The Coleus in this picture is at least 3 years old, and has woody growth
on the trunk, now.
Penjing as a style and art form pre-dates Bonsai. It was originally
used to entertain the emperors of China. The basic idea is to imitate
a natural scene. After the Red Army take over of China in 1949 many
of the old Penjing artists were condemned and/or forced underground.
It is only more recently that Penjing is coming back to life in mainland
Penjing is the Mandarin translation. The Cantonese translation is
The main difference between Penjing and Bonsai is that in Penjing
you can not remove the trees/plants from the stone to prune the roots,
as this will kill the trees/plants. In Penjing you are limited to only
what is visible to manipulate.
The most important aspect of Penjing is to have fun and to be creative.
Photos and data: RM