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Choosing Color, Size and Shape of Bonsai Pots

Your bonsai tree needs to be re-potted every 2-3 years, because as your tree grows above the soil the roots grow under the soil, too; and, the roots support and supply the nutrients.

What Pot – And, Why?

Your decision is what pot should you choose and why. Acknowledging the long tradition of bonsai, creatively considering the function of your new pot and your own aesthetics should help make selecting a new bonsai pot easier.

Symmetry and Balance

The tradition of bonsai includes the artistic expression of both the tree and pot, with symmetry and balance.  What does that mean?  It means that creating a bonsai that’s shaped as a cascade, for example, requires a pot that is both a literal anchor for your bonsai (so it won’t tip over) and one that pleases your eye.  In addition, you need to choose a pot that’s adequate for the amount of soil required by your bonsai. 

Compliment or Contrast?

Selecting a bonsai pot that enhances, compliments and/or contrasts with your tree’s bark, shape, foliage, flowers or fruit are also part of your creative decisions.  Does your choice of color compliment or conflict with your bonsai?  Is the shape of your pot in harmony with the shape of your tree?

Size Can Matter

General guidelines for your new bonsai pot’s size in terms of depth and width are – it should be as deep as the trunk’s width and it should be 2/3s the width of your tree’s height or spread, taking into consideration moisture and root requirements.

Traditional or Contemporary?

While there are many styles from which to choose, both Tokoname (Japanese) and Yixing (Chinese) potteries have centuries-old traditions of bonsai pots to compliment and safely contain your tree.  Contemporary, handmade pots expand upon those traditions and add a new flare and visual vocabulary.

Essential functions of any bonsai pot are that it enhances growth, the distribution of nutrients and has a hole for good drainage.  These are straight-forward requirements. Your choice of color, size and shape are based on your bonsai and your aesthetics.

DISCLAIMER: The content provided in this article is not warranted or guaranteed by Bonsai Outlet. The content provided is intended for entertainment and/or educational purposes in order to introduce to the reader key ideas, concepts, and/or product reviews. We are not liable for any negative consequences that may result from implementing any information covered in our articles or tutorials. Happy bonsai gardening.