The art of bonsai was born a long time ago in China. Even then the variety obtained with the reduction technique was surprising, as is known from the finding of ancient drawings. Chinese artists often modeled their trees in the likeness of imaginary animal figures and icons. While bonsai was a highly developed technique in China, in Japan it has evolved and reached its maximum splendor from an artistic point of view. Only long after,
the necessary care and patience, the complexity of the miniature works and the creation of a work of art fully reflected the temperament of the horticultural artists of Japan. At first the first to experiment with this technique were the monks then, as it gradually reached the masses, becoming a popular art. When after centuries Japan opened its ports and palaces to Westerners, the miniature trees aroused amazement among visitors. Even today in many Japanese homes the practice is adopted of placing the bonsai in a 'tokonoma' that is a special niche whose purpose is to use it as a tool to enhance the precious family assets. When Westerners brought some specimens of bonsai to their homelands, they immediately began to build real museums that soon conquered the whole world. The definitive turning point came in 1900 on the occasion of the most famous Universal Expo, namely that of Paris. On that occasion, the bonsai craze broke out in Europe, so much so that today it is considered one of the wonders of the world. Many new artists, including non-Japanese ones, have developed new forms and techniques for this living art and it is currently practiced and available all over the world. Bonsai are particularly popular in the United States and Asia, but also in Europe, South Africa and Australia. Wherever there is abundant sunshine you can find or grow a bonsai.
One of the fundamental bases for the design, construction and cultivation of bonsai is the choice of the right soil. It must be porous for effective and rapid drainage. This is only one of the prerogatives for a successful bonsai cultivation. They are equally important and vital for the plant. The bonsai in fact needs frequent and abundant watering, but this has specific rules that must be followed carefully. First of all, it is good to know that excess water can be the cause of the growth of harmful fungi and root rot. Both of these damages can be avoided by following a few tips. Knowing how much water is needed is therefore the first step to take.
It is important to adopt a method to test the moisture content of the soil. The thing is quite simple; in fact, it is necessary to touch the surface of the ground with the thumb not before making space between the protective gravel. In this way, you can know the degree of humidity and adjust accordingly with watering. A more accurate test is to use a normal analog or digital moisture meter for an accurate reading. The ground, however, could be wet or dry on the surface or up to the distance of the thumb of our hand but from that point on, the mystery remains as to how the unreached part is located. One way to find out is to see if there are dry spots in the pot which are harmful if close to the roots. It is obvious that if there are, it means that there are certainly others deeper and therefore the thing becomes complicated. Therefore, more humidity is needed to save the plant. To make sure that all the soil is adequately moistened, once a month you have to immerse the whole pot up to the base of the tree in a bucket or basin filled with water, let the pot absorb it (for a few minutes) then, remove it carefully by lifting it sideways and never off the shaft. If the soil mix is correct and the plant has no diseased roots, excess moisture will drain to the bottom of the pot tray. If the tray is full, then it is still advisable to insert the pot in it so that the water visible to us is reabsorbed by the roots, considering it as a supply. This operation is important as we are able to know that the excess water flows out optimally and therefore, the drainage of the soil does not create problems for the roots, thus preventing them from rotting.
Bonsai: water and climate
However, some bonsai may require a larger dose of water in a day. This depends on the climate and above all from species to species. Pine bonsai and other conifers, for example, need less water. They even tend to benefit from short periods of drought. Flowering trees, on the other hand, need much more water. Finally, a last tip to test the health of the plant and its roots is to check if there are principles of dry leaves or withered flowers. All these precautions, therefore, in their ease and simplicity, are however of fundamental importance to know the health of the bonsai, and to know with certainty the amount of daily food (water) that must be administered for healthy, luxuriant and lasting growth.