After repotting my Chinese Juniper bonsai tree and realizing how long it took me to actually find a pot, I realised I didn’t actually know how to choose a bonsai pot. I’ve done some testing and a lot of research so I’ve put together a quick guide to helping you choose the perfect bonsai pot to complement your tree.
As long as the basic requirements of a bonsai pot are met, such as adequate drainage, choosing the perfect pot is very subjective depending on the tree you’re repotting. A bonsai pot should perfectly complement your tree and there are a few guidelines to go by, such as using a deeper pot for a tree with a thick trunk, or a darker colored pot for a tree with deeper colored foliage. Keep reading to find out more…
What Should Your Bonsai Pot Have?
Choosing a bonsai pot is mostly just going to be down to personal taste and selected a pot you think would work well with your tree. It’s worth pointing out that there are a few key components that every bonsai pot needs to have for you to successfully grow a tree inside it. These are…
A bonsai pot needs to be smaller than the widest part of the trees foliage. This is to keep the pot and tree in the correct proportions.
It should have large drainage holes. If the pot does not have adequate drainage the roots will eventually rot away and the tree could die.
The pot should be raised from the bottom. Bonsai pots usually have small feet underneath to keep it above any water draining out after watering.
It should have a flat bottom. If the bottom of a bonsai pot is not flat, water will sit in there long after watering and again cause root rot to set in.
If all of these essentials are met the choice really is yours when it comes to choosing a bonsai pot. When I am cultivating young untrained trees or creating bonsai from nursery stock, I always like to use very cheap and simple bonsai pots. As the trees in my collection age I like to repot them into nicer, more expensive pots that I think works well with the tree.
Colour And Species Combinations
There are so many different bonsai pots that suit a vast amount of different species so it’s impossible to try and give a ‘one size fits all’ style answer. I have compiled a simple list of different bonsai tree shapes and styles that work well with different pot styles but be aware that this isn’t set in stone – you should use your creativity in deciding the perfect pot for your bonsai tree.
Tree species with darker foliage, such as Chinese Elms, tend to look good in dark bonsai pots.
Bonsai trees with a wide foliage span will suit a pot that has a small lip on the rim.
Long thin bonsai tree species look great in thin and circular bonsai pots.
Bonsai with a thick trunk always suit a deeper bonsai pot.
I would recommend having a look in forums for inspiration when it comes to styling your bonsai with a perfect bonsai pot, this is how I found the perfect pot to complement my Ficus.
When it comes to picking a bonsai pot, as long as it meets the basic criteria of being the right size, a flat bottom, large drainage holes and a few raised feet, the rest is up to you! A great bonsai will have more than just a beautiful tree, it’ll have the perfect pot to complement it as well. Think of the pot as an addition to the actual tree, there’s no point spending years styling a tree to perfection, then just have it sat in a vibrant pot that completely distracted from the character of the tree.