Golden Rules Of Bonsai- A Bonsai Guide
The word bonsai simply means “a plant in a tray”, but the legacy of this ancient art can’t be explained with a small statement!
The practice of bonsai culture originated over 1,000 years ago in China and well refined by the Japanese. Japanese artists are the one who are responsible to bring the culture to the current standards.
Now Bonsai culture is followed and loved by millions of people across the world. Bonsai Art has now evolved to reflect changing tastes and times – with a great variety of countries, cultures and conditions in which it is now practiced.
However evolved the art has become, the basic Golden rules of Bonsai which are the core of this beautiful culture have remained the same.
Today let’s try to understand the basics of this art. For your ease of learning and convenience, I’ve separated the rules into four parts
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Well, without further adieu, let’s get into it.
Golden Rules for a Bonsai Trunk
- Trunk of the Bonsai plant should lean slightly toward the viewer.
- Trunk should flare at base to visually anchor the plant.
- No eye-poking roots (directly at viewer).
- Apex should lean toward viewer.
- Trunk should taper as it ascends. No reverse taper.
- Curves in trunk should not result in ‘pigeon breast’ (roundness toward viewer).
- Apex should finish in the direction set by the base. ‘Flow’ should be maintained.
- For formal and informal upright styles of Bonsai, the apex should be over the base.
- In informal uprights, too many ‘S’ curves will be tiresome.
- Twin tree trunks in a Bonsai plant should divide at the base, not higher up
Golden Rules for Bonsai Branches
- No crossing branches or branches that cross the trunk.
- First branch should be placed approximately 1/3 the height of the tree.
- Branches go on the outside of the curves (No belly branches).
- Branch caliper should be in proportion to the trunk. Branches that are thicker than 1/3 the trunk caliper will be too thick.
- First branch should be left (or right), second branch right (or left), third branch should be back branch.
- Branches should visually alternate, no parallel branches.
- Branches should diminish in size and caliper as they ascend.
- There should be space between the branches to ‘Let the birds fly through’.
- First and second branches (Left and Right branches) should be placed forward of the mid line to ‘invite’ the viewer.
- First, second, and third branches are approximate 120 degrees apart, with the back branch not directly behind the tree.
- Only one branch per trunk position, no ‘wheel and spoke’ or whorled branches, or bar branches (branches directly opposite each other).
- Branches should create an outline of a scalene triangle with the apex representing God, the middle corner man and the lower corner earth.
- Secondary branches should alternate left and right and follow the rules of main branch placement, except there should be no secondary branches moving up or down. This creates the foliage pad.
- Branches for cascade style generally follow the rules for upright style, except that the trunk moves down.
- In twin Bonsai trees, there should not be branches between the trees which would cross the trunks. The outside branches of both trees create the triangle of foliage.
Golden Rules for Bonsai Pots
- The tree should be placed behind the midline of the pot, and to the left or right of the centerline.
- The depth of the pot should be the caliper of the trunk, except for cascades.
- Colored glazed pots should be used for flowering and fruiting trees and the colors should complement the flower color.
- The width of the pot should be 2/3 the height of the tree. For very short trees, the width should be two thirds the spread of the tree.
- Style of the pot should match the tree. Uprights without much movement should be in rectangular pots, informal uprights with a lot of trunk movements should be in oval or round pots. Massive trees should be in deep rectangular pots.
Golden Rules for Soil and Bonsai Maintenance
- Bonsai Soil should be uniform, not layered.
- Water the bonsai plant from above, not by submerging; this will prevent the buildup of salts.
- Increase humidity by using a tray of pebbles and water or by keeping the area under the bench wet, not by misting.
- Use only coarse particles for Bonsai soil.
- Water when the plants need to be watered, not by a fixed schedule.
- Keep temperate climate plants outside. Only tropical and subtropical plants (for the most part) are suitable for indoor bonsai. Temperate climate plants must be given an appropriate period of cold dormancy if they are to be kept indoors. ( However Indian Bonsai are only supposed to be placed outdoor)
Well that ends our list. The above mentioned principles are at the heart of Bonsai culture. These methods is what makes your bonsai special from other normal plants.