Having decided on a place for a bonsai and a type of plant (part 1 of the article), you have briefly outlined the essence of the upcoming purchase. However, at this stage there are a few more issues to figure out: size and style of the bonsai. At first glance it may seem that this condition is unimportant, but each of these two points directly affects the needs of the plant.
Choosing a size
Bonsai as a concept includes a great variety of forms, compositions and sizes of plants. The classical understanding of the term is associated with abstract miniaturization. It is not so easy to outline exactly how small a plant should be. Some people consider a meter height to be sufficient, while others clearly see a 30-centimeter tree.
In fact, the size range of bonsai is much wider. It may surprise you to know that bonsai can reach up to two meters in height, and only 2.5 cm, fitting freely in the palm of the owner’s hand.
You can find different classifications in different sources. For ease of division by size, you can distinguish three main groups:
- small (from 2.5 cm to 25 cm) – from Mame to Shohin;
- Medium (25 to 60 cm) – from Katade to Chuhin;
- large (80 to 200 cm) – from Omono or Bonju to Imperial bonsai.
The smaller the bonsai is, the faster the soil dries out. So if you’re not sure that you can regularly take the time to water, it’s better not to take the risk – choose a medium or large plant: this way it will be easier to ensure the right conditions.
Choosing a style
Shaping the crown of a bonsai takes the lion’s share of the time to care for in culture. Beginners are advised to choose the simplest forms. With increasing experience, you can make the task more difficult by delving into more complex rules and techniques.
It is also worth considering that the style of bonsai is greatly influenced by the original form of the plant, as well as its peculiarities of development. It is not without reason that masters of this art advise taking inspiration from observing nature itself – the ability to reproduce the form that the tree takes as it struggles with wind, cold and other phenomena from day to day.
Below are the traditional styles of bonsai.
So, we came to the final question in the choice of bonsai – directly its purchase. You will be able to determine which of the existing options suits you best in the third and final part of the article.