Bonsai Styles

Bonsai Styles

 

These are 5 basic bonsai styles.  Each of these styles can have many different variations, but we should start with the basics.

  • Formal Upright:
    • Straight trunk line
    • Apex is located over the base of the trunk
    • It is OK for the top to lean toward the viewer (bowing)
    • Formal Upright trees would typically be found growing in the open with no competition for light
  • Informal Upright:
    • Some movement in the trunk line (curves)
    • Apex is located over or nearly over the base of the trunk
    • Secondary movement toward the viewer
    • Informal Upright trees grow in a location with prevailing winds or in a location where the tree has to compete for light
  • Slanting:
    • Straight or curved trunk line
    • Apex is located significantly to one side of the base of the truck
    • Slanting style trees grow in a location with constant influences (wind on a side of a mountain or lake/sea shore, edge of a stream or a forest, base of a cliff, light only coming from one direction)
  • Semi-Cascade:
    • Trunk line of a semi-cascade is more horizontal than vertical
    • Less than half of the visual mass is located below the base of the trunk
  • Cascade:
    • More than half of the visual mass of a cascade lies below the base of the trunk
    • Semi-cascades and cascades grow in areas where high winds, heavy snow loads or rock slides can affect the direction of growth.  These areas include but not limited to Canyon walls, cliffs and steep embankments
Formal Upright Larch
Informal Spruce
Slanting White Pine
Semi Cascade White Cedar
Cascade Juniper