Bonsai Trees

What Makes A Bonsai Tree Amazing?

Many people think a bonsai is a type or a species of tree. Bonsai is a Japanese word literally meaning: (bon- ‘basin’ or tray, sai- to ‘grow’). Any tree or shrub with the right characteristics is suitable material to become a bonsai tree.

If you want to create a bonsai that gets some attention and comments rather than a twig stuck in a pot, the very first thing to learn is what makes up the right characteristics for an amazing bonsai tree.

So read on and take notice that most of the individual examples below have many of the listed characteristics.

bonsai tree

Bonsai Links

A dense structure ~ Lots of small twigs give the bonsai artist maximum styling options. “Small” is relative to the size of the overall bonsai. Unsuitable varieties are those that do not take well to pruning or ones that send out long shoots to quickly to keep maintained.

bonsai group planting
bonsai winter
compact bonsai tree

Small leaves or needles ~ The idea is to make the bonsai appear larger than life. A miniature version of a huge ancient tree or a large shrub that has withstood years of extreme weather on the mountain cliffs. Again “small” is of course relative to the size of bonsai tree, it’s all about proper scale. A 16" tall big leaf maple bonsai just wouldn't work.

cascade pine tree bonsai
penjing bonsai landscape

Interesting trunk ~ The trunk often determines the name of the overall style of the tree.

Interesting Roots ~ Exposed roots (nebari) are an important feature in bonsai trees. they are developed in several ways. Here are some examples: *Root Over Rock - Roots are grown over rock and into the soil.*  *Raft- Several trees growing up from a mother tree which has long since fallen over and continued to live.* *Raised Root- Soil is washed away over the years to slowly expose the roots and harden them off above ground.* and *Sinuous- Roots are linked across the surface of the soil and shared by more than one tree. 

root over rock bonsai tree
raft style bonsai
sinous roots bonsai

Flowers & Fruit ~ both highly sought after characteristic for any bonsai tree. Two feature of some of the most highly prized specimens. Fruits start out green, then slowly develop into their mature size and finally ripen into a completely different color adding all the more splendor and interesting change to a perhaps already incredible tree.

flowering azalea bonsai
flowering crabapple bonsai
azalea bonsai
crabapple bonsai red fruit

Seasonal Interest ~ Bonsai enthusiasts enjoy watching their trees go through the seasonal changes and fall color can be a spectacular display.

A deciduous bonsai (one that loses it's leaves in the winter allows the inner structure to be fully appreciated and enjoyed almost as though it were an entirely different tree.

Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

raised roots bonsai
crabapple bonsai tree
bonsai fall color

The art of Bonsai does not merely decrease the size of a tree to fit and be planted in a bonsai pot, but rather attempts to increase and enhance the potted tree, expanding it’s natural beauty, to capture nature itself.