HOW TO BUY BONSAI III
Types of bonsai and the skills required for each
 

                All forms of bonsai have their own beauty and I enjoy looking at them in person or as photos.  But I leave the growing, training, and maintaining of some forms of bonsai to others.  Frankly,  some are just too difficult for me or I just don't have enough discipline! 

                 After my first dozen or so years of really trying, I realized that what was my first bonsai was also my best bonsai!  It thrived with very little care even when I was over my head with the responsibilities of work!  Bonsai began and continues to be a hobby for me and I keep learning.   Fuku-Bonsai was built as a business to offer the easiest and most successful gift bonsai.  It was also created to be the best source of plants, materials, and information to assist those who want to enjoy the hobby of bonsai!

                I found out that I enjoyed the challenge of training but did not have the discipline to be a meticulous trainer following the endless rules and guidelines of Japanese Bonsai.  Over time, I came to recognize that the Japanese who lived in Japan were fully committed to following  standards and had devised detailed rules and guidelines for just about every aspect of bonsai!  With such discipline,  Japanese bonsai is really a craft and it is very unlikely that Americans will follow this path.  I think Americans will create new bonsai directions and they did!

                Early Hawaiian bonsai attempted to train the trees of Japan and most were failures due to the differences of temperate climate Japan and tropical Hawaii. Some grew okay, but not as vigorously as in Japan.  It's like saying that polar bears can grow in Hawaii.  It may be possible but special environments must be built and special cultural practices developed. 

                In a similar manner,  it may be possible to grow a lot of different types of plants if you were willing and able to create special environments and develop special techniques.  Growing plants from different plant zones require a host of adaptations.  Some are easy and others hard, but each situation is different.  I call these:  "EXOTIC BONSAI." 

                There are four major concepts:  1) Growing outdoor Exotic Bonsai of plants of different plant zones is the mort difficult.  2) Growing outdoor Exotic Bonsai of similar plant zones is less difficult but still requires discipline to handle more demanding outdoor cultural practices.  3) Growing tropical bonsai in temperate climates requires high-light structures that can be heated to tropical temperatures during winters.  4) Growing proven houseplants is the easiest. 

                 So the first question should be:  How much time, effort and resources are you willing to commit to bonsai?

                 From the previous "how to buy article," rule #1 says: "Choose plants that will grow well for you in your environment or be willing and able to change your environment to fit the needs of the plant."  That's common sense, so the first challenge is to learn about the plant you'd like to obtain.  Where's the natural origin of the plant?  Is it rare (and likely difficult to grow, or common (with better odds)?  How much light does it need? 

                 If the plant requires a lot of light, it usually is an outdoor bonsai challenge.  If the plant is not known to grow outdoors in your climate, find out the special facilities and winter care that it needs.  Consult garden centers, botanical gardens, or local bonsai clubs.

                 "TROPICAL BONSAI" are often called "INDOOR BONSAI" which is sly misrepresentation.   They won't grow indoors unless you have a high-light, temperature-controlled greenhouse if you live in a temperate climate.  Many "indoor bonsai" sold in the shopping malls are imported from China and require much more light than normally available in ordinary homes and offices. First learn the amount of light available where you will be growing the bonsai. Ask the seller:  "How much light does this plant need TO THRIVE?     

                 Tropical bonsai or "high-light plants requiring special lighting" are still a whole lot easier to grow in temperate climates than outdoor temperate climate trees.  Grow them outdoors when it's warm and learn how to protect them during the winter.  The best sources of assistance in this situation are the local bonsai clubs.

                  Fuku-Bonsai specializes in proven durable houseplants and we've trademarked "TRUE INDOOR BONSAI."  We assist our customers by providing special rapid-draining potting media, ultra slow release fertilizers that are low in nitrogen and high in phosphorus, and the highest quality "prepared bonsai stock."

                  CRAFT, ART, & HOBBY;  the differences between Japanese bonsai, Chinese penjing, Tropical bonsai, and Fuku-Bonsai's True Indoor Bonsai 

                 There are many forms of bonsai.  There are many different plants trained as bonsai. There are many training techniques and there are an endless number of guidelines for care.  Simply put, each plant grown as bonsai should have a different book!  No book can explain how to grow a Japanese Black Pine and say an Azalea bonsai.  The potting media is different, training techniques are different,  care is very different and varies according to where you live.  To add confusion,  there are an endless variation in styling goals!  So here's a concise difference between the various forms.

                 Japanese bonsai tends to be a highly disciplined cultural craft that requires attention to detail and following guidelines established by the masters of each school. The best top tier bonsai are truly individual masterpieces, but most of the rest look the same.

                  Chinese penjing comes in many forms.  The aristocratic elite penjing are truly art as no two are alike. Styling is often based upon a unique theme or plant quality and often the goal is an "artistic potted plant" that does not necessarily resemble a tree.

                 Fuku-Bonsai's True Indoor Bonsai is based upon the precepts of a hobby and we try to share the basic information leading to success. We discourage competitions because highest ratings are the result of obtaining highest potential stock and bonsai awards should not be given for the comparative amounts of a person's financial resources.

                 Fuku-Bonsai is committed to it's customers and aiding them to enjoy a wonderful hobby.  We try to make available the fullest range of information especially pertaining to our Dwarf Schefflera specialty. We offer the finest components and materials that we use in our nursery and the finest prepared bonsai stock with great potential and interest.  We've engineered products to have exceptional value.  We explain how the trees were trained and offer economical young plants and a full range of older and larger trees.

 

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