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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 meeting of ancient drawings. Chinese artists have often modeled their trees in the likeness of animal figures and imaginary icons. While bonsai was already a highly developed technique in China, in Japan it evolved and reached its maximum artistic splendor. Only much later,
the care and patience required, the complexity of the miniature works and the creation of a work of art fully reflect the temperament of the horticultural artists of Japan. At first the first to experiment this technique were the monks then, gradually reaching the mass becoming a popular art. When centuries later Japan opened its ports and palaces to Westerners, miniature trees aroused astonishment on the part of visitors. Even today, in many Japanese homes, the practice of placing bonsai in a tokonoma is adopted, that is, a special niche whose purpose is to use it as a tool to enhance precious family assets. When Westerners brought some bonsai specimens to their homelands, they immediately began to build real museums that soon conquered the whole world. The definitive turn took place in the year 1900 on the occasion of the most famous Universal Expo, namely that of Paris. On that occasion in Europe the bonsai craze broke out so much that today it is considered one of the wonders of the world. Many new artists, even non-Japanese, have developed new forms and techniques for this living art and currently it is 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 conception, realization and cultivation of bonsai is the choice of suitable soil. It must be porous for effective and rapid drainage. This is only one of the prerogatives for a successful bonsai cultivation. They are just as important and vital to the plant. In fact, bonsai 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 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 be taken.
It is important to adopt a method to test the soil moisture content. The thing is rather simple; it is necessary to touch the surface of the ground with the thumb, not before having made space between the protective gravel. This way you can know the degree of humidity and adjust accordingly with the watering. A more accurate test is to use a normal analog or digital humidity meter for an accurate reading. The soil, 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 found. A way to find out is to see if there are dry spots in the vase that are harmful if close to the roots. It is obvious that if there are any, it means that more in depth surely there are others and therefore the thing gets 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 pot all the way to the base of the tree in a bucket or in the sink filled with water, let the pot absorb it (for a few minutes) then carefully remove it by lifting it sideways and never from the tree. If the soil mixture 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 better to insert the vase in it so that the water visible to us is reabsorbed by the roots, considering it as a stock. This operation is important because we can know that the excess water flows well and therefore, the drainage of the soil does not create problems for the roots thus avoiding them to rot.
Bonsai: water and climate
However, some bonsai may require more water per day. This depends on the climate and especially from species to species. Pines and other conifers, for example, need less water. They even tend to benefit from short periods of drought. Flower trees, on the other hand, need much more water. Finally, one 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 turn out to be of fundamental importance to know the state of health of the bonsai, and to know with certainty the quantity of daily food (water) that must be administered for a healthy, luxuriant and lasting growth.