Spring maple leafs

Always a treat to watch the new tender spring maple leafs open. Changing colour from reddish green to clearer green, showing subtle changes almost daily.

Shohin bonsai. Japanese maple, Acer palmatum.


There can be some days or even weeks between pieces of the same specie starts the seasonal growth. Most is controlled by light and temperature. Or simply due to different locations within the garden, letting one tree being exposed for more light. Also the strength and health of the tree will have its influence on how strong and how early the new growth appears. The rest depends on the genetic code stored in each tree, which both will show differences in leaf size, and when the tree leafs out. All in all complex patterns influencing on spring growth.

Trident maple, Acer buergerianum. Shohin bonsai.

The Japanese maples, Acer palmatum, normally shows the first signs of growth. Followed by Trident maples, Acer buergerianum, having a need of warmer temperatures to thrive.

Spring break bonsai video


Buds are bursting like crazy these days. New growth is breaking through and I am crazy busy producing new videos for our members. We will deal with the always popular issue:

How do I make a bonsai from raw material?

On demand the next episodes of the Monthly Theme will focus on right that. From May 1`st we start a new video series dealing with different sizes and aspects of this subject. Probably the most sought after information on video. I will take you through the process from the very raw material and its pre-training to the “finished” styling and aftercare. We will deal with hard cutting back of deciduous specimens, to the styling of conifers. All on different stages and different levels.

First video will be released May 1`st and once a month the next months we will deal with just that. Styling bonsai in different sizes and with different approaches. Step by step we will guide you through the process of designing bonsai, so you hopefully will feel confident doing this yourself.

Before that the monthly Vlog is on. This time from the bonsai garden, and a short visit at a workshop. Stay tuned for that in a few days.


Earlier I posted a video tutorial doing a Yamadori Scots Pine. It was a challenging transformation of a collected material. The good news is that it is coming along nicely and healthy with new buds. Not a single branch lost! I will talk about this in the next Vlog from April. Released in a few days.

If you are not a subscribing member yet, you can sign up  and be ready to watch the video and already launched material. Sign up now and be ready for the next ones, so you don’t miss an episode.

I will finish this post with pictures from a day that was spent with a small workshop group at a friend’s place.  🙂


Akadama changes

Weather is different and climate changes. So do my bonsai soil mixtures. There will be a full theme about repotting shohin bonsai in the end of the month, ready for the repotting season. This you can see (if you are a subscribing member) in the Bonsai Video Studio. I will go through different repotting stages, soil mixtures and their influence on the bonsai design. But that’s two weeks ahead or so.

Back to the changes of the climate. 2017 was extremely wet. Raining cats and dogs day in and day out. And doesn’t seem to change soon no matter what Mr. trump says 🙂 Well, we never know but have to take precautions. Therefore I am adjusting my soil blending this season for some trees.

Crataegus before repotting.

The very wet weather was bad for some shohin bonsai that had a not so well draining soil. Normally shohin dries out pretty fast, but this didn’t happen very often the past season. Resulting in collapsed soil structures and roots that partly rotted. This have to be corrected, else the life of the trees are in danger at worst. But also the overall performance of the trees healthy growth and ability to produce a dense ramification will be set back.

For many years I have avoided Akadama as a soil component because it wasn’t necessary for the climate here, and roots developed well without. Now this have to change. Akadama (and soils with same structure) have some great benefits for growing roots with a dense structure. But it also have some disadvantages, breaking down too fast if in a poor quality not leaving any room for the life important oxygen. Instead I have used a lot of grid and oxygen adding components so far with a good quality organic soil added. This has worked great so far for shohin and middle-sized trees.

Clay soil fitting with larger bonsai roots.

Now I must realize this have to change. There are great substitutes for Akadama with the same important structure letting oxygen in a high amount being present. A key feature of Akadama is its ability to hold water and nutrients and slowly releasing these. The same is the truth for good quality organic soils. These soils are just not lasting as long as a fine quality Akadama. The difference is in the nature of Akadama as a mineral having a structure that lets roots growth through and dividing roots in a fine pattern. This doesn’t happen the same way with organic soils, but can be achieved with the right soil mixture. Anyway, I am now introducing a Akadama substitute (with exactly the same structural important features) produced locally. Same mineral with same important pores and ability to be divided by growing roots and building up a dense and fine root structure. With the bonus that it is much cheaper, because it is produced locally. This also saves the planet a bit when avoiding transport from the other side of the world. Looking forward to a great growing season with spring not so far away. Watch the Bonsai Video Studio for more information when the theme about shohin repotting is released later this month.


15 years with shohin bonsai

This year the Shohin Bonsai Europe website has been online for 15 years. Worth a small celebration I think, and an excellent excuse for a glass of wine on a Sunday evening. In the start the website was made to spread the knowledge of shohin bonsai when little appreciation and information was present. Today this has changed a lot and shohin bonsai is just growing in popularity day by day. Same is the support of the website and I enjoy continuing the work. Now with the online Bonsai Video Studio added. Teaching bonsai online with video tutorials.

Shohin bonsai is still the main theme, blended with medium bonsai. The beauty of bonsai is not limited to one special category for me. I enjoy the art in different aspects, but my favourites will always be the smallest ones.

Mame-bonsai Cotoneaster in autumn clothes. Morten Albek, Shohin-bonsai Europe garden.

The bonsai garden is being rebuild in spring to take in more space for trees, and room for the video production. It is a feast to live a life with bonsai.

New video is online for subscribers to the Bonsai Video Studio by the way. Sign up if you want to watch and see more when new videos are published every month.

Below a small gallery of shohin and larger bonsai from Japan. Have a nice and peaceful weekend. Now just waiting for spring one month away.


Cotoneaster shohin favourites

The Cotoneaster is among my all time favourites for shohin-bonsai. especially for Mame-bonsai (from 9,5 cm and down), because it is slightly draught tolerant, and can develop a fine root system for the extremely small pots used. Cotoneaster × suecicus ‘Coral Beauty’ is one of the varieties among the Cotoneaster specimens that are particularly good for Shohin bonsai. …

Cotoneaster shohin favourites Read More »

VIDEO: Shohin bonsai introduction

In this first episode in a new video series, I explain some basics about Shohin Bonsai.

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