DIY: Shohin
Bonsai forest

Creating a Shohin Bonsai forest

Creating a Shohin bonsai forest may seem an impossible job. The trees need to be placed together in a nice composition, in a shallow container, while staying under the 8" (20cm) size restriction of Shohin Bonsai.

Trees used for a Shohin forest have to be selected at a young age, to be able to train them in the pot from the very beginning. Collecting older, matured trees, and then fit them in to a small pot and sitting tight as a group, while giving the illusion of a forest is almost impossible.

Growing seedlings or cuttings in a pot will make the mission possible. The creation should be simple and we need trees in different thickness and age. Adding different heights and distances between trees will give a feeling of a forest.

The seedlings used in this video are collected in a forest, and are about one to three years old. They were brought home, trimmed and positioned in the small pot. Roots are cut and trimmed, so they are able to grow healthy.

The seedlings will mature in the pot, and grow together. Later they will be as one, when roots have fused and matured over time. Within two or three year’s growth the vision of a simple forest will be developed. The video takes you step-by-step through the process of starting a Shohin bonsai forest of Field maple, Acer campestre.

We thank Morten Albek, teacher of our Shohin Bonsai course, for creating this article. He also teaches on his website shohin-europe.com.

How to create the group planting

These are the main steps to follow, but make sure to watch the video below for a lot more details!

Shohin Bonsai forest creation
This is where the material, young Acer Campestre seedlings from 1-3 years old, were collected in a local forest.

Shohin Bonsai forest creation
The tools used, a pot and some wire.

Shohin Bonsai forest creation
The seedlings are prepared to fit together in a small pot by pruning some of the roots.

Shohin Bonsai forest creation
We prepare the Bonsai pot.

Shohin Bonsai forest creation
Morten creates the main composition here before adding soil - move around the trees until you like your composition. Usually, adding the larger trees slightly off-center, adding the smaller trees around it, will work best.

Some soil is added now
Some soil is added now.

Next we cover the soil with moss, which looks great but also keeps the moist in.
Next we cover the soil with moss, which looks great but also keeps the moist in.

Shohin Bonsai forest creation
Shohin Bonsai forest creation.

How to create a Shohin Bonsai forest video


In this video Morten Albek, teacher of our Shohin Bonsai online course explains how you can create a Shohin Bonsai Forest from simple materials.

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