In this special blog, we have a look at a cannabis grow technique you don’t see every day… We give you the story of UkDam, a long-time cannabis fan and dedicated grower who’s not afraid to experiment. Ever heard of ‘budsai’? Well, sit back and prepare to be amazed, because we’re going to show you how to grow and train a budsai: your very own cannabis bonsai plant!
Budsai: Cannabis Grown The Bonsai Way
Most of us growers tend to look beyond the limits of our own cannabis hobby sometimes. If you are intrigued by the power of nature, and you like a bit of creativity too, them you’re probably heard about bonsai before. This ancient miniature plant-rearing technique, now popular among gardeners all over the world, first emerged in ancient China and Japan.
In Japanese, bonsai means ‘tray plant’. That’s because, as you may have guessed, bonsai trees are raised on trays rather than in large pots or in soil. The tray prevents main taproot of the tree from digging down deep. That’s why bonsai trees are miniature trees: their stunted taproot limits how tall they can grow. Combined with the right kind of pruning and trimming techniques – and an amazing supply of patience – bonsai training allows growers to ‘sculpt’ miniature trees.
Cannabis Bonsai: Why Grow Budsai?
If you like what you see so far, it’s time for some clarification. The purpose of bonsai – and budsai – is not growing for harvest. As you’ll find out, you won’t grow big fat buds on a budsai. In fact, you won’t grow miniature buds either. Bonsai was never intended to grow trees or fruit for production. It’s a thing of beauty, and a pastime that fosters patience and a deep, zen-like appreciation of nature. It’s almost meditation in that sense.
Budsai can really be your way to meditate on the nature of your favourite plant in the whole wide world. It can lift your growing philosophy to a whole new level. Just want to grow for superb harvests and the finest homegrown weed in the world? We got you: just pick any seeds from our webshop and follow our grow blogs for expert tips instructions! If you love weed, however, and you’re looking to take that love to a whole other level, then budsai may be just your kind of thing!
Budsai Is Growing Weed With A Twist
Some plants are more suited for bonsai training than others. You often see pine, acer, or oak used as raw materials; cannabis is definitely no likely candidate. People often look to tradition to choose their bonsai. Usually, they choose plants that tend to look aged after just a few years. No matter how you look at it though, a weed plant is no likely candidate. Still, our brave cannabis grower decided to give it a go one day.
The First Budsai Cannabis Bonsai
UkDam recalls: “It all started some 15 years back. I’d been busy growing cannabis for some time when a friend asked me to look after his bonsai tree. Of course, I was like, sure, how hard can it be, and took it off his hands. I guess I just got the bug from there, because once I figured out how to keep this tiny guy alive, I wanted to give it a go myself. Soon, different species followed. Looking back, it was only a matter of time before my new bonsai passion and my old love for growing weed collided…”
Having kept the bonsai alive for his friend over several trips and holidays, our budsai gardener lost touch with his ‘guest tree’. Meanwhile, UkDam kept upping his ganja growing game, which he’d been dabbling in long before he met his first bonsai. He had evolved to the point where he operated a full year-round grow scheme. LED lighting and vertical growing were added to the mix and his yields kept getting better. On his trips to Amsterdam, UkDam had discovered Amsterdam Genetics seeds. After a series of grows, AG strains were definitely among his favourite genetics.
Then, at some random moment, a magazine caught UkDam’s eye. A bonsai magazine, to be sure. Having developed his weed grow techniques and his green touch over the years, he decided to give bonsai another go, only this time, he’d do it with a twist. How about combining that ancient eastern tradition with his number one favourite plant? At that moment, the concept of ‘budsai’ was born.
Growing Mini Trees out Of Weed
Now, at first glance, weed plants are not like traditional bonsai trees at all. To begin with, they’re not trees; they’re flowering herbs. They also have quite large fan leaves that can make a miniature plant look unrealistic according to some. What’s more, cannabis is an annual, while bonsai usually take years and years to grow, making only perennials likely candidates for the lengthy bonsai training process. Thankfully, our grower figured out a way to tackle that: revegged mother plants.
UkDam’s past ganja grows had taught him a few things about genetics. He had discovered that one particular strain, our very own Strawberry Glue, was the perfect girl for the job. She was a tough, robust plant that could take some stress. Furthermore, her stout sativa build and fast growing habits made her great potential budsai material. When he inquired, his contacts at Amsterdam Genetics forwarded some prime seeds.
Fittingly, UkDam named his brand new budsai mother plant after his own mother, who had sadly passed away a few years earlier. The Strawberry Glue genetics worked like a charm. The great thing about revegging a mother plant is the fact that you can reset the annual cycle time and time again. That means you can keep that mother plant alive for years, allowing you to use fresh cuttings to start your new budsai or other projects! As the pictures show, growing a budsai bonsai from the right type of cannabis is certainly worth a try!
Tips From The Budsai Boss
So how do you go about it when you want to train and grow a budsai of your own? Here’s some pro tips from the man himself to help you along:
Always get quality seeds. If you’re going to create a mother plant and want her to remain in the vegetative phase of her life, you’d better get yourself some solid, tough genes to work with. Try different strains if you like, but look for fast growers with high stress tolerance. Sativa-dominant hybrids tend to do well, but go and see what works for you. Oh yes, to prevent disappointment: as you’re letting your budsai reveg, it can’t go into the flowering stage. That means no bud for you to harvest. Grow some extra weed beside your budsai if you want bud!
Be Gentle; Go Slow
Let your plant grow before you start to manipulate it into shape. Use your fingers to train it; tweezers and wire will easily damage it. Just don’t start twisting it too soon; let it grow firm first. Wait until you have at least two or three sets of leaves sprout from the stem before you start to work. Only then should you slowly start to bend the plant into the shape you prefer for your budsai.
The Right Kind Of Budsai Pot For Your Cannabis Bonsai
No, not pot pot; I mean flower pots. Make sure your pot is big enough to support your budsai. Now, don’t worry: you’ll be able to switch to a larger pot when the time comes, but the important thing here is root space. Make sure your budsai pot gives your plant’s roots enough room or it’ll go rootbound. That’s when the pot becomes crammed with roots only, rather than roots in soil. Rootbound plants don’t develop as they would in nature, so check whether your budsai pot leaves enough room for roots.
Control Your Grow
You can really slow down your budsai’s growth if you switch to flowering for a day or two. When you switch back, the plant will revert to the veg phase afterwards. That will really slow its growing pace. Experiment to figure out the best timing here.
Love & Patience
Lastly, but perhaps most importantly: growing budsai has little to do with growing your own bud. If you want harvest, grow your ganja the proper way. If you’re interested in learning more about how your favourite plants actually work, and you’re up for a challenge, then why not give budsai a go? Keep in mind that there’s no rush here. This great twist on growing cannabis the usual way is intended exclusively for two groups of people: those with loads of patience, and those with NO patience who want to LEARN patience…
If you’re one of the two, we wish you all the best on your new budsai project! UkDam will return soon with a step-by-step budsai grow guide to explain how you can grow your very own weed bonsai at home.