The shape of a bonsai tree is one of its most important characteristics. Bonsai is an art form as well as a gardening hobby and should be treated as such, and thatâ€™s why learning the skill of bonsai shaping is so important. Bonsai trees can be shaped into almost any form you desire, but there are several shapes that are common to the art of bonsai. Even though there are typical shapes, you may discover a new one that you like better than any of the typical shapes common to growing these miniature trees.
Formal Upright and Informal Upright
The formal upright and informal upright styles are the most common to growing bonsai trees. The style is characterized by the straight and upright growth of the tree. The trunk is tapered and, for the informal style, the trunk incorporates its famous bend and curves in order to differentiate from the formal style.
The slant style of bonsai trees begins like the formal upright style with straight trunks, but the trunk leans at an angle to the left or right of the root base.
Cascade style is one of the more beautiful shapes that bonsai trees can be shaped in. The cascade style originates from trees that grow over water or on mountains. The tree top will cascade to one side and can grow to the base of the pot or just below it.
The literati style of shaping bonsai trees is perhaps the most common shape people think of when thinking of bonsai trees. This particular shape has a bare trunk line with very few branches. The branches are all on the top part of the tree and the bare part of the trunk is more commonly twisted.
If you really want to work at becoming an expert on bonsai shaping, you can try the forest style (or group style) of shaping. This consists of planting more than one tree together in a single pot. The trees are of different heights and give the image of visual depth. Most of the time forest style consists of three or more trees. It is typical to have an odd number of trees, and never four trees because of the significance of the number four in Japan.
Whatever style you choose to trim your indoor bonsai trees, know that it is an art form and you will have a chance to show creative license. Begin with a common shape, and then add your own special touches to make your bonsai trees truly unique to you.