The literal meaning of bonsai is 'plant in a tray'. While a tree is in itself often a thing of beauty and a pot may well be an art form in itself, however it only becomes a bonsai when the two are combined. Choosing the right pot for each tree can make it a work of art or not. There is much more to it than just putting your tree into a pot. The tree itself is a very significant part of the whole picture - the pot completes the picture. The image is judged by the visual impact of both the tree and the pot.

A vast multitude of containers can serve as a pot for a bonsai tree; they must however meet certain criteria.

  • They must have drainage holes of course, and preferably wiring holes so that the tree can be fixed in the pot and not wobble about.

  • They may be made from a number of substances - ceramic, concrete, plastics and some metals as well as homemade pots from various resins and fibre glass. The classic traditional bonsai pot is made from ceramic or porcelain, fired to a high frost proofing temperature; this also means it is waterproof and water does not seep out through a porous substance.
  • It must be deep enough and wide enough to contain the root system without overcrowding and thus prevent water reaching the root system.
  • The tree's health is the first consideration! A fully trained bonsai often has undergone years of work to adapt the root system to smaller pots. Creating bonsai is a lesson in patience and perseverance, so do not become impatient when it comes to finding the right pot.

Guidelines on choosing the right pot

After a few years practice we tend to go by gut feeling, but that may be difficult for a beginner. Here are some basic rules and guidance to help you. Good luck and enjoy choosing your treeĀ“s future home. Buying a pot can be expensive but buying two pots because you do not buy wisely in the first place can be very expensive. Finding the right pot, first time, is very satisfying and saves money.

Choosing and acquiring the correct pot to plant your tree into is not always easy. A well-chosen pot will enhance a bonsai and improve the whole design, whereas an unsuitable pot for the tree can actually lessen the impact of the tree.

To help make what should be a good decision, it is useful to break down the selection into 4 sections - each under a button below:




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