Zen Growing: Are Bonsai Marijuana Trees a Thing? Even if you have never come across one of these wondrous miniature trees, you’ve probably heard about them –especially if you are a Karate Kid fan! Not to be confused with genetic dwarfing, bonsai cultivation is more of an art form. Just like your cannabis garden, it takes a lot of dedication and patience in order to achieve perfection. Bonsai trees are not genetically predetermined to grow small, as one might instinctively believe. Instead, they come from regular tree seeds (bamboo, cherry, apple) that are trained to perfection, in order to produce small-scale replicas that are identical to their normal counterparts in every way. And that’s where it gets interesting for marijuana growers: if it’s all a matter of training, is it possible to make a bonsai out of cannabis seeds? More than a Stealth Plant Cannabis plants (and plants in general) are naturally flexible and can grow into all shapes and sizes. This is a handy defense mechanism that ensures their survival under extreme circumstances. Although marijuana plants are not trees per se, the short answer is that it is completely feasible to grow a bonsai out of marijuana seeds. What’s more, we will help you do it step by step! Don’t worry, it’s fun and educational -not to mention aesthetically pleasing! However, there is more to it besides the obvious benefit of stealth that comes with a pint-sized plant. After all, bonsai-crafting comes from Japan: there is a certain philosophy behind it, that dates back thousands of years. As a website dedicated to growing and horticulture, we could not possibly ignore ancient cultivation techniques from all over the world! So, before we go on with the actual guide, I'd like to share a brief history of the bonsai with you. Before you start sighing with disappointment, I remind you that you can always jump straight to the juicy parts. Nevertheless, I recommend you read the whole thing: bonsai growing is not a technique which will improve your yields or produce “danker buds”. It’s a ritual that will bring you closer to “Zen” and nature itself! A Quick History of the Bonsai According to the experts at , the word “bonsai” literally translates to “tree which is planted in a [shallow] container”. The technique’s history goes all the way back to the 12th century, when Chinese travelers brought those mini-trees to Japan, along with their “Zen” philosophy. The key difference between the two traditions is that the Chinese used actual dwarf trees; on the contrary, the Japanese developed this further creating bonsai from regular seeds and cuttings. Contrary to marijuana growing, where every action has a clear and specific goal behind it (getting the most out of your plant bud-wise), in bonsai growing there is no specific goal. Or at least, the goal is a state of mind. The philosophy is to be patient and enjoy the process of caring for your tree. That’s all. Of course, your plant is eventually going to flower. But that’s not why you should do it! Bonsai growing is time-consuming and requires focus. It is a spiritual journey, which can be perfectly summarized in the words of Saburo Kato, a world renowned bonsai-grower: “Bonsai is a god-given gift to man. This form of nature is closest to man and portrays the drama of life. Bonsai is nature without an end. So those who grow bonsai have a responsibility to be diligent and a duty to continue to carry on. In conclusion, I hope that the art of bonsai will never die and will keep the torch of peace burning throughout the world. I hope closer and deeper friendships will tie us together.” Turning your Cannabis Plant into a Bonsai Most growers hold their plants dear, not only because they give their buds, but because they enjoy the process of experimenting and growing. Turning your cannabis into bonsai is a lengthy process that will test your patience over time! Because of the extensive training sessions, flowering will be significantly delayed. So, it is best if you do that in your spare time. You Will Need A cannabis seedling; A good drainage container with quality soil; A drill; String/ plastic wire; A wooden stick; Shears for fine-pruning Prepare the Container Assuming you already have a seedling available (if not see how to germinate seeds), the first thing you’ll want to do is make your container ready for the plant. So, before you add the baby plant, you should use the drill to poke a few holes around the edge of the new pot. As we mentioned above, bonsai growing takes a lot of training. These holes will be used as base points for the string or wire you will use to tie down the branches. More holes mean more versatility, so be sure to have an adequate amount, depending on the shape you want to give your plant. Training the Main Kola Do you have your wooden stick? Good, because you are going to need that for this step. You’ll want to jab the stick into the soil, next to the trunk of your plant. Don’t plunge it in full force, because you’ll harm the innocent baby’s root system. Then you should gently twist the trunk around the wooden stick to whatever direction you want. When you are happy with your creation, tie it down in place with string, using the holes you poked earlier. Make sure this is the shape you want because this is the shape your plant is going to grow into. Keep Training your Plant as it Grows After the two initial steps, you’ll want to continually tie back the biggest branches in order to give a definitive shape to your plant. You can really give any form you want; your imagination is the limit. The rule of thumb is the tighter you tie the branches down, the wider will the plant grow. Prune with Pride Remember all those tutorials and guides about pruning that you’ve been avoiding for so long? You might want to scan through them for a while. Unlike conventional growing, pruning is required when trying to grow bonsai cannabis. In fact, it is the whole point of the “Zen” philosophy that accompanies this technique. Constant pruning will make your plant healthier and prettier, but it does not come without risks. You'll need to avoid cutting the larger branches that are instrumental in plant development. Instead, you’ll want to focus on the side-shooting branches, using a pair of fine-pointed scissors or shears. Just remember to be gentle: bonsai cannabis is already under a lot of stress. Don’t go all Edward Scissorhands on your poor plant. Root pruning is also essential for the proper maintenance of a bonsai plant. Roots support plant growth and pruning them will halt the growth of the plant as needed. Here is an interesting tutorial video. Flowering and Harvesting, Japanese Style This is where we differentiate from the Japanese philosophy: contrary to regular bonsai trees that can live for centuries, the desire for smokeable buds is always there. If you are developing bonsai cannabis for the sheer fun of it, you can always wait until your plant grows into shape. Unless you have an autoflowering variety, the plant will not bloom until it’s on a 12/12 regime. After flowering, things are pretty much standard procedure: harvest, manicure, cure and store as needed.