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Popular Styles of Bonsai Trees

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The style you choose will give you a vision on how to shape your Bonsai
by Andrew Perry

Owning miniaturized versions of bigger trees or bonsai trees please a lot of people, not just because they can own a tiny tree and care for it.

But there is also the fun of challenging onself by choosing from the different styles of bonsai trees. These styles are formal upright, informal upright, cascade, semi cascade, slant and windswept.

When you mentally envision what your Bonsai tree will eventually grow into and look like, there are various styles that Bonsai masters have defined over the years to guide you. These models, along with the particular species of bonsai trees you are working with, will determine how you will shape, train or form your tree.

After choosing the style of tree, bonsai lovers should next choose specific pots that fit the style the bonsai tree is to be trained in. The chosen style will also help you decide which caring techniques will be needed, to grow the trees properly.

Upright styles of bonsai trees

There is a sense of strength from trees that are upright. The trees suitable for this style are Pine, Larch, Juniper and Spruce. In this style, the tree trunks grow straight upwards and their first lower branches are far wider than the upper branches. The rest of the branches are shaped to an overall triangular look. Beginners may want to start with this style as it is simple.
Flowering Fukien Tea  Bonsai Tree   (ehretia microphylla)

Flowering Fukien Tea Bonsai Tree (ehretia microphylla)

Native to the Fujan province of China. This tree has small white flowers that can bloom at any time. The foliage is dark green and small in size. The flowers turn into red berries that turn darker with age. Trained in the traditional tiered layered style with a curved trunk. Loves the heat and does very well indoors.




A variation of this style that lends the tree an impression of motion is the informal upright style. The trees suitable are Beech, Japanese Maple and Trident Maple trees. Bonsai formed this way are similar to the formal upright except that the top branch needs to be extended forward instead of upwards.

Another variation of upright is the Literati style. Literati is a very common shape of bonsai tree. The literati shape consists of a bare trunk and a few branches. The branches of this style are all positioned near the top. The lower part of the trunk, which is bare, is usually elegantly twisted.

Slant style Bonsai

The slant style of Bonsai is very flexible when it comes to which species of tree to use. It can be chosen for almost all bonsai trees. This is the style wherein the trunk extends to one direction while the lowest branch extends to the opposite direction. This style is quite common and very easy to shape and train.

Cascade types of bonsai trees

The cascade types of bonsai trees are those that have a sloping effect. The trunk is at first vertical and then is turned to one direction. While the branches are trained to slope or cascade lower than the surface of the pot. The semi cascade is similar to the cascade except the trunk gradually slopes instead of turned to one direction.

Windswept style of Bonsai

Adventurous people or people that want a less typical style choose to have a bonsai tree that does not look too pretty and orderly. So they choose the windswept style, which by its name, can be said to be a miniature version of a tree that has been swept by strong winds. Imagine a lonly pine struggling to survive at the top of a cliff... Train your tree as if a wind is constantly blowing in one direction through its branches.

This bonsai tree could have an unruly effect, but still be very beautiful. For me, there is a sense of wildness and lonliness in a windswept Bonsai.

Forest Style Bonsai

The Forest style is a more advanced style of growing bonsais. It involves arranging a few bonsai trees in a single container in a pleasing arrangement. The plants are pruned in such a way that they vary in height, creating the look of a deep forest. You need at least three trees to make up the forest style, and it's usually an odd number of plants. Note that Japanese bonsai masters do not use four trees in the same container, as the number four has negative connotations in Japan.

Prune to produce different styles of Tree

These styles have been refined by many crafters for centuries as an art form. Yet, getting the style of bonsai tree you want is easy (with practice). All you have to do is prune and trim. Indeed, this is one of the most important maintenance issues for growing a Bonsai. Along with shaping the bonsai into the desired form, pruning and trimming should maintain the balance of the bonsai tree as you reduce growth taking place above the ground.

About the Author:  For the ultimate in tips and secrets of Bonsai Tree Care online, there is no better place you will find than Bonsai Care Secrets.


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