A common misconception is that the plants used for Bonsai are genetically 'dwarfed' plants. Bonsai trees are normal plants, propagated like any other, but trained using sophisticated techniques to keep them in miniature size. The styling of Bonsai trees includes basic methods like regular pruning and wiring, but also more advanced techniques including the creation of deadwood.

Growing a Bonsai from a starterkit

Everything you need to know about Bonsai training and styling. How to properly Prune and Wire your tree to promote growth, manipulating your tree into the shape you desire, and how to achieve natural and realistic Bonsai results.

Without a doubt, the most important way to train a Bonsai is to prune it regularly. There are two different techniques: Maintenance-pruning, to maintain and refine the existing shape of a Bonsai, and structural-pruning, which involves more rigorous pruning to give a tree its basic shape or style.

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Bonsai courses

Wiring is a very important technique used to train and style Bonsai trees. By wrapping wire around the branches of a tree you can bend and reposition the branches to your liking. It takes a few months before the branches are set in their new position(s). Remove the wire once the branches have set.

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Bonsai defoliation involves cutting all the leaves of a tree during the summer. In doing so you force the tree to grow new leaves, leading to a reduction in the size of leaves and an increase in ramification.

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Creating deadwood on Bonsai, in the form of Jin or Shari, can enhance the tree's character significantly. A "Jin" is a bare-stripped part of branch and a "Shari" is a barkless part of trunk.

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Bonsai courses

In Japanese: Nebari - A very important aspect of a Bonsai is its Nebari (or: root-flare), the surface roots that provide visual balance to a tree. Creating a Nebari can be done using two methods; by regularly pruning the downward growing roots or by applying a propagation technique; air layering. Both methods will be described in detail below.

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The trunk of a Bonsai deserves specific attention, as it is one of the most eye-catching features of a tree. The following features will be discussed: The Nebari, tapering, thickness and overall shape of the trunk.

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In Japanese: Yose-ue - Although Bonsai are often planted solitary, trees in nature are more commonly found in groups. Creating a Bonsai forest (or group planting) requires an odd number of trees (that is, in case only a few trees are used, to provide asymmetry), usually belonging to the same botanical family.

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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 coniferous tree species. This guide will describe in detail how to create a rock planting.

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Using wire, both aluminum and copper, for Bonsai art design is a relatively recent practice, dating from the 20th century.

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