Fukinagashi or Windswept Style

This is one of the classical styles of bonsai and will fall under either the Shakan (slanted trunk) or Han Kengai (semi-cascade) style. It is an extremely popular way of growing bonsai. I suppose every grower will try it sooner or later, although a difficult style to produce, perhaps taking a little more imagination than the general sort of bonsai one sees every day.

The best way to acquire a good subject for windswept style is obviously from the wild and here again, our own "Cliffortia" would prove the most successful. There are, however, many other indigenous trees and shrubs which would do equally well, these being the olea africana, coleonema, diospyros whyteana, rhus and although not indigenous, the various pines which grow around our mountains.

If however time or circumstances prevent you from scouring the local beach cliffs for the naturally windswept trees then obviously the nursery is the next best place to visit. Most nurseries have very little time for attending their stock, let alone sorting out trees for bonsai, so don't bother to explain why you are calling, just go in and search. Try not to be fooled by the many thin scruffy-looking trees, for although they might be ideal branch-wise for this style, they will obviously take much longer to develop than the healthy tree.

This style tends to have a certain "delicate" look about it very similar to the precariously balanced semi-cascade, therefore the tree-to-pot relationship is all important in the Fukinagashi style and great care should be taken in selecting the correct pot.

Positioning too should be carefully planned so try to picture the finished tree before you start.

I have tried this style on many occasions and have found that each type of tree dictates its own degree of sweep. By this I mean some trees can be quite bare all the way down the windward side of the trunk yet others look better with small stubborn branches still tending to grow into the wind.

Trees in this style can be grown in many different layouts and, for the novice, I would suggest the use of a "clustered group" type planting where each tree can complement the other.

One last important point I would like to make and that is always avoid a "flat look" to your tree. Try to give it a certain amount of depth however sparse your branches might be.


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Random Bonsai Tip

To thicken thin branches make a cut just below the branch or a bud on the branch. The sugars produced in the leaves of the tree move down to the roots through the phloem, this flow of sap is interrupted by the cut and the accumulation of sugars above the cut increases the vigour as it is used by the bud, forcing it into action. As soon as the wound heals the normal sap flow resumes.