Sweet sixteen Shohin

All through af Danish bonsai.

Today it is sixteen years ago, that I started up a Prunus avium bought at a local garden nursery in Denmark. Prunus avium is a classic native Danish plum tree, also seen in the wild in between. At this moment it is placed in a pot by Per Toxvaerd, and being a native tree, it can´t become more Danish.


July, 2016 in a pot by Per Toxværd. Height: 20 cm.

One of my favourite techniques developing a deciduous Shohin bonsai, is to cut back already developed trees or bushes with a good trunk size. The advantage of this method, is that you skip years of development from seeds or cuttings. It is not so far from the Japanese method of developing bonsai letting them grow in the ground for some years, using sacrifice branches to speed up trunk growth, just to cut them off later. My method is less controlled though, because I have no control of the branch development up to this point when I take over the raw nursery tree. But searching for good material will make this issue a smaller problem.


An important aspect of the development, is not to let it flower when in training. Flowers replaces new growth, so it will slow down or almost stop the growth for a longer period of the season, if not removed early. Later on when the bonsai has reached maturity and a satisfying branch development is reached, it is time to let it flower and even bear fruits.

In between also mature and well developed flowering and fruit bearing bonsai has to skip a flowering to succeed being healthy growing.

Next year I will give my Prunus a pause, letting it grow new foliage and branches in a bigger amount.

In the picture series below, the development from 2000 – 2016 is shown. I do not have pictures of the raw plant i purchased, but it is still clear to see how much more mature the tree is today. Only time will add the wanted patina and aging bark, from trunk out to the branches.

Sweet sixteen is not a blessing of youth, but appreciating the age of a bonsai developing through time.

Late July the the fruits ripened and are ready to eat. If you have the heart to pluck them.

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