Niwaki (or Bonsai) Training Weights

Besides using twine, rope, wire, I’ve noticed my local niwaki/bonsai nursery also uses a lot of small 2.5” plastic pots filled w concrete and a hook.

I have no concrete tho; but I do have a lot of landscape pebbles…so, I made some weights from pebbles.

Looks way better than a plastic pot filled with concrete too.

Advantages: Super quick and easy to use, compared to tying knots with twine/rope or wrapping with wire. And reusable.


Nicely done - what sort of weight?

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Not too sure (they are about 3" wide). It’s good for training newer, relatively thinner growths (maybe around 1/4-1/2" thick or more)… like new pine candles you wanna extend or make into a branch, or for extending newly-hardened evergreen, deciduous or tropical branches, etc.

Given its’ large size and weight, I think this method is more for niwaki and bigger bonsai where new growths are usually 1/4-1/2" thick.

I actually snapped off a branch on accident on a garden eugenia today while hanging one… 1/2" thick, looked and felt durable, but broke at the base of branch. Doh!

I understand breakage is part of the learning process. I was a little rough on a Quince branch today. I’m hoping the split will heal and be okay.

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I really love this idea! They are like little ornamental weights! May have to try this myself~

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This is a very old approach - you can see it in photos and drawings of old garden books. One thing about the technique is that it may not provide the shape you’re looking for in the branch (weighted branches often take on an arch-like shape). Changing the location of the weight or securing the branch with a stick before weighting it can remedy this (i.e. you can tie a stick along the length of the branch to keep it straight when it bends downward).