Bonsai is a thousand-year-old practice of cultivating trees where a tree is grown in a small pot, and the tree looks like a miniature version of nature. So, bonsai is an art form where you can recreate a scene of nature in a small container. There are many bonsai styles that you can apply to your bonsai plant, such as broom, upright, slanting, windswept, literati, etc.
The Cascade Bonsai (Kengai) style is one of the popular styles. As the name suggests, the cascade style is when the plants grow like a falling waterfall. It represents trees that grow on the edge of a cliff and tend to flow downwards like snowfall or falling rocks.
Cascade Style Bonsai (Kengai)
The main idea behind cascading is that a branch will come down of the pot to create a flowing bonsai style. This technique represents trees that are growing on an edge. A classic cascade style has two parts one growing top and the main branch growing down. This style might be a careful shape to hold, and you have to wire it constantly. But this gives a beautiful addition to your bonsai collection.
Best Species for Cascade
The best species for cascade-style bonsai are ground-hugging species. Some excellent species would be:
- Green Mound Juniper
- Chinese Juniper
- Needle Juniper
- Japanese Garden Juniper
- Juniper Communis
- Scotch Pine
- Japanese Black Pine
- Japanese White Pine
Ingredients for Cascading
Cascade bonsai grows in tall pots. A shallow vessel is not the best option for your cascade bonsai. Make sure there is a drainage hole in the bottom. Cover the hole with a plastic net.
Open granular soil is a good compost for bonsai. A recommended soil recipe would be Levington peat-based compost, Orchid bark, some Japanese pumice, and Japanese black sand.
How to make cascade bonsai?
The techniques for cascading bonsai differs from plant to plant. Each plant has a unique movement that makes it different from the rest of the plants. So, today we will go through the basics of how to make a cascade bonsai.
Take your bonsai out of the container
To take the plant along with the soil, rub the pot to pack the soil dense. Turn the pot upside down, grab the tree and let the plant come down itself.
Find the trunk of the plant
Some bonsais might have columns that are hard to find. In that case, try and rake some soil around the column. Mark the column will be your trailing branch and map your bonsai according to it. This mapping includes the top and trailing portions, which branches to prune, and what shape you want your bonsai to be.
Prune your tree to be in cascade shape
As discussed earlier, there might be a top and a trailing portion. Mark them and carefully remove half of the branches. It is best to remove any small or undersize branches that are growing from the trunk itself.
Wire your tree
You should wire almost 75% of the trunk. Anchor a relatively thick wire near the base of the tree column. Carefully wrap it up around the column. You do not want to wrap it too tightly since this may damage the column as it grows.
Bend the trunk to your cascade shape
You will have to bend the column in a downwards direction.
Cut some roots
Cut about 20-30% of the rootlets depending on your tree and pot in the container mentioned above.
Always keep some bonsai soil that came with the bonsai
Fill the pot with the bonsai soil as above and plant your bonsai in the vessel.
Now you can wire the branches of the trailing column. Use the smaller gauge wire but don’t wrap them tightly.
Continue to fill and wire
Continue to fill out and wire as the trailing branch grows.
Basic Bonsai Tree Style: It is time we will talk about some other bonsai styles.
- Broom Style Bonsai Tree (Hokidachi): As the name suggests, this tree will look like a broom, a straight upright broom. It grows straight and upright and spreads in all directions. Deciduous trees with fine branching are perfect for this style.
- Formal Upright Bonsai Tree (Chokkan): This is the most common bonsai style. This style represents trees in nature that get a lot of sunlight and grows without any obstacles. The trunks are thicker at the ground.
- Informal Upright Bonsai Tree (Moyogi): This almost the same as Formal Upright Bonsai. The difference is that it grows a bit curve and takes the shape of ‘S’.
- Slanting Bonsai style (Shakan): This is also like the Formal Upright Bonsai. But this time the plant grows 60-80 degrees relative to the ground. This style represents trees that are the result of a one-directional dominant wind blow.
- Windswept Bonsai style (Fukinagashi): These trees, like cascade trees, represents trees that grow in a struggle. The branches, as well as the trunk, is been grown to one side as if the wind has been blowing the tree constantly in one direction.
- Double Trunk Style Bonsai (Sokan): When two trunks come out of the same rootlet that style is double trunk style bonsai. Both columns can come out close to the ground.
- Multi-trunk Bonsai Style (Kabudachi): The concept of multi-trunk bonsai is similar to double trunk style bonsai. Here three or more trunks can come out of a single root.
- Forest Bonsai style (Yose-ue): This style is multiple bonsai planted in one large tray pot. They are not planted in a line but in a scattered way as they represent a forest.
In the end, it can be said that bonsais are a beautiful addition to your house. Acquire the different styles of bonsais. Hope this article has encouraged you to get various type of bonsai and make your garden a more beautiful place. Take care of your bonsai and give them what they need.
- Grow Ficus Benjamina Bonsai in 7 Easy Steps (2021)
- How to Water Bonsai Trees in 2021? Tips & Tricks
- Is My Bonsai Tree Dead? An Easy Answer In 2021
- Why Bonsai Is So Expensive?
- 15 Unique Bonsai Tree Ideas