My grandmother and great uncle gave me a bonsai tree last fall for a "new office warming" present. They did this to me once before so I knew it was a bad idea. Bonsai trees are a lot of responsibility. Someone has nurtured them for years to get them to the point where they can be sold to irresponsible plant owners like me. I felt guilt just opening the carefully packed box, knowing that plants that enter my house can't be needy. They've got to get used to arid conditions, a lack of fertilizer, and less than spacious quarters for their roots. If they can survive that, then they're just the plant for me.
Don't get me wrong, I love houseplants and have a number of them, including one that I've had for over 20 years now, but plants have got to adapt to me and not vice versa. Bonsai trees aren't like that. I've tried to remember to water it every 3 or 4 days like the accompanying book said, but I don't always remember until I see the tree wilting. We don't have air conditioning so the poor thing got a little too warm earlier this summer. It still has leaves, and fewer turned brown this week than last so maybe it's starting to adapt to me? I'd hate to be a two-time bonsai murderer. Oh, the guilt!