The Most Popular Bonsai Styles

Choosing a bonsai style is the first and at the same time the most difficult task when we decide to change an ordinary plant into a bonsai tree by the best tool. Meet the 15 most popular styles and decide on which of them you want to form a tree.

What is bonsai?

The art of forming bonsai was born in China about 2000 years ago (it is called pensai there ). The name Bonsai comes from the Japanese language, from the words bon – a dish and sai – a tree (in free translation bonsai means a tree in a dish). It is in the country of cherry blossoms that art has evolved and has survived to this day.

Currently, bonsai is popular all over the world, and the popularity of forming small plants in flat pots is growing every year, attracting a lot of new enthusiasts.

Forming such wonders of nature is a complex art that requires a vast knowledge of plants, many years of experience, a good hand and the right tools.

The bonsai tree is never finished – it is a living plant that requires constant care, not only watering and fertilizing but also taking care of its proper shape. The tree is pruned, the shoots are pinched, and the branches are wrapped with wire so that they take the desired shape.

Bonsai styles

Choosing a bonsai style is the first and at the same time the most difficult task that we face when deciding to change an ordinary plant into a bonsai tree. We have to look through the imagination at the plant formed in the style in which it will look the most magnificent. In fact, the plant itself will show us in what style it should be formed.


Giving style by force is a big mistake. If the material for bonsai has makings for a given style, then you should obey it and follow the path indicated by nature.



S-shaped style

Bonsai in the style of Banana is also called snake style.

The bends of the trunk and branches are very strong – they even seem artificial.

Branches usually grow on the bends of the trunk.



Literary style

Bonsai in Bunjin style is obtained by rejecting all the principles of bonsai art used in other styles.

The rule is to form rare twigs 2/3 of the height of the tree.

The model for this style were trees growing for years in extreme conditions.



Regular style erected

Chokkan style bonsai has an erect trunk, and branches formed in the shape of a pyramid growing in all directions, also backwards.

A tree with branches pointing up gives the impression of a young one, while when the branches of the tree are pointing downwards or formed horizontally, this creates the effect of old age.


Windswept style

Fukinagashi-style bonsai has branches bent to one side.

The trunk can be tilted in the same direction as the branches or in the opposite direction.

Many young twigs cannot be allowed to grow, since their compaction would spoil the liquid line effect.



Broom style

Bonsai in the style of Hokidachi is a tree with a crown resembling an inverted broom – the main branches grow from a straight trunk, forming a broom, dense crown of a tree.

It is good when the trunk has a strong base.



Raft style

Bonsai in stulu Ikadabuki is a forest whose trees are branches vertically growing from a horizontally buried trunk.

This is one of the easier styles.

Both deciduous and coniferous trees and shrubs are suitable for forming in this style.



Stone style

Ishizuke-style bonsai is a tree growing on stone.

The roots entwine the stone reaching the ground in the container and or the plant is planted on the stone and the soil is in the rock cavities.

It can be one tree, a group or even a whole landscape in miniature with different types of plants.



Cascade style

Kengai-style bonsai has a trunk flowing like a cascade from top to bottom.

The tree should have a twisted trunk, it can have any number of branches from any side. The top of the tree should be below the bottom of the container.

It requires a deeper container than other styles of trees.



Half cascade style

Han-kengai style bonsai is a more compact variation of the kengai style and just like it, it reproduces trees growing on rock walls that hang down freely.

In this case, however, the lowest point of the tree does not exceed the level of the bottom of the pot .




Irregular, erected style

Moyogi-style bonsai has a straight but irregular shape.

The tree should be formed so that one branch points to the left, the other to the right, and the third to the back for perspective, the fourth branch to the left, etc.

The top of the tree must lie on a vertical line through the center of the trunk base.



Style with bare roots

Negari style bonsai is a tree with bare roots.

Only the lower part of the roots is embedded in the ground.

This style was “observed” from the coasts, where the sea washes the trees and thus reveals the roots.



Style with roots on the rock

Sekijoju bonsai presents a tree whose roots are very elongated and twisted, shaped just like the rock on which the tree grows.

This style shows how during growth the roots grow to reach the ground.



Inclined style

Shakan style bonsai is considered easy to create, which is why this style is often used by beginners.

It is a tree with a straight trunk, leaning left or right.

Depending on the degree of inclination, a distinction is made between sho-sakan – slightly inclined, chu-shakan – medium inclined and dai-shakan – strongly inclined.



Forked trunk style

Sokan style bonsai is a tree with two trunks. No branches may grow beneath the bifurcation of the trunk.

The trees cannot be of equal height. The first lower branch of the lower tree should always grow lower than the first lower branch of the higher tree.

The branches of both trees cannot cross.



A style with many trees

Yose-uye style bonsai are several trees, preferably more than 3 planted in a flat container, sometimes on a flat rock slab.

The composition imitates a real forest.

Usually trees of the same species are used. The highest trees should be in the middle and the lower ones on the sides.



Leave a Comment