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‘I Was Offered Rs 5 Lakh for a Tree’: Ex-Marine Engineer Grows 200 Bonsai Varieties

Lenus Xavier Bonsai Man of Kerala

Kerala urban gardener Lenus Xavier grows hundreds of varieties of bonsai at home, which he has collected from across the world. Watch this video to learn more about how he grows these mini trees.

Lenus Xavier (59), a retired marine engineer from Kochi, has been nurturing his passion for gardening since childhood. 

When Lenus was 15, he discovered bonsais and was immediately fascinated. Later, during his work travels to several Asian countries like Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, and China, he visited various bonsai gardens, where he learnt about the different varieties and how to source them.

“In some places, they gift their precious bonsai garden to children, similar to how we deal with properties. It makes so much sense because the effort and time invested in the garden are tremendous. It is like having a pet or even raising a baby,” shares Lenus.

Today, he has over 200 varieties of bonsais in his collection, such as juniper, elephant tree, tropical boxwood, jade, black pine, and more, including varieties from the northern and northeastern parts of India.

“It takes at least 10 years to witness the proper growth of a bonsai tree. For me, the shape is very important for each of them. Otherwise, it will grow casually, which won’t be so aesthetically pleasing,” he shares.

Despite owning over 700 bonsais, Lenus has no plans to sell any of them as he considers them to be like his pets.

“I have been offered Rs 5 lakh for a bonsai tree that has been in my garden for the past 35 years. But how can money substitute my love for the plant?” says the urban gardener.

To know more about the bonsai gardener, watch this video:

Edited by Divya Sethu