Some Basic Training of a Beginning Bonsai


I have a few plants that I like to experiment on while honing my bonsai techniques. Succulents are great because they can take a beating and bounce back really fast. That way I can practice styles and techniques without killing a specimen bonsai that I cherish.

Here’s a good example using a succulent (of which I know not the name)* to practice my hand at a leaning informal root over rock style.

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I’ve only trimmed this once before so the only branches I’ll keep are the bottom two. The rest I just keep pinching back for ramification. Which means removing the tip of the branch so two will form. You do this strategically so you can form additional branches where you want them.

I haven’t chosen a top for this tree and will most likely chop it to right above the third branch from the bottom for a better trunk taper.

Again, trees like this are safe to practice on and no real loss if I accidentally murder it.

*with the aid of my friend Matt, who recognized a crassula when he saw one, I discovered that this tree is a portulacaria afra. Cheers for the great lead Matt!


0 Replies to “Some Basic Training of a Beginning Bonsai”

  1. Very nice – I’ve never seen these ones (it’s a Crassula of some description) made into bonsai before, but I love how you’ve trained it to grow over the rock.

    1. Yes, that’s it! It’s a portulacaria afra, a type of crassula. Thanks for the lead! I have a crassula ovata ‘gollum’ bonsai that’s about 12 years old that’s much more developed. I’ll do a post about that one soon.

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