Is Bonsai Cruel? 6 Major Arguments Against Bonsai

Many people believe the growing bonsai is cruel without knowing much about the process. Growing Bonsai is far from cruel, the plants are getting more attention and tender care than a normally grown tree.

The amount of care, vigilance, and patience you have to show to grow a bonsai is unlike any other form of gardening. Can you be cruel to a person or thing that you take utmost care of? It increases the plant’s lifespan hundreds of years with proper care.

If you argue that trimming or pruning is cruel to a plant, let me tell you this is an essential part of a plant’s growth. You are rather helping the plant by discarding the parts that are not very healthy or not essential for survival. Trimming out weak and unhealthy branches will make any tree stronger.

If you are a beginner enjoy your newly found art. There is so much to learn on the subject of bonsai. First, gather as much information as possible then start applying those to your bonsai plant.

Is Bonsai Cruel?

Growing a bonsai is cruel. You stunt the growth, stop the roots from growing, bind their branches with a wire. Of course, it’s cruel. Right? Wrong. Let me explain why.

Here are some of the common complaints from people with regards to growth. 

Complain no 1: Don’t you think the art of bonsai itself involves cruelty to the trees?

In bonsai, we grow trees to extend their life span, and that too in a healthy state. To keep the conditions healthy we need to prune its roots and change the soil from time to time. If you don’t do this the trees will not be able to survive in a small pot. 

This process is true for any type of potted plant. If you grow plants in a container you are aware that all fruiting and flowering plants need to be pruned for getting good quality fruits and flowers.

Complain no 2: Why You wire the tree and its roots? It’s cruel to the plant.

The main reason the bonsai trees are wired is to give the tree and its branches a particular shape. After that, the wires are removed from the plant. They are a fixed structure that is kept for life. Neither they cut into the bark or scar the plant. 

Another reason the wire is used is to give stability to the bonsai tree. When you plant taller trees in a shallow bonsai pot there is every chance of toppling. Initially, the root system of the plant is not strong enough to hold on so with the help of the wires the plant is tied to the pot for support. 

Once the root system has grown strong enough, the supporting wires are removed. So you can see the wires are not to torture the plant rather give the plant much-needed help.

Complain no 3: The art of bonsai goes against nature and the environment.

When we talk about nature and the environment we generally mean the abundance of resources. But nature is not that forgiving every time. Nature also sometimes restricts its resources. Plants that have grown in a condition like this generally are shorter due to a lack of resources. This form is also a natural form.

A bonsai artist gets inspired by that form of nature and wants to replicate nature’s creation in a miniature form in his/her own house. 

The art of bonsai is never against nature rather it replicates nature in miniature form.

Complain no 4: You are confining the bonsai to pots, pruning & are not allowing them to grow.

Now, Bonsai is not the only type of plant that is grown in pots. Right? Maybe slightly smaller pots.

Do you think a plant grown in a container should not be grown? They have all the characteristics of a healthy plant that are grown in any other place. 

If you are a container gardener you know very well that a plant grown in a pot has to be attended very differently than a plant that is grown in a normal garden. But it doesn’t mean that the plant’s craving and needs are not met in a container.

Likewise in bonsai, the caring and handling of plants are different from normal ways of gardening.

To resemble the shape of a plant you have to prune your bonsai so that the unnecessary parts are discarded and the plant can focus its valuable resources to build vigorous growth.

Complain no 5: Bonsai are deliberately starved of water to make them small.

Remember one thing, no plant including bonsai can survive without water. It cannot be starved if it has to remain healthy. The watering process of a bonsai is not like any other plant. You have to make special consideration for watering. 

Contrary to popular belief, a bonsai tree is watered and fertilized quite often so that it remains in a healthy condition.

Complain no 6: With Bonsai you are deliberately stunting a plant?

Bonsai trees are not miniature because you stopped giving them manure or water. It is rather because the change is a genetic one due to the fact of long starvation which resulted in characteristics that don’t resemble the mature tree.

Why You Should Raise A Bonsai:

Now that you know bonsai is not at all a cruel form of art, you can start growing a bonsai. Here are some reasons that will help you to decide on whether you want to be a bonsai gardener or not.

Your Bonsai can be your lifelong companion.

A bonsai plant if taken proper care of can live for many years. Some of the oldest bonsai trees have lived for over 1000 years. So the bonsai you start growing today will be passed down in your family for generations.

Bonsai is a great stress reliever.

Bonsai helps you relax. They are a great stress buster and that is one of the reasons why in many office cultures you will find a bonsai tree on their office desks.

Bonsai is so tiny that it fits into any space.

You can keep a bonsai in some of the tiniest places. Be it your working station, or a corner table. Unlike any pet, you don’t need to take any prior permission to keep a bonsai in your house. They are suitable for both indoors or outdoors.

Your Bonsai represents your artistic statement.

Each bonsai is unique. It represents the amount of care and attention it got from its owner. You can make your style and art form the same variety of plants when you use bonsai techniques. A well-trained bonsai is simply beautiful and it is undeniable.

Bonsai will re-energize your home

In feng-shui bonsai holds a respectable position for bringing energy into your room. A bonsai will immediately grab the attention of guests and will quickly spread joy and excitement among the house dwellers.

It’s not that hard to take care of your Bonsai

Though it is that growing a bonsai needs a lot of attention and careful observation, there are many easy to grow bonsai varieties available in the market. They will save you a lot of time and energy and also allow you to enjoy the beautiful miniature form of nature called bonsai.

Gardening itself is a state of control growth for plants. Most of the plants in your garden are in no way in their natural state. Most of them are bred over centuries to create desirable forms.

Just like any other plant, most of the bonsai would not grow the same way as they grow in pots. 

So don’t get distressed by the image of a twisted, contorted and a constricted tree rather see the level of care and attention it got to get to that beautiful artistic masterpiece.

Get inspired by the people who are making that enormous effort to raise their very own tiny tree. 

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