Broom style Bonsai
The broom style is suited for
deciduous trees with extensive, fine branching. The trunk is straight
and upright and does not continue to the top of the tree; it branches
out in all directions about 1/3 of the way up the entire height of the
tree. In this manner the branches and leaves form a ball-shaped crown
which can also be very beautiful during the winter months.
Formal upright Bonsai style
The formal upright style is a very
common form of Bonsai. This style occurs often in nature, especially
when the tree is exposed to lots of light and does not face the problem
of competing trees. For this style, tapering of the upright-growing
trunk must be clearly visible. The trunk must therefore be thicker at
the bottom and must grow increasingly thinner with the height. At about
1/4 of the total length of the trunk, branching should begin. The top
of the tree should be formed by a single branch; the trunk should not
span the entire height of the tree.
Informal upright Bonsai style
The informal upright style is common in
both nature and in the art of Bonsai. The trunk grows upright roughly
in the shape of a letter ‘S’ and at every turn branching occurs.
Tapering of the trunk must be clearly visible, with the base of the
trunk thicker than the higher portions.
Slanting Bonsai style
As a result of the wind blowing in one
dominant direction or when a tree is in the shadow and must bend toward
the sun, the tree will lean in one direction. With Bonsai, the leaning
style should grow at an angle of about 60 - 80 degrees relative to the
ground. The roots are well developed on one side to keep the tree
standing. On the side toward which the tree is leaning, the roots are
clearly not as well developed. The first branch grows opposite the
direction of the tree, in order to balance it. The trunk can be
slightly bent or completely straight, but still be thicker at the
bottom than at the top.
Cascade Bonsai style
A tree living in the nature on a steep
cliff can bend downward as a result of several factors, like snow or
falling rocks. These factors cause the tree to grow downward. With
Bonsai it can be difficult to maintain a downward-growing tree because
the direction of growth opposes the tree’s natural tendency to grow
upright. Cascade Bonsai are planted in tall pots. The tree should grow
upright for a small distance but then bend downward. The crown of the
tree usually grows above the rim of the pot, but the subsequent
branches alternate left and right on the outermost curves of the
S-shaped trunk. These branchings should grow out horizontally in order
to maintain the balance of the tree.
Literati Bonsai style
In nature this style of tree grows in
areas densely populated by many other trees and competition is so
fierce that the tree can only survive by growing taller then all others
around it. The trunk grows crookedly upward and is completely without
branching because the sun only hits the top of the tree. To make sure
that it looks even tougher, some branches are “Jinned” (without bark).
When the bark has been removed from one side of the trunk, the trunk is
referred to as a “Shari”. The idea is to demonstrate that the tree
really has to struggle to survive. These trees are often placed in
small, round pots.
Windswept Bonsai style
The windswept style is also a good
example of trees that must struggle to survive. The branches as well as
the trunk grow to one side as though the wind has been blowing the
tree constantly in one direction. The branches grow out on all sides of
the trunk but will all eventually be bent to one side.
Double trunk style Bonsai
The double trunk style is common in
nature, but is not actually that common in the art of Bonsai. Usually
both trunks will grow out of one root system, but it is also possible
that the smaller trunk grows out of the larger trunk just above the
ground. The two trunks will vary in both thickness and length, the
thicker and more developed trunk grows nearly upright, while the
smaller trunk will grow out a bit slanted. Both trunks will contribute
to a single crown of leaves.
Multitrunk Bonsai style
In theory the multi trunk style is the
same as the double trunk style, but with 3 or more trunks. All the
trunks grow out of one root system, and it truly is one single tree.
All the trunks form one crown of leaves, in which the thickest and most
developed trunk forms the top.
Forest Bonsai style
The forest style looks a lot like the
multi-trunk style, but the difference is that it is comprised of several
trees rather than one tree with several trunks. The most developed
trees are planted in the middle of a large and shallow pot. On the sides
of the pot a few smaller trees are planted to contribute to one single
crown. The trees are planted not in a straight line but in a staggered
pattern, because this way the forest looks natural.
Growing on a rock Bonsai style
On rocky terrain, trees must search
for nurient rich soil with their roots, which can often be found in
cracks and holes. The roots are unprotected before they reach the
ground so they must protect themselves from the sun: a special bark
grows around them. With Bonsai the roots grow over a rock into the pot,
so caring for this tree isn’t really different from caring for any
Growing in a rock Bonsai style
In this style the roots of the tree are
growing in the cracks and holes of the rock. This means that there is
not much room for the roots to develop and absorb nutrients. Trees
growing in rocks will never look really healthy, thus it should be
visible that the tree has to struggle to survive. It is important to
fertilize and water this style often, because there is not much space
available to store water and nutrients. The rock in which the Bonsai
grows is often placed in a very shallow pot, which is sometimes filled
with water of very fine stones.
Raft Bonsai style
Sometimes a cracked tree can survive by
pointing its branches upward. The old root system can provide the
branches with enough nutrients. After a while new roots will start
growing, eventually taking over the function of the old root system. The
old branches which now point into the air develop into trunks with
multiple branchings as a result of the increased influx of nutrients.
These new trunks contribute to one single crown.
Shari Bonsai style
As time passes, some trees develop
bald or barkless places on their trunks as a result of harsh weather
conditions. The barkless portion usually begins at the place where the
roots emerge from the ground, and grows increasingly thinner as it
continues up the trunk. Intense sunlight will bleach these parts,
forming a very characteristic portion of the tree. With Bonsai the bark
is removed with a very sharp knife and the barkless spot is treated
with calcium sulfate in order to speed up the bleaching process.