Why is Bonsai so Expensive

Top 5 Reasons Why is Bonsai so Expensive?

Why is Bonsai so Expensive Bonsai, a small recreation of trees, has over the years become the most expensive art form. One may ask why, especially when it’s plant enthusiasts like you. So in this article I am going to tell you the top 5 reasons why bonsai is so expensive.

One might also ask why ‘Salvator Mundi by Leonardo da Vinci’ is worth $45 million but let’s remember that it is an art piece. Art may represent the commoners, it may be made by a commoner but it can never be for a commoner to purchase it. Now, an art that is a painting was made when the painter thought it was, a song when the public heard it, a literary piece when people read it but what about the art that isn’t just representing life but life itself? Yes, I am talking of Bonsai. The art which breathes and respires. Representation of the nature by the nature itself!

Why is Bonsai so Expensive | Image source: flickr

In this episode I will give you the reasons why bonsai is so expensive and then maybe you will start trying it and with some luck, you may become a millionaire; who knows?

Bonsai is basically a Chinese art redefined and reformed by Japanese culture. In Bonsai, we basically try to bring the calmness, peace and tranquillity of a forest to a plate in your home, where you can see it, look at it and be attached to mother nature to find peace and tranquillity in her lap. Bonsai was basically seen in the homes of aristocrats and elites and is still seen in their paintings while they have tea (which I may call meditation of Japan).

So basically in simpler words, in bonsai we grow tall trees in a small shallow plate and try to reduce the size of the plant for the plate to represent a part of the forest. The most expensive Bonsai tree today is: A centuries old Pine, sold for 1.3 million dollars at the International Bonsai Convention in Takamatsu, Japan. Now let’s once again get back to the topic: why is Bonsai this expensive?

Why is Bonsai so Expensive | Image source: wikipidea

Here are the top five reasons, Why is Bonsai so Expensive?

1. Bonsai can be a tricky art form

What we see in a bonsai is how small the plant is, but behind the scenes we do not realise how tricky it can be to reduce the size of a species that in natural form has a habit to grow so tall. It needs regular pruning both from the site we see (branches and twigs) and from the site we don’t (roots). And trust me if not pruned regularly, roots are so strong that it can break your pot itself, whatever it may be made up of. With regular pruning i.e. cutting, (if you may not be aware of the term previously) it also requires regular watering, at times twice a day! I know it seems too much but what you don’t realise is how shallow the pot is for the tree which means that it has very less soil for holding water, so yeah that needs to be taken care of. Another problem with less soil is less nutrients, so they need to be added but remember more than requirement will increase growth which will require more pruning; you just need to put enough nutrients for plants to stay alive, regularly. So yes, it does take a lot of labour; you need to be really obsessed to pull through this! Ahhhhh!

Why is Bonsai so Expensive | Image source: flickr

2. It is not just the Bonsai tree but all the equipments used for it

What we see when we buy a bonsai is just a small tree, but what about all the pots it broke and copper wire that had to be coiled and recoiled till it did wear out and had to be replaced. What about the secateurs and the knives? No they are not the normal ones, they are specially handcrafted for bonsai making and sometimes the tree is just so strong to break them apart. So yes, it is an expensive hobby!

Why is Bonsai so Expensive | Image source: pxfuel

3. One Bonsai tree holds the hard work of generations

Well, the older the Bonsai is, the more expensive it is! Why? Well because older ones are more stable, require less pruning and care, additionally the buyer needs not to repot it so regularly. Even if you are an expensive art freak, you are not the artist right? And when I mean older, I mean more than a human lifetime! So yes it is mostly a generationally transmitted work and generations of Japanese families in this art form have invested in it and therefore it is so damn expensive! Even the example I gave you earlier was of centuries old pine.

Why is Bonsai so Expensive | Image source: hippox

4. Not every Bonsai survives

The cost of a Bonsai doesn’t only include the cost incurred in preparing that Bonsai but of all the Bosai that had demise in between and that too for generations! And also of the Bonsai that could not be sold; like you have to earn to invest that much, right?

5. The low supply

Bonsai are not something that can be extracted from the wild. Yamadori i.e. bonsai formed in the wild are very rare and even more expensive. They even have a higher fatality ratio once they are extracted from their habitat. So yes the only way to have Bonsai is to invest time and efforts and money of generations, and the fatalities and complexity of the art form makes it even harder for people to get a livelihood out of it. This makes it’s supply so less in amount!

Why is Bonsai so Expensive

And when the supply can not take care of the demand, the cost increases and heightens itself. So yes it ought to be expensive!

Why is Bonsai so Expensive | Image source: peakpx

So now when you know why Bonsai is so expensive, maybe you would want to create some of your own. Since you have stuck so far by now, I would like to give you some tips to start your new bonsai making hobby:

  1. Take the shallow container that has a hole in it for water to pass. But wait, you don’t want your roots to pass through it as well. So cover it with a broken part of some other pot instead.
  2. Don’t use the soil in your garden, it is too compact, you have to create the layers in soil like in nature, to help your roots respire (yes they breathe too and they need air to do so) so add rocks in it and coco peat or vermiculite too, to make it a bit lighter. You can also add sand in it.
  3. While pruning roots, cut the tap root and longer roots; and let the fibrous roots retain, since they are the ones that will absorb water and nutrients.
  4. Do not let Copper wire you use for shaping it cut through.
  5. Ficus spp. are easier to start your Bonsai garden.

So yeah happy Bonsai Gardening.