Bonsais — even for the faint hearted! | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, October 30, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, October 30, 2018

Bonsais — even for the faint hearted!

Having a home nicely decorated with a touch of green vitality is almost every Dhakaite's dream; some go steps further and now consider it a necessity.

Selecting the perfect plant that can thrive easily inside your house with little water and almost no sunlight is not easy, but that is where bonsais can come as a boon.

The appeal of bonsais varies — some choose to harness peace and tranquility, others simply for its aesthetic appeal. No matter how you wish to see it, and how to make best use of them as an element of interior décor, know that this has a long cherished history in oriental cultures, and people still derive endless pleasure in growing bonsais as they did thousands of years ago.

Before making your first purchase, make sure you understand that bonsais are not just any plant to be placed indoors; they require special treatment. Some will go on to say, “It is not for the fainthearted!” 

One must be committed to devote a fair amount of time, and spend considerable sums for their proper care — as far as bonsais are concerned, spending does not stop at the store you buy it from. Consider this, no matter when you start with your bonsai project, if taken care of, they just might outlive you! So, start off with something regular, not one from Tibet that just might break the bank. 



Selecting the right plant

Puritans often claim that there cannot be indoor bonsais, and there is logic to such assertions. The interior of an apartment is not a natural habitat, but bonsais can be coaxed to suit the interior.

Another point that needs to be addressed at the very beginning — will the bonsai be part of the exterior, or a centerpiece of your interiors?

As bonsai require a lot of care and attention, it is best to go for indoor bonsais, while you are still learning. The controlled environment inside shall allow you to practice and learn how to take care of the plant, without exposing it to the harsh and changing outside weather.



Proper watering is a necessity. Bonsais are best kept at humid places in the house.

Make sure the container is small as the miniature plants tend to draw water from the trays fast. Spraying water on a regular basis is almost a necessity under such conditions.



It goes without saying that one has to be patient with their bonsais. You have to let it grow, and at the same time, clip edges to contain its growth and to retain its shape; you have to ensure that it is watered on a regular basis, and placed under sunlight once in a while.

The plant often needs to be uprooted, its roots trimmed, and then re-potted. Maintaining a bonsai is not only an exercise in home gardening, it can be, and is, a lesson in patience.



Indoor and outdoor bonsais have different requirements when it comes to fertilisers. Rather than leaving the matter for the future, talk to the seller even before making the purchase. They should be able to give tips on which fertilisers to use and which ones to avoid. They may also suggest how often one should apply them.



The petite bonsai structure is maintained primarily by pruning its branches and leaves. However, those that are available in stores are already groomed to certain shapes, so the trouble of cutting the branches will be an exercise only to maintain that shape and not to create a new one.

As tranquil and peaceful as it may seem, too much trimming can result in a skeletal bonsai, devoid of its splendour.



The kitchen is not the place one would normally associate as an idea position to place a bonsai. Placing one in front of a window in the kitchen can give the impression of looking at a large tree from afar, and make cooking a calming experience.



Small studies, home offices, or even your desk at work can use a change in appearance. These spaces tend to be stiff given the nature of their use and even a regular potted plant can bring in vitality, of course bonsais can do so much more.



Standing at the cross-roads of a time when people proclaim that it is 'only the thought that matters' and people expecting something totally out of the box, bonsais still have a place.

Surprise your friend, your colleague or even your husband. Maybe only to remind that only a trimmed and nurtured relationship can last beyond our existence, if not anything else.

And if you are lucky, s/he might just take up the hobby and become a fellow enthusiast.


Photo: Collected

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