When it comes right down to it, there are five basic styles for bonsai trees that come with many, many variations but we won’t get that deep into that part of it all. What’s important to know is that these five basic styles are the foundation for all other shapes you will find in Bonsai trees. If you are a beginner this will be important information for you to learn so that it will be easier for you to decide what you want to do with your first Bonsai tree.
The first basic style for the Bonsai tree is called the Formal Upright style. For this basic style it’s not always very easy to find the right material that you need to design it. What you want to do when it comes to this basic upright style is to try and find yourself some plants that already have a straight trunk by nature.
Another thing that’s important is that one of it’s defining assets is that it will also taper all the way up the tree with the trunk getting smaller and smaller as it reaches the top of the tree. There are some varieties of the Juniper and the tropical Tamarind fruit tree and the Larch that will actually grow erect most of the time without any help from us.
The second basic style is called the Informal Upright style. This one is a lot easier to find plants that you can create this style with. This particular style has a much softer look and it’s a lot less severe when it comes to its shape.
This style is going to have curves and slight bends in it and it will have the look of something that you just might really see growing naturally out in the woods. When shaping this tree style it is generally the rule of thumb to try and make sure the branches are on the outside of the curves on the tree. Even with its curves and bends when the top of the tree is put directly over the center of the trees base it helps make it look straighter than it really is.
The third style for Bonsai trees is called the Slant. This is a trunk that is at a full slant either leaning to the right or to the left. What is important about this particular style is that it appears that the roots are holding the tree firmly in place. From the Slant style you can be a little more advanced and go with what is called a Windswept look. When you use this style you are trying to give the Bonsai tree the look of a tree that has survived strong winds and harsh weather conditions. This should look like a very dominant wind has been blowing on the tree from one direction.
The style should never look like the Bonsai tree is about to fall over. If it’s extremely slanted version of this style, you will often see the tree being propped up with a decorative rock, but usually the rock will be removed once you know that the roots are stabilized.
The fourth style used for creating Bonsai trees is called Cascade often called “Cliff hanger”. This style requires that the growing tip of the plant you have chosen to be in a Cascade style needs to extend itself below the bottom of its container. It’s the Juniper plant that is the best and most popular plant that is used for this particular style, but there are others that will work as well.
The fifth basic style for the Bonsai tree is called the Half or Semi-Cascade. This is a lot like the Cascade but, this particular shape will hang just below the lip of the container that it’s in but it never will extend itself below the actual bottom of the pot itself. One of the more exotic looks for the Semi-Cascade is when a trunk will be extended nearly horizontally to the right or left side.
As I said, these are just the five basic styles that many variations get their start from. From those basics you can go onto so many different shapes within the styles that to a beginner it would just be too overwhelming to grasp. The detailed shapes and variations are for the advanced person and really shouldn’t even be considered when you are first starting out with your Bonsai trees.