On September 10, 2012 past customers Jim and Jane Olney of Cicero, Indiana, visited us for the first time.  They had first purchased our products in Maui at Dan's Green House in Lahaina and later by mail order.  They liked the idea of learning the basics and our Workshop Manager Edison Yadao was available for the class.

         The workshop began with selection of a workshop plant and while I usually ask participants to select their own plant, I saw an exceptional plant that would be great with large trunk base that would be greatly improved by pruning off one section that already had roots attached.  They asked for my recommendations and I pointed out that plant and they agreed.  So we took a "before" photo.
         Here's a close-up of that plant with the rooted section severed and showing the great heavy tapering trunk base with a good primary apex growth and two strong branches. 
        Edison does a great job explaining the basics, will do one as a demonstration, and coach the participant who asks as many questions to be comfortable.  While most are able to complete the Introductory Workshop Package by themselves and email if there are questions,  there's really nothing like doing a workshop at Fuku-Bonsai!  
       Introductory Bonsai Workshops can be completed in 15 to 20 minutes if the participant is on a tight vacation schedule.  But we usually average about 30 to 45 minutes although many visitors spend a lot more time here.  Jim felt very confident that he could properly care for the plant, propagate more of them, and felt doing the workshop at Fuku-Bonsai was much better than reading from a book.  Here, he got a bonus already rooted cutting that will be sent to them after they arrive home.
                 IDEAS TO IMPROVE THE WORKSHOP PACKAGE!   With the ideal components, the Introductory Workshop Package is the easiest way to learn (or teach) bonsai to anyone, anywhere who can grow houseplants.  SO HOW CAN WE IMPROVE IT?

                While I get a lot of feedback of general success,  I also get a lot of requests for pruning help Some come from customers who have NEVER pruned for several years and we're received amazing photos of plants 4' to 5' tall!  BEING AFRAID TO PRUNE IS PROBABLY THE LARGEST MAJOR BARRIER TO BECOMING A BONSAI TRAINER!  Over the years,  customers have become much better in creating strong vigorous grow so I'm taking this opportunity to reemphasize pruning AND ROOTING CUTTINGS!

    First, select compact cuttings. The cutting on left is already too stretched out and would produce a very poor plant for bonsai.  Ideal cuttings come off bonsai.  Allow new growth to become 7 or 8 leaves then prune off a 5 to 6 leaf cutting.  Only prune that branch and growth will shift to other parts of the bonsai to be pruned as each branch or section reaches 7 to 8 new leaves.
   Note the poor stretched out cutting on the left, the superior cutting on the right, and the 4LL8 Sumo bonsai that produced it.  Continual pruning will improve your bonsai as well as produce new plants.
   Notice that the 5-leaf unrooted cutting has been pruned to remove 4 of the oldest leaves and that the remaining full leaf has had its leaflets cut in half and is shown with some spaghnum moss and an empty 2" pot filled with media.  Wrap the damp moss in a tight ball around the end of the cutting, make a hole and pot it deep into the media. Clockwise from left are 5 at different stages. The left is a recently rooted cutting. Above is one that has developed 3 new leaves and progressively more leaves. The one on the right has 8 new leaves and it's time to take a cutting from it to help to create better prepared stock for another future bonsai!
           Our goal is for our customers to be able to propagate and train a presentable bonsai from a cutting that they've rooted to the stage that they can proudly give it away to a friend or relative.  Those who reach this stage GRADUATE AND ARE ENCOURAGED TO BEGIN TEACHING OTHERS!  To them and others with enough willingness to teach, we offer assistance a a major 50% discount and free shipping when they purchase 16 or more Introductory Workshop Packages!

   Generally most bonsai nurseries will not sell plants at this stage as the critical hard work has already been done and in a relatively short time, a presentable bonsai can be sold at a much higher price!  But because of our emphasis on teaching and promoting high-success True Indoor Bonsai,  we offer Introductory Workshop Packages that are increasingly used by beginning bonsai instructors and by bonsai clubs for beginner bonsai classes.  Our goal is to become the best source of these packages and that eventually we can recommend "Fuku-Bonsai Authorized Associates" throughout the United States that can provide help with our True Indoor Bonsai.  We urge those interested in being a part of this program to become members of the Mid-Pacific Bonsai Foundation!

  SO HOW CAN THE INTRODUCTORY WORKSHOP PACKAGE BE IMPROVED?  We are running trials with the 2" prepared bonsai stock grown out so at least one branch is ready to take a cutting to be rooted and this is good and bad.  Some appreciate being "forced" to prune while others would have been happier if they "create" a nice first bonsai and wasn't required to prune.  They think pruning is too difficult, afraid the plant would die, or had planned to seek other local help when it became time to prune!

I request feedback and if you are ordering an Introductory Workshop Package,  please specify if you want our standart 2" prepared bonsai stock or an "overgrown" one that has at least one branch ready to prune.  For those requesting overgrown stock and will provide feedback, we'll include a little extra media and some spaghnum moss.  I look forward to hearing from you!  Regards,  ~~~David  ( )

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