Want to grow bonsai? Learn how to water for 3 years first

Teo leading the media on a tour during the 2022 Sarawak Open.

By Ling Hui

KUCHING, Feb 23: Taking proper care of bonsai trees requires much patience.

It takes about three years for a bonsai gardener to learn the art and science of watering bonsai trees correctly, as a saying in the industry goes.

Watering is apparently the most fundamental yet essential skill to master when growing or cultivating a bonsai tree.

However, don’t let that saying scare you, said Sarawak Bonsai Association (SBA) secretary-cum-2022 Sarawak Open organising chairman Hayes Teo.

He said it is a gradual learning process to master the right watering technique including knowing the amount of water and watering frequency, all of which depends on the various types of bonsai trees.

“Watering is a must every day. Under such hot weather (like in Malaysia), watering is required two to three times a day.

“Otherwise, the plant will wither and then die. And they wither very quickly, especially when displayed in shallow vases we normally call ‘competition vases’,” he said.

Over 160 plants from Bintulu and Miri were registered for participation in the Sarawak Open.

Talking about bonsai vases, fellow avid bonsai enthusiast Chai Ted Foh, 59, said accessories are imperative in bonsai aesthetics, among other factors.

He said the right accessories can vividly present the artistic concept of a piece, other than setting off the proportion of the tree.

“For example, try fitting a person with a 24-inch waist into a 30-inch waist pants. It will not look good. Proportion is really important when growing bonsai,” he told DayakDaily when met during the 2022 Sarawak Open — Bonsai & Suiseki Championship at La Promenade Mall here today.

Chai, a bonsai lover and grower since he was 19, was there to trim and prepare two bonsai trees for a friend who is still away from Kuching.

He said: “Like trimming a person’s messy hair, I need to get them ready for the judging tomorrow (Feb 24).”

Chai attending to a bonsai tree.

The Sarawak Open organised by SBA and Hock Seng Lee (HSL) features altogether 168 entries from Kuching, Sibu, Bintulu and Miri.

Among the 19 categories being contested, four grand prizes namely 2022 SBA Most Outstanding Award, 2022 SBA Most Potential Award, 2022 SBA Best In Show Award, and 2022 SBA Hock Seng Lee Trophy will be awarded following the judging process.

The bonsai and suiseki exhibition however will last until Monday (Feb 28) and is located on the ground floor of La Promenade Mall. — DayakDaily