12 types of bonsai trees illustrated via 54 pictures organized by style/shape. Includes upright, slanted, windswept, cascading, multi-trunk, forest and more.
Bonsai is a Japanese word which means “Planted in a container”.
While it’s a Japanese term, the art of growing plants and trees in containers started with the Chinese which they called “pun-sai”.
The art of Bonsai has evolved over hundreds of years. It continues to be popular worldwide today for good reason. It’s a relaxing (meditative) practice that results in living works of art. I suspect there are few people in the world who don’t appreciate a well-done bonsai tree.
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Related: Types of Trees
As you’ll see in our photo gallery of bonsai trees below, there are many styles of bonsai trees. The styles are generally classified by the growth shape of the bonsai.
The broom style bonsai tree is a deciduous bonsai tree which is a bushy from it branching out like a mushroom.
A formal upright bonsai tree is one that is ramrod straight and becomes thinner toward the top.
An informal upright bonsai tree is one that grows upright but the trunk may zig zag a little on its way up.
A slanting bonsai tree is one that grows in a leaning direction.
A cascading bonsai tree is one that bends part way up and then grows downward extending below the pot.
This type of bonsai bends partway up and then grows sideways at pot level.
This style is one where leaves only grow at the top.
The windswept bonsai appears like a leaning bonsai except the branches all grow on one side giving an appearance of a sail.
A double-trunk bonsai is one where 2 trunks grow from the main trunk.
A multi-trunk is several (more than 2) trunks growing from one main trunk.
Forest style bonsai trees are bonsai formations of several bonsai trees each with their own trunk close together creating a forest effect.
Growing on a Rock
A bonsai growing on a rock is the bonsai’s roots growing around the rock to reach the soil. Very cool.
Growing in a Rock
Bonsai trees growing in rock is one where the roots extend into rock cracks to reach nutrients.