Marijuana bonsai is a trending topic as the luxury of home grown cannabis becomes more plausible with many states legalizing marijuana home cultivation. While marijuana enthusiast appreciate the idea of turning their plants into art, actual bonsai experts are skeptical of cannabis being a good prospect for the hobby.
Imagine having a miniature cannabis plant that you could simply set in your window, with lovely green branches emerging from its artistically spiraled center. Sounds pretty incredible, right? This is the dream of cannabis bonsai, an idea that has surged in popularity in recent years and continues to be a hot topic.
A quick Google search will bring up plenty of articles claiming how easy it is to grow a cannabis bonsai, complete with step-by-step guides or instructions. However, most are accompanied by hard-to-believe photos or renderings of said bonsai. Do these projects actually work?
To get to the bottom of this intriguing topic, I consulted the minds of those experienced with bonsai and with cannabis. My main question: Is it even possible to grow a cannabis bonsai?
The key to bonsai is the word “miniature.” Unlike other potted plants, the joy of bonsai lies in creating a little landscape meant to be a replica of the natural world. Bonsai has a long, rich history that stems from regions in China and Japan and may have begun as early as 700 AD.
Additionally, just as “miniature” is key to bonsai, so is “art form.” This is not a houseplant that you can pop in a pot and allow to grow willy-nilly—bonsai are artistic endeavors that take time and care to cultivate. Many bonsai are even passed down from generation to generation, long outlasting those who first gave loving attention to their branches.
Laurel Cleveland has seen such bonsai at the Pacific Bonsai Museum in Washington state, where bonsai dating from Hiroshima, along with many others, reside. Cleveland is the creative director for Washington’s Vela, a cannabis dispensary that shares space with a cannabis grow. This convenience allows her to witness the evolution of plants every day. In addition to having grown her own cannabis plants in the past and having a rich background in horticulture, aptly named Laurel has also grown a keen love for cultivating bonsai.
When it comes to bonsai trees and cannabis plants, there’s one thing she believes is important for both: a healthy respect for the plant. “I think this is a really great way for people to start exploring [what it takes to grow] cannabis,” she says of the labor-intensive practice of growing bonsai. “If bonsai is something they’re already familiar with, more so then just plopping something on their porch … cannabis requires a lot more care and dedication inherently, just the same as bonsai, and I think that’s exactly what it deserves.”
Unfortunately, due to legislation prohibiting homegrow in Washington, Cleveland is unable to experiment with growing her own cannabis bonsai. Yet the topic has certainly been a popular one lately, which Cleveland has noticed. So why the sudden surge in interest?
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