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Did You Know!

…that Bonsai originated from China and was originally called penjing (“tray scenery“) or penzai (“tray plant“).

Penjing originated over 2,000 years ago as living sculptures or three-dimemsional poetry of landscapes. The earliest recorded Penjing was in the Jin Dynasty in the period 265AD – 420AD.

It was brought to Japan in the Kamakura period (1185 – 1333) by Zen Buddhists.

In the mid 19th century and after hundreds of years in isolation it finally arrived in western civiliations through word from travellers and explorers. The Paris World Exhibition of 1900 formally introduced Bonsai.

The following was never confirmed, unless someone knows differently!

“Archaeologists recently discovered the world’s oldest living bonsai dating back at least 3600 years. The potted pine was found in central China, standing vigil over the tombs of the fourth emperor of the Shang dynasty and his queen. The 41 cm high tree stood in a solid gold pot which was itself set on a solid gold pedestal some 75 cm high. A fine dripper arrangement had been built into the stone roof of the tomb complex, allowing a single drop of water to fall onto the tree every single minute. The tree, in absolute darkness for more than three and a half milleniums, was chalk white, having lost all its chlorophyll. The continuos action of falling water has washed away all the soil in the pot leaving only the drainage layer of diamonds. The dense roots were as white as the pine needles. This tree, which is almost as old as the great Egyptian pyramids. might well be classified as one of the wonders of the natural world.” -Easterbrook, David; Bonsai Down Under, Autumn 1985.

and the oldest American tree was planted in 1626, a Japanese White Pine.

Oldest Bonsai Club:

America – Calfornian Bonsai Society 52 Years old.

Did You Know!

…that Bonsai can be as tall as a Leprechaun and smaller than a mouse.

A Leprechaun is estimated to be 2 foot tall and the worlds oldest Bonsai is 9 foot tall. So the cute little tree is not that small after all or is it.

the smallest Bonsai is known as a ‘Mame’ and be as small as 1 inch (2.5cm)

List of Bonsai Sizes.

Tiny Mame Up to 7.5 cm
Small Shohin Up to 25 cm
Medium Kifu Up to 40 cm
Large Chu Up to 60 cm
Very Large Dai Up to 100 cm

Check out Mortan Albek for his display on Shohin Bonsai

Following recommended Books:

Did You Know!

that Bonsai trees don’t make Bonsai seeds, tree seedlings must be trained to become Bonsai

See our guide on growing Bonsai from seed

Did You Know!

…that Bonsai have different styles and designs.

See Our Style List

Did You Know!

…that Bonsai are fussy about the type of soil that they like

Think about it. Your a wee tree confined to a pot. The soil you give it must be able to breathe and drain off excess water. Not be clogged, as this will drown the roots.

So what is the best soil type?

This can vary with the tree type, but the soil must be free draining, gritty and able to hold food. The normal soil type is Akadama, this is a clay like volcanic substance that can retain its particle structure even when wet.

My own favourite is a mixture of:

Horticultural Sand                            20%
J. Arthur Bowers Orchid Compost 20% (Best to crush this down more)
John Innes No.2                                60%

See Our page on Bonsai soils

Did You Know!

…that a Bonsai tree that is feeling
under the weather can be given a mild dose of Vitamin B-1!

One of the oldest Bonsai foods available is called ‘Superthrive’ and this contains many vitamins including Vitamin B-1.

Did You Know!

…that the most common tool for Bonsai is called a ‘Knob Cutter’. (ouch!!!)

This is used for cutting unwanted branches cleanly from your tree.

Other tools include:
Trunk Splitters, Root Trimmers, Leaf Trimmers, Wire Cutters, Root Rakes, Bonsai Scissors and Pliers, Sieves, Scoops and Bending Jacks, Turntables and Brushes.
Oh yes, I almost forgot and I have one of these, a nice case to put your tools in and that includes 3 different sizes of Knob Cutters!

Did You Know!

…that Bonsai can have a ‘Jin’, no not a ‘Gin’.

A ‘Jin’ is a branch that has been stripped to create a natural dead wood effect.


To find out more on creating a Bonsai ‘Jin’, go to Bonsai4me

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