Wednesday, April 7, 2010 at the Fuku-Bonsai Cultural Center in Kurtistown, Hawaii. Front: Danica and Kira Johnson.            Back row from left: Fuku-Bonsai senior plant manager Michael Imaino; Wayne and Pam Rhoten, and Keith and Robin Johnson. At the end of the workshop with the plants tagged for identification and shipping next week after They arrive home from their Hawaiian vacation.


              Wayne Rhoten purchased one of our lava plantings at our authorized retailer in Carmel, California over 20 years ago! On this Big Island trip the Rhotens were accompanied by their daughter’s family and were excited about three generations taking bonsai workshops together! At Fuku-Bonsai we routinely have children that are 10 years or older taking workshops with their families. The youngest so far was five years old. So when Danica (9) and Kira (6) expressed interest, we knew it was going to be a very interesting day . . . and it was! Senior plant manager Michael Imaino ran the workshop, first with an introduction, then a demonstration. Michael coached the grandparents while Keith coached Danica and Robin coached Kira. They all did great!
            Here’s unedited feedback off the questionnaires:

            Kira (6): “I made a tree! It is pretty and love it!”

            Danica (9): “Yes, I think it gave me enough confidence to start bonsai on my own. I don’t think anything could have been left out to make it like it is. I really liked being here and learning how to raise and take care of the tree the right way.”

            Keith Johnson: “The workshop was good for not only instructing new students, but conveying the enthusiasm and experience of the instructors. I have two children Danica (9 years) and Kira (6 years) and I was concerned that the youngest’s attention span would wander and she would become grumpy. Instead they were very interested in the process, picking out the tree that calls to them, identifying how they are going to position it, filling the soil and snipping branches. They were both very engaged and thus their parents were able to focus on learning, rather than “controlling” their kid’s behavior.  Personally, I think the biggest factor for people to learn new skills is either fear (“your boss telling you to do something ASAP”) or by joy. Of the two, joy is how I prefer to learn, and the best way to do that is to be in an environment where the enthusiasm of the instructor, the simplicity of the environment which allows the student to get their hands around the basics but the awareness of how this skill can blossom and more intricate trees can be crafted. The goal each student can see would be to craft a tree that best reflects one’s self.”

           Pam Rhoten: “It was such a wonderful experience to do this with all of our family --- children and grandchildren. We look forward to see how our bonsai grow, but theirs too!”


          Fuku-Bonsai moves ever closer to its goal of developing the most successful way for anyone anywhere to learn (or teach) bonsai! Over many years we’ve come a long way with the help and goodwill of visitors like the Rhotens and Johnsons! MAHALO!

          These three very wonderful and perceptive generations expressed what we are trying to achieve. Bonsai success is much more than just growing trees in pots. It includes caring and building a respect for natural things. It is about relationships between individuals and translating that into a special relationship between a potted tree and its owner-trainer!


           1) Start with the plant that will grow well in your environment. Dwarf Schefflera is the best for those who can grow houseplants. 

           2) Provide superior prepared bonsai stock with interest and character to inspire visions for the future! And,

           3) Nurture that interest and vision to encourage care so the tree and the trainer can grow together!

           It’s taken a better part of a lifetime to set down and address these rules and more work is still needed. But we’ve made great progress!  Dwarf Schefflera, also known as the Hawaiian Umbrella Tree, first became available in the 1970’s and Fuku-Bonsai has the oldest and most comprehensive bonsai efforts. It took us until 1995 to figure out how to grow highest quality small plants and in each year since, we improved overall quality and consistency.

          Supplying superior Dwarf Schefflera prepared bonsai stock is just the beginning. It’s necessary to educate and explain what makes the trees superior so students and instructors can value and appreciate each unique tree! This is a difficult to address, but as students recognize the unique character of THEIR tree, we create a strong bond for success!

          Growing our bonsai is relatively simple as the basic facts are clear and presented in a logical order. There are proven methods of watering and ways to determine if you’re over-watering or under-watering. We provide a two-year sampler packet of ultra slow release Nutrient Granules that produces consistent results. We try to make it “customer-proof!”

          Our individual mail order customers are successful just by following the instruction sheet, most individuals will not mail order and prefer learning at a bonsai group workshop. Fuku-Bonsai is creating better graphics, workshop lesson plans, and training aids to help our instructors to be confident and effective in teaching the basics.


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***  Go to Giftlist #3 of Workshop items

        You are cordially invited to visit the home of True Indoor Bonsai and take a supervised workshop!
        17-856 Olaa Road (PO Box 6000), Kurtistown, Hawaii 96760
        Phone (808) 982-9880;  Email:;  URL: