Suitable Trees: Yews

A Yew Bonsai with lots of Jins and Sharimiki

The Yews (Taxus), and their close relatives the Chinese, or Plum Yews (Cephalotaxus) can be treated as the same tree for bonsai purposes. Yews are a little 'suspect' in frosts. On repotting you will see they have a mass of fleshy roots, these are prone to damage when frozen in a pot. They need protection in severe weather.

There are over 100 cultivars of the European Yew (Taxus Baccata), some having bright yellow foliage, some growing in a columnar fashion. My advice is to stick with the 'natural' tree. The others will, after a time begin to get on your nerves. They either are difficult to train, or in the case of the colour verieties look weird.

They are a 'thirsty' tree and are best potted in a container that is a bit larger than you would use on other trees, allowing more compost and hence water.

By the way all parts of the yew are poisonous, not to the touch, but if swallowed. If you have children, dispose of any prunings carefully.

The seeds are borne in a fleshy red fruit (poisonous) and although they will, if fertile, germinate, they are best propogated from cuttings. Layerings will work using the tournequet methods but may take a year or so to take.

Yew Arils (Fruit)

Yew are one of the few Conifers that will readily produce buds on old wood. This can be great if you want to restyle a tree.

Epicormic growth on a Yew tree

Yew foliage

Suitable Styles


All styles suit the Yew. Indeed it's probably the only conifer to suit the broom style.

Allen. C. Roffey 21:37 04/05/18