The ancient shogun bonsai

shogun bonsai

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The shogun bonsai is basically one of the most common forms of bonsai you will see. The shogun is actually a Juniper, and is generally characterised by it's tiny and simple appearance, often with a rock planted with it. The picture above is a perfect example!

The shogun bonsai is a pretty and attractive bonsai that can be kept in the same state for it's lifespan. Like any bonsai, this will be up to you to maintain it's size and shape with good pruning techniques.

As we mentioned, the shogun is indeed a juniper. Basically, you should observe most of the guidelines for growing a Juniper with a few exceptions, mainly around pruning. Junipers, and in particular, your shogun, will be easy to grow and will thrive in most conditions.

Let's have a closer look.....

Soil, Lighting & Watering

• Use a basic bonsai soil mix that is well-draining

• Your shogun bonsai will perform best in direct sunlight

• Junipers do not like hot sun without water - if you think the soil may dry out in your absence, provide the tree with partial or full shade

• Avoid extremes - too hot/too cold

• Shoguns generally have smaller pots than other bonsai, this dictates that they will handle less weather than other species; sun, wind, rain and ice. Protect your shogun inside, or in a shed/greenhouse if exposure is prolonged. Its better that your tree is starved of growth for a period than killed entirely!

Water daily

• In the summer you will need to water up to twice a day (once in the morning, one at night)

Never water in the direct sunlight - this can burn the foliage

• Do not allow the soil to dry out between waterings!


Feed regularly during the growing season - around every 5 days

• Use a liquid or pellet fertilizer that contains Nitrogen, Potassium and Phosphorous.

• Aim for an N-P-K count of 5-6-3ish........ anywhere around this mark is fine. It can be handy to mix your fertilizers from time to time to give an even spread of chemicals


• Repot your shogun bonsai anywhere from every 2-3 years

• Remove up to 1/3 of your tree's roots, no more.

• You don't need to upgrade pot size, Shoguns will remain quite small if you are controlling it

Pruning & Wiring

Prune your shogun at the start of spring. To maintain the shogun appearance, pinch out new growth with your thumb and forefinger. It can be handy to remove old, dying growth to allow new to come through

• Cut new branches if they appear. You will need a good tool set to achieve this

Wire your shogun if the shape begins to fade. To achieve the arcing shape, wire using a thin gauge wire from the trunk up to the tip of the main branchline

Leave our shogun bonsai page and head back to our Juniper section!