• A Cascade bonsai is one in which the trunk begins growing upwards but abruptly turns downward and cascades to a point below the bottom of the container.
  • Bonsai created in the cascade style should resemble trees growing on steep slopes in mountainous areas, ravines, or drainage areas.

There are two types of cascade bonsai:

Formal Cascade style bonsai

  • The tree has one or more cascading trunk lines as well as a small upright tree. The top of the tree, the base of the trunk, and the bottom of the container and the tip of the cascade are in line as viewed from the front.
  • The trunk of the small upright tree forming the apex should compliment the curves of the cascade – with the apex ending over the cascade’s center line.

Informal Cascade style bonsai

  • The tree has one or more cascading trunk lines with no upward growth.

Styling Tips

  • The arch of the cascade should cross the lip of the pot at or near a corner.
  • The front of the cascade is located 45 degrees to the left or right of the trunk where it crosses the pot.
  • The angle of descent should be 45 degrees initially and may be as much as 90 degrees further down the cascade.
  • The tip of the cascade should flare upward – as if in search of sunlight.
  • The first bend on the main trunk below the arch should be toward the center.
  • The trunk should curve to the left and right as it descends.
  • The last curve in the trunk should be towards the viewer and the center.
  • Primary branches should alternate to the left and the right of the trunk. They should grow from the outside edges of the trunk’s curves. Branches should be parallel to the floor.

Potting Tips

  • Cascade bonsai traditionally use deep containers; the depth depends on the size and style of the bonsai.
  • The container depth should be more than, or less than, but not equal to the length of the cascade.
  • For short stocky cascades choose a pot that is shorter than the length of the cascade. This will accent the rugged look of a heavy trunk.
  • A more graceful younger or sparsely foliaged cascade looks its best in a taller container.
  • The ideal diameter of the pot should be equal to the sum of the following:
    • The space taken up by the anchor root on the far side of the tree
    • Plus the trunk diameter
    • Plus the distance between the arch of the trunk and cascading branch.
  • The trunk should not touch the rim of the container.
  • Display on a tall, slender stand to compliment the tree and the container’s vertical line.

articles_formalcascade articles_informalcascade

Formal Cascade                                                   Informal Cascade


Wigerts Mango Grove & Nursery
Erik Wigert

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