Bonsai Basics
We offer the necessary basic information to enjoy Bonsai more such as how
to grow a bonsai tree, how to make a bonsai, etc. It can be referred to by
beginners to bonsai enthusiasts.
Guide to Making a Bonsai
The basic information which we provide is composed of three chapters. The
first is planting bonsai, that is, “Starting Technique” of Bonsai. Next is
growing the bonsai tree,that is to say, “Bonsai Tree Care”,and the last is
making the bonsai,or ”Bonsai Style, Secret of Shaping”.
This bonsai site is a complete descriptive guide with full details with lots of
tips on critical techniques.
Bonsai Trees of the Month
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navigation to bonsai trees feeding
navigation to pests and diseases
navigation to bonsai tools
indoor bonsai care
outdoor bonsai care
navigation to description of roots pruning
navigation to the page describing how to make a trunk
navigation to description of wiring
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navigation to description of leaf pruning
navigation to description of physiology of bonsai trees shaping
navigation to starting techniques
navigation to the page describing how to collect wild plants for bonsai.
navigation to description of air layering
navigation to description of cuttings
navigation to the page describing how to start from seeds.
navigation to description of grafting.
How to Start Bonsai Experience
There are many ways to start one's personal bonsai
experience. We mention a few and offer the pros
and cons of each way. Please note that each
individual bonsai takes different amount of time and
cost to raise. You should pick your beginning
experience accordingly. Or, you may combine
several different ways and thus enjoy more from
the bonsai experience.
2. Collecting Wild Plants
Creating a bonsai tree by collecting wild plant is definitely the most
stimulating method of starting bonsai experience. Finding a plant in its
natural surroundings that has been shaped by Mother Nature is very
exciting. It is one of the few experiences that is beyond description and must
appreciate the splendor of nature.
3. Air Layering
“Air layering is a method for propagating trees through the removal a large
branch or a section of the trunk to create a new tree. One of the main
attractions to propagating bonsai material through air layering is that you
can create a sizable new tree within one growing season, as opposed to the
other methods - except collecting - which all involve several seasons of
development. ”
Though it sounds difficult, it may in fact be quite straightforward to apply.
4. Cuttings
Cuttings will create numerous trees that are hereditarily identical to the
"parent" tree or bonsai. By taking cuttings, you can create new trees from a
tree that contains the characteristics you consider to be important and
suitable for a bonsai tree to have. You can also start bonsai trees from
cuttings faster than from seeds. Some species of trees will produce a rooted,
growing tree - from a cutting - before the seeds of another tree can even
sprout! Saving you tons of time and, quite often, weeks of worry.
5. Starting from Seeds
There are two advantages to growing bonsai trees from seeds. The first is
that you can grow rare species of bonsai trees for a relatively small price and
make a massive cultivation. The second is that you can control every aspect
of your tree during each stage of its development.
6. Grafting
“Grafting method is generally used for propagating trees, when propagation
by cuttings or by seeds is impossible or unfeasible. By grafting, the selected
branch or trunk (scion) of a desired parent plant is attached to the potted or
transplanted tree (rootstock). Grafting techniques are frequently applied at
nurseries for reproducing lots of desirable species to develop bonsai material.”
A Guide to Growing Bonsai Trees
For bonsai to be aesthetically pleasing, the plant must not wither before
everything else. To raise charmingly shaped and beautifully pruned trees, you
must make sure the plant grows healthily. A bonsai plant needs appropriate
combination of soil, sunshine, air, and water. Without proper environment,
the plant is likely to wither during its development. It may take many trials
and errors and attentive observations of the plant's growth conditions before
you figure it all out. But surely this is also a worthy bonsai experience.
Root during a Repotting
5. Daily Care――Watering
Watering is indispensable to bonsai raising. It is a plant's lifeline. Proper
watering promotes a plant's growth. Otherwise the plant becomes weary or
withered. Although watering does not sound too difficult, you must keep
experimenting to master it. Watering takes the most amount of time in
bonsai raising, and in this sense it is the most intimate contact you have with
your bonsai plant. You should master this fundamental for a plant's growth.
6. Daily Care――Feeding
  • Why do bonsai need fertilizer?
  • What type of fertilizer should you use?
  • What does N-P-K stand for & what does it do?
7. Daily Care――Pests & Disease
  • How can I prevent pests & disease?
  • How can I treat pests & disease?
8. Bonsai Tools
  • What kind of bonsai tools work best?
  • What kind of tool should you purchase first?
  • What kind of tool should you purchase next?
  • Other tools you should & will consider?
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What is Bonsai?
The Bonsai tree is a miniature piece of breathtaking natural scenery grown in
a small pot.  But it is completely different from the average potted plant. Pine
bonsai and maple bonsai are something much more than potted pine and
maple.  While the enjoyment of potted plants comes from taking pleasure in
the beauty of the flowers, leaves, and fruits of plants, the marvel of the
bonsai tree lies in the delight gained from recreating in miniature form of the
shape of bonsai plants as seen in the natural world.
A Guide to
Growing Bonsai and Making a Bonsai for
Amazing Bonsai Experience
Enjoy Nature's Wonders - How to Make a Bonsai
You gain many wonderful experiences from bonsai art. You may choose to
admire and appreciate a thoroughly-trained bonsai. You may also choose to
engage in bonsai art personally by planting seeds or seedlings, or collecting
wild plants, or simply begin with partially-trained bonsai. You will then receive
a lot more.
1. Roots
The roots along with the trunk are fundamental to a bonsai plant. They are
the starting point of making a quality bonsai. In root training, a surface root
structure, called nebari, is important to demonstrating the plant's natural
beauty. You need to develop a quality nebari. What is more important than a
quality nebari is root pruning, which is intimately involved in the training of
the whole bonsai plant.
Remember it is more convenient to prune the roots during
2. Trunk
The trunk of a bonsai tree is the most appealing part to create the illusion of
age. Therefore, as a first step, you should start with developing a well-
formed trunk such as good taper (
kokejun), initial rise (tachiagari), smooth
curves, etc. The other design elements, including branch location, foliage
distribution, leaf reduction and so on, can be established later on in the
design process.
  • Taper (kokejun)
  • Initial rise (tachiagari)
3. Wiring
Wiring is a method of bending trunks and branches using wires in order to
achieve various impressive shapes. When the plant is still very young, the
trunk is bent into the basic shape of a tree. Later on, as the plant grows, you
bend the first branch (
ichi-no-eda), the second branch (ni-no-eda), the third
branch (
san-no-eda), and so on until the final branch that determines the
shape of the bonsai plant. If you cannot achieve the ideal shape with one
wiring, you can do so in stages. By the time you complete the bonsai tree's
final shape, you can finesse the details of the small branches with wires.
4. Pruning
Once you have completed the work of tapering (kokejun), initial rise
tachiagari), and wiring, you can begin the final shaping of the plant. Pruning
reduces the volume of the tree in order to achieve the goal of “
literally small size-great similarity. You need to prune the branches, the buds,
and the leaves.
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1. Repotting
Plants that grow in pots must be repotted
from time to time. The growing roots of a
plant will occupy the limited space in a pot
and thereby reduce the free space for the
plant to develop. In addition, as time goes
by, the soil in the pot will become hard and
less permeable for air or water. These
conditions will lead to poor health of the
plant and the plant may even wither and
die. So, it is necessary to repot a bonsai
plant. Moreover, repotting provides a good
opportunity to prune the roots and shape
the plant.
2. Bonsai Soil
  • What is bonsai soil?
  • What kinds of bonsai soil are available?
  • What type of a soil ‘mix’ should I use?
  • Is using the proper soil important?
3. Bonsai Containers
  • What kind of container should you use?”
  • What types of containers are most appropriate?
  • How are pots pertinent?
4. Location
A bonsai should be placed where it is viewed. Where a bonsai is placed is also
where it grows. A bonsai must be placed in favorable environment. The
location should receive sufficient sunshine, be well ventilated, and have
properly maintained temperature. Indeed, such environment is healthy for
humans as well as the plant.
When making a bonsai, one seeks to
miniaturize the original shape of a tree. It
takes many skills to reproduce the
awesome trees in nature in small
pots. Learning these skills will allow
you to savor the joy and meaning of bonsai
art, and relish the charms in it. Surely
knowing these skills will enhance your
satisfaction and appreciation of bonsai art.
On the other hand, without these skills you
are prone to fail in making a bonsai.

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1. Starting from Trained Bonsai
If you cannot wait to begin your bonsai experience, the best way is to
purchase a bonsai that has been previously-trained. This will reduce your
time and effort to train a bonsai. Hence it is ideal especially for beginners.
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