top of page

The lexicon of Bonsai explained 

  • Air Layering: a technique to create roots on an existing tree to create a new on

  • Akadama: clay granules used for potting

  • Atama: the head of a bonsai tree or the crown of a tree

  • Backbudding: creating buds on the inner side of the tree

  • Bankan: winding style

  • Bokashi: making organic fertiliser by fermenting green waste into a Bokashi container

  • Bonsai: tree in a pot (bowl)

  • Chokan: upright style (trunk of the tree is left upright)

  • Dobuki: adventitious budding by appropriate nutrition

  • Grafting: the joining together of plant parts by means of tissue regeneration, often done by an incision in which the other part is joined

  • Hokidachi: Japanese for broom style

  • Jin: a dead branch that has been made artificially, often using jin liquid to remove pigment and to dry it out

  • Kabudachi: trees with multiple trunks

  • Kanuma: Japanese volcanic clay granules used for potting

  • Kiryu: volcanic substrate for extra drainage and mineral addition   

  • Kokufu-ten: a prestigious and leading Bonsai show held every year in Tokio

  • Kengai: cascade style

  • Leader: a leading branch that is or becomes the continuation of the trunk

  • Neagari: exposed roots style (exposed nebari)

  • Nebari: the thicker base roots of the tree

  • N.P.K: the balance indicated for fertiliser N= nitrogen (stikstof), P=phosphorous (fosfor) and K=potassium (kalium) e.g. NPK: 5 – 3 – 5 represents the ratio 

  • Netsuranari: a style where a tree is set onto its side in the pot and forms multiple trees

  • Sacrificial branch: a branch that is temporary left solely for pulling sap to thicken the trunk

  • Sabamiki:  part or most of a trunk that has been damaged or split by nature

  • Shakan: inclined style 

  • Shari: a part of the trunk where the bark has been removed

  • Shinsho: new growth of branches in the current year

  • Shitakusa: is a potted (collection of plants) plant designed as accompaniment with a bonsai, often used at an exhibition or in a Tokonoma. Its main purpose is to reflect the season of that moment.

  • Soju: double trunk style

  • Starterplant: a young tree that has been cultivated (e.g. from a garden center) and needs to be shaped to a Bonsai

  • Takaue: planting the tree at a soil level that is higher than the rim of the pot

  • Tamahi​: organic fertiliser shaped in balls and squares

  • Tokonoma: a niche or alcove in the wall of a Japanese house for the display of a decorative object

  • Yamadori: plants obtained from the wild in mountains and woods

Yose-Eu: grouped trees in one pot (forest)

bottom of page