Bonsai basically refers to a method of training tees and not a special kind of tree as many people think. It literally means a tree in a pot.
There are various bonsai styles and this is much more important for beginners who need to understand important principles of bonsai and basically the various styles used, this will familiarize them to bonsai material. When you start a bonsai, always remember that you are dealing with a living plant.
Here are some of the basic bonsai styles:
1. Formal Upright
Trees with this kind of style always occur when it’s been grown in the open and of course under normal and perfect conditions. One of the most important requirements for this style is a perfectly straight trunk, slowing down naturally from the base to the apex.
The second requirement is that the branches should be spaced in a systematic order so that if viewed from any direction, they must appear balanced. This style is recommended for spruces, larches, junipers, pines and spruces. Maples are also recommended though they might not be easy to train into a conformist style.
2. Informal Upright
In this type of style, you will realize that trees bend or change their direction away from other trees, buildings, wind or shade.
In the informal upright bonsai, the trunk should bend to the right or left, this applies to all types of bonsai. The condition in this kind of style is that the trunk should NEVER bend towards the viewer.
The principle to achieving an informal upright bonsai is that it requires a tapered trunk but the positioning should be in such a way that it is closer to the way a natural tree would look if exposed to the elements at an early age.
The style works best with such species as Japanese maple, beech, trident maple-basically all conifers and ornamental trees.
Slanting trees naturally occur as a result of a deep shade during early development therefore making it slant, however, whether curved or straight, the trunk leans at a definite angle.
This style is one of the simplest to achieve when working on a bonsai. The bonsai can basically be trained at an early age by tying or wiring the trunk until when it is in a slanted position, or by putting the actual pot in a slant position causing the tree to grow abnormally.
The slant style works best for all conifers and related species in the informal bonsai style.
4. Cascade Bonsai Style
The basic in this kind of bonsai style is that the tip of the cascade bonsai reaches below the base of the container. The trunk appears to be pulling against the force of gravity with a natural taper on it. Branches normally appear to be facing or rather seeking light; if done in the correct way, this style of bonsai is pleasing.
The tip of the tree projects over the top part of the container but does not drop below its base. This style basically occurs when the tree grow on clifs or overhang water. The angle at which the trunk lies is not precise even though the plant grows below the pot rim.
Many species work well with this style expect those which are strongly upright.