Category Archives: Bonsai

Shaping My First Bonsai

So this is my first attempt at dramatically re-shaping my Ficus Bonsai, which I’ve had for about a year now.

I started by removing some of the branches to give the tree a more sculpted look. As you can see from the picture above, to begin with there wasn’t any particular shape to the tree. When you start shaping a bonsai, it’s good to have the end goal in mind, as this will determine what branches you keep and how you manage those branches over time.

However, because my bonsai has been grafted (as you can see above), the trunk goes straight upwards before branching off. This made thinking of a shape difficult as bonsai tend to look better low and spread out rather than growing straight upwards. In order to work with the flow of the tree, I embraced this upward movement by shaping the branches to flow downwards from a central point in the trunk, similar to the shape of a fountain. Whilst the branches do not immediately reflect this shape, over the course of the next couple of months they will start to.

     Note the string and wire used to shape the                                     branches

I then focused on the roots. A number of aerial roots (which the Ficus is known to produce under the right conditions) were wrapped around the base of the trunk. I felt they could be utilised to give the tree a more dramatic structure and so dug them out and replanted them flowing outwards from the trunk. Hopefully, they will continue to thicken over the coming months to become more prominent features of the tree.

             I found 3 roots around the base

And now we wait. If you’re still reading by this point I must assume you either have a passion for bonsai or you’re my mom. Either way, thank you for making it this far. I admit these posts will be more for my own reference than anything else, but it’s nice to think someone out there is taking an interest.