Great question! The process of letting a plant grow big and then cutting it back to create a bonsai is an essential part of bonsai cultivation. It may seem counterintuitive at first, but there are several reasons why this technique is employed.

First and foremost, allowing the plant to grow big before pruning it back helps establish a strong and healthy root system. When a bonsai tree is allowed to grow freely, its roots can develop extensively, spreading out and absorbing nutrients from the soil. This robust root system provides a solid foundation for the tree's overall health and vitality.

Additionally, allowing the plant to grow big allows us to select the best possible trunk and branches for our bonsai. As the tree grows, it develops a thicker trunk and branches, which are highly desirable in bonsai aesthetics. These thickened features give the tree a sense of age and maturity, creating a more visually appealing bonsai.

Furthermore, by allowing the plant to grow big, we can observe its natural growth patterns and characteristics. This observation is crucial in understanding the tree's unique qualities and determining the best way to shape it into a bonsai. Each tree has its own growth habits, and by allowing it to grow freely, we can better appreciate its individuality and work with its natural tendencies.

Once the plant has reached the desired size, it is then pruned back. This pruning process serves several purposes. Firstly, it helps to reduce the overall size of the tree, making it more suitable for the confined space of a bonsai pot or tray. By cutting back the branches and foliage, we can create a more compact and visually balanced bonsai.

Secondly, pruning stimulates new growth. When we prune a tree, it sends a signal to the plant to produce new buds and shoots. This new growth can be directed and shaped to create the desired bonsai form. Pruning also helps to maintain the tree's overall health by removing any diseased or weak branches, allowing the tree to focus its energy on developing strong and vibrant foliage.

Lastly, regular pruning is essential for maintaining the size and shape of the bonsai over time. Bonsai trees are living artworks that require ongoing care and maintenance. By periodically pruning the tree, we can prevent it from becoming overgrown and maintain its desired form.

In conclusion, letting a plant grow big and then cutting it back is a fundamental technique in bonsai cultivation. It allows for the development of a strong root system, the selection of desirable trunk and branches, and the observation of the tree's natural growth patterns. Pruning after the growth phase helps to create a visually appealing bonsai, stimulate new growth, and maintain the tree's overall health and shape. So, embrace this process and enjoy the art of creating and caring for your own bonsai tree! For more detailed information on bonsai tree care and maintenance, be sure to check out our comprehensive bonsai care guide on Bonsai for Beginners.

Rajeev Gupta
Bonsai, Botany, Climate Studies, Indian Culture

Rajeev Gupta is a botanist from New Delhi, India. He has a PhD in Botany and has spent the last 20 years studying bonsai trees. Rajeev is known for his extensive research on the effects of climate on bonsai growth and his efforts to promote bonsai culture in India.