed or cuttings.
Another way of acquiring trees suitable for Bonsai purposes is collecting trees growing in forests or parks. Collecting trees has several advantages over the cultivation techniques described above, most noteworthy the reduced time it takes before you can get started to shape the tree. Please note that permission in most cases is required to collect trees from nature. Similar to collecting trees is buying nursery stock (often called prebonsai) in a garden center.
Two advanced techniques remain; layering and grafting. The principal of layering is to force a tree or branch to form new roots at a specific point by interrupting the stream of nutrients from the existing root system. The grafting technique can be described as “melting” a stump (the root system and a small portion of the trunk) and a graft (the upper portion of the trunk, including branches) together.