Bonsai Lessons


Informal Upright Style Bonsai

Conifers I find are also very rewarding to have in ones Bonsai collection. There is quite a variety available. Examples of these are: Juniper Chinensis, Procumbens Nana, Squamata, Shore Juniper, Juniperus Rigida, just to name a few. Varieties such as Squamata and Procumbens Nana are very easy to style and you can achieve a very pleasing result. They are very easy to shape by means of wiring to change the structure from the original growth of the tree. Also the added treatment of jin or shari can give the appearance of an aged tree. It is very important not to overdo the Jin or Shari on younger trees as this can become detrimental to their health.

Japanese Maples

Informal Upright Style Bonsai

The Japanese Maple is the most widely used maple in the art of bonsai. It is also used extensively in Chinese and Japanese style gardens. The main features are its compact size, its delicate foliage which is green in summer, later turning from a rich golden colour to the deepest blood red. There are many species of maple, I believe over 300 cultivars with a variety of leaf size, shape and colour. Also dwarf examples of these different varieties are used in small garden features.

Black Pines

Informal Upright Style Bonsai

Many consider that Japanese black pine is the ultimate in the art of bonsai. There are very few trees that convey the classic power or majesty to the degree that a black pine can portray. This tree takes many years to achieve the maturity and majesty of classic bonsai. So when undertaking a black pine as a bonsai it is important to commit yourself to ensure that you can do the best you possibly can to ensure the future of your bonsai. The rewards for this effort are most gratifying and you will possibly hand it down from generation to generation. This in itself is a responsibility, but the end result will be a very old bonsai. Saburo Kato a Japanese bonsai master maintains and cares for a 400 year old bonsai. (How rewarding is that?)

Ficus or Figs

Informal Upright Style Bonsai

There are many species of Ficus which make an ideal indoor Bonsai, Port Jackson or Morton Bay Fig make excellent choices for indoors. One of the reasons for this is that they can change their structure by adapting to their indoor conditions. Lighting plays a very important role in this, for example the less natural light you provide, the foliage becomes darker and richer in colour.



Rockscapes can be created in many shapes and sizes. You can either do a singular specimen or a multi planting this basically creates a scene from nature in miniature. A multi planting as in tray landscape is at ground level. A rockscape gives the impression of a mountain scene or large outcrop of rock on a hillside.

Root Over Rock

Root Over Rock

This style consists of when the roots of a plant are made to cling or grip the rock-spilling over it and eventually the roots grow down into the soil. This is to copy a tree developed from seed that has naturally grown on a rock. As the tree develops it needs to send out its roots in order to receive nourishment which will ensure its survival.Once the roots reach the soil they toughen up and proceed to grow around the rock and now the tree can develop using food and water that it gathers from the ground.

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