You may be familiar with Bonsai Trees. The word “Bon-sai” is a Japanese term that, literally translated, means planted in a container. This art in the form of a seemingly dwarfed tree has been around for well over a thousand years. It is derived from ancient Chinese horticulture practice, part of which was then redeveloped under the influence of Japanese Zen Buddhism.
According to the Bonsai Empire, Bonsai are not genetically dwarfed plants. Any plant species that has a woody stem or trunk, grows true branches, can be grown in a container to restrict its roots or food storage capability and become a Bonsai. It is the technique used, such as pinching buds, pruning and wiring branches, and carefully restricting but not abandoning fertilizer that limits and redirects healthy growth. These growing techniques are what make the tree turn into Bonsai.
From Japanese maple to cypress to maple tree, the beauty of Bonsai can be found in any species of plant. One of the popular ones amongst Bonsai beginners is the succulent Bonsai trees. A succulent is a great option as a first bonsai because they are incredibly strong and need very little care. They can thrive in dry climates by storing water in their thick, fleshy leaves and stems.
The Desert rose, or Adenium is one succulent species that is easy to take care of as a Bonsai. Native to Africa and Arabia, Adenium has a swollen woody stem with oval-shaped foliage and produces large flowers when it gets enough sunlight. You might recognize this tree as it is popular among tropical climate countries such as Indonesia. Having them as a Bonsai tree makes it so that you can enjoy the beauty of the tree and flowers all year long indoors. Although if you are planning on having Adenium Bonsai at home, keep in mind to put it out of reach from children and pets as well as using gloves when styling the Bonsai as the milk sap of Adenium is poisonous.
The price of Adenium Bonsai
The price of owning a Bonsai tree is reflective of its age, tree type, and labor to keep the tree alive. As the Bonsai tree grows and develops, their prices increase along with them. No matter what, the Bonsai tree is considered an art form that is made with living, growing things, making those pieces never complete or finished.
A well-grown 15 cm Bonsai tree that is 3-4 years old can go up to 1 million rupiahs on the market. While a fully grown flowering Adenium Bonsai tree can go up to millions, even hundreds of millions of rupiah. But if you would like to try and make your own Bonsai, Adenium in the prebonsai stage is relatively cheaper, around Rp 35.000 to Rp 85.000.
How to make Adenium Bonsai
Making Adenium Bonsai starts with acquiring Bonsai material. You can start from the beginning by growing Bonsai from tree seeds. This method will require a good amount of patience as it takes a minimum of three years before the seedlings mature enough to start shaping. Or you can grow them from cuttings of mature trees. Just like propagating a new tree from stems of mature trees, this method will reduce about a year from the previous seed method. Using this method is great if you would like to learn about the characteristics of the cutting the Bonsai tree will have.
The last two methods will be buying nursery stock and collecting trees. Buying nursery stock, also called prebonsai, is a fast way of ‘propagating’ a tree, and you can start right away with training it. This method, though a rather inexpensive and fast way to start your Bonsai journey, has one major drawback. The drawback is that starting work on an older tree often means you will have to remove large branches, which can result in a visible wound. The last method is Yamadori or collecting trees. This method entails digging out trees and transporting them home. Keep in mind that it is likely illegal to dig out plants from parks or forests. Before removing them, you should have the land owners’ permission. Or if you have a small growing tree in your garden, you can try and transform them into Bonsai.
The next step of making Adenium Bonsai is styling and shaping the tree. As previously stated, Bonsai is made by limiting and redirecting healthy growth. It can be done by basic methods like regular pruning and wiring. These methods are applied to manipulate trees into the desired shape and to achieve natural and realistic results. Let’s learn more about the two techniques.
Pruning. The most important way to train a Bonsai is by pruning it regularly. There are two techniques involved in this method. Maintenance pruning, to maintain and refine the existing shape of a bonsai, and structural pruning, which involve a more rigorous pruning to give the tree its basic shape or style. For Adenium Bonsai, you need to time pruning well as flowers appear on new shoots. Pruning stimulated more ramification and, as a result, more flower buds to develop. Trim back long shoots and cut off damaged parts, making clean cuts just above a leaf node or junction.
Wiring. Wiring is done by wrapping anodized aluminum or annealed copper around the branches of the tree. By doing that, you can bend and shape the branches to your liking, at least to a certain extent. Wiring can be applied year-round as it will take effect after a few months. Just remember to promptly remove the wire before it starts digging into the branches that grow thicker and leave an indentation. Especially for trees such as Adenium, which has a thick branch and can easily scar from the tightly applied wire.
Making Bonsai can be challenging at first. But as with any other art form, perseverance and patience go a long way. Are you ready to start your very own Bonsai journey?
Written by: Safaanah