Not Quite Bonsai

Bonsai is the beautifully intricate, delicate and ancient Japanese art form of growing and shaping miniature trees, often set in a simple ceramic pots in a landscaped setting that mimics rivers and mountains. It’s has such Zen appeal and we love all the tranquility that a bonsai feature adds to a home.

Bonsai using succulents
With this art, you can have trees that are hundreds of years old in miniature form and costing up to hundreds of thousands of dollars depending on the age, species and intricacy of the tree.

One of the main purposes of Bonsai is to be contemplative for the viewer and an exercise in ingenuity for the the grower. However, in the vein of ‘imitation being the highest form of flattery’, we’ve put together a quick and easy display that mimics the same concept.

The succulent alternative to Bonsai
What you’ll need:

  • A glazed/water tight platter or bowl with a rim that is tall enough to plant and add water to
  • A handful of small white pebbles
  • Two handfuls of larger black pebbles
  • Some succulent cuttings – ones that looks tree-like and another two smaller succulents
  • Approximately a two cups of succulent potting mix
  • Two or three floating candles
  • A few small fresh flowers or petals (optional)

We are repurposing this humble little dip platter which is glazed and watertight is the perfect container for creating our beautiful Bonsai-like landscape. If you don’t have one like this at home, you are bound to find something similar at a second hand store for under $5.

We’re going to use the centre for planting some succulents and the outer rim as a “moat” for the water feature. Just about every house seems to have one of these, but if you don’t then simply get a larger bowl and a smaller bowl to mimic this platter. Glue the bottom of the smaller one with some high strength ceramic glue and leave to dry. It’s virtually the same effect.

We love our succulents here at H&D and we’ve blogged about them many times. They really are low maintenance, inexpensive and virtually indestructible. Simple trim a piece off a bigger plant and put into some succulent potting mix. The roots will establish in a few weeks and it’s that simple to get multiple plants out from one.

Put some potting mix the centre, plant the succulents with the larger tree-like cutting towards the back and the two smaller cuttings in front (the smaller succulents from a low-lying variety would be best) . Push down the putting mix firmly around the base of the cuttings. Add the small white pebbles on top.

Creating an Easy Miniature Bonsai Landscape and Water Feature Using Succulents

The black pebbles go around the base of the larger section and they add some depth to the water feature. After you add water you may like the simple look of this feature already and decide to complete it at this stage.

Creating an Easy Miniature Bonsai Landscape and Water Feature Using Succulents

Or you could add some floating candles and small flowers to the water.

It’s not quite Bonsai but it is beautiful, serene, very Zen and it would make a beautiful addition to an outside or inside space… and it’s just that more magical when lit up at night. And it would make for a perfect house warming gift too.

Creating an Easy Miniature Bonsai Landscape and Water Feature Using Succulents

We hope you enjoy the serenity that simple things bring to your home… and have a Zen-filled day lovely followers!

Hillary and Dijon - Surangi

If you liked this post then you may also like to see our gifts, decorating, outdoors and repurposing categories.

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