Bonsai Tree Size Classifications

In the modern sense, bonsai means a miniature tree in a pot, which became widely popular all over the world. While the origin of bonsai culture came from Japan, now we can see interest in bonsai art in all continents. People from Sydney to Moscow, from Ottawa to Rabat are amazed by deep bonsai traditions and unique bonds that can be made with a tree. Bonsai is distinguished from an ordinary houseplant by proportions corresponding to the proportions of a tall tree. In fact, a bonsai is an exact, but reduced in size, copy of a tree that has grown in natural conditions. We will discuss different bonsai tree sizes, the distinctions between large bonsai trees and medium bonsai trees, we will also identify small and miniature bonsai trees.

The classification of bonsai by size is very arbitrary, as the most significant factor of distinguishing bonsai trees within one species is age rather than actual physical size. In a lot of cases, it is easy to find “larger” sizes of bonsai trees which are actually the same size as “small” ones, and considered “large” thus more expensive only because of age. The largest bonsai tree can reach 120 cm, and the smallest – up to 5 cm. The average size of a bonsai tree is from 15 to 60 cm. However, this art is not only about keeping the tree from growing, it must be aesthetic, have a certain shape. If we were to classify bonsai trees by physical and measurable scheme, the following types of bonsai would be distinguished:

·       Large bonsai trees with an average height between 60-120 cm;

·       Medium size bonsai trees of 30-60 cm high;

·       Small bonsai trees of 15-30 cm high;

·       Miniature bonsai trees with a height of 5-15 cm, among which are the so-called “bonsai-with-marigold” (5-15 cm) and “baby bonsai” (7.5-15 cm).

The height of the plant is measured from the edge of the pot or from the beginning of the roots to the highest point of the plant. The most popular are “doll” bonsai; bonsai of small and miniature size, the beauty and fragility of which cause involuntary awe. On the one hand, we see a real tree with a thick trunk and a lush crown, but on the other hand, we realize that this tree does not belong to our world of big things, but to an unknown land of midgets. It is not recommended to forcefully convert a large and medium-sized tree into a miniature one. It is better to buy a bonsai of the desired size right away or grow it yourself. In the latter case, plants with small leaves and needles are used for miniature bonsai (for example: dwarf bamboo, boxwood, cypress, myrtle, rosemary, buckthorn, santolina, Chinese elm).

Breeding miniature bonsai is practically the same as growing larger trees. However, there are still some features of the formation of a small tree:

·       lower base (only 2-3 branches);

·       for the first 2-3 years, it is recommended to grow the plant in a large pot in order to form a relatively strong trunk;

·       more thorough watering (but the plant should not be overwatered);

·       repotting every spring, during which overgrown and hairy roots are removed;

·       low and specific concentration of fertilizers.