What You Need
- tree or shrub
- any pot about 10cm deep and 20cm wide
- bonsai soil
- bonsai rake (you can use a kitchen fork initially)
- pair of secateurs
- copper or aluminium wire
- piece of nylon mesh
- moss and a few small pebbles
- Choose a tree or shrub with lots of low branches. A plant with small leaves, such as a juniper, wild olive or white stinkwood is ideal (as the smaller leaves are perfect for bonsai shaping).
- Start to reveal the trunk from below by removing all the smaller twigs. Before you cut off any branches, push it away with your hand first to see what the tree will look like without it.
- Once you’re finished cutting, your tree should preferably have an uneven number (5 or 7) of thicker branches and the length of the branches should be in balance with the rest of the tree. Also cut the crown of the tree shorter so that the bonsai isn’t too tall.
- Press a piece of copper or aluminium wire about 15cm long into the soil near the tree’s main stem and wrap it carefully around this stem.
- Now wrap the wire around all the main branches, not too tightly, and bend the branches gently down into the position you desire. Work carefully so you don’t accidentally break them.
- Carefully remove the tree from the bag without damaging it. Remove the top layer of soil until the stronger roots are revealed.
- Rake away some of the lower soil to flatten the root base. Cut some of the long roots shorter, but try not to break the fine roots because they provide nutrients to the plant.
- Now plant the tree in a bonsai pot. Place a thin layer of bonsai soil at the bottom of the pot and plant your tree.
- Water the bonsai well. The best way is to slowly immerse the pot in a deep bowl of water and hold it there until there are no more bubbles.
- Sprinkle a few small pebbles around the tree and plant a little moss to finish it off.
- Within a month, new leaves will sprout and if you care for your bonsai properly, it’ll give you years of pleasure!
Text and images: Home magazine