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Home > Bonsai > Styles of Bonsai
Styles of Bonsai
Formal Upright Informal Upright Slanting Style
Cascade Style Semi- Cascade Style
Styles of BonsaiThe two basic styles of bonsai are the classic (koten) and the informal or `comic` (bunjin). In the former, the trunk of the tree is wider at the base and tapers off towards the top; it is just the opposite in the `bunjin`, a style more difficult to master.

Over the years, bonsai enthusiasts have frequently tried to reclassify the styles, and their many sub-divisions into which plants can be trained. Once you understand the principles behind these designs/styles, you will have a reference point from which to assess a tree`s potential for bonsai and to decide what style suits it.

If you study very carefully the way trees grow in nature, it is possible to design a realistic bonsai without knowing the names of these styles. You do not need to stick strictly to the precise rules of your chosen style: adapt them to suit a plant`s natural habitat.

When you start a bonsai, always remember that you are working with a living plant. Look carefully at its natural characteristics and you may discern within them a suitable style, or styles. All conifers are reasonably unsuitable to the `broom` style, for example, but are very suitable for all other styles, especially formal and informal upright - to which they are particularly suited. Often you can train a plant into several styles, even if it is basically upright like a beech or elegantly slender like a maple. Even if one style only really suits a particular plant, you still can interpret this in many different ways.

Shrubs like azaleas that are not tree-like in nature have fewer restrictions in the style you choose, but, generally, it is best to base any design on the way a tree grows in nature. People that are still learning the basic principles of bonsai should not try to train a bonsai into a style totally unlike a tree`s natural growth pattern, although this is quite possible as you gain more experience.

The Five Main Bonsai Styles:
The five basic bonsai styles are formal upright, informal upright, slanting (or windswept), semi-cascade and cascade. All have their own individual beauty and serenity. They are :
1. Formal Upright
2. Informal Upright
3. Slanting
4. Cascade
5. Semi- Cascade
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