You would really be amazed at just how misunderstood the little Bonsai has been over the years with a variety of different myths that have come and gone. Some of the myths might seem to be logical enough while others are so far fetched you even wonder how they ever came up with such ideas. A lot of the myths that have surrounded the Bonsai have long been proven totally wrong however, they seem to continue to pop up in literature about the Bonsai and you can even find them online.
So, here are more of the common myths about Bonsai trees that you might find helpful to know about:
Myth #1 – “Bonsai are only made from trees and not shrubs or bushes.”
Well, this is a major untruth. One of the most popular and famous of all Bonsai is the Azalea Bonsai and my friends that is a flowering shrub. The Juniper shrub is what makes the ever popular Juniper Bonsai and even the Bougainvillea, another shrub makes a good Bonsai.
Even vines like a grape or a wisteria can both be turned into Bonsai trees. Most people who have worked with Bonsai trees will all agree that if a plant can be shaped to look like a miniature tree then it can qualify to be a Bonsai.
Myth #2 – “Bonsai are house plants only.”
This is probably one of the biggest myths about the Bonsai and it’s probably the oldest one as well. To tell you the truth and the whole truth, Bonsai actually grow better outside than inside. In most climates all over the world these miniature trees are often treated no different than any other potted plant. In the winter they are put either inside of a house or in a greenhouse. But during the warmer months they are often found growing outside. In fact the only ones that are ideal for indoors would be those plants that are tropical and sub-tropical varieties.
Myth #3 – “A plant needs to be imported in order to be a real Bonsai.”
No doubt, many of them are imported, but, many others are simply grown by using plants that are common to your own area. In fact many native trees of all areas in the world are starting to become extremely popular for turning into Bonsai trees.
Myth #4 – “The tree stops growing once it is turned into a Bonsai.”
Well, I hope that wouldn’t be the case! In reality a healthy Bonsai must shed and grow new leaves or needles, bloom and then drop their flowers and extend its branches in order for it to develop good roots. Sure it might look like it’s not growing because when it matures it slows down and often will need far less trimming, but it never stops growing, if it does, it’s dead.
Myth #5 – “When you use Bonsai wire you stop the tree from growing.”
The only purpose for using the wire is to both bend and shape your Bonsai tree. This is not something that is permanent. Once the desired shape has taken hold you then take the wire off.
Myth #6 – “When you prune the roots you will kill the tree.”
Actually, the truth is exactly the opposite. When you trim the roots you are helping to keep the plant a lot healthier in its small container. Cutting roots simply will not kill the tree if it’s done right and at the right time of the year.
Myth #7 – “Part of the dwarfing process is to not give the tree fertilizer.”
Serious? Bonsai are little living plants and they need fertilizer because it’s like plant food for it. When in nature, nature will feed the plants in the ground but when they are in containers then they must be fed by us.
Myth #8 – “Sea salt is good for your Bonsai.”
Well, not much truth there. Truth be known salt does absolutely nothing good or bad for the Bonsai, so why do it?
Myth #9 – “It’s bad to water them during the mid-day because it can burn the leaves.”
You hear that about almost all plants and the reason for this thinking I guess is that the sunlight could be magnified by the water drops on the leaves and then can cause them to burn. Really? Does that really make sense when you think hard about it. After all if it rains during the day does the rain end up burning the leaves of plants? So, no this is so not true.
Myth #10 – “You must use wound sealers and cut paste to heal a damaged plant.”
This one was believed for a very long time and in some areas like Japan they still believe this. However, it’s not true. It has been discovered that over time, if you look under the sealers you will often find some soft wood and even some decay that must be removed because of the sealers. The best thing to do is simply let the tree do the healing itself because it will heal a lot faster and healthier on it’s own.