Preparing for a bonsai show

Prepping for our club’s annual bonsai show this week. While I was busy with sorting my trees, I wondered if I should share what happens behind the scenes and how trees get prepped for a show. I am new to showing trees in a show set up as this is a completely different field of bonsai. Growing trees is easy, displaying is a different ball game. You need to display them so that their main features are prominent and in harmony with the rest of the display. If your tree is well developed and is planted in the pot at the right angle, the placement in a display will be easy.

Last year was the first time I entered the club’s show. I just placed individual trees on a table making sure that the front of the tree was facing the viewer. I heard a lot about trees being in harmony with the other elements in a display but I did not use any of these guidelines as I tend not to stray from what I know. This year I planned a few months in advance and did not just choose trees that look good but I groomed trees weekly for months to be ready for the show. Foliage on my trees were greener and looked healthier than ever.

How I prepare a tree:

  1. Prune elongated shoots
  2. Remove weeds
  3. Add/Remove extra moss
  4. Add new ground cover (small pebbles, gravel ect.)
  5. Clean the pot/container
  6. Oil the pot lightly
  7. Clean the leaves (remove dead leaves, remove damaged leaves and was off dust)
  8. Apply Oleum to the trees on the day that you will be displaying them.

This was a sneak peek into what happens behind the scenes when preparing your trees for a show. Today I only focused on the tree itself and preparing the tree for a display. Keep checking for updates as I will cover the planning of a display and adding accent plants and stands.


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