Bonsai Wiring - What is it and how to do it

Wiring a bonsai tree is a very important process that allows you to get the desired shape and style of your tree. This is an ongoing process that is done by wrapping different branches and the trunk of a tree with wire. And this whole process can take a very long time, from a few weeks to a few months or a few years. 

There are many things to consider and many guidelines to follow while someone is going through the process of wiring a bonsai tree. Because wiring a tree isn’t an easy task to do. It will be difficult without proper guidelines.

Moreover, you can never achieve your goal without following the right instructions. So before starting this process, you should know more information regarding bonsai wiring. Otherwise, you won’t be able to get the desired design and style of your tree through wiring.

So in this article, we’ll discuss the information regarding bonsai wiring including when and how you should start wiring a bonsai tree, types of bonsai wire, and so on.

So let’s drive into the depths of the article and figure out all the necessary information you need to know about wiring a bonsai tree.

Bonsai trees Wiring

Bonsai wiring is one of the most important techniques of shaping and training a bonsai tree into a particular size, style, and look. Nothing can help you better to keep the growth and shape of a bonsai tree in your desired size and style than this wiring technique.

In this process, wire is wrapped around the trunk or branches to move them in a new direction according to the desired shape. Without wiring, a unique design and shape of a bonsai tree can be achieved. 

However, regular pruning and trimming can help you to keep the tree small in size. But a bonsai tree doesn’t always mean a tree that is small in size. Bonsai is literally art that allows an artist to create something new and the most attractive thing about bonsai is its unique design and shape. 

So as a bonsai artist, you must be aware of the proper training and designing of your tree. And the only way to get a desired design and style is bonsai wiring.

Wiring allows you to control the natural growth of your tree. By wiring, you can bend and reposition any branches or trunk of a tree at your own choice. Thus wiring allows you to get an unnatural shape and design of a natural tree which is actually called a bonsai tree. 

When should need to apply wiring?

Wiring should be applied to a healthy, young tree when its root system is established enough. Because younger trees are flexible enough to bend without breaking when older trees are fragile and so the trunks or branches can be damaged while wiring. 

Moreover, choosing the right time for wiring a bonsai tree also depends on the season according to the tree species.

For example, deciduous trees require wiring in the late winter or early spring. That’s because the absence of leaves, in this season, creates a clear visualization of the trunk and branches. And the bare limbs allow you to apply the wiring in the right way. 

On the contrary, coniferous trees should be wired in the early winter or late autumn. Though coniferous trees always contain a certain amount of foliage, there is no chance to get bare limbs like the deciduous trees. But at this time, the growth of the plant is comparatively reduced and the sap in the branches is diminished which increases the flexibility of the plant and ensures the best wiring. 

Types of wire

There are typically two types of bonsai wire made from two different materials and named as their materials. One is made from copper and called copper wire and another one is made from aluminum and called aluminum wire. These two types of bonsai wire come with their own advantages and disadvantages too.

Copper wire: Copper wire is stronger than aluminum wire. So copper wire is recommended to be used for harder trees like conifers and pines. But because of their extra steadiness, they hold their form and in place. As a result, it can damage the branches and trunks of the trees if they’re not carefully exhorted. 

Copper Wire

Aluminum wire: Aluminum wires are more flexible and delicate than copper wires which are generally used for deciduous trees. They are easy to use and manipulate. Moreover, there is no need for regular monitoring while copper wire requires regular monitoring for safe use. So aluminum wires are highly recommended for beginners to start wiring with them. 

Aluminum Wire

As copper and aluminum wire are the major types of bonsai wire, there are some other types of wire which can be used for some particular reasons. Among them steel or iron wire, electrical wire, galvanized wire, telephone wire are remarkable. But they are mostly not very suitable. So we advise you to choose from annealed copper and anodized aluminum wire. 

How to wire a Bonsai tree

Wiring a bonsai tree is a continuous process that may take a longer period of time to be done. In this case, multiple tricks and techniques can be applied by the masters. But it’s also not a big deal for the newbies when anyone is truly devoted to his work. If you follow some easy instructions in the right way, you’ll be able to achieve your desired results. 

So let’s see how to wire a bonsai tree just by following a few simple steps. 

Step-1: Choosing the right time of wiring 

The first thing to be considered in this process is to determine the right time of wiring. As we mentioned above, start wiring when your tree is young and healthy enough. Never wire an unhealthy or immature tree. 

Besides, if you have deciduous trees, start wiring in the early spring and if you’ve coniferous trees, then start wiring in the late autumn. 

Step-2: Selecting the correct wire 

After determining the right time to start wiring, select the wire type to use according to the tree species. The aluminum wire would be the best choice for deciduous trees while the copper wire is preferable for wiring coniferous trees. 

Not only that. In this step, select the correct size and length of the wire besides choosing the material of the wire. Always use wire about ⅓ the diameter of the branches and the trunk being wired.

Step-3: Planing the wiring 

Before starting wiring, determine your tree very carefully and identify the branches and trunk which need to be re-shaped in a new direction and where you should apply wiring.  

Step-4: Applying wire to the selected areas

Now it’s time to apply the wire to the selected part of the tree. If you’re wiring branches, anchor the wire around the trunk and start wiring on the way to the tips.

On the contrary, if you’re re-styling the trunk, anchor one end of the wire in the soil along the base of the tree so that it is firmly inserted. Then wrap the wire twice around the base and keep wrapping up the trunk. 

After anchoring the base or trunk, continue wiring by following the method of double wiring or single wiring.

If you want to wire a pair of branches, then you should apply double-wiring. According to this method, start wrapping from the base of one branch to the tip and then loop back to wire another branch and continue wrapping this second branch the same way. 

But if you need to wire multiple parts of a tree, then you must choose single-wiring. Single-wiring is almost like double-wiring when the only difference is that you won’t loop back to wire another branch. 

Step-5: Bending the wire 

When you’re finished with wiring the tree completely, you can start bending the bonsai wire. First of all, trim off the wire ends with a sharp wire cutter. Then hold the outside of the wired branch with your fingers very gently and apply pressure on the inside of the branch and bend it into the desired position. 

Step-6: Removing the wire

When the wired branches or trunks are set in their new position, the wire can be removed. You should also remove the wire when branches start to grow into the tree. Besides, the wire will also be removed before they start digging into the bark. 

At the time of removing the wires, cut the wire at every point gently with the wire cutters. But never try to unwind the wire from the branches. Unwinding can damage the plant. It can even break the branches of the tree. So do not think about reusing the wire and unwinding the wire.  

So this is all about wiring a bonsai tree. By following these six easy steps you can easily wire your bonsai tree and achieve new growth and shape your tree.


  1. Can the electrical wire be used for bonsai?

Electrical wire isn’t suitable to use for wiring bonsai trees. Copper wire and aluminum wire are the most suitable wires for wiring a tree. You can choose any of them but never think of using an electrical wire. 

2. How long do wires stay on bonsai?

Basically, there is no specific time of how long the wires will stay on the bonsai plant. Wires must be removed when the branches hold the desired position and shape. But if you eagerly want to know about the time period, perhaps it may take around six to ten weeks depending on the type of tree and the time of the year.  

3. Can you bonsai without metal wire?

You can definitely create a bonsai without using any metal wire like copper, aluminum, and stainless steel wire. You can use raffia, yarns, bamboo, or jute rope for wiring a bonsai tree.

4. What can I use instead of bonsai wire?

There are many alternatives to bonsai wire that you can use for re-shaping or re-styling your bonsai tree. You can use raffia, rubber bands, yarn, or jute rope for wiring your bonsai tree instead of bonsai copper and aluminum wire.

5. When should I start bonsai bending?

Once you’ve completed wiring the entire tree, you can start bending and repositioning the wired branches of your bonsai tree. 

6. What wire do you use for wire trees?

As we already know, there are two major types of bonsai wire: copper wire and aluminum wire. Aluminum wire is more flexible than copper wire and very easy to use and maintain. It is also suitable for most tree species. So I hope aluminum wire would be the best choice for wiring trees.

7. How do you train a Bonsai with wire? 

Wiring is the purest and the most influential technique of training a bonsai tree for getting an ideal shape and style of the plant. In this training, process follows these instructions: Select bonsai wire- wrap the wire around the selected branch or trunk- complete wiring- bend it- wait- remove wire when the new form is solidified.

8. Can you grow bonsai without wiring?

Many of us think wiring bonsai trees is a very difficult process and often it is frustrating. Though it is not so wrong, without wiring a tree we can’t get the dreamy style and shape of our bonsai trees. But if you really think that it is so scary then you can also grow bonsai without wiring. Regular pruning will help you to keep the size of your bonsai tree small. 

Our Final Thoughts

Bonsai wiring, as we said before, is a continuous process that can take over a few months to many years. So you will most likely have enough patience to achieve your desired goal as well as you know about enough guidelines.


For the first time, this wiring technique can be seemingly very difficult to do. But when you follow the proper guidelines as we mentioned above and with a little practice and time, you will get this process very relaxing. Thus as time goes by, you will become more successful and skillful as the bonsai masters.