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Explained: Symbolism of the Bonsai Tree in Homes

Blox Social
Posted on
Jun 8, 2023

Have you ever seen beautiful little bonsai trees at somebody’s home? Yes, fully-grown trees inside a house that are adorably miniature in size!

If you don’t know already, Bonsai trees are miniature versions of larger trees that are cultivated and shaped by skilled artisans. They are often displayed in homes as decorative elements, but they also have a deeper meaning and symbolism. So, what is the origin, significance, and symbolism of bonsai tree in homes?

In this blog, we will explore the tree’s importance in different cultures and traditions.

Origins of Bonsai Trees

A quick search online will tell you that the word bonsai (盆栽) literally means "tray planting" in Japanese, but the art of growing miniature trees dates back to ancient China, where it was called penjing (盆景). Penjing was influenced by Taoism and Buddhism, and aimed to create a harmonious representation of nature in a small container. The Chinese penjing artists used rocks, water, and plants to create landscapes that reflected their philosophy and aesthetics.

According to history, the Japanese adopted the art of penjing from the Chinese around the 6th century, and refined it into bonsai over time. They focused more on the individual trees than the landscapes, and developed techniques to prune, wire, and shape them into various styles. They also incorporated elements of Shintoism, Zen Buddhism, and Confucianism into their bonsai culture, giving each tree a symbolic meaning and purpose. With miniature trees becoming art, it was inevitable that they would find themselves as decorative items inside homes soon!

Types of Bonsai Trees

There are many types of bonsai trees that are ideal for homes, each with its own characteristics and requirements. Some of the most common ones are:

  • Pine: Pine trees are evergreen conifers that symbolise longevity, endurance, and wisdom. They are one of the most popular bonsai trees in Japan, where they are associated with the New Year and the imperial family.
  • Maple: Maple trees are deciduous broadleaf trees that symbolise elegance, grace, and change. They are known for their colourful foliage that changes with the seasons, creating a stunning contrast with the trunk and branches.
  • Cherry: Cherry trees are deciduous flowering trees that symbolise beauty, fragility, and transience. They are famous for their delicate pink or white blossoms that appear in spring and fall quickly, reminding us of the fleeting nature of life.
  • Ficus: Ficus trees are tropical evergreen trees that symbolise abundance, fertility, and resilience. They are one of the most versatile bonsai trees, as they can adapt to various climates and conditions. They are also considered sacred in some religions, such as Hinduism and Buddhism.
  • Jade: Jade trees are succulent plants that represent luck, prosperity, and friendship. They are easy to care for and grow quickly, making them ideal for beginners. They have thick stems and fleshy leaves that store water, allowing them to survive droughts.

Significance and Symbolism of Bonsai Tree

Bonsai trees are not only beautiful to look at, but also meaningful to own. According to the symbolism of bonsai trees, they represent the connection between humans and nature, as well as the balance between art and science. They require patience, skill, and creativity to grow and maintain, but they also reward us with peace, joy, and satisfaction. They teach us to appreciate the small things in life, and to respect the natural order of things.

Bonsai trees can also enhance our homes with their positive energy and symbolism. Depending on the type of tree, its location, and its direction, it can attract different kinds of luck and fortune. For example:

  • Placing a pine tree in the north can bring career success and recognition.
  • Placing a maple tree in the east can bring health and family harmony.
  • Placing a cherry tree in the south can bring love and romance.
  • Placing a ficus tree in the west can bring creativity and children.
  • Placing a jade tree in the southeast can bring wealth and abundance.

Of course, these are not strict rules, but rather general guidelines based on feng shui principles. The most important thing is to choose a bonsai tree that resonates with you personally, and to enjoy its beauty and symbolism.

Final Words

Now that you understand the symbolism of a bonsai tree in a home, you might be tempted to get one! Well, remember that these miniature versions of larger trees need special care and attention to thrive. As this The New Yorker article will tell you, mastering the art of bonsai can take years of practice. Thus, while bonsai trees are not difficult to grow, they do require some basic knowledge and skills. So, take your time to learn about the art of bonsai gradually, and bring home positive natural energy associated with the tree that has been endorsed by many cultures for centuries!