The Bonsai Grower in Winter

By Lionel Theron

Winter is the time when bonsai trees are resting and are dormant. It is also the time when bonsai growers may not feel very inclined to be outdoors in the elements, but would prefer to be sitting in front of the fire with a warm drink reading and absorbing ideas from the many bonsai books and magazines that are available. It is a time to watch the many bonsai videos that are available.



Welcome to the website of Cape Bonsai Kai where you will find out all about our club, events we are hosting and other news. Here you will also find galleries containing images from exhibitions, workshops, club meetings and more. We often post valuable information like "What to do this month" and other tips as well as many articles which will help you keep your bonsai collection healthy and you enjoying your new art form. Be sure to visit often!


About CBK

History tells us that bonsai were first displayed in South Africa at the British Empire Exhibition held in Johannesburg in 1933, where Asian exhibitors displayed their trees. Thereafter, mention is made of soldiers, returning home from the east after the Second World War, expressing interest in the beautiful trees they had seen in Japan.


Year Planner 2018/19


19-Apr Tree of the Month Bougainville/Azaleas
Shohin -Suiseki -Kusamono Display Hennie Nel
Tip of the Month Phil Levitt
Short Talk. Pines, bud selection/needle plucking Terry Erasmus
Selecting buds for uniform Azalea flowering Gail Theron
Judge's comment & discussion  Carl Morrow
Bougainville talk Cedric Hartzenberg/Gail
17-May Tree of the month Colenema/Berry trees
Shohin -Suiseki -Kusamono Display Milly Abrahams
Tip of the Month Terry Erasmus
Judge's comment & discussion  Gail Theron
Flambboyant Bonsai ( Berry/Flowering) Cindy Rodkin/Viky Peterman
21-Jun Tree of the Month Winter silhouette
Shohin -Suiseki -Kusamono Display Phil Levitt
Tip of the Month Terry Erasmus
Bonsai in Europe Carl Morrow
Judge's comment & discussion  Carl Morrow
Celtis/Elms Acacia etc Winter pruning (15/45practical) Phil/Hennie Gail Theron
19-Jul Tree of the Month Decidious Trees
Shohin -Suiseki -Kusamono Display Gail Theron
Tip of the Month Carl Morrow
Soil Mixture Freddie Bisschoff
Pest/diseases for dicidious( included with Terrys talk) Terry Erasmus
Judge's comment & discussion  Hennie Nel 
Repotting Decidious trees ( Plus two doing pract. Elm/celtis/ pine) Terry Erasmus
16-Aug Tree of the Month Elms different species
Shohin -Suiseki -Kusamono Display Dorothy Franz
Tip of the Month Terry Erasmus
Moss prevention on cork bark elms Hennie Nel 
Judge's comment & discussion  Dorothy Franz
Developing mature field grown (cork bark) elms Plus other elms Brett Simon
20-Sep Tree of the Month Windswept
Shohin -Suiseki -Kusamono Display Cindy Rodkin
Tip of the Month Gail Theron
Short Talk. Accent plants(Kusamono)  Brett Simon
Judge's comment & discussion  Terry Erasmus
Windswept Freddie Bisschoff
18-Oct Tree of the Month Hackberry
Shohin -Suiseki -Kusamono Display Viky Peterman
Tip of the Month Phil Levitt
Short Talk: Air layering Terry Erasmus
Judge's comment & discussion  Viky Peterman
Feedback from Taiwan growing Hackberry Terry Erasmus
15-Nov Tree of the Month Junipers
Shohin -Suiseki -Kusamono Display Brett Simon
Tip of the Month Terry Erasmus
Juniper foilage.(juvenile/mature) Gail Theron
propagation of juniper  cuttings  Gail Theron
Judge's comment & discussion  Phil Levitt
Juniper  Gail Theron
December 13 setup ANNUAL SHOW 14-15 16-17  2018  (Note 4 days) Entire membership
17/01/2019 Tree of the Month Ficus ( Strangler /banjan style)
Shohin -Suiseki -Kusamono Display Carl Morrow
Tip of the Month Viky Peterman
Ariel Root development Brett Simon
Pot Selection for Bonsai Viky Peterman
Judge's comment & discussion  Francois Voges
 A banyan,  is a fig that begins its life as an epiphyte  Phil Levitt
21/02/2019 Tree of the Month Buddleja/Olives
Shohin -Suiseki -Kusamono Display Milly Abrahams
Tip of the Month Gail Theron
Judge's comment & discussion  Carl Morrow
Buddleja Saligna a neglected bonsai subject Freddie Bisschoff
21/03/2019 Annual General Meeting Display - award winning


How about indigenous?

by Adam Harrower

I'm sure that all have heard it said that we , in the Western Cape, live in one of the six floristic kingdoms of the world, I can not emphasize enough how true this is and how blessed we are. Studying Botany at UCT, has brought me face to face with this tremendous wealth of beauty and diversity, which is matched in very few other places on the planet. The other thing is that South Africa has such a variety of flora types, ranging from the fynbos to forest to grassland etc., which is echoed in the diversity of species. In terms of bonsai use, we have been relatively biased towards exotic plants, probably because most of the literature on bonsai is from overseas and deals with tried and tested species that are sure to be fail-proof. The problem is that many of these species are often difficult, if not impossible, to get hold of and often do not like our climate so we need to look to the next best option, which in our case happens to be an extremely good one - our indigenous plant material.


For the Beginner - Summer Care of your Bonsai

by Viky Petermann

headerThe potting season has finally come to an end. You found it to be a mad rush, but you managed to pot all your trees on time. If you think that you can now sit back and relax, think again. The fresh soil in the pots and the extra space given to the roots have given a great amount of vigour to your tree. Now is the time to begin establishing the look of maturity of your tree and what you do now will depend entirely on the stage of development of your plant.


Potting in Summer

by Rudi Adam

The following notes are given rather early - but as everyone knows, Summer, in the Cape, always turns up very suddenly and it's best to be prepared.

Summer potting is possible, as long as enough caution and after care is exercised. It is also limited to a few species, such as maple, Chinese elm (which have to be defoliated completely a few days beforehand) and the ficus species.

Next Workshop

The next workshop is on the 6th of October, 2018.

Host: Cindy and Phil, 45 Bokkemanskloof Estate, Hout Bay

Contact Number: 082 557 1066

Contact Email:

Contact Us

We would be happy to hear from you should you like to find out more about the club, meetings or bonsai in general.

Send us a mail

Year Programme

We have an exciting calendar of club meetings, events and public exhibitions planned for 2017/8.

Learn more


Maple leaves turning

red-gold in the Autumn sun

falling..... falling..... gone

Random Bonsai Tip

If surface roots are unequally spread around the trunk or if they are lacking completely you can drill holes and insert match sticks or make deep scars around the base of the trunk on the side where the roots are needed below soil level. Apply hormone powder and sphagnum moss; cover with plastic and keep moist. Leave for 6 months to 1 year for the roots to develop.