Aluminum vs. Copper Wire

Hi. How does one decide on the type of wire to use? Are there any types of bonsais where aluminum is an absolute no no? Or copper? I understand that copper wire holds better compared to aluminum. Also my understanding is copper isn’t used on deciduous trees because of staining. Appreciate guidance on this. Thanks!

I make the decision based on what I wish to accomplish and also the species I am working on. I tend to use aluminum on deciduous and copper on conifers. However, with proper care copper can be very effective on deciduous as well. Wiring techniques often include measures to protect the bark with rafia, rubber, plastic, wood even though heavier wire is being applied with force.
For example to prevent staying one can wrap copper wire in floral tape as it is applied, creating a cushion and barrier between the copper and the bark.
Both copper and aluminum have positive attributes for Bonsai purposes and I use equal amounts of both types. Aluminum for deciduous and young branches. Also for securing roots in pots and screens to pots. I prefer copper for positioning and adding movement to branches and trunks.
Stainless Steel wire can be very useful for guide wires, lots of strength and very thin for aesthetic purposes.
In the end the choice boils down to how effective and aesthetic the type of wire will be in that situation.


I only ever use aluminium, copper is too expensive and I would never use it on deciduous trees anyway.

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Hi Frank. I appreciate your response. I like the floral tape idea. Takes some work but another great way to protect trees with delicate bark. Thanks.

I like also that aluminum is easier to apply but on the flip side doesn’t hold as well.