Miniature plants and trees are generally referred to as bonsai plants. The art of “dwarfing” them is a tradition that dates back thousands of years. Bonsai originated from China but it gained popularity through the use and influence of the Japanese.

Many garden owners and plant lovers have found the cultivation of bonsai plants a fresh challenge. The resulting masterpiece is a source of joy and fulfillment that can transcend generations.

Beginners in this traditional art form often find themselves gearing up for the hobby. But it is best to read more on a few tips not just on the bonsai growing itself but on which tools to use and what their purposes are.

There are basic tools for beginners. As the hobby continues to grow and develop, more complex tools will be learned and used in the process. But for now, it is ideal to stick to the basic ones just to get started.

Basic Tools for Caring for Bonsai Plants

    • Concave Pruner. This tool is the most basic of the entire kit. It is used to prune the branches and the leaves to develop a pattern for the plant to grow. The tool is name as such because of the concave shaped wounds it leaves after cutting away the trunk or branches.


The concave mark is a desirable effect especially since it creates no bumps when the branch or the trunk heals. This creates a precise cut and a very smooth finish for aesthetic

purposes. The recommended size for a concave pruner is 8” because of its versatility.

As a general rule, never use a concave pruner that is smaller than the circumference of the branch or trunk. This will result in a jagged wound and an undesirable bump when healed.

    • Bud Scissors. Just as the branches have to be trimmed off, so does the leaves. The best tool for this is a bud scissor. It is specifically made to nip away at leaves, buds and branches that are small.

Do not use ordinary scissors as this may affect the overall growth and development of the bonsai plant. Despite its small size, the bud scissors has enough mechanical power to create a clean and precise cut where needed.

Unlike a standard pair of cutters, the shafts of the handle of this scissor remain apart. The idea is to avoid crushing any other part of the bonsai plant that may get stuck while cutting away the leaves of branches.

    • Root Cutter. As the name suggests, this tool is used to trim and prune the roots. It is important to cut the roots before the bonsai is repotted. This determines the growth of the whole plant.


Some may use the basic concave pruner. Although it can achieve the same result, it may be easily damaged in the process. In pruning the roots, stones and other hard elements may get caught in the cutter.

Root cutters are specially designed to resist damages from these small stones. It has coarser and much thicker blades. Use of the root cutter for its specific purpose is encouraged as part of maintenance and care of all bonsai tools

Other tools which are also important but may not be used as frequently as the others are:

  • Wire Cutters
  • Tweezers
  • Broom
  • Rake
  • Pliers
  • Nippers
  • Trunk Splitter
  • Wire Remover
  • Branch Benders or Jacks
  • Pruning Compound
  • Pruning Saws
  • Soil Sieves


There are also bonsai tools available for the left-handed. Since the care for these plants involves intricate cutting, pruning and bending, the proper coordination of tools and the dominant hand is essential.

Caring for Your Tools

Working with bonsai means being around moist and water all the time. This is often done out in the open which means the tools are exposed to the same elements and weather.

At the end of each working day, gently wash the tools with soap and water. Pat them dry and leave them out in the open air for a few minutes to remove any excess moisture. This is to prevent them from rusting.

Spraying anti-corrosive substances on the tools helps to preserve their look and performance of the tools. Remove rust or anything that could potentially turn into one. Regularly sharpen the tools and do not wait for them to turn dull and useless.

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