Nature makes plants take on amazing shapes. In the art of Bonsai , we always try to imitate them , with the maximum possible realism, naturally, since once a branch is too forced, the image changes radically.
There are several styles recognized and taught by the masters of this ancient art. We will talk about the most common and easy to get for beginners, for those who have just started in this world.
But before we talk about styles, let’s remember one very important thing: we won’t be able to work on the style of our tree unless it is prepared for it. I mean: we will need the future bonsai to have a trunk thickness of at least one or two centimeters thick, and a height of approximately fifty centimeters. Why? The explanation is simple: a branch that is too thin will be fragile, and when wiring it, it can easily break; the same would happen with the trunk. And if we want to give it a semi-cascade style, for example, the trunk must measure enough so that we can tilt it as much as we need to adjust it to the design we have chosen.
Once we have our plant, the question arises: what style should I give it? There are several, and it is important that we choose well. Here are some of the most used:
- Broom or hokidachi style : straight trunk, dense ball-shaped branching.
- Formal upright style or chokkan : the trunk, which must be straight, should be wider at the bottom than at the top. The first branches will come out at a quarter of the height of the trunk. An upper branch should form the apex.
- Informal upright style or moyogi : similar to the formal upright, with the difference that the trunk must snake.
- Inclined or shakkan style : It has to grow at a sixty or eighty degree angle to the ground. The trunk must be wider at the base, and the roots must be denser on the side where the tree leans than on the other.
- Semi-cascade or han-kengai style : the trunk grows slightly upwards, then bends downwards. The apex grows above the pot, and the rest lower.
It is not convenient to force the tree, that is, we will not give it a semi-cascade style when it is growing more in a formal vertical style. It can be done, of course, but the work will take more time. A well-made bonsai is one that truly imitates nature, and makes us imagine ourselves in it.