Bonsai Tips for Intermediates


You now have some experience of keeping and maintaining trees. You look at your collection and want to know how to improve the appearance and quality of what you have. You will have basic skills in living and know the various styles and terminology to understand the next stage.

You are not selecting twigs that will take a lifetime or more to look anything. Larger material with potential is not so easily found, and unless you’re lucky it will not be cheap. Big does not mean good.

You must go away and look at the potential and visualize the end result (hopefully). To copy from examples is quite acceptable and you will probably end up with something of a personalized version.


I have taken a collected larch with a prostrate habit from a quarry in Wales. They lend themselves to create a semi or full cascade style. The tree is well established 2 ½ years form collection, with plenty of roots and various extensions on all parts of the tree.

I selected one main branch to form the cascade and another to create a suppressed apex. Wire every branch, position and bend the trucks first and bend branches into their eventual pot position. This should only take a few hours.

The next stage is to wait. Allow extensions and fresh growth with watering and feeding programs. The effect will be that the branches and trunks swell rapidly.

Do not allow the wire to cut into this new growth. Remove wire as soon as this starts to happen – could be 6-8 weeks in growing season. Cut it off as unwinding can damage a branch that has taken many years to grow.

Bonsai Tree Guide