Fuku-Bonsai's Introductory Workshop Packages are ideal ways to create, learn, or teach high-success houseplant bonsai that anyone, anywhere can grow!  It's the premium economical complete kit that is the result of extensive research since 1962 and introduces the basic concepts of True Indoor Bonsai™.  It includes 10 carefully selected components and features a pre-trained prepared bonsai stock that is already two to four years in training.

               Each package is different and three packages are assembled to provide insights into the various concept and procedures involved.  At Fuku-Bonsai,  we'll assist visitors that drop in throughout the day who are often on a tight schedule and a workshop can be completed in 30 minutes or less.  They are mail ordered by isolated individuals in all part of the United States who follow the detailed cultural sheets, review several photo sequence reports on our website, and who may email us if there are questions before or after. Quantity discounts and teacher assistance is available and increasingly, individuals are teaching others and forming clubs, or established bonsai clubs are including True Indoor Bonsai workshops into their programs. This report shows just three of the possible results of Introductory Workshop Packages.


        INTRODUCTORY WORKSHOP PACKAGES feature a two to four year pretrained prepared bonsai stock in a 2" nursery pot and 9 other components assembled within the 5"x3"x2" plastic bonsai pot to allow distribution to individual students that are hosted by bonsai instructors or bonsai clubs.  This has also been used as a group activity such as at a family reunion. 
        All three workshops are started by first installing the tie-down wires, adding the coarse bottom hill, (left pot), protecting that hill with a plastic separator to prevent it from clogging the drainage, (middle pot) and installing about 50% of the potting body media (right pot). Note that the components of each kit are packaged separately and half of the body media has been inserted into the right pot. True Indoor Bonsai requires excellent drainage and the coarse bottom hill is protected by the plastic separator. It also forces roots to grow outwards to form heavier surface roots!


         TREE #1 is heavier with attractive trunk taper created by multiple major reductions with a number of well developed branches.  One section of the trunk is lacking strong roots and by trial and error, the accent rock was positioned over that area to add interest. The tree and the rock are kept in position with the kit's rubber band to create a "scene." Once you can visualize and imagine the tree in nature, you pretty much know how to plant and style that tree!  Turn it, tilt it, and study until you have the image of the scene in your mind. The accent rock is a valuable tool to help you to create a visual image that is more effective than learning "bonsai design theory!"  This will be trained towards an upright "SUMO" banyan concept.


          Adding media,  securing the plant with tie-down wires and other procedures are easily understood and tree #1 is quickly completed as shown on the left.  TREE #2 is smaller, but has a tighter branch pattern and outstanding trunk base with an outstanding even root system in all directions.  Such plants are also ideal for smaller "SUMO" designs and in this instance, the accent rock is fitted directly under the tree and the roots firmly secured around the rock with the rubber band or string.  This will create a stronger broader trunk root base. 


           To aid the roots to grow strongly, a piece of aluminum foil is pleated to go around the root encased rock and the ends folded over to form a collar.  The middle of the foil collar is squeezed firm against the root wrapped rock and the top shaped so the foil protects the top of the roots from drying out.  With the top half of the foil collar shaped,  turn it on its side and flair out the bottom to form a wide cone.  The use of aluminum foil collars in tropical bonsai to protect and shape roots is a major Fuku-Bonsai innovation and this can be done with many variations.


          This third photo shows the bottom cone flared out.  Fold over sections to "reinforce and strengthen" the collar.  Push out where you want it wider --- squeeze in where you want to narrow it.  Turn plant upside down, fill cone with a mixture of coarse bottom and body mix, use a pencil or dibble to get the materials within the loose roots and complete filling.  Cover the bottom with your hand, turn over and slide into position into the pot.  Add more body media and complete potting.  Compress the cone from the outside, position and firmly secure the tie-down wires, add more media and dibble firm, and complete potting tree #2.


         TREE #3 has a taller more upright orientation with a longer heavier root on one side and an interesting vertical accent rock that compliments that long root.  So the accent rock and long root were secured into an attractive position with the rubber band (or fine cotton string) so the strong root could be stretched out another 2" or so.  The tree is growing strongly with three very vigorously growing sections and some small low aerial roots developing.  The objective is to first promote strong long roots and later prune heavily to create low compact top growth. Moving this tree into a "ROOTS" design makes good sense to exploit the features of the prepared bonsai stock.  Even at this young stage, the tree seems to be showing a preference for the future shape!


          A longer aluminum foil is pre-folded and pleated to wrap the tree and rock and squeezed firmly in the middle, the top carefully choked and closed up, and the bottom portion of the cone formed, filled with a mix of coarse bottom and body mix, dibbled, turned over and positioned, more media added, tie-downs and the potting completed.  To this stage, the assembling of the three Introductory Workshop Packages has taken less than one hour (including setting up and taking the photographs).  It demonstrates how bonsai is the result of exploiting the dominant features of high-quality stock that has some individuality.  When starting bonsai,  try to obtain the highest quality stock to produce high-potential bonsai!  This is the key to success and there are no secrets or short-cuts!


         At Fuku-Bonsai Cultural Center, we go straight into a demonstration and the workshop and start using the components without reviewing the cultural sheet sent with each Introductory Workshop Package. So there's a bunch of empty zip-lock bags and three sets that were not opened that includes:  1) The Introductory Workshop Package cultural sheet,  2) Fine top dressing for completion after watering and the plants sent home with the participant, and a two-year supply of Nutrient Granules that are ideal for ultra-slow one-year release for houseplant bonsai.  The cultural sheet has been enlarged and revised several times and the concepts and information in this report can also be added.  We will continue to improve the package!


       CRITIQUE OF TREE #1:  Note the thickness of the lower trunk, the trunk taper, the number of low branches, and how the base of the tree has been broadened by potting the tree higher and positioning the accent rock.  At this stage, the primary objective is to position the tree for the future.  Can you imagine a multiple apex, arched branched upright banyan tree?  Allow it to grow vigorously and wild to become very healthy and after 7 or 8 leaves have developed at each growth point,  cut back hard to produce a whole bunch of new growth on what will be a heavier more compact interesting banyan structure! 










        CRITIQUE OF TREE #2:  This tree has the potential to be a very small SUMO and the workshop has started to create an impressive future stout trunk-root buttressing!  Having an already interesting trunk line with many low branches means that the dominant apical growth should be curtailed so the smaller branches will develop strongly.  As the branches develop, position rocks or use spreader to encourage the branches to grow outwards to create a wide, low canopy.  Perhaps one day the rock will be removed and the tree moved into our 1:10 Project into a small shallow saucer pot to be an exceptional mini-bonsai.  Or it could become a part of an extraordinary tall pinnacle rock planting or any number of designs possible when you have good plant material!  


        CRITIQUE OF TREE #3:  Some think a strong one-sided root is a defect.  But if it is exploited it could become an outstanding ROOTS design that could be bent over, the accent rock removed, and eventually even converted into a "top and bottom Hawaiian Dragon!"  True Indoor Bonsai has many advantages over traditional temperate climate outdoor bonsai in that the trees can be trained throughout the year, the trees grow faster and develop more rapidly, and it is possible to pursue unlimited design themes not possible with traditional bonsai trees!  But greater opportunities also mean greater challenges.  It's necessary to observe, study, and plan for continual changes to continually add interest and beauty.  It requires a an enjoyment of plants and creating a special relationship between the tree and its owner-trainer.  More than traditional temperate climate out door bonsai,  Fuku-Bonsai's True Indoor Bonsai best reflects:  "Man and Nature in Harmony!"


         The end of a Fuku-Bonsai Cultural Center workshop is the saturation of the potting media by sitting the pots in water up to the rim for 30 minutes or more (including using a turkey roaster-baster for getting water into the aluminum  foil collars).  We review the cultural requirements and discuss future design options.  These workshops are often cited as the high-lights of a Hawaiian vacation!  Some participants are fortunate to be able to vacation in Hawaii every so often and it's a real joy to review their progress through photographs, to make recommendations for improvements, to answer questions, and to host them to increasingly more challenging workshops!  The Journal of Tropical and True Indoor Bonsai will become a monthly email educational vehicle to improve communications and progress!  Stay tuned! 



The Mid-Pacific Bonsai Foundation Journal of Tropical and True Indoor Bonsai is published monthly by email and is a benefit of Foundation membership. Annual dues are just $12 per year. For more information about becoming a member, go to