“A tree that is left growing in its natural state is a crude thing. It is only when it is kept close to human beings who fashion it with loving care that its shape and style acquire the ability to move one.” – Utsubo Monogatari
The purposes of bonsai are primarily contemplation for the viewer and the pleasant exercise of effort and ingenuity for the grower. By contrast with other plant cultivation practices, bonsai is not intended for production of food, for medicine, or for creating yard-size or park-size gardens or landscapes. Instead, bonsai practice focuses on long-term cultivation and shaping of one or small trees growing in a container.
Bonsai can be created from nearly any perennial woody-stemmed tree or shrub species that produces true branches and can be cultivated to remain small through pot confinement with crown and root pruning. Other cultivation techniques include root reduction, potting, defoliation and grafting to produce small trees that mimic the shape and style of mature, full-size trees.