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13 Different Types of Bonsai Trees (by Style and Shape Plus Pictures)

A collage of the different types of bonsai trees.

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.

Bonsai Styles

4 Main Types of Bonsai 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.

Related: Types of MyrtleTypes of Trees

1. Broom Style

The broom style bonsai tree is a deciduous bonsai tree which is a bushy from it branching out like a mushroom.

Broom Style Bonsai Tree

Broom Style Bonsai Tree

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2. Formal Upright

A formal upright bonsai tree is one that is ramrod straight and becomes thinner toward the top.

Formal Upright Bonsai Tree

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Formal Upright Bonsai

3. Informal Upright

An informal upright bonsai tree is one that grows upright but the trunk may zig zag a little on its way up.

Informal Upright Bonsai Tree

Informal Upright Bonsai

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4. Slanting

A slanting bonsai tree is one that grows in a leaning direction.

Slanting Bonsai Tree

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Slanted Bonsai

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5. Cascading

A cascading bonsai tree is one that bends part way up and then grows downward extending below the pot.

Cascading bonsai tree

Cascading bonsai tree 2

Cascading Bonsai

6. Semi-Cascading

This type of bonsai bends partway up and then grows sideways at pot level.

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Semi-Cascading Bonsai

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Semi-Cascading Bonsai

Semi Cascading Bonsai Tree

7. Literati Bonsai

This style is one where leaves only grow at the top.

Literati Bonsai Tree

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8. Windswept

The windswept bonsai appears like a leaning bonsai except the branches all grow on one side giving an appearance of a sail.

Windswept Bonsai tree example

red Windswept Bonsai Tree

9. Double Truck

A double-trunk bonsai is one where 2 trunks grow from the main trunk.

Double Trunk Bonsai Tree

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10. Multi-Trunk

A multi-trunk is several (more than 2) trunks growing from one main trunk.

Multi-trunk Bonsai Tree

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11. Forest Style

Forest style bonsai trees are bonsai formations of several bonsai trees each with their own trunk close together creating a forest effect.

Forest style bonsai tree

Forest Style Bonsai Tree

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12. 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.

Bonsai Growing on a Rock

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13. Growing in a Rock

Bonsai trees growing in rock is one where the roots extend into rock cracks to reach nutrients.

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Bonsai Tree Growing in a Rock

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Related:

Topiary Trees | Garden Mazes

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