30 April 2019
In pictures: The secrets of Kew's bonsai house
Bonsai is the Japanese art of growing miniature trees in containers. Check out our tiny trees tucked away in a hidden corner of the Gardens.
Kew has nearly sixty bonsai. The smallest is 10cm high and the oldest is 180 years old.
They're trained to grow into miniature trees using techniques like root pruning and leaf removal. It takes years to produce these tiny treasures, which copy the shape and style of full-sized trees.
Bonsai can reach a great age, often outliving their natural wild cousins.
You can find the Bonsai House near the Davies Alpine House - use our map to help you find it.
Bonsai are not dwarf forms of trees. If they were taken out of their pots and planted in the open ground, they would revert to full-sized trees.
Meet our beautiful Japanese white pine, which is estimated to be over 75 years old.
It's being grown on a fibreglass resin slab, which has been sculpted to resemble natural rock.
By growing it on a slab, the roots become "self pruning". As they grow out from the soil, sunlight and dry air kills off the root tips which are replaced by new roots further inside the soil mass.
So this clever bonsai keeps itself trim all on it's own.