Type of bonsai trees

Did you know that bonsai comes in a variety of shapes and sizes? So, although they appear to us to be more or less the same in concept, the reality is that these miniature trees grown in a tray are classed in various ways, one of the most important of which is by size and style.

Knowing these classifications is intriguing and vital if you’re going to work with plants to construct bonsai because you’ll need to decide how big it will be before you start and have a rough notion of what design you’ll give it.

Bonsai are trees or shrubs that have a well-defined style that always tries to represent a plant that we can find in nature after years of work. And it is that the flora, regardless of species, adapts to its environment as best it can, each with its way. For example, it can limit its growth, developing branches just on one side, twisting or growing on the ground instead of standing straight, or, in short, ignoring what their genetics tell to survive.

Bonsai enthusiasts should be aware that not every plant planted in a tray qualifies as a bonsai. This must meet the criteria outlined in this article. But it’s also important to remember that we should aim to imitate nature by respecting the tree and its cycles.

If we don’t do it this way, if we “impose ourselves” and force him to be the one who adapts to us, I can assure you that we could lose sooner or later. So, now that we’ve gotten that out of the way let’s look at how bonsai are classified.

Type of Bonsai Tree According to Size

Shito or Keshitsubu, the smallest of the bonsai types

Shito or Keshitsubu Bonsai

The denomination for bonsai that measure less than five centimeters in height. They are the most miniature bonsai that exist, and they are not at all common. They are usually planted with seeds in small containers and do not typically have more than two branches.

Mame, another of the less common bonsai

Mame Bonsai

For those bonsai that do not exceed 15 centimeters in height. The translation of its name says it all: it means “that fits in the palm in hand.”

Shohin, the perfect bonsai for beginners

Shohin bonsai

Shohin is the most common type of bonsai. They range between 15 and 25 centimeters in height. Due to the simplicity of their cultivation, they are usually recommended for initiation in bonsai cultivation.

Komono or Kotate Mochi

Another of the most common types of bonsai. Its measurement ranges between 21 and 30 centimeters.

Komono or Kotate Mochi bonsai

If you buy this ready-made, the price is usually high. You can get seedlings in any nursery and work them little by little.

Chumono, the bonsai of collectors


Only suitable for those who are already fluent in growing bonsai. We are talking about one of the giant bonsai. They are those that have a height between 30 and 60 centimeters. Dimensions that are the result of many years of cultivation mean that, for the most part, these types of bonsai can only be seen in collections of lovers of these plants.

Omono, the king of bonsai

These are the ones that measure between 60 and 120 centimeters, like a bush growing in a regular pot. They are ideal for placing in the center of a patio where we have our bonsai collection, or on both sides of a door.

Omono bonsai

Caring for them is not difficult, but transplanting them may necessitate the assistance of two people.

Hachi-uye, a giant bonsai tree

They are the largest of all, those with a height of more than 130 centimeters. If the Omono drew a lot of attention, these have already… I’m not even going to tell you. They look great on patios and terraces, either alone or in groups with other bonsai of various sizes.

Hachi uye bonsai tree

Due to this kind of bonsai tree’s high price, they are not usually sold much, but if you have the opportunity to get one, you will surely enjoy it.

Type of Bonsai Tree According to Style

Another of the most critical classifications in the world of bonsai. It is the terminology that is most used among experts on these plants. The shape of the trunk, its inclination, and the crown define each of these bonsai.

Chokkan, one of the most popular types of bonsai

Chokkan bonsai

Chokkan is the most common and most accessible style of bonsai to make. It is distinguished by its straight trunk and branches placed. So that, if we see the plant from a certain distance, we can distinguish a triangular silhouette.

Moyogi, the informal vertical bonsai

moyogi bonsai tree

Moyogi is one of the most beautiful and unique types of bonsai. The main characteristic of this type of bonsai is that, like the Chokkan, they are vertical but have an essential difference. Moyogi is very similar to the previous one, but with the difference that the trunk is not straight but curved.

Shakan, the leaning tree

Shakan Bonsai style

These bonsai have been cultivating with an inclination below 45 degrees receive this name. In addition, they usually have a good number of visible roots on the opposite side. Finally, another important detail is that they usually have a triangular cup.

Kengai Bonsai

kengai bonsai

Kengai is one of the most curious stylest or waterfall bonsai. It is characterized because the apex of the tree is below the height of the pot.

Fikinagashi Bonsai

fukinagashi bonsai

Fikinagashi is one of the most poetic types of bonsai. These types of bonsai claim to emulate trees that live in windy areas. Its main characteristic is that both the trunk.  The branches are inclined.

Bunjin or Literati

Bunjin or Literati is a style of Chinese origin, which seeks to simulate oriental calligraphy. These plants barely have branches, only at the apex of them and a very slender trunk.

Ikadabuki Bonsai

Ikadabuki Bonsai

Ikadabuki is the raft style.  In which several branches arise from the same trunk that is semi-buried in the ground longitudinally. Ikadabuki works as if they were a group of trees.

Yose-ue Bonsai

Yose-ue Bonsai

Yose-ue is one of the most beautiful types of bonsai. Not only do they have several specimens planted in the same container. In addition, it is essential that they are odd and that the set keeps a triangular appearance.

Do you have any of these types of bonsai at home? Tell us which one you like the most!