Bonsai (Japanese: 盆栽, ‘tray planting’ is a Japanese art form using cultivation techniques to produce small trees in containers that mimic the shape and scale of full size trees. Similar practices exist in other cultures, including the Chinese tradition of penzai or penjing, and the miniature living landscapes of Vietnamese Hòn Non Bộ. The Japanese tradition dates back over a thousand years.
The purposes of bonsai are primarily contemplation for the viewer, and the pleasant exercise of effort and ingenuity for the grower. By contrast with other plant cultivation practices, bonsai is not intended for production of food or for medicine. Instead, bonsai practice focuses on long-term cultivation and shaping of one or more small trees growing in a container.
People have been caring for Bonsai trees for over a thousand years. The ancient horticultural practice originated in China, where it was known as “penzai”, and was later redeveloped under the influence of Japanese Zen Buddhism. The plants are kept small due to growth-restricting techniques such as pinching buds, pruning and wiring branches and restricting the use of fertilizer.
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