Bonsai forest

Creating a Bonsai forest or group planting

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.

Make a forest Bonsai video
MAKING A FOREST BONSAI

How to create a Bonsai forest planting

First of all suitable Bonsai plants need to be selected; a group planting should consist of different sizes of trees, a few tall ones for in the middle and several smaller ones to plant on the sides. Use trees mostly growing upright, as the composition could look unnatural when using many different shapes of trees. How many trees to use in total is up to you, most group plantings contain 7-15 trees.

Selecting the right Bonsai pot is very important; choose a large and quite shallow pot and take into account the normal guideline for deciding on color etc. A pot with many small holes in the bottom will be useful when attaching the trees to the pot.

Use a standard Bonsai soil mixture of Akadama, Pumice and Lava rock mixed together in a ratio of ½ to ¼ to ¼ (read the Bonsai soil mixtures article for more detailed information on soil mixtures for different species of trees, climates, etc.).

After having selected the trees and the pot, follow the step-by-step plan below to create the group planting. We also created a video about creating a small forest from Maple trees, see above, or read about this mini forest.

Goshin, a forest planting of eleven Foemina junipers
This Bonsai is named Goshin, a forest planting of eleven Foemina junipers. Take a look at our Bonsai forests top 7 for more inspiration.

When?

The spring season is the best time of year to create a group planting, the ideal time is when the trees you are combining into a forest planting are starting to show signs of new growth.

Aftercare

Place the newly formed Bonsai group planting in the shade for at least a month and wait with styling the trees until the next spring.

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Key take-away

The most difficult part of creating a forest planting is selecting and finding proper trees. Try to find trees of one species, but varying in shape, size and trunk-thickness.