A White beech Bonsai (out of leaf) in a Tokonoma display



There are types of Beech spread throughout the world's temperate zones.

The Southern Beeches (Nothofagus SP) are closely related to beeches from the Northern hemisphere, differing in that they have both deciduous and evergreen species. From a bonsai viewpoint the can be treated as their Northern counterparts, except that you should not leaftrim the evergreen species.

They have no special needs but tend to do better in an alkaline (lime) soil rather than a peat based compost.

Species available are:

Fagus crenata: Japanese Beech This is a medium size deciduous tree with leaves 1 in. wide by 2 in. long. The leaves turn brown in the fall and hang on until new growth appears in the spring, pushing the old leaves off. The leaves seem much thinner than Fagus Sylvatica, which I believe is a good substitute for areas that do not have high humidity in the summer.

Fagus moesiaca: Found in overlapping populations of European and Oriental beech, it is said to be more tolerant of hot, dry climates.

Fagus sylvatica: European Beech This is a medium size deciduous tree with leaves which are variable but generally a bit wider than Japanese beech. The leaves are held on during the winter until being pushed off by spring growth. Very easy to grow but may require shade in hot dry area.

The young foliage of the beech is easy to identify,when compared to other species with similar leaves, beech foliage has both hairs along the border and it retains its leaf shields.

A red, or copper as it's called, cultivar of the commom beech. Is often available at Garden centres.

Although rare, there is also a cut leaf cultivar of the common beech.

Southern Beeches (Nothofagus Sp) 


Allen. C. Roffey 09:30 29/07/2001