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Trees found growing naturally in the rocky crevices of high mountains may live for a century or more, yet remain dwarfed throughout their existence. Wind-blown, gnarled and twisted, their weather-included appearance captivates our interest and respect just as it did for the Chinese and Japanese many centuries ago. Such trees are worthy of our respect for their struggle against adversity which brings out qualities not seen in other trees. When grown in appropriate containers these trees become a form of living art that everyone can enjoy. These dwarfed, potted trees soon become the famous "Bonsai" of Chinese and Japanese ancestry. You now know what Bonsai is and are ready to begin your own personally designed tree.
Before you start, remove your tree from the starter kit. Study the tree to decide which style you would like and best compliments your tree. Traditionally bonsai are designed in an asymmetrical triangle, the lowest point symbolizes earth, the middle is man and the highest point is heaven.
Place your tree in the container to best visualize its permanent placement. Spread the roots along the container in a loose comfortable manner, any roots that extend over the edge of the container should be trimmed away.
Remove your tree from the Bonsai Garden box. Keeping mind the style you have selected, trim away the unwanted foliage. Trim the branches as near flush with the trunk as possible. We also recommend that the foliage be removed from the underside of each branch. Foliage should not be so thick as to obscure the branches, trunk, and general design of your tree.
Your trees should extend slightly above the edge of the container. To achieve this it may be necessary to add a thin layer of the soil mixture over the pebbles. Place the fertilizer briquette in one corner of the container and begin to fill the container with the soil. Use your fingers to pack the soil firmly into the container. Upon completion the soil should be level or slightly below the top of the container.
To wire, anchor the end of the wire in the soil, pushing it down to the bottom of the container. Start the wire in the back of the trunk and wrap diagonally up the trunk and out the branch to be trained. This can be done on a limb only if you prefer, simply start the wire at the base of the branch and continue to the tip. Wrap the wire snug, but not tight your tree will need room to grow.
Water you new bonsai tree very carefully. Use a misting bottle and water slowly until the water starts to drip through the drainage holes in the bottom of the container.
Remove the bonsai container, pebbles, and soil mixture from the Bonsai Garden box. Place the container in front of you and fill with enough pebbles to cover the bottom of the container (approx. 1/4"). Save the remaining pebbles to decorate the surface of your tree. Next remove your tree from its plastic container. Gently loosen soil roots with your fingers. Try not to disturb the soil at the center of the root mass. It is especially important not to damage the fine feeder roots, these roots are what gather your trees' food and water.
To decorate your bonsai, place the moss provided in water for a few moments to soften. The moss should then be placed on the surface of soil around your tree. Press gently to hold in place. The moss should cover from 1/2 to 3/4 of the surface leaving enough room at the edge to sprinkle the remaining pebbles.
If you are considering a Bonsai tree for that special person, including yourself, there are a few things you should know to ensure that you end up with a nice healthy tree.
First you should decide if you want a hardy outdoor tree or if an indoor Bonsai is more appropriate. Think about the conditions the tree will be in.
Indoor Bonsai will generally need to be close to an east, west or south window or be supplemented with artificial light. Full spectrum fluorescent lights close to the tree usually work well. A small tray with gravel and a little bit of water under the tree will add humidity around the tree. A spritz on the leaves also helps. Also the proud owner of a new indoor Bonsai tree needs to be consistent with the care. It may not need to be watered every day but it should be checked daily as the small pots can dry out rather quickly.
Hardy Bonsai need winter dormancy. These are the conifers, pines and deciduous trees. One of the most popular Bonsai is the Juniper. The Juniper is one of the easiest Bonsai to grow as long as it is being raised outdoors. They will not generally survive indoors unless it's very cool in winter, and warm and sunny in summer. During the winter, an unheated room, porch or cool basement is needed; they can be heeled into a garden, put in a garage or under a deck. Just make sure there is some light getting to your tree, as it will die in total darkness. Also, during the winter, water as needed and make sure to check the soil.
You are now the owner of a unique and respected member of nature's family. If cared for the properly. Your bonsai will provide many, many years of enjoyment.