The art of bonsai – grooming

Bonsai art translated into Russian means “a tree in a pot”… This art arose in 200 BC. e. in China, or rather initially it sounded like “pan-san”. Several centuries later, the Japanese, together with Buddhism, mastered this art, brought it to perfection, and now it is considered traditionally Japanese.

The first images of bonsai literally – hatitue, are found on the scrolls of the late Kamakura period (1249-1382). The love for dwarf trees can be explained simply – not having a large territory and the opportunity to grow a garden near the house, the Japanese wanted to find a corner of nature at home, and small trees did not take up much space… At first it was a massive hobby, mainly among the common people. Much later, after the victory over China in 1885, bonsai became the subject of fashion, scientific research and collectibles. Various bonsai schools and growing styles began to emerge.

About 400 species of plants are suitable and bred for creating bonsai. A real bonsai has dimensions from 20 cm to 1,5-2 m. A special direction is the creation of miniature landscapes, where not one tree is grown in a bowl, but a whole piece of nature, with a lake, stones, miniature mountains and even waterfalls. The art of bonsai does not tolerate fuss, it requires patient care. Bonsai care is a kind of ritual and meditation. The trees have been cultivated for decades and centuries. There are bonsai specimens in the imperial garden in Japan that are about 300-400 years old..

From all that has been said, it follows that a true bonsai must bear the stamp of the times. Therefore, trees with thick trunks are primarily referred to bonsai. Bizarrely bent or broken branches, trunks with cracked or peeled bark, covered with moss are especially appreciated. All this symbolizes long-term survival in difficult natural conditions and emphasizes naturalness.

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Bonsai shapes

Chokkan – symmetrical vertical shape: straight, vertical, tapered trunk, evenly covered with branches (formal vertical style).

Suitable for spruce, larch, juniper, zelkova and ginkgo. If a tree does not experience competition from other trees, is not exposed to strong prevailing winds, has enough nourishment and water, it will grow straight up, and its trunk will have a conical shape. The branches of bonsai trees should not be symmetrical, the upper branches should be shorter and thinner than the lower ones. The branches should extend horizontally from the trunk, and some of the lower branches may bend slightly downward. To prevent the container from tipping over, its weight and the weight of the tree should be approximately equal.

Shakan – oblique shape: oblique trunk, the top and root system of which are directed in the opposite direction than the base of the trunk, strong root system (oblique style).

Suitable for a wide variety of species. Under the influence of strong prevailing winds, the tree grows inclined, the same shape can be observed in a plant growing in the shade and reaching towards the sun. The trunk of the tree, which may be straight or slightly curved, should be tilted at an angle of 70 to 90 ° with respect to the surface of the container. On one side of the tree, the roots are strongly developed, and it seems that they firmly hold on to the soil, and from the side of the inclined trunk, they go into the ground.

Mayogi – asymmetrical vertical shape: a conical trunk with a slight slope towards the base and with a maximum of 3 small bends, evenly covered with branches. Shakan oblique form: an oblique trunk, the top and root system of which are directed in the opposite direction than the base of the trunk, a strong root system (informal vertical style).

Suitable for almost all types of trees. This style is widely found in nature and in many bonsai. The trunk of the tree has a number of bends, the lower one of which should be pronounced. As with the formal upright style, the trunk is tapered, the branches are symmetrical, and the crown matches the thickness of the trunk.

Fukinagasi – wind-bent shape: an inclined trunk, especially at the top, with branches directed towards the slope.
Hokidachi – fan-shaped: a straight trunk, branching in the form of a fan (“panicle” style).

Suitable for broadleaf trees with thin branches such as zelkova, elm and hornbeam. In nature, this style is almost ideally observed in Zeikova (zelkova). When creating bonsai, this style can be used for several other species. The trunk is strictly vertical, but not too long, all branches diverge from one point. The crown is spherical and very dense.

Thanks to its many thin branches, the tree looks attractive even without foliage. In general, the tree resembles an old panicle.

Kengai – hanging or cascading form: curved trunk and branches hanging down over the edge of the vessel (cascade style).

Suitable for pines, cotoneaster, pyracantha and juniper. Not recommended for trees with sturdy, poorly bending trunks. A tree growing on a steep cliff can bend for many reasons – due to falling stones, under its own weight or the weight of snow, due to lack of light. This is the “cascade” style created by nature itself. Applied to bonsai, this means that the crown of the tree should be located below the top edge of the container. It is quite difficult to keep a cascade-style plant healthy as it tends to grow upward.

Khan-Kengai – semi-hanging or semi-cascading form: the trunk and branches are horizontal in relation to the edge of the vessel (semi-cascading style).

Suitable for all types, except for sturdy, poorly bending trees. This style, like the “cascade”, is found naturally in trees growing on steep slopes, along river banks and in swamps. Due to the proximity of the water, the trunk does not grow downward, but rather in a horizontal direction. For trees – semi-cascading style bonsai, the crown only drops slightly below the top edge of the container.

Isicuki – rock form (bonsai on a stone): the roots of a plant cover a stone in the ground (style “embracing a stone”).

Suitable for pine, maple, flowering quince and rhododendron. In the composition of this style, trees grow from cracks in the stones. The roots seem to go into the stone and from there the plant receives all the necessary food and water. For this style of bonsai, regular watering is very important, since the moisture supply in the cracks is limited. To ensure high humidity in the surrounding air, the stone can be placed in a shallow dish filled with water. By planting a few trees, you can create a landscape.

Sokan – twin or bifurcated form: 2 trunks, different in height and power, growing from one root (“double trunk” style).

Suitable for all types of trees. This silhouette is widespread in nature. Two trunks grow from one root, and one is much more powerful than the second. In bonsai, this style can be created artificially when a second trunk is formed from a lower branch. Make sure the branch is not too high or it will create a fork that does not fit the bonsai style.

Sankan – three-barreled form.

Kabudachi – multi-stem form: plants with many stems of various thicknesses, resembling a shrub. The number of trunks must be odd (octopus style).
This style is suitable for all types of trees. All trunks grow from the same root and cannot be separated. This is the main difference between these plants and a group of separately growing specimens. It is similar to the twin barrel style, but it refers to three or more barrels.

Yose-Yu – forest composition: many trees of various sizes and ages in one vessel.

Ikadabuki – raft: a trunk lying on or in the ground with vertical branches growing upward. The plant looks like a forest arrangement of several trees (“fallen tree” style).

Suitable for all types of trees. Sometimes a fallen tree can survive by throwing up lateral branches from which the trunks of new trees are formed. The old horizontal wellbore is still visible. This style is often used in bonsai, especially when the source material has branches on one side. Unlike a group of individual plants in this style, the distance between individual trunks does not change.

Bujings (literary style).

Suitable for most coniferous or deciduous trees. This style takes its name from the painting style used by Chinese artists to paint imaginary trees. The peculiarity of this style: the elegantly curved line of the trunk, with the complete absence of lower branches, the crown is located only in the upper part of the tree. We can meet similar trees in the forest, when, due to a lack of sunlight and tightness, their lower branches die off, and the trunk looks knobby and rough.

Sekijoju (bared roots in stone style).

Suitable for all strongly rooted species such as maple, Chinese elm, pine and juniper. On rocky soils, some plants survive because their roots, covering boulders, crawl under them in search of water and nutrients that accumulate in cracks and voids. The roots, exposed to the winds and subject to various vicissitudes of the weather, soon begin to resemble a trunk. An important element of bonsai is a spectacular root plexus that looks old. The tree itself can be grown in any style, but a formal upright and “whisk” will not be the best choice. Since the plant draws its nourishment from the container, caring for it is not much more difficult than for other plant styles. Transplant so that the rooted stone is clearly visible.

Sharimiki (dead wood style).

Suitable for juniper. In junipers growing on mountain slopes, significant parts of the trunk are not covered with bark and are bleached by the sun. In bonsai, these areas of dead wood are especially important and should be clearly visible. They are created artificially by cutting off certain areas of the bark and then bleaching them.

Farmer DominusVobiscum

Plants for bonsai

Not every plant is suitable for growing as a bonsai. Although there are styles in bonsai art in which the composition is formed from herbaceous plants, traditionally bonsai are grown from trees and shrubs, i.e. plants with a hard, often lignified trunk and branches. The most valuable coniferous trees: pine, juniper, thuja, cypress, larch, as they are quite hardy and a piece of the world around us in miniature looks very unusual. In addition to conifers, deciduous species are often grown as bonsai – maple, birch, mountain ash, oak, beech, hornbeam, willow, etc. Fruiting and flowering trees look especially colorful – acacia, guava, pomegranate, myrtle, magnolia, peach, plum, citrus. In any case, the choice of a plant is determined by the conditions of detention – primarily the temperature. If the room is cool, then you can take on conifers, if the room is hot, especially in winter, then the choice is limited to thermophilic plants (ficus, dracaena, cordilina, gardenia).

  • Adenium obese; Koprosma Bauer; Pick; Rhododendron Sims;
  • Acacia Bailey; Karo whorled, Senegalese, silvery, persistent, Farnesian, black wood;
  • Korokiya rod-shaped; Medicinal rosemary
  • Albicia comb-shaped, Leonkaran; Kumquat is oval; Hindsa Japanese; Sageretia tea
  • Bamboo; Kufeya issopolistnaya; Boxwood small-leaved, evergreen;
  • Bauhinia Blanca, variegated, purple; Lagerstremia Indian, beautiful; Serissa or “tree of a thousand stars”;
  • Japanese beresklest; Cistus; Syzygium paniculata
  • Japanese privet; Lafoenzia pomegranate; Wavy resin seed; Tobira fine-leaved
  • Rock brachykhiton; Leptospermum is rod-shaped; Scots pine, Mediterranean;
  • Bougainvillea is smooth, beautiful; Formosan liquidambre; Sophora creeping, four-winged;
  • Small-leaved elm; Malpighia naked, nut-bearing; The fat woman is pale green;
  • Gardenia jasmine; European olive; Asian trachelospermum, jasmine, Japanese;
  • Cooper’s hibiscus, dissected petals; Melaleuk is white-woody, St. John’s wort; Trichodiadema calvatum; Littlewood, bulbous;
  • Common pomegranate grade Nana Metrosideros high; Feijoa Sellovan;
  • Dovialis kaffra; Mirsina African; Ficus benjamin, boxwood
  • Cork oak, rocky; Common myrtle; Figs are dwarf, small-fruited, box-leaved, subulate;
  • Eugene one-flowered; Myrcinaria is color-beaten; Mastic pistachio;
  • Honeysuckle is brilliant; Balsamic spurge; Fuchsia hybrid, small-flowered, rare-flowered, thyme-leaved, three-leaved;
  • Strawberry large-fruited, small-fruited; Muraya Konta, paniculata; Holarrena pubescent; Ixora sticking out; Nandina is home; Citrofortunella small-fruited;
  • Casuarina lumpy, protruding, horsetail; Nicodemia is variegated; Citrus fruits: orange, bitter orange, real lime, lime, lemon, tangerine, etc.;
  • Calliandra Tved; and Pelargonium semidolum, zonal, ivy-leaved, curly, strong-smelling; Hun’s eucalyptus, lemon, multiflorous, figurative, capped;
  • Callistemon is willow, large-spotted, lemon-yellow, beautiful; Large-leaved podocarp; Nagi, sickle-shaped, gray-gray, thin; Eretia is small-leaved;
  • Camellia Chinese, netted, Japanese; Polisias Balfour; Gulfola, holly; Jacobinia maloflower;
  • Arizona cypress, evergreen, Kashmir, large-fruited; Portulacaria harp; Ash Griffith; Kneorum three-root; Rape is high, low;

The art of bonsai - grooming

Farmer bluinface


Light mode

Daylight hours in temperate latitudes are shorter than in the tropics and subtropics, therefore, without additional lighting, the bonsai will lack light… A particular deficit of sunlight is typical for the cold season – from late October to early March.

Different types of bonsai require different lighting conditions, which should be clarified. When choosing a place for keeping bonsai, pay attention to the following lighting parameters:

  • side of the world (north, south, west, east)
  • distance from the window (on a windowsill, near a window behind a curtain, near a window without a curtain, in the back of the room)
  • angle of incidence of sun rays
  • location of neighboring indoor plants
  • the presence of external obstacles to sunlight (nearby buildings, dense trees)
  • color of walls and windowsill

It should be borne in mind that curtains intensively absorb the sun’s rays. Therefore, if the bonsai is behind the curtains, they should be lifted or pushed aside during the day to allow sunlight to reach the indoor plant.

As for the angle of incidence of the sun’s rays, the growth of the plant is more intense if it stands on the left side on the east window or on the right side on the west.

The approximate degree of illumination can be measured using a photoexposure meter or luxometer. These devices provide accurate information about the amount of light per unit area. Illumination limits for different types of indoor plants vary from 500 to 5000 lux.

The lack of light must be compensated for with artificial lighting devices. It is not recommended to use artificial light all year round, which can have an adverse effect on the plant.… In winter, as well as on cloudy days from October to March, additional lighting is simply necessary. For these purposes, fluorescent fluorescent lamps, high-pressure mercury lamps and halogen gas-metal lamps are used. It is better to refuse incandescent lamps, since the light emitted by them is far from daylight, and heat rays have a detrimental effect on the plant… In addition, the efficiency of incandescent lamps is not high enough.

Most preferred are fluorescent fluorescent lamps, which are highly efficient and easy to use. It is not difficult to acquire such lamps. They can be of different colors and shapes. For bonsai lighting, elongated 18 W (59 cm long) and 40 W (120 cm) white lamps with the marking 20 or DE LUX 21 are recommended.

Halogen gas-metal lamps are installed horizontally. When installing additional lighting lamps, the following rules must be borne in mind:

  • The closer the lamp is to the plant, the more efficiently it is used. However, one should not forget about heat radiation.
  • All the light from the lamp must be directed towards the plant.
  • For each square meter of the illuminated surface, there must be at least 70 watts. In this case, it is considered that the lamp is installed at a distance of 25-50 cm from the plant.

In winter, the length of daylight hours should be increased by 4-5 hours.

Temperature conditions

Subtropical species of bonsai (myrtle, olive, pomegranate, rosemary) are kept in winter at temperatures from +5 to + 15 ° C, and in summer they are taken out into the open air (on the balcony).

Tropical species are kept at temperatures from +18 to + 25C all year round. In summer, plants are left indoors. It is not recommended to put tropical plants on stone windowsills if the heating system does not pass under them..

The higher the temperature of the plant, the more light, water and nutrients are required. The lower the temperature, the less abundant watering and feeding the plant should be.

Air humidity

Typically, the humidity in an urban area is insufficient for bonsai. How can this problem be solved?

The most expensive, but not the most effective way to establish optimal air humidity is an electric humidifier. Humidifiers have a number of disadvantages: large dimensions, high cost of maintenance, noise effects. An easier way to solve the problem is to place the bonsai in a flat vessel or on a plastic tray filled with water.… The bottom of the vessel (tray) must be laid out with small stones or a lattice and a pot with a plant should be placed on top of them. The amount of water must be kept at the same level. The effectiveness of this method of air humidification will increase if a vessel with water is placed above the heating system.

To increase the humidity of the air, it is recommended to spray the plant with water. However, this procedure gives only a short-term effect, so it must be repeated regularly. Spraying should be done in the morning, so that the plant has time to dry out in the evening.


The soil in the bonsai pot must be constantly moist (not dry, but not wet either). The dryness of the soil can be determined by touch or by its light color. A dry crust on the surface of the ground does not necessarily indicate dryness of the entire soil.

The water should reach the bottom of the vessel. If the soil permeability is poor, watering should be repeated 2-3 times until each grain of sand is moistened… Bonsai requires more water in summer than in winter, due to the more intense growth of the plant during the warmer period. In summer, subtropical plants are watered as little as possible: the soil should be relatively dry. Tropical plants do not tolerate cold water at all.

The best water for irrigation is melt. You can use tap water, which is defended for several hours before use: the water acquires room temperature and removes dirt and mechanical impurities into the sediment.

The art of bonsai - grooming

Farmer DominusVobiscum

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The art of bonsai - grooming
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Anna Evans

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