Bonsai trees are associated with outdoor cultivation, but a less-recognized style called water bonsai or aqua bonsai could be a great start for indoor planting. This is a low-maintenance houseplant that doesn’t need direct exposure to sunlight; artificial light would suffice for it to grow. It uses asexual propagation techniques that anyone can easily make at home. 

Aside from that, water bonsai can be a source of oxygen indoors while it can also be used as decoration. Based on the World Health Organization (WHO), the Philippines ranked the second deadliest country in the Asia Pacific region in terms of household air pollution in 2018. Therefore, this indoor bonsai can be a way to decrease and combat this arising problem in the country.  

Here is a step-by-step procedure of water bonsai making:

Materials needed are powder grower, plant cutting/s (preferably San Francisco plants, gumamela, lagundi, calachuchi, and other ornamentals), scissors, masking tape, styrofoam, 1.5-liter bottle empty bottle, tap water, stones or pebbles, and ribbon. 

  1. Fill the 1.5 litre bottle with tap water and pour the sachet of powder grower into the bottle to create the solution that will supply nutrients to the cutting.

    Prepare the things you will use including scissors, plastic bottle, masking tape, styrofoam, empty bottle, tap water, stones, ribbons, or other decorations.

  2. Once the powder is poured into the water, shake the bottle for at least 30 seconds to one minute and wait for a maximum of 24 hours until the powder dissolves into the water and the solution becomes clear. This solution can make six to ten water bonsai or can be used as a refill for the maintenance of the plant once or twice a week.

    Fill the bottle with water and mix the nutrient grower. Make sure to mix it well and let it sit for 24 hours.

  3. The next day, pour the solution into the glass container where the cutting will be placed. The remaining solution in the 1.5 litre bottle will serve as a refill for the water bonsai.

    Pour the solution you made to the glass container.

  4. Put aside the glass container. Get the styrofoam and cut it into rectangular strips. With the masking tape, attach the styrofoam strips into the masking tape with spaces in between. The purpose of this is to avoid the mosquitoes from breeding inside. An alternative to this is a piece of foam that can fit and can serve as a cover to the opening of the glass.

    Cut the styrofoam into strips and attach it on the tape with spaces in between.

  5. Get the cutting and wrap the masking tape filled with styrofoam strips around it. The tape should be attached to the cutting with a distance of least three to four inches from the bottom to be able to immerse the plant into the water solution. Plant cuttings used for water bonsai are usually ornamentals like gumamela, sampaguita, fortune plants, and San Francisco plants, but can also be cactus and bamboo. Also, make sure that the cutting is clean and washed to ensure its growth.

    Wrap the masking tape around the cutting until it fits on the opening of your container

  6. Afterward, insert the cutting into the glass and make sure that it is immersed at least one to two inches into the water solution.

    Immerse the cutting into the glass container filled with the solution.

  7. As a final touch, place the stones or pebbles on the top of the glass container. To enhance its appearance, design the neck or the body of the vase to cover the masking tape that holds the cuttings inside using decorative materials like a ribbon. After that, water bonsai is done.

    Add decorations that you’d like to put to your bonsai such as ribbon and stones.

  8. In terms of maintenance, refilling the water is only necessary once a week. If in case the water changed color or became unclear, the solution should be altered. Spraying the cutting with the solution will also help the leaves and stems speed up their growth, said Edwin Dela Torre, a water bonsai grower in the Philippines.

The finished product.

The water bonsai is a plant with many purposes: aside from minimizing household air pollution, it also helps reduce the enormous plastic waste through reusing the plastic bottles and styrofoam. If everyone starts to have water bonsai or any indoor plants in each home, it could make an impact on the growing household air pollution in the country. 

Procedure shared by Edwin Dela Torre.

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