Grow Your Own BonsaiEach method of growing a bonsai has advantages and disadvantages and different levels of dedication and effort.
Buying a Bonsai
The fastest way of getting a bonsai is to purchase one from a garden centre or specialist nursery. This will give you a ready-made bonsai. However, these can be very expensive or end up being poor quality. Most of them will be imported from Japan which means the price will include the handling and transportation costs, but to get a medium-sized tree you can expect to pay around £15. The upside to buying a bonsai is that there will normally be plenty of species to choose from and pruning will require very little effort.
From the Wild
Collecting seedling or saplings from the wild may not be advantageous since it can take you quite a long time to find a suitable tree and gain permission from the land-owner to remove it from their property. Removing a tree from it's natural habitat will also be detrimental to the ecosystem that you have taken it from.
Growing from seed is the cheapest way of creating your bonsai. However, there are disadvantages which are that it would take a very long time to grow (some seeds taking years to germinate, if they germinate at all) and once germinated, these seedlings must be grown in open ground for several years before it can be styled into a bonsai.
Trees that are grown from seeds may not turns out as their parents and so may not have the same attractive characteristics, such as small fruit and leaves.
These are easily harvested, especially since you can use shoots that you are discarding from pruning of an existing tree. Cuttings may root quickly, even within a few weeks and can end up growing over a few months to the size that a seedling would take in three to four years. The cutting that you take will end up growing to have the characteristics of the parent, unlike seedlings. The one disadvantage is that certain species will not root easily.
Grafting, layering and air layering will all create offspring with the same characteristics of the parent plant. Just like cuttings, once rooted, they will grow much quicker than those plants from seeds. However, grafting does require quite a bit of technical experience before it can be carried out.
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