In today’s era of apartment life in big cities and small, having a small terrace garden is often all the luxury we can afford, thanks to the want of sprawling spaces. This is one of the key reasons why the bonsai form is gaining currency.
The concept of bonsai, which originated in China but is widely known as Japanese art, is the craft of growing a plant to assume a miniature form through special training methods involving techniques of extreme dwarfing. Some bonsai trees are known to live up to 100 years and more.
Globally, there are a few specific plants which can adapt to extreme dwarfing treatment, common among those being juniper, pine, elm, maple and cypress. However, in tropical climatic conditions like we have in India, for bonsai culture we need to turn our gaze towards species like sapota, tamarind, manilkhara, bassia, ficus, etc.
Bonsai plants bring a plethora of pluses to your home and give much more than they take. Not only do they enhance the aesthetic appeal of your apartment, bonsai plants have a positive impact on your health and give you psychological benefits as well. Yet all they need is some sun, some water and a little care.
What are the known benefits of bonsai?
# Purifies air: By whittling down indoor air pollutants, these plants significantly enhance indoor air quality, some breeds more so like the ficus tree.
# Reduces stress: Since they act as companions, indoor bonsai trees provide you the comfort of active interaction while you tend to them. It’s almost like having someone around to converse with. This has a profound effect on stabilizing our blood pressure, alleviating stress and leaving us with a general sense of wellbeing and positivity.
# Helps maintain humidity: These indoor plants can increase the humidity level in your apartment, which in turn can prevent or reduce symptoms like dryness, coughs and sore throat.
# Teaches us patience: Since bonsai trees grow a lot slower than common indoor plants, it requires an enormous amount of patience on your part to tend to them daily, which includes pruning and trimming and honouring the cycles of growth. It’s like an investment for the future and you don’t get instant returns. You naturally develop the virtue of patience in the bargain.
# Stokes creativity: You can literally shape your bonsai and goad it to grow the way you fancy, using appropriate techniques. This can often require a lot of improvising and adaptability, like rope-training your bonsai or guiding its growth with cages, structural pruning, etc. The best part is you learn as you grow your bonsai plant, because you realize along the way what works and what doesn’t. This process can inspire creativity you never thought you had.
# Promotes self-awareness: Bonsai is not just an art form, it’s a hobby which grows on you and helps you relax your mind. In that sense it has much the same effect as yoga or meditation does, by helping you converse with yourself and look inwards to find solutions to external problems. Bonsai teaches us to face challenges with equanimity and overcome those.
# Boosts self-confidence: As you tend to and grow your bonsai, you come across various problems and riddles you must solve and plan ahead. So you are constantly improvising and learning new techniques along the way. This not only does wonders for your confidence, it also inculcates a steely resolve which tells you to never quit. Nothing can be as rewarding when you see the results of your perseverance.
# Teaches compassion: A bonsai tree needs constant nurturing and methodical care to stay alive and live long. This will include chores like cutting off a few branches here and there to aid further growth and a lot of other repetitive tasks like pruning and trimming and watering and shaping. All these activities are devoted towards nurturing a baby plant into an adult tree and requires a lot of care and compassion.
# A family heirloom: Since bonsai trees are known to often live long and can span several human life-spans, it’s actually a wonderful family heirloom you have created to be passed onto future generations to be loved and cherished. It’s like creating a legacy and can be supremely rewarding.
# A wonderful gift: Last but not the least, a bonsai is a wonderful gifting idea on any occasion, be it a wedding or a birthday or any other milestone. It’s unique as a gift in the sense that it embodies all the love and care that goes behind sustaining it and in a way, it brings us closer and exudes an aura of positivity.
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