How to make a bonsai Print

Creating your first bonsai is not as hard as you may think. In this section we will take you through four stages. Selecting suitable stock to work with. Selecting a suitable style for your tree and creating it. Potting soils and wiring your tree.

Care and maintenance of your new bonsai. If you follow these steps in progressive order you should end up with a passable tree that will only improve with age. Don’t be upset if it is not up to show standard on your first attempt, you will learn all the basic techniques in this exercise and the more you look at trees the more expert you will become. I still have the first tree I made although it has been through several incarnations and restyles and if I was doing it from start it would probably be quite different, but it still holds sentimental value. So start at stage one and return to this page until you have completed stage four. Then send me a photo I would love to put it on this site to inspire others to take up this absorbing hobby. I have picked up a Juniper procumbens from our local plant store to give you a photo demonstration of each step as well as having the written instructions



After you have selected your tree take some time to look at it. All bonsai have a front and a back, see if you can decide which side will become your front. There are five basic bonsai styling techniques. Your tree will fit into one of these categories.


Wiring is sometimes seen as another form of bonsai torture for these little trees but it is really no different to staking or espaliering fruit trees. The wire is only on for a short time; long enough to set the branch in the new position and then it is removed. It is quite possible to create a perfectly acceptable tree without wiring using a clip and grow technique but the use of wire speeds up the whole process and allows you more flexibility in your design.


The wire used is a soft copper or aluminum; try to get wire that is about one third the thickness of the branch to be bent. Wire stripped from electrical cable is perfectly adequate but if you can't find any, you may have to contact your local bonsai nursery. The trick with wiring is to make sure that one end is anchored properly; you can achieve this by pushing one end into the soil if bending the trunk or wiring two branches at the same time. Practice on a branch you have removed or on a near by tree before you start on your tree. The turns of the wire should be kept at an angle of 45 degrees and quite firm against the branch, be careful not to tear the bark or worse, snap your branch. Go slowly and keep it tidy, people will be looking at it for a few months before you can remove it.

The length of time you leave it on will vary depending on the type of tree and the time of the year. Keep a close eye on it and when it starts to look too tight, cut it off. If the branch springs back, it will need rewiring. Don't leave the wire so long that it cuts grooves into the bark.

With your tree all wired and roughly to the shape you require its time to pot. The pot is an important part of the whole bonsai process it can make or break your design. Use a proper bonsai pot they should have quite large drainage holes and some kind of feet to lift the base off the ground. As well as these two horticultural requirements this is a piece of art you're creating so the pot should be part of your overall design. This is a new bonsai and as such still has some maturing to do don't try to put it in too small a pot. It will continue growing and you can always down size once some new root is established.



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