Growing Bonsai Trees in India

By Ruth Morgan

For most people the art of bonsai is associated with Japan and its culture. Many would be surprised to hear of the popularity of growing bonsai trees in India.

But there are bonsai enthusiasts in many areas of India who create space on their balconies and terraces to grow bonsai trees.

Some have started on a very small scale by growing a few bonsai on tiny balconies in the heart of Mumbai. Then, when their interest blossomed,  they have relocated from the city to the outskirts where they had more land to devote to bonsai.

This was the story of Jyoti and Nikunj Parekh who have been involved with bonsai since 1970 following a visit to Japan. They have travelled all over the world conducting workshops and training with renowned bonsai experts.  Some 30 years ago they founded the Bonsai Study Group of the Indo-Japanese Association.

If you want to see the largest tropical and bonsai plant collection in India then Ssurup Bonsai Village is the place to go. In three and a half acres you will find over 500 varieties of bonsai trees, many of them rare species.  Ruppa and Sujay Shah have created an idyllic setting more reminiscent of Asia than India.

Bonsai enthusiasts in Hyderabad, the capital of Andhra Pradesh, responded to the challenge to set up a bonsai display in the NTR memorial park.  Bonsai Wonder houses more than 100 bonsai in a 3000 sq ft area.

Ficus Bonsai Tree

The display includes local tropical varieties, many fruit bearing species e.g mango, pomegranate, oranges and guava and colourful flowering species. All are beautifully displayed using logs of dried coconut palm as bonsai stands and background screens made from bamboo sticks.

Some areas of India have climates that make growing bonsai a huge challenge.  Summertime temperatures in central India reach 45 to 48oC and as a result most bonsai enthusiasts choose to grow species that can withstand these temperatures.  Examples include fig (Ficus), bougainvillea and purslane tree.

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