December 2017 NOTICE:

             Aloha and thank you for your tremendous support! Last year,  almost all Custom Collection sold out and the few remaining were pruned back to continue into advanced training.  This year's CUSTOM COLLECTION MAHALO SALE WILL CONTINUE INTO SPRING OR WILL BE CLOSED EARLIER IF THEY SELL OUT AGAIN.  For those living in cooler climates, we will hold for shipping in spring if its too cold to ship this year.  But payment is due when the purchase/reservation is made.

             2017 YEAR END CUSTOM COLLECTION MAHALO SALE:  20% OFF LISTED PRICE AND FREE SHIPPING! All Custom Collection purchases are subject to prior sale. To check if available, send the identification number by email and if available, send all shipping information and phone your credit card authorization to (808) 982-9880.

              Fuku-Bonsai's overall training strategy is to produce the highest potential "prepared bonsai stock" with the lowest grades used in our smallest, youngest products including HAWAIIAN LAVA PLANTINGS, POTTED BONSAI, and the INTRODUCTORY WORKSHOP PACKAGE.  Higher grade prepared bonsai stock go into the next larger products of each of our product lines with higher grade stock selected, up-potted and offered as older or larger products. 

              Entry-Level Custom Collection offerings are usually taken from the "CUSTOM COLLECTION GROW-OUT SECTION" after they are moved from smaller containers to larger 17"x12"x2" plastic oval pots. Generally at this stage, entry-level Custom Collection are least 10 years old from either seed or cuttings and are the "cream of our crop."  Because of the suddenly greatly enlarged root systems,  the trees take on a major growth stage and there is relatively rapid thickening of trunks and branches.  There is also a major increase in emergence of aerial roots and entry-level Custom Collection are the ideal recommended products for those who want to own or train larger older bonsai. 

               Each year,  the "ENTRY-LEVEL CUSTOM COLLECTION"  sells out first and in the coming months, we will move a fairly large number of very mature 9LS8 into 17"x12"x2" oval plastic pots and offer them as new item 17LS8 in Sumo, Roots, Dragon, and possibly Root-over-Rock.  The photo will show three trees in each styling category, although we will try to have a much larger number available and ship "row-run" with satisfaction and safe arrival guaranteed.

                     We have been growing Dwarf Schefflera under certified nursery standards since 1974 so our oldest Custom Collection are over 40 years in training.  This year we are offering two of our oldest in training for over 40 years.  Both are SUMO, but although both are larger upright banyans, one is in the very rare "RAINFOREST BANYAN" styling with an impressive number of free-falling aerial roots dropping from very high branches.  In contrast, the other has heavier branches but relatively few aerial roots.  These two show the extreme genetic variation of Dwarf Schefflera grown from seeds.


            This is the CUSTOM COLLECTION BONSAI ENTRY PORTAL within THE FUKU-BONSAI STORE.  It has different ordering information and procedures because Custom Collection Bonsai are the "cream of our crop" and specific bonsai are being sold instead of "model items." 

                 Our oldest plants were grown from seeds or cuttings since the certified export bonsai nursery began in 1973 so our oldest are over 40 years in training.  Custom Collection Bonsai are our best values and considering the huge amount of skill, time, and effort that have gone into each of these trees,  they are really under-priced! 

                  WHAT IS A BONSAI TREE WORTH? 

                    It is extremely difficult to establish value for the oldest most beautiful temperate climate bonsai that was imported into Hawaii because these trees are almost impossible to keep alive!  As a practical matter, I prefer not to do such appraisals and recommend against accepting them for exhibit in the Hawaii State Bonsai Repository.  I also recommend against anyone in Hawaii buying such bonsai.

                    A significant factor influencing "bonsai value" is the expected lifespan and this is a major factor in tropical bonsai.  Some tropical bonsai trees appear to be very old, but in fact are trees that have relatively short life-spans.  A tree that will normally die in 50 years growing naturally may only live for 25 to 35 years as bonsai due to the stresses of training.  Examples are bushes like gardenias or azaleas.  When I began bonsai Monterey Cypress was considered a good bonsai candidate for training into single apex - tier branched Japanese styling.  Trees were planted as windbreaks or in Fuku-Bonsai landscapes in the early 1970's.  Now less than 50 years later,  the trees are dying.  The top dies back and driftwood "jins" develop.  My last Monterey Cypress bonsai died many years ago.  Knowing this,  what is the value of a tree that does not have a long projected lifespan?

                   Looking back at my bonsai career of over 50 years,  I am very pleased and happy that I challenged myself to grow all types of plants as bonsai and our successes are in the permanent Fuku-Bonsai Cultural Center exhibit collection.  Many of the memorial trees in the Hawaii State Bonsai Repository are temperate climate trees or short-lived tropical trees.  These trees are not for sale and we prefer not to accept many plant varieties because they just will not do well in tropical Hawaii.  Ironwoods (Casuarina) seem to do okay but are subject to unpredictable die-backs.  Japanese Black Pines and Junipers have a much lower life expectancy in tropical Hawaii compared to Japan or parts of the U.S.  Whereas we once excitedly collected and trained ancient-looking Ohia-Lehua (Metrosideros), we learned these are short-lived trees and the last one died many years ago. 

                    In contrast, my first Schefflera bonsai in training since 1962 is growing vigorously and shows no sign of aging!  Our oldest Dwarf Scheffleras from the early 1970's are also growing vigorously and showing no signs of decline due to age.  Because they are more durable and easier to grow by more people,  I consider them more valuable than an ancient collected tree dug from the mountains that is already old. It may be closer to it's maximum life expectancy and/or require a high amount of expertise to be successfully.

                      Very early we committed to grow and sell only the most durable plant variety that can be successfully grown by the most people.  We grow them in huge quantities and have developed professional culling techniques that eliminate weak trees that cannot survive our initial drastic training methods. While young seedlings,  we throw out trees with inferior characteristics.  There really is no secret to creating high-quality, high-potential bonsai. 

                     First the tree must be strong and healthy, be of the right plant variety, and have character and interest and a shallow compact root system within one inch of the soil line.  Without these qualities, it's not possible to create a high quality small bonsai that will increase in value.  Unfortunately, when some growers can't (or won't) create high-quality small bonsai,  they produce inferior medium bonsai.  If you start with a plant grown in a landscape nursery that is already in a gallon pot,  the odds are that the tree is planted straight up in the middle of the pot with no surface roots showing. The trunk may be almost 1/2" thick and already too thick to train.  It has the potential to be a bonsai interpretation of "a telephone pole in the middle of a pasture!"  Unfortunately,  that's what too many start with.

                    So first train high-quality small bonsai and "graduate" the best to be medium bonsai.  Continue training and select the best medium bonsai to become larger bonsai.  The best larger older trees become our Custom Collection Bonsai!  With our long-term commitment, we grow larger quantities of highest quality of the ideal most successful houseplant that can be grown by the most people.  So although they are the highest value available anywhere,  we are able to keep our costs down to offer them at very attractive prices. 


                   Please email me personally if you're interested in any of them and I'll first confirm if a specific bonsai is available or can photograph another specific tree if you'll give me your general styling preference and a budget range.  I need to also know that you can handle the tree.  If you have not yet grown any of our trees,  I would prefer that you grow younger trees for six months or more before considering a custom collection.  Better yet, consider joining our study groups!

         ~~~David W. Fukumoto, president and founder, Fuku-Bonsai  (



           Most of Fuku-Bonsai's plant inventory is in the active "growing-on" stage in the nursery.  We maintain a salable inventory of "model items" that meet or exceed the model written and photo standards that are sold at the same item price.  These include four sizes of Hawaiian Lava Plantings.  Premium potted bonsai are sold at 4LL8,  7LS8, and the new 9RLS8 series with Sumo, Roots, and Dragon styling in each range. Because these are priced based upon the lower end of each product series,  customers receive products that sometimes greatly exceed our written and photo standards.  Custom Collection trees are at least 10 years in training with oldest trees from when the certified nursery began in 1973.  The oldest trees are about 40 years in training and sold by individual photo standards.  

             The  "Entry-level Custom Collection"  is now called 17LS8 and priced at $400 + shipping.  These are the older end of the 9RLS8 series plants that have recently been up-potted into the #17 Conversion Kits and are beginning a major rapid grow-out due to enlarged root systems. This is our most popular Custom Collection as it reflects skilled work to up-pot them properly and trees are in strong growing-on growth stage to develop rapidly from this point.  We guarantee satisfaction and safe arrival and plants usually are above our photo standard.

             Not all trees available for sale at the Fuku-Bonsai Cultural Center are shown on the website.  As plants are sold,  plants from the nursery are "finished" and placed into the Custom Collection display.  But we don't usually photograph them and post them on the website.  So if you don't see a tree you like, please send an inquiry and specify what you want, the style, size, and your budget. 

            The permanent exhibit collection is now being selected and a smaller number will be displayed more effectively and include educational exhibits.  So there will be a number of very high quality plants available.  These highest quality trees have higher prices and some have appearing in national and international bonsai magazines. 

           From the start of Fuku-Bonsai in 1973 our highest potential trees went into our "old plant bank"! The bonsai offered in our Custom Collection will likely exceed the quality of our original exhibit collection trees! While the trees in our exhibit collection may be older and more mature, the trees in our Custom Collection have the potential to be of higher quality when they reach that age!  These premium plants are offered to experienced bonsai customers or those who are successful in growing houseplants. 


              Think about it.  How do you create a bonsai nursery selling old, mature, highest quality bonsai?  When I began, bonsai books said that only one plant in 1,000 trees had the potential to become a good bonsai.  So from the start, I followed the strategy of growing thousands so I would eventually have a few good bonsai. I've come to the conclusion that the books were wrong and simply growing quantity for many years only assures having quantities of old poor quality plants!


              If you intend to purchase an expensive tree,  you really should know the name of the grower,  having his or her contact information, and a commitment for assistance from that person.  There really can be no guarantees; but if you can't even contact the person who grew it, you are accepting an extraordinary amount of risk!  Growing any bonsai requires skill and discipline.  Trees that are created in the grower's environment will not automatically adjust to the buyer's environment.  If a buyer runs into problems, the person most able to assist is the person who grew the bonsai! So the original grower is your long-term lifeline and contact should be established before you consider any purchase. 


              Does it make sense to purchase an expensive plant from a person who only has a few? Does it make sense to buy a 50-year old bonsai from a person claiming to be the bonsai grower who is 25 or 35 years old? If it was imported, is it fully acclimated?  Old trees grow extremely slowly and it will take years to fully acclimate and regain vibrant health.  Use common sense! If it is an outdoor tree,  visit the grower to assure that the growing environment where it was trained is similar to yours!  Most outdoor trees do not easily adjust.  Our True Indoor Bonsai have the greatest adjustment abilities. Trees grown in Hawaii at Fuku-Bonsai have been grown successfully in all parts of the United States.  We'll help and am just an email away!


               Not every plant will make a good bonsai.  First, start with young trees that have character within one inch of the soil level.  If it doesn't have character when you start, it is very unlikely that you can install character in an older tree!  From the very beginning, the tree needs to have ideal horticultural traits and be growing vigorously.  When pruned, it should regrow vigorously.  Weak, stunted trees rarely can be trained unless they can first be restored to healthy growth!  Here's Fuku-Bonsai's Custom Collection plan:

      1.    START WITH MILLIONS OF PLANS AND CULL OUT WEAK PLANTS!  Start training early using high stress techniques to install character within one inch of the soil surface.  We are actually culling as weak plants die.  DON'T BABY THE PLANTS AND GIVE THEM IDEAL GREENHOUSE CONDITIONS!  While such plants may grow beautifully in a high-tech greenhouse,  these plants do not have the inherent ability to adapt to customer homes where growing conditions are less than ideal. 

      2.     SET HIGH STANDARDS FOR YOUNGER POTTED BONSAI!  If the plant cannot be trained into a nice small bonsai by the time it is 4-5 years old, it should not be allowed to go into training to become a lower quality medium size older bonsai! Each year we set higher standards for our products and the standards of the actual plants shipped exceed the photo and narrative standards.  We provide a satisfaction and safe arrival guarantee!

      3.     SET HIGHER STANDARDS FOR MEDIUM POTTED BONSAI!  If only the best smaller potted plants are trained into the next larger older sizes, quality will actually improve as the plants get older.  Older plants that do not meet standards are either dramatically restyled or discarded.  A healthy lower quality plant with design flaws often can be developed into an exceptional potential bonsai if dramatically reduced and placed into a different training strategy!

       4.      TREES THAT ARE SOLD AS "17LS8" (FORMERLY CALLED "ENTRY-LEVEL CUSTOM COLLECTION) ARE OUTSTANDING VALUES FOR THOSE WHO WANT TO HAVE A SIGNIFICANT ROLE IN TRAINING OUTSTANDING BONSAI!  They have successfully gone through the various culling stages so we know these plants have good potential.  We only up-pot trees into the oval 17"x12"x2" pots that have strong potential and grow them to upgraded high Sumo, Roots, Hawaiian Dragon or Root-over-Rock Standards. 


                   As interest in our Advanced Workshops increase,  the demonstration plantings increase our Custom Collection inventory. The writing of articles for our monthly email newsletter also increases the Custom Collection inventory.  As we continue to research, we are creating new designs and styling including taller rock-planted and epiphytic bonsai to be offered in the future.

                  These older mature True Indoor Bonsai require the same growing conditions and care as Fuku-Bonsai's Hawaiian Lava Plantings and Premium Potted Bonsai.  So if you have not had problems growing our houseplant bonsai,  you'll likely be equally successful growing our Custom Collection! Here's a general introduction of what is available and the price ranges.  Please check out the specific descriptions and email if there are questions or if you have a specific styling and price in mind.


SUMO!   Entry-level (17LS8-S)

          These are all in 17"x12"x2" oval plastic pots that are about 8 to 12 years in training. At this stage of training, we allow the promising branches to overgrow to build stronger roots and heavier trunks and branches. When pruned they will develop into an increasingly nice crown.  Priced in the $400 to $600 range + shipping.


SUMO!  Mid-level

          These are all in 17"x12"x2" oval plastic pots that are about 12 to 16 years in training. We place greatest emphasis on creating the roots, trunks, and major branches and at mid-level,  the basic branches are well positioned and roots, trunks and branches are heavier and secondary branches are more established. Priced between $750 to $900 +  shipping.



SUMO!  Mature

          Those in 17"x12"x2" oval plastic pots that are 16 or more years in training and are priced from $900 and up +  shipping.  Older larger plants are in 25"x15"x2" rectangle plastic bonsai pots.    



          "SUMO" has been our oldest styling concept as these were trained for incorporation into our popular Hawaiian Lava Plantings.  Initially we could only train medium and large sizes and plants were already pre-trained when rock planted.  The plants in this styling concept are upright banyan shapes with heavy surface roots, a buttressing trunk base, multiple trunks, and strong lower branches.

            *** Go to SUMO CUSTOM COLLECTION (Individual photos and prices)



ROOTS Entry-level (17LS8-R)

          These are all in 17"x12"x2" oval plastic pots that are about 8 to 12 years in training. At this stage of training, we allow the promising branches to overgrow to build stronger roots and heavier trunks and branches. When pruned they will develop into an increasingly nice crown.  Priced in the $400 to $600 range +  shipping.




          These are all in 17"x12"x2" oval plastic pots that are about 12 to 16 years in training. We place greatest emphasis on creating the roots, trunks, and major branches and at mid-level,  the basic branches are well positioned and roots, trunks and branches are heavier and secondary branches are more established. Priced between $750 to $900 +  shipping.




          Those in 17"x12"x2" oval plastic pots that are 16 or more years in training and are priced from $900 and up +  shipping.  Older larger plants are in 25"x15"x2" rectangle plastic bonsai pots.    



        "ROOTS" is our second oldest styling concept and has become our most popular.  We believe we can grow these more successfully due to our ideal climate as it is more difficult to get heavier root development when growing indoors in cooler climates.  In nature, a bird may eat the fruit and it passes through and emerges as a "fertilizer-encased-seed."  "Roots" are an interpretation of trees that develop when these seeds germinate and grow as epiphytes high in the tree.  As roots grow down and take root in the ground, it may strangle the host tree which dies and rots away and a tall crown develops atop long exposed roots.  This styling is especially attractive indoors as the roots are very attractively displayed.

        *** Go to ROOTS CUSTOM COLLECTION (individually photoed and priced)


HAWAIIAN DRAGONS!   Entry-level (17LS8-D)

          These are all in 17"x12"x2" oval plastic pots that are about 8 to 12 years in training. At this stage of training, we allow the promising branches to overgrow to build stronger roots and heavier trunks and branches. When pruned they will develop into an increasingly nice crown.  Priced in the $400 to $600 range +  shipping.

          (NOTE:  The quality now greatly exceed the photo standards as we have been growing Hawaiian Dragons now for over 20 years.  See specific older Hawaiian Dragons in the Custom Collection section)


        "HAWAIIAN DRAGONS" are our most innovative styling concept and clearly the most difficult and challenging!  With the exception of our original trial plants,  there's just a limited supply of entry-level items.  It may be that because I demonstrate and discuss Advanced Hawaiian Dragons, some of those I do are purchased at the completion of their workshop.  Most of our trials are to create "bottom dragon" features and these take longer to become established and many will be offered in the future in the Mid-Level or Mature range.

        *** Go to HAWAIIAN DRAGONS CUSTOM COLLECTION (individually photoed and priced)  



    These are all in 17"x12"x2" oval plastic pots. They  are in a wider range, generally older and higher priced. Initially roots covered much of the rock. Later as we improved,  we learned to position the roots more effectively and banyan-like with more of the rock showing.


         "ROOT-OVER-ROCK" are our newest CUSTOM COLLECTION category and they are produced in very limited quantities!  The ones being offered were experimental trees as we As time permits,  we will create more. There are basically two types of rock plantings.  Those that are planting in the rock are in our Hawaiian Lava Planting section.  These grow slowly and are ideal for easy care gifts.  Generally, the rock serves as a "pot" which is placed on a layer of gravel in a display container.  "Root-over-rock" usually starts with a potted "roots" bonsai that has roots lengthened prior to planting it over taller vertically oriented rocks.  Because the roots are already long when rock planted, the tree is easier to establish and is more attractive. Growth is faster and the tree is very trainable. From time to time it is repotted like potted bonsai and the tree continually improves.

         *** Go to ROOT-OVER-ROCK CUSTOM COLLECTION (individually photoed and priced)


         Custom Collection are all one of a kind and the photos above give you an idea of the price and styling range.  If you go through the various Custom Collection and don't see what you want, please email me with a description and price range and I'll check the inventory that was not photographed.  It is likely that if I find one that fits your specifications and work on it,  it would not be ready for shipping right away.  ~~~David (

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