Hi by chance, can you make succulent seedlings become bonsai, that is, make them remain small over time?


Dear Alessio,

the art of bonsai involves miniaturizing trees, in order to make them live and vegetate luxuriantly in small bases, called Bon, similar to low trays; this art has as its primary purpose that of contemplation, both as regards the finished sapling, and as regards the preparation of the sapling, which involves years and years of work, to ensure that a tree, which in nature can reach a few meters in height, develop foliage, branches, leaves in a similar way, but definitely miniaturized. According to this type of vision, only trees or shrubs are given gifts; according to some European bonsaists, it would also be appropriate to bonsaise only the trees that are traditionally bonsaised in Japan. In the nurseries we see bonsai of all kinds, made with plants of all types and kinds, regardless of whether they belong to the Japanese bonsai tradition or not; in addition to this, we can also find plants that in fact are not true bonsai, because they are hybrids with very small leaves and dwarf development of larger plants, or small plants pruned to look like saplings and therefore very similar to gods. bonsai. These plants are not strictly bonsai, they simply mimic their shapes. That said, many bonsai enthusiasts don’t like to stay within strict and rigid patterns, and tend to bonsaise any plants they own, be it perennials, or succulents. Often this type of small plants, more than bonsai, are considered accompanying plants, and are kept in small pots to be placed next to those larger than bonsai, in the desire to create a landscape that resembles nature, where there are trees, but also shrubs, perennials, succulents. From a strictly physiological point of view, it is theoretically possible to bonsaise everything, from banana trees to oaks; it all lies in understanding which are the most suitable treatments. Among the succulents, the most widespread bonsaizations are those prepared with crassules, which tend to be pruned as if they were small trees, with tiny fleshy leaves. Among the accompanying plants are often seen tiny sempervivum, with rosettes that develop in width only for a few millimeters. So yes, if you want you can also try to bonsaise succulents, even if it is not a simple job, also because many cacti (for example) are adapted to live in extreme conditions, developing in any case with normal size; therefore root pruning and other practices of this type must be done more often in a single growing season, or you risk having nothing but a normal-sized cactacea, but often prone to pests and diseases due to forced cultivation.

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Bonsai with succulents – Bonsai Questions and Answers

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