A Look into Different Bonsai Styles

A Look into Different Bonsai Styles

Over the years, basic bonsai styles have evolved, and these are used to establish specific guidelines for categorizing and styling these miniature trees. Primarily, bonsai style describes the manner in which the tree and all its component have been styled such as windswept, abstract or naturalistic. By being aware of the different styles of bonsai, it will be easier for you to train your plant to depict a style that will enhance its overall appearance.

Basic Styles of Bonsai Trees

The following are among the common styles of bonsai trees including the key features and specifications of each.

1. Informal Upright

This style is typical not only in bonsai plants, but also in nature. What’s great about this style is that it can be applied for a wide range of species. It depicts the ability of a trunk to twist, change directions and turn with several bends along its entire length while maintaining an upright growth. You will also observe that in this style, branches are able to emerge from the outer portion of bends.When studied closely, the silhouette of a bonsai plant with informal upright form is like an irregular triangle. Some species that take the informal upright style include Junipers and Pine trees, and they are usually found with large and horizontal branching with defined series of foliage.

informal upright

2. Formal Upright

Bonsai plants with a formal upright form have trunks that are entirely straight or facing upwards. The ideal shape is when the trunk displays an equal taper originating from the base to its apex. This style also resembles trees that thrive in open conditions where they do not need to compete for food with other plants. Their branches also feature a slightly or horizontal dropping, as though they are weighed down severely by snow during the winter months. Excellent species that will look superb in a formal upright style include the swamp cypress, cryptomeria, and yew, among a few other coniferous types of plants.

formal upright

3. Slanting Style

Trees that are styled this way have slanting trunks, which grow toward the light. They may also have straight or curved trunk as though they are exposed to harsh winds, and their sheltered areas are typically lower than the ones located on the trunk’s other side. Moreover, the roots must appear as though they anchor the tree to prevent it from falling. On the other hand, the roots on the other side are compressed and short while the other half of roots anchor the plant into the ground.

slanting style

4. Broom Style

Most trees located along orchards or city streets have this style of growth. For this bonsai form, deciduous tree species are groomed to provide them that distinct look of having radial branches. There are also some broom styles where the primary trunk line extends from the trunk’s base to its apex while others have a few branches that present a certain amount of ramification or branching of the twigs.

broom style

5. Cascade Style

This style is quite unique, as it depicts the trunk’s tip as not the highest part of the tree. Furthermore, this image presents the tree as though it is growing out of one side of the cliff with the branches cascading downwards. Since trees naturally grow in an upright position, it may be challenging to maintain the vitality of a bonsai that is forced to head downwards. Thus, this style is not advisable for beginners because of the intricate techniques in training trees to obtain the cascade style.

cascade bonsai

No matter where trees grow, they are impacted by diseases and other environmental factors that also alter their shapes. By looking at what nature does to shape a tree, you will be able to create a beautiful bonsai that resembles its natural appearance. Hence, bonsai cultivation is a work of art instead of merely a small tree grown in a pot.

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