Cannabis bonsai is still more of a concept than it is a real thing. There are definitely people out there trying it, but many are sceptical about whether or not it really fits in with the principles of bonsai. To learn a bit of bonsai history and whether or not cannabis has a place in it, keep reading this article.
Imagine your buds and leaves growing lusciously on the stem – only in miniature. That’s the fundamental essence of growing bonsai, along with the long history that comes with this art form. Yes – bonsai is a form of artistic expression, at least according to the Chinese masters who practised this cultivation method. The result is tiny trees, even tiny ecosystems that are beautiful in form, texture and colour.
Growing bonsai is basically a lifetime commitment, and a lot of bonsais outlived their Chinese masters. It is an exercise in patience, labour and attention to detail to create a magnificent bonsai. Is it even possible with cannabis? There are definitely some obstacles to growing cannabis bonsai trees, even if you’re already quite an experienced grower.
To understand how to grow a cannabis bonsai tree, it’s essential to connect with what bonsai is in the first place. Let us take you on a journey through the world of bonsai and what it means to be a pioneer in the world of “cannabonsai”.
A little bit of history about Bonsai
Although the word “Bonsai” is Japanese, the art of growing dwarf trees in small containers originated in China. It was called “pun-sai” and has been practised since as early as 700 AD. The cultivation of bonsai was only enjoyed by the privileged, and they were often given as luxurious gifts.
The idea of recreating nature in miniature form came naturally to the Chinese. If a landscape was transformed into its miniature form, it became more potent. Students of Buddhism could then spend time contemplating nature in scaled-down size with twice the potency of nature. In fact, the smaller the replica was from its original size, the more sacred and potent it became with the mysteries of nature.
The Japanese adopted the way of the bonsai mainly through the influence of Zen Buddhism. It was a means of contemplation for the Japanese, not just for the viewer but also for the grower. It became a practice of Zen masters to grow bonsai trees, and the cultivation method was considered to bring them closer to Buddha-nature.
Growing a bonsai tree can literally take a lifetime (and more). It can take several years of pruning and shaping just for the tree to take its form. For the rest of its life, the grower must constantly prune, shape and water it precisely to maintain its unique shape.
Is it possible to grow canabis bonsai trees?
The short answer is: yes, anything is possible. In fact, that’s the whole point of bonsai! But that doesn’t mean it won’t be challenging or won’t come with many obstacles. Some people are sceptical about whether or not it’s possible to grow cannabonsai, but people have done it.
There are a few things to consider with cannabis. Firstly, it is an annual plant. Once the buds are ready, the tree is usually harvested, and growers plant new seeds for the next season. But the whole idea behind bonsai is to slowly grow a miniature tree for years. So how can you reconcile the two?
Well, there is the possibility of regeneration or “re-greening”. This is a way to harvest some of the season’s buds, leaving the rest on so that the plant can start vegetating again. This can decrease potency in buds. But if all you’re looking to do is grow bonsai, then the potency shouldn’t matter too much. You definitely won’t be doing this for the harvest.
Another thing to consider deeply is the whole point behind bonsai. It is an art form. That’s to say that the manipulation of the tree should be beautiful. It shouldn’t simply be a miniature plant, but one that has been designed gracefully. The shape should be interesting, and so should the bark. With that being said, it can be hard to make weed look graceful. It doesn’t have the same qualities as say, a Japanese maple tree.
An eye for detail would go a very long way in growing cannabonsai trees. The ability to manipulate the main stem to create interesting shapes is imperative. It can even be manipulated to create the shape of a conventional tree using low stress training (LST) and pruning. But every year, you would have to chop off the top buds and start the shaping process again, or this annual herb would die.
6 tips for growing cannabonsai trees
Well, we are not bonsai masters at WeedSeedShop – but we are weed masters. Some people spend their lives mastering this craft, so we will dispense some advice very humbly.
1. Start with a suitable strain
While any strain can be trained by the experienced cannabonsai grower, you’ll make your life easier by opting for a bushy, smaller strain. So for that reason, indicas are recommended. Indica-dominant varieties tend to stay small, while sativa-dominant strains like to stretch a bit during the vegetation stage.
2. Low stress training
You need to be pretty well versed in this technique if you’re going to try growing a cannabonsai tree. First, you should understand the basic principles of tying your tree to the pot to manipulate the stems’ direction.
3. Prune regularly
To have real control over the shape of your tree, low stress training isn’t enough. You will have to prune it regularly to give it the structure that appeals to you.
4. Community connection
The cannabonsai community is thriving online, and it’s boasting highly educative and inspiring content. The subreddit Cannabonsai is a prime spot to ask questions and receive quality information.
And check out top Instagram accounts @cannabonsai_academy or @budzaiofficial. With plenty of tutorials by expert artisans, awe-inspiring photos, and strain recommendations, you’ll be scrolling for hours.
5. Be creative!
Bonsai is essentially an opportunity to express the beauty and creativity of nature in a size that is appropriate for the human being. The shape of your tree is entirely up to you – not a liberty you get with the trees in nature!
6. Embrace patience
We would tell you to exercise patience, but it’s not necessary. The act of growing bonsai itself will teach you patience. Perhaps this is why Zen bonsai growers are so… Zen! It will literally take you years to grow and take care of your bonsai. There is absolutely no need to rush. That would completely defeat the purpose.
7. Enjoy the journey
Growing bonsai trees is more than an exercise in cultivation. It truly is a craft that can take decades to master. And it’s still a very new thing in cannabis. It’s probably unlikely that bonsai cannabis trees will become a thing for cannabis growers. It is more of an art form that can be done as a side project for those fascinated by bonsai, weed and cultivation in general.
Hopefully, an attempt to grow cannabonsai will lead to a newfound appreciation and respect, both for weed and the art of bonsai trees. Have you tried this? Did you enjoy the process, or was it not for you? We’d love to hear your stories in the comments.