Bonsai originated in China during the Tang Dynasty (618-907) and was known then as penjing which means tray scenery. Early bonsai were known for their gnarled trunks that resembled dragons, birds and other animals. Bonsai was truly an art of the imagination passed into the tree. This form of bonsai is much different that the form we practice today. During the period known as Kamakura (1185-1333), bonsai was introduced to Japan where it continues to represent a bridge between humankind, the soul, and nature.
“Bonsai” is a Japanese art form using miniature trees grown in containers. The purpose of bonsai is primarily contemplation (for the viewer) and the pleasant exercise of effort and ingenuity (for the grower). Bonsai is not intended for production of food, for medicine, or for creating yard-sized or park-sized gardens or landscapes. Instead, bonsai practice focuses on long-term cultivation and shaping of one or more small trees in a single container, miniature trees are grown in containers.
Bonsai is an art form which deals with the growth and care of miniature trees. Practically any tree can be made into a Bonsai. The lifespan of a Bonsai Tree is the same as that of the tree in the wild. With proper care and nutrition, many trees last generations and are passed over as prized heirlooms within families.
There are specimens which are said to be 500 years old.
In the wild, the roots of the trees can grow underground in search of water and nutrients. At home, in a Bonsai tray, the plant is entirely dependent on the owner for its nutrients and water. Thus, the Bonsai should have cared for like a pet. Trees which are taken care of are healthy and live longer. They can resist pests and diseases better. Temperature and Humidity are important parameters to be maintained.
Bonsai should not be exposed to frost or excessive cold.