Hokidachi style or Broom Bonsai is the perfect way to work with material that has very extensive and slender branches. Zelkovas and Elms are firm favourites among Bonsai enthusiasts wishing to create a fine example of a miniature tree in the Hokidachi style. As the name suggests, the branch system and leaves give the impression of a broom sat upon a trunk. The straight and vertical trunk itself should taper perfectly from the wide root system (nebari) right through to the apex of the tree. Ideally the branches should begin a third of the way up the trunk, and be positioned right around the trunk, with the longest and strongest at the base, gradually becoming shorter and finer as they progress towards the apex.
Hokidachi or broom style Bonsai resemble many trees that you would find thriving in the wild, on country estates or in parks – those trees that have no competition for light or nutrients and have therefore grown extensively into beautiful examples of mature trees.
A perfectly-formed Hokidachi style Bonsai is easy on the eye and very inviting. The viewer – even non-fans of Bonasi – will be drawn to it and relate to it instantly, bringing back memories of trees they have seen in days gone by.
It is for the above reason why excellent examples of Hokidachi style Bonsai are much sought-after and prized. A well-presented, well maintained and well-composed broom Bonsai is very difficult to create and takes a huge amount of time and patience to create, despite there being masses of stock available to work with.
The main issue with creating a great broom style Bonsai is the time, effort and foresight needed to grow each branch. The Y-into-a-Y pruning technique is very time consuming, and you always have to take into account the impact upon the branches above and opposite every time you make a sever cut in any branch.
But once you have undertaken such a massive task over a period of many years (probably) you will be rewarded with one of the most appealing Bonsai in your collection throughout the year as broom style Bonsai look stunning whether draped in leaves through the summer months or bare branches throughout the winter.
Ideal species for creating Hokidachi or Broom style Bonsai
Deciduous trees are the best material for Hokidachi or broom style Bonsai as they give stunning displays throughout all our seasons, with many – myself included – preferring them when the leaves drop in the winter when you can really appreciate the branch structure that’s been created. Here’s some of the favourites:
- Japanese Zelkova (Zelkova )
- Brush Cherry (Syzygium)
- Pomegranate (Punica)
- Siberian Elm (Ulmus)
- Chinese Elm (Ulmus)
- English Elm (Ulmus)
- Crab Apple (Malus)
- Beech (Fagus)
- Olive (Olea)