Pop Bonsai, a new style.

Recently I came across a great book, which gave details of new freelance style of Bonsai called ‘Pop Bonsai‘.

Pop Bonsai involves training a seedling by trimming its branches and leaves, and wiring the trunk and branches to bend them into almost any style as you would with traditional Bonsai. The difference is the presentation is completely refreshing. Your living work of art, can be presented in a ball of moss, on a can of beer or even in a pair of shoes. (clean ones of course!) You will of require some basic bonsai techniques and advice on looking after plants.

The Pop Bonsai book does present techniques on styling and maintenance from the basics up.

So who is the creator of Pop Bonsai.

Lisa Tajima started to study bonsai with a traditional master in Japan, she created her own style bonsai which she termed ‘Pop Bonsai’ and began to attract attention as a new-generation bonsai artist.
The inventiveness of her work has been recognized in a number of awards, even some from Japan’s most traditional competitions including ‘Gafu-ten’. She also makes her own containers, including “walking bonsai” ones. Her pots have been recognized in awards at Takagi Bonsai Museum in Tokyo Japan.


Bonsai from Seed

A quick article on growing a Bonsai from Seed

Tree Seeds

First thing you need to do is select your tree seed. Beginners should try and collect seed from local grown trees before trying challenging native and non-native species. These trees would be used to the locate climate. The easiest to grow is Horse Chestnut.

For those who work with nature, you can wait until the Autumn\Fall before sowing. If you don’t want to wait until then see propagation section. But for those who enjoy working with nature see below.

When?

As described above the best time to sow seeds is in the autumn so we can keep with natures cycle.

How?

1. Pick out a pot approximately 15 cm or a seed tray
2. Place a fine layer of stones on the base
3. Next put together the following soil mixture. For beginners I would suggest using John Innes No:2 with 20% Horticultural sand.
4. Place the soil mixture in your container
5. Use a dibber (gardening tool) or a stick to create small channels on top of the soil
6. Place the seed or seeds on the channel
7. Cover with a layer of soil
8. Next water using a fine rose spray (You don’t want to disturb the seeds)

Also, remember to pre-soak your seed before planting.

So, what’s next?

After your seed has sprouted, place it in a bright location and keep the soil moist.

Never let seedlings dry out

In the summer months feed your seedlings. After a year you can transplant your Tinytree to a bigger pot.

When your tree looks hardy (thick trunk). You can start the early stages of Bonsai training.


Repotting a Bonsai

Repotting is not optional when growing bonsai.

Why? Because after growing in the same pot for some time, the tree will become pot bound. This means there is no room for new roots to grow and the plant will have a hard time getting the nutrients it needs to survive.

To be a successful bonsai grower you need to know when to re-pot (and when not to) as well as how to re-pot. How often you need to re-pot is dependent on the species of plant you use for bonsai and you should look into a care guide for your plant to help you decide. So in this article I’ll just focus on how to re-pot.

Step One: Gather needed supplies

Before you begin re-potting you should make sure you have two things ready–the soil and the pot. If you’ll be using a new pot make sure you have a cover for the drainage holes to prevent soil from leaving the pot after watering the plant. You can cover the holes with plastic mesh and keep it in place with bonsai wire.

The new soil you add to the pot should be free draining. That means avoiding ordinary garden soil and regular potting compost. You’ll want to get instead a general purpose bonsai soil or make your own soil.

Step Two: Prepare your tree for potting

The next step in re-potting your bonsai is to prepare your tree for potting. To do this prune unwanted foliage, and branches. And to make re-potting easier, reduce your watering schedule by about half for at least a week. This will make the soil dryer and make it a lot easier to remove the plant from the pot.

Step Three: Remove your tree from the pot

Gently remove the tree from the pot using a tongue depressor to help separate the soil from the sides of the pot. Then pull the tree and the soil out of the pot. You should now be able to see the root ball. Once you have the root ball out, you need to remove the soil from it. This can be done by hand or you can use a root hook. You should brush away the soil from the trunk and take every precaution not to damage the roots. Use a fine bristled paintbrush to remove soil stuck to the roots.

Step Four: Remove soil from the roots

The next step involves combing the roots to straighten them out. Use a pointed stick or a chopstick for the purpose. Prune the excess circling roots. The aim is to remove 1/3 of the overall root mass. Carefully examine the roots and if you find any diseased or dead roots, you should remove them.

Step Five: Prepare the pot for the tree

Wash the pot. Then cover the drainage holes with plastic mesh. Get a wire to anchor the bonsai and put it through two of the holes. Leave long ends on the wire to anchor the tree in place. Bend the wires back so that when you add soil to the pot they don’t get in the way.

Step Six: Put the tree in the pot

Lay a layer of grit at the bottom of the container and then add the bonsai soil. Position your bonsai into the container and then add soil where needed. Put the wires across the root ball. Twist them together to hold the tree in place. Add more soil and gently work it into the root mass until the pot is full. Add some water and then putmoist moss over the soil.

Your bonsai will need extra care after it has been re-potted. After some time you will see new foliage on your bonsai and you’ll know that you have done a good job at re-potting your bonsai.

By Rodney Daut