As part of the Introductory Workshop Package (Workshop I) display at the center we have a small changing exhibit to explain the range of subjects in the workshops.  Shelves show “plants in training” on various subjects.  The photo shows some of the plants, including my latest demonstration plant.

              (Top right)  This is a small “Sumo Root-Over-Rock” that had great roots and tight branches grown straddling a rock and potted into a non-standard white ceramic pot so it remains as a display sample and not sold.  This styling is ideal for those trees that have “mame” (baby bonsai) qualities and good surface roots in all directions.

               (Top center)  This “Roots” tree had a taller elegant feel and a while back I used it as a demonstration of how to extend the roots to create a taller, elegant bonsai. Once the roots were lengthened, the idea was to then use wire to train the root system.  New additional aerial roots are developing.

               (Right front)  As part of our workshop, we teach how to root cuttings so, as interest grows, you have a steady supply of new plants each time you prune back the tree.  Three in 2” pots are shown:  1) Recent cutting being rooted with one remaining leaf shortened.  2)  A rooted cutting with one original shortened leaves and seven new leaves. And 3) and older rooted cutting with the oldest new leaves removed. 

                (Left top)  Two “Hawaiian Dragons” with the younger rooted cutting with its first 360° wiring and a second older tree with 3 complete 360° wirings that had its roots lengthened as part of the demonstration.
      Close-up photo of the two “Hawaiian Dragons” in the “in progress” display.  The left rooted cutting was wire-trained as part of a previous demonstration to have its first 360° wiring. A similar older rooted cutting has three complete 360° wirings and is shown after completion as the Wabe’s demonstration tree described below.  It was potted higher to lengthen the roots as the next step in developing “Top and Bottom Dragon” styling concepts.   

From left:  Diane, Voltaire, and Jordan Wabe of Stockton, California, took a workshop on March 16, 2012


                     Earlier this year, the Wabes spent a few days on the Big Island as they have relatives here.  They saw our plants and display at Punaluu Bake Shop and Gardens, our Kau Authorized Retailer, picked up a rack card, and planned to visit us on their next trip. They had an opportunity to visit the Big Island again, were staying in Kona, and made a day trip to the Hilo side of the Big Island.

                     They showed up in the late afternoon and were interested in learning.  I explained each bonsai should have only one owner-trainer and if they sent three plants to the same address, shipping would be free. So it was a great fit for all three to take workshops. Our workshop manager Edison Yadao usually gives Workshops I and II but he was off for the day. So I got a chance to lead the Introductory Workshop. 

                     Staff had plants with great potential and the Wabe’s all selected high-quality trees.  They asked enough questions during the demo and started with confidence --- preparing the pot by installing tie-down wires, adding the coarse bottom, installing the plastic separator, adding half of the body media getting the plant out of its 2” pot, cleaning down the top rim of potting media to expose the surface roots and developing a vision of their future bonsai.  Both Diane and Voltaire had great plants and the accent rock was positioned to add interest to the lower trunk and create an attractive scene.

                     Jordan lucked out and got a really attractive tree with strong roots on all sides.  Normally, in this situation the tree is potted a bit higher to allow the roots to develop and compliment a nice “Sumo” styling, but I showed him how to spread the roots and position it to straddle the accent rock to be able to plant it higher.  Using the aluminum foil “Roots” technique, the base of the tree was supported and protected while the roots fully reestablished.  He’s going to have a great bonsai!

                     Incorporating the accent rock into the Introductory Workshop Package is proving to be a nice feature bonus of the workshop package.  It really is effective in helping participants see the importance of being able to visualize the future tree.  The rock creates a scene and improves interest.  Although all of our workshop trees have character in the lowest one inch above the soil-line, the accent rock effectively adds a lot more interest.  Visualizing the scene helps to determine how to position the plant in the pot.  Once done, it’s relatively simple to secure the plant in the pot so it won’t shake, completing potting, explaining cultural guidelines on watering, fertilizing, and pruning, how to root cuttings, etc. 

                     At Fuku-Bonsai we are determined that our students and customers produce an exciting start into a great new hobby!  We’ll do all that we can so our customers are successful. If they develop the enthusiasm and interest in teaching others, we’ll help by making our Introductory Workshop Packages available to them with a 25% discount if they purchase 8 units or a 50% discount if they purchase 16 units.  It’s very satisfying that even recent recent workshop students are becoming teachers and forming small study groups in different parts of the country!

                     The photo of the Wabes with their completed workshop results was taken an hour or so after they began the workshop.  Workshop manager Edison Yadao stays with the teaching plan and hits all the key points so visitors who are on Hawaiian vacations with limited time can complete the Introductory Workshop Package in 30 minutes! I take a little longer if visitors are not in a hurry.

                     Compare the results at Fuku-Bonsai just one hour after they began with the results after completing an entire bonsai course that may last several sessions!  Those who are just starting out into bonsai will continue their interest if they have a successful first effort.  If their first bonsai dies, bonsai interest dies, too.  Bonsai clubs and bonsai instructors who do not create successful students are responsible for traditional bonsai in decline.  But it also explains why interest in Fuku-Bonsai’s True Indoor Bonsai is growing!



VOLTAIRE WABE:  “This is the best workshop I ever took!!! Thank you Mr. Fukumoto. This was fun and good bonding experience for me and family.”

DIANE WABE:  “ Thank you so much for the informative workshop. We had a great time as a family planting our own bonsai. Thank you for your time and sharing your many years of experience.”

JORDON WABE:  “Mr. Fukumoto is a great teacher in Bonsai. Our family had a great time!”



                     I believe the development of the Introductory Workshop Package will one day be recognized as my most important contribution to bonsai.  The page includes ten carefully selected components.  Three are packaged separately so participants study it after they get home. These three are:

         1.         A 11”X17” PRINTED CULTURAL SHEET  covers all subjects in our workshop.  This allows participants to recall the experience.  It is sufficiently detailed that a person who orders the Introductory Workshop Package will likely be successful even without taking the workshop here. For mail order workshop participants, we’re just an email away if they need help.

         2.         NUTRIENT GRANULES 6-40-6.  This is a unique and hard-to-obtain fertilizer that is low in nitrogen and very high in phosphorus with ultra-slow release that is ideal for houseplant bonsai.  We take the trouble to pack small quantities with each plant as standard outdoor fertilizer has too much nitrogen that rapidly releases and kills the delicate roots of houseplant bonsai.

         3.         FINE TOP DRESSING.  This is used to dress the surface when formally displaying the bonsai.  It should be saved for special occasions and not needed initially.  

                     I invite you to write if you have questions or if you want to order in quantities to teach bonsai successfully!   ~~~David W. Fukumoto, president and founder, Fuku-Bonsai Inc.  (

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FUKU-BONSAI WORKSHOP PACKAGES are available in larger quantities by prior reservation for introductory bonsai programs for garden clubs, youth groups, or other organized group activity. For quantity discounts, quotations, or reservations, please contact:
David Fukumoto, founder and president, Fuku-Bonsai Inc.
PO Box 6000 (Olaa Road), Kurtistown, Hawaii 96760
Phone (808) 982-9880; FAX (808) 982-9883
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