Rock planting


How to create a Bonsai rock planting

In Japanese: Seki-joju / Ishisuki

The sight of trees growing in or on rocks can be quite dramatic, as these trees have to struggle to find nutrients in a harsh environment. With Bonsai this kind of landscapes can be imitated, often using pine trees. This guide will describe in detail how to create a rock planting.


How to create a Bonsai rock planting



Planting trees on a rock should be done during the early spring season.



First of all, a suitable rock needs to be found; it should have many small cracks and holes in it providing the tree with space to grow roots (see photo 1, below). Next, select the tree or trees you will use to plant the rock with; pine trees are often preferred but also deciduous trees can be used. The selected trees should be healthy and have long roots, therefore plant them in a large container at least a year before using them to create a rock planting. Finally, prepare the soil by mixing akadama and garden mould in a ratio of ½ to ½ (read the Bonsai soil article for more detailed information on soil mixtures for different species of trees, climates, etc.).


After having selected the rock and the tree, follow the step-by-step plan to create the rock planting:

  1. Attach several copper wires with waterproof glue to the rock, which will be used to anchor the roots to the rock and in doing so stabilizing the tree (see photo 1, below). Instead of using copper wires you can also choose to use a material which will gradually fare, like cotton.
  2. After the glue has dried place the rock in bucket of water to wash of any dirt and soil.
  3. Now take the tree out of its container and after having removed the soil, carefully disentangle the roots.
  4. Place the tree on the rock and spread the roots over/in the holes and cracks.
  5. Anchor the roots to the rock with the glued copper wires, but be careful not to damage the fragile roots and leave enough room for future growth (see photo 2, below).
  6. Finally, fill the holes and cracks with the prepared soil mixture and cover any exposed roots as well.
  7. Use some moss to cover the surface, to prevent erosion.


Preparing the rock Bonsai Placing trees on a rock Bonsai




And then? Aftercare

After having created the rock planting you can finish the composition by placing the rock on a flat platter. Prune the tree immediately after having planted it on the rock to lower the demand of nutrients from its root system. Start fertilizing a month later, as the limited amount of soil will easily lose its nutritional value. Also water regularly, as the soil will dry out quickly.




More information

Go to the training forum.