Experience the Peace and Tranquility of the Cannabis Bonsai

Francis Cassidy October 19, 2020 0 comments

Cannabis bonsai plants replicate the ancient bonsai technique to redefine art and healing.

The cultivation of bonsai trees is an ancient art form that seeks to replicate the characteristics of a particular tree in miniature form. The healing, artistic endeavour of tending to a bonsai tree may also appeal greatly to those growing cannabis. Further, in many ways, the plant represents humankind’s idealistic view of what a tree should look like.

Popular for over a millennium in Japan, its name translates as “tray planting.” Bonsai plants grow up to a meter in height and can live, in some instances, for over one thousand years. In most cases, these make a young tree look old and gnarly, with intricate bends and spirals achieved through training techniques. As a result, many are truly inspiring to look at.

While a tree living in a pot for centuries may sound far-fetched, it’s the pot that restricts the growth of the tree. The will to survive and thrive is innate to every living thing, and it’s often a powerful experience to witness bonsai flourish despite being handicapped by less than ideal conditions.

Why Bonsai Techniques are Ideally Suited to Cannabis Cultivators

Just like any good cannabis cultivator, the bonsai enthusiast is a master of manipulation. Between plant training and selective defoliation, the skills involved in bonsai cultivation cross over in more ways than one to the skills of master cannabis growers.

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Both teach the art of patience and a close connection with the plant that many consumers overlook. Both also train for maximum light and space utilization. But, where one manipulates for high terpene and cannabinoid profiles, the other manipulates the plant to make it look old, weathered, and wise.

Many bonsai trees and plants sport intricate features. Although these may rest on a hospital or home windowsill, their shapes are more suggestive of trees existing on a windswept, barren island, where they often grow horizontally, aligned to the wind.

Every grower knows that the art of cultivating is in exploiting the conditions to allow the plant to thrive within a set of defined limits. And for those who wish to try out the techniques on a cannabis plant, bonsai cannabis cultivation is also a thing.

cannabi bonsai growing in shallow tray pot

Image via Cannabist

How to Grow a Canna-Bonsai Tree

The idea behind bonsai creations is to get some movement into the trunk and create those intricate and intertwined lines for the eye. This all begins in the early phases when the branches and stems are much more flexible.

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The journey to produce a bonsai cannabis tree begins with a simple seedling. Note: Those with bonsai experience aside, if you have never germinated a cannabis seed to fruition, it may be best to grow a cannabis plant normally before you attempt to bonsai one.

Here’s how:

  1. Start with germination. Soak a seed overnight and then place it in a dark, warm place. A wet paper towel might help. After two to five days, the seed should germinate. It is ready for transplantation after the root has emerged and has grown about 2 cm.
  2. Place the seed 3-5 millimeters into the soil in a small pot, and leave it under lights. Its best to place it in with the root downwards, so the plant doesn’t have to right itself.
  3. After two weeks, the plant should exhibit some healthy growth. It is now ready for the first bends.
  4. Wire horseshoe anchors work well to bend the branches in these early phases, due to a flexible and weak stem. Anchor the stem in the desired direction, bearing in mind that the plant will always follow the light. This allows growers to get creative. By tying the plant in the opposite direction, it forces it to spiral around and continue growing toward the light. With a little creativity and a keen eye, growers can create eye-catching formations.
  5. Every week or two, growers can remove the existing ties and work on a section further up to direct growth.
  6. Be sure to defoliate regularly. Remove the larger leaves that block light to the smaller leaves to ensure even growth.
  7. After approximately six weeks the trunk will thicken up. This renders horseshoe anchors ineffective. At this point, growers should use twine secured to the edge of the pot with duct tape to train the plant in the desired direction. Don’t tighten the string around the branches, but allow them room to grow by using a loose double knot.

With time and patience, enthusiasts can produce some eye-catching Bonsai cannabis creations. Each has intricate bends spiraling upward from the lower branches all the way up to the apexes.

Where the world has an obsession of making the old look young, bonsai techniques make a young tree look old in one of the most delightful artful expressions humankind has ever devised.

pruning a bonsai tree up close

Bonsai Cannabis – Where Art Heals

Aside from an artistic endeavor, there may be some real psychological benefits to bonsai trees. A study[1]Ochiai, H., Song, C., Ikei, H., Imai, M., & Miyazaki, Y. (2017). Effects of Visual Stimulation with Bonsai Trees on Adult Male Patients with Spinal Cord Injury. International journal of … Continue reading published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (2017) attempted to evaluate the psychophysiological effects of nature therapy stimulated with bonsai trees on patients with spinal cord injuries.

In the experiment, researchers placed bonsai plants in the same room as the patients, and their findings were quite surprising. Researchers found that patients demonstrated significant suppression in their left prefrontal cortex activity. The presence of the bonsai also improved parasympathetic nervous system activity. Lastly, the researchers noted significant improvements in POMS scores (Profile of Mood States).

Whether as an artistic pursuit or to enhance healing, bonsai creations help condense some of the miracles of nature. They reward passion, patience, and nurturing in return for healing. So why not set a seedling aside next time you grow? Plant it, and you might find you connect with the cannabis plant in all-new ways.


Author avatar

Francis Cassidy

Francis Cassidy is a freelance writer who writes on a variety of topics. With a particular focus on the cannabis industry, he aims to help ensure the smooth reintegration of cannabis back into global culture. When not writing, he's to be found exploring his new base in British Columbia, Canada. You can follow his other works including his photography on his blog thestrayphotographer.com

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