Azalea tree

A Guide to Japanese Bonsai Trees

Bonsai, which interprets to “tray planting,” originated in Japan at the very least a thousand years in the past. But, such miniature timber had been seen exterior of Japan for the primary time solely as lately as 1909 at a London exhibition as a result of for hundreds of years earlier than they had been luxurious objects confined to the properties of rich Japanese aristocrats. Right here we are going to uncover this historic Japanese artwork kind by exploring the totally different bonsai tree varieties and kinds. Additionally, we are going to reply generally requested questions a newcomer might need.

  • Bonsai tree that means
    • What’s bonsai?
    • Methods to develop a bonsai tree
    • Methods to look after a bonsai
    • How lengthy does it take to develop?
    • How a lot do bonsai timber price?
    • Can any tree be a bonsai?
  • Bonsai tree varieties
    • Juniper tree
    • Cotoneaster tree
    • Azalea tree
    • Black pine tree
    • Bougainvillea tree
    • Fig tree
    • Dwarf jade tree
    • Olive tree
  • Bonsai Types
    • Full cascade (Kengai fashion)
    • Semi-cascade (Han-kengai fashion)
    • Slanting (Shakan fashion)
    • Formal upright (Chokkan fashion)
    • Casual upright (Moyogi fashion)
    • Shohin bonsai fashion
  • Pots
  • Soil
  • Moss


On this instructional video Nigel Saunders reveals us begin an acacia bonsai from seed. The footage is owned and created by Nigel Saunders from The Bonsai Zone.


Bonsai tree that means

All parts of Japanese tradition carry that means, and bonsai timber aren’t any totally different. In Zen Buddhism, monks view them as a logo of peace between each man and nature. One other definition is stability and ease as a result of all the pieces about these timber must be aesthetically balanced whereas sustaining simplicity. Within the early days of bonsai, they meant wealth as a result of, as beforehand talked about, they served as decorations within the properties of noblemen.


Generally requested questions

Right here now we have compiled an inventory of most regularly requested questions a newcomer to the world of bonsai might need.

What’s bonsai?

Bonsai is the artwork of shaping and limiting a tree’s development by conserving it between 20 centimeters and Four toes in peak. It’s achieved by limiting the usage of fertilizer, pinching buds, wiring branches, pruning, and by rising the tree in a shallow pot.

Methods to develop a bonsai tree?

Rising from seed requires numerous work, endurance, and a substantial quantity of ability. Don’t be discouraged if you’re a newbie as a result of doing it this manner is a wonderful studying expertise. A greater method for an impatient newbie to study is by buying and dealing on an already established tree. To learn to develop a bonsai from seed, watch the tutorial video from Nigel Saunders above.

Methods to look after a bonsai?

Taking good care of a bonsai tree takes ability which will be realized via follow in addition to trial and error. Additionally, you’ll most undoubtedly want a great high quality set of instruments. The kind of care required will, to some extent, rely upon the kind and species of tree. However typically, issues resembling accurately watering, repotting, pruning, and fertilizing all fall underneath primary upkeep and care.

How lengthy does it take to develop a bonsai tree?

If rising from seed, it can typically take at the very least three years earlier than you’ve gotten a tree you may start engaged on. It should additionally take roughly 10 to 15 years for it to succeed in ample maturity to enter exhibitions and competitions. In different phrases, – numerous endurance is required. There are, nonetheless, methods to make a tree develop sooner by utilizing develop lights and nutrient wealthy soil.

How a lot do bonsai timber price?

Species, peak, and the quantity of ability and energy that went into the tree are issues to contemplate in the case of pricing a bonsai. They’re on the market at many backyard facilities in Western nations for $20 or much less. Older and rarer timber, nonetheless, can price as much as a whole bunch to many 1000’s of {dollars}. The most costly one ever bought was a centuries-old pine that fetched for $1,300,000! Some timber are close to a thousand years previous and are thought of to be priceless.

Can any tree be a bonsai?

Usually, any tree that may blossom has the potential to turn out to be a bonsai. There are a whole bunch of suitable varieties, with new ones found repeatedly. Take a look at our listing of the most well-liked varieties within the part beneath.



Bonsai tree varieties

Selecting an acceptable tree kind is crucial for the newbie hobbyist as a result of various kinds of bonsai have totally different wants, and no two varieties are the identical. And though there are lots of varieties with new ones launched repeatedly, we are going to solely listing a number of the hottest ones.

Juniper bonsai tree

The juniper is a part of the cypress household and consists of round 50 to 70 totally different sub-species. It’s additionally probably the most common entry stage timber due to it being simple to form and practice. It ‘sIt’s essential to keep in mind that the juniper is an precise tree and never a houseplant; subsequently, it must be handled for ailments and bugs if the necessity arises. Moreover, it can prosper in nearly any setting so long as it has ample humidity and lightweight – whether or not you retain it indoors or outside.

Cotoneaster bonsai tree

The cotoneaster is exclusive and a favourite amongst many bonsai fans. They initially hail from Europe and Asia, and relying on the species – could seasonally produce tiny non-edible poisonous berries or stunning white flowers. Identical to the juniper, the cotoneaster is a well-known newbie’s tree. It’s greatest to maintain it in direct daylight all through the day. Conserving it exterior at night time is okay, but it surely must be protected if temperatures drop beneath 23F.

Consider, the cotoneaster dies shortly and infrequently unexpectedly if uncared for for lengthy durations however can turn out to be very powerful and sturdy when following the proper care methods.

Azalea bonsai tree

Azalea tree

An Azalea Bonsai tree on show.

The azalea, often known as a rhododendron, consists of about 1,000 totally different sub-species. Out of the a whole bunch of sub-species, solely two stand out as being excellent bonsai candidates – Satsuki and Kurumi. They’re beloved for his or her quick development charge and breathtakingly stunning flowers. The one downsides to the azalea are that the bark is fragile, and branches break simply. Subsequently nice care must be taken when shaping branches with wires.

Black pine bonsai tree

Black Pine tree

Picture by David J. Stang, Pinus thunbergii 6zz, Cropped, CC BY-SA 4.0

Pines are in all probability the most well-liked forms of bonsai, particularly in Japan, due to their abundance. The commonest species used are the black, pink, and white pine, and every requires roughly the identical kind of care. These timber are identified for being sturdy and comparatively immune to ailments, which makes it the right tree for newcomers. Not solely that, however additionally they actually do look spectacular. Pines choose colder climates, however they’ll develop in hotter areas so long as they obtain additional consideration.

Bougainvillea bonsai tree

The tropical bougainvillea is from South America, produces vibrantly colourful flowers, and makes an ideal bonsai. It loves heat summer season climate and many daylight however wants safety through the chilly winter months. It additionally options robust pure resistance to pests and illness however could also be vulnerable to fungal infections. To keep away from these infections, monitor the humidity ranges and repeatedly use an anti-fungal spray.

Fig bonsai tree

The fig bonsai, often known as the ficus, is a simple tree for newcomers. It will probably flourish indoors, give off figs, and is definitely formed into many various kinds. What extra might you probably need? Should you select the ficus as your first tree, you can be delighted to know that there are a whole bunch of species to select from. Additionally, they like heat, humid environments with numerous sunshine.

Dwarf jade bonsai tree

The dwarf jade comes from the driest areas of Southern Africa and is sometimes called the Elephant Bush. It will probably absorb and retailer water for lengthy durations, which helps it survive in arid climates – which additionally means it doesn’t want fixed and even common care. Watering your dwarf jade as soon as each 6 to eight weeks is completely positive.

It has thick inexperienced leaves and exquisite pink flowers. The bark additionally has an odd inexperienced tint whereas it’s younger, solely to show to a reddish-brown colour because it grows older. Shaping the branches is straightforward, which makes it the best tree for newcomers.

Olive bonsai tree

Olive timber originate from the Mediterranean and are identified for his or her energy and sturdiness. The olive bonsai grows quick, and that’s excellent news for an impatient horticulturist who’s rising the tree from seed. They thrive in heat, humid situations however not a lot in colder climates. If situations exterior get too chilly, it will likely be greatest to convey the tree inside despite the fact that they don’t die shortly.



Bonsai kinds

Styling is crucial as a result of aesthetics performs an important half within the artwork of bonsai. There are numerous kinds and shapes a miniature tree can remodel into, however the 5 predominant kinds are – semi-cascade, full cascade, slanting, formal upright, and casual upright. We will even cowl the tremendous miniature shohin fashion.

Full cascade (Kengai fashion)

A full cascade bonsai tree

A full cascade bonsai tree

The complete cascade fashion, or kengai because the Japanese name it, is when a tree grows downward as a substitute of the standard upwards route. This specific fashion is fairly customary within the pure world, particularly when rising on cliff sides. It occurs due to falling rocks or from the load of snow, which piles up. Artificially creating this form requires some endurance and ability.

The kind of pot performs an important position in reaching the total cascade form. For this, you will want a tall container to forestall the tree from toppling over. At first, you’ll have to enable it to develop upwards till it reaches ample peak earlier than beginning to bend the trunk downward via technique of wiring and bending methods. The apex level ought to attain just under the bottom of the pot whereas the branches lengthen out in a horizontal place.

Semi-cascade (Han-kengai fashion)

A semi-cascade bonsai tree

A semi-cascade bonsai tree.

The semi-cascade fashion is similar to the total cascade, and the one actual distinction is that the tree doesn’t run straight down. As an alternative, it runs at a 45-degree angle whereas the tip of the apex extends to the lip of the pot.

Slanting (Shakan fashion)

The slanting fashion, very similar to the 2 aforementioned cascading kinds, will be discovered naturally. A tree will slant because of a robust wind blowing from one specific route time beyond regulation when a tree grows within the shade and slants itself to get some solar. Recreating this impact isn’t as difficult as the 2 cascade kinds.

The tree ought to slant at a 60 to 80-degree angle, and the roots have to be nicely developed on one facet to forestall the tree from toppling over. Additionally, the bottom of the trunk must be the thickest whereas progressively narrowing the upper it goes.

Formal upright (Chokkan fashion)

The formal upright isn’t solely the commonest fashion but in addition the simplest to create. The bottom is the thickest half and progressively turns into narrower; the upper it goes. The branches ought to solely begin from 1 / 4 of the way in which up.

Casual upright (Moyogi fashion)

The casual upright, or Moyogi, because it’s identified in Japanese, is usually present in nature. It’s equivalent to the formal upright (chokkan) fashion, with the exception that the trunk has an S form versus the standard straight trunk.

The shohin bonsai fashion

Shohin bonsai

公益社団法人 全日本小品盆栽協会, 産経新聞社賞, Cropped, CC BY-SA 4.0

The tremendous miniature shohin fashion is exclusive, certainly. Though there is no such thing as a dimension classification, many consultants are inclined to agree that for a bonsai to qualify as a shohin, it shouldn’t exceed 20 centimeters in peak. In different phrases, these timber are simply held within the palm of your hand. Such timber are aesthetically stunning, however the smaller they get, the much less element they have a tendency to have. Curiously, the precise phrase shohin interprets to tiny factor.

Making a shohin from seed additionally takes extra endurance than a daily bonsai tree would require as a result of it takes roughly 5 years to get a tree all the way down to that dimension.


Bonsai pots

The kind and magnificence of container play a major position due to aesthetics, and its probably the most missed points amongst Western hobbyists.

The Japanese see the pot as being the equal of an image body. The whole lot from the colour and form of the pot used will rely upon the form and dimension of the bonsai. For instance, timber within the slanted and cascade kinds are greatest positioned in rounded pots, whereas formal and casual upright timber are greatest fitted to rectangular pots. Additionally, timber with thick trunks seem greatest in deep pots, whereas shallow containers are perfect for these with skinny trunks.

The precise colour of the bonsai pot additionally issues considerably. Bushes that includes colourful flowers, fruits, or vibrant foliage look their greatest in glazed inexperienced pots. These with darkish inexperienced leaves are ideally positioned in neutral-colored unglazed pots resembling pink, brown, or gray.


Bonsai soil

When accumulating soil on your bonsai, one ought to by no means scoop it up from the bottom floor. As an alternative, use soil from three toes down or deeper. That is to forestall utilizing soil, which has turn out to be contaminated with dangerous bugs and different contaminants.

The soil collected can’t be used immediately. First, unfold it out within the solar for every week earlier than sieving and utilizing. Alternatively, you might buy a specifically ready bonsai soil combine which is sweet to go.


Bonsai moss

Moss doesn’t help with development, but it surely does serve a number of functions. Firstly, it’s nice for aesthetics, particularly with timber featured at bonsai exhibitions. Secondly, it prevents birds from scratching round within the soil in quest of bugs. Lastly and most significantly, it helps maintain the soil hydrated.

Including moss to your tree is straightforward. Simply accumulate it from wherever you will discover it, resembling from roof tiles or tree bark, crush it up into positive items and sprinkle it across the base of your tree. Spray water in mist format instantly on it, and inside a number of weeks, the moss ought to begin rising naturally.



Additional studying

Now that you understand extra in regards to the artwork of bonsai, why not study the required expertise through video from a nicely skilled professional? Take a look at the YouTube web page of Nigel Saunders.

Realizing handle a bonsai is essentially the most essential a part of the craft. Study the fundamentals of watering, pruning and shaping at ftd.com.

There are numerous varieties and species of tree that may be transformed to a bonsai. Choosing the proper one is essential and oftentimes dependent in your success. Check out Wikipedia’s listing of suitable tree varieties right here.

Author: admin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *