How to grow Bonsai plants

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Bonsai is the art of growing miniature trees. It originally started in China around 1200 years ago and then spread to Japan and Korea.

The art of Bonsai was loved so much by Buddhist Monks that they wanted to bring the “beauty of nature” inside their Temples while meditating. In these traditions it has spiritual and religious meanings.

Nowadays, as well as bringing a little bit of nature indoors, it offers and outlet to be creative with your plant growing.

In the art of Bonsai there are several different types of trees that work best for making miniatures bonsai trees.

There are also five different styles’ of bonsai trees depending on what type of end result you would like.

Also, the best type of soil you can use to grow bonsai.

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Formal upright Bonsai plant

The best types of trees to use for bonsai gardening

There are many different types of trees you can use for a bonsai plant. From the cherry blossom tree to the mighty sequoia, and everything in between, bonsai has been tried on many different types of trees.

Of the deciduous trees, which means they shed their leaves in the fall, the Japanese Maple and the Japanese Cherry Blossom are two trees that work great for a Bonsai.

In the evergreen category any of the Redwoods, Sequoias, Pines, Cedars or Firs work very well for a Bonsai.

Best soil medium for a Bonsai plant

Since a Bonsai tree is just basically a smaller version if a regular tree the type of soil medium you use is very, very important.

On one hand it has to be able to retain some water, while on the other hand it has to be able to drain excess water. It also should contain all the nutrients your plant needs.

There are several different types of Bonsai planting mixes

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that you can find online. My suggestion to you is to use one of these pre-made mixes to make sure you use the proper medium for your plant.

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Here is a short video on growing bonsai trees.


The five basic styles’ of Bonsai

These styles’ are mainly based on trunk angle but also a guide for everything from the roots to the branches.

-Formal Upright

This style forms the basis for all types of Bonsai. In the formal upright the trunk should be perfectly straight and tapers evenly from top to bottom.

The roots should extend straight out in a radius pattern.

The branches are pruned to be in groups of three. With two to each side and a shorter one in the back. No branches are allowed in the front.

The lower branches are the strongest and longest and as they taper up the tree no branch is directly above a lower branch.

Bonsai in the formal upright style symbolizes strength, balance, composure and dignity.

Recommended species: Coast and Dawn Redwood, Giant Sequoia, Oriental Spruce, Port Orford and Atlas Cedar.

-Informal Upright

This style allows for a little bit more flexibility that the formal upright.

In the informal upright the tree trunk is allowed to be curved to a greater or lesser extent.

The root system remains the same as the formal upright.

The branch configuration is the same however more latitude is given to the order in which the side and rear branches are staggered. This is left up to the discretion of the Bonsai artist. The branches should still taper as they reach the top of the tree.

The informal style is very popular with beginning Bonsai artists because it is a little bit more flexible than the formal style.

Recommended species: Coast and Dawn Redwood, Chinese Fir, Giant Sequoia, Mountain Hemlock, Brewer and Oriental Spruce, Port Orford and Atlas Cedar, Red Maple and other deciduous trees.


Slanting offers a style that is in between the upright and the cascade styles’.

The slanting styles’ trunk angle should be between 11 and 45 degrees giving it that “grown on a cliff wind swept look”.

The three branch rule is still in effect however the first branch should be on the opposite side of the tree’s slant and stick straight out. The branches that are on the side of the lean should be made to grow downward first and the straight out.

This is definitely an asymmetrical style where you can be pretty flexible with your shaping ideas.

Recommended species: Mountain Hemlock, Bristlecone Pine, Brewer Spruce and Atlas Cedar.


This is the style that teaches a tree to essentially grow horizontally. Since it is a horizontal design it does require stronger roots and a thicker trunk for more stability. In this style the trunk can vary from mild curves to sharp angles.

The rule of three still applies to the branches with larger branches extending outward in both directions. Smaller branches should reach upwards and no branches should extend downward.

In the Semi-Cascade style between 1/3 and 2/3’s of the trees’ length should be horizontal.

This style is trying to depict what trees look like when grown on the side of a cliff in windy conditions.

Recommended species: Mountain Hemlock, Bristlecone Pine, Brewer Spruce and Atlas Cedar.

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The full Cascade Bonsai style depicts the beauty of trees that live on sheer ravines and towering cliffs where they have been carved by decades of icy winds and extreme weather.

In this style the tree trunk angles sharply downward after growing out of the pot. It is meant to have many angles and curves.

The branches are still in groups of threes and are situated along the bends of the trunk. All branches should extend forward and none towards the back.

Recommended species: Mountain Hemlock, Bristlecone Pine, Brewer Spruce and Atlas Cedar.

Semi cascade Bonsai plant

Growing Bonsai plants is a wonderful hobby for people who really love gardening. The care it takes to properly grow a Bonsa
i tree, watering, fertilizing and trimming teaches you patience and how to work with nature.

If you are growing them from seed realize that it might take several years for them to get big enough to start shaping them.

If you buy one that is already starting to grow then most of the hard work is done for you and you can start shaping however you desire.

Below you can find links to grow kits that come with everything you need to grow a Bonsai plant.

Japanese Cherry Blossom Grow Kit< Click here<

Coast Redwood Grow Kit< Click here<

Bonsai 5 Tree Bundle< Click here<







2 thoughts on “How to grow Bonsai plants

  1. Hi, thank you for the information on your site. I’ve often admired Bonsai but have never given it a go. Now after reading what you have to say I am seriously considering doing a Bonsai for myself. Thanks again very informative.
    The only thing I would have liked was more pictures of the Bonsai trees, Ionly saw two the upright and another.

    1. Thanks for the feedback. I looked all over my source for more pictures. Unfortunately They did not have any. If you have any other questions please feel free to ask.

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