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What factors should you consider when choosing a bonsai pot?

How to choose a bonsai pot.

The choice of pot is extremely significant when re-potting a bonsai. Literally translated the word ‘bon-sai’ means pot and tree. The pot is as significant as the design of the tree which it holds. The tree and pot should be in harmony together and be extremely well balanced.
The first thing to ensure is that the bonsai pot is the correct size. We would recommend making the new pot at a minimum of 5cm larger in length and width. This gives the bonsai space to grow.

Secondly, please ensure that your bonsai pot has drainage holes in the bottom. The drainage holes prevent the bonsai soil from becoming water logged and thus reduce the chance of root rot.

Please consider the image below.

The bonsai in pot A, B, C, and D is the same tree. You can appreciate how different it looks in different shapes, colours and styles of pot. All four of these pots are the right size for the bonsai they are just aesthetically different. None of the pots are wrong but you have a personal preference as to which one suits the bonsai best. Some people like to choose colours which are reflected in the colour scheme of their kitchen or lounge. This is also perfectly reasonable providing the bonsai looks balanced and ‘at one’ with its pot.

This is the same bonsai tree photographed in four different pots so that you can appreciate how the pot affects the aesthetics of the overall bonsai.

If you are choosing a pot for an indoor bonsai you may wish to choose one with a ceramic drip tray. It is important for outdoor bonsai that the pot you choose is frost hardy. All the pots we sell are frost hardy but please remember if the frost goes on for a very long time the ice in the root ball makes the root ball swell and this may possibly crack the pot. For extended cold periods, we recommend protecting the bonsai (ie cover it or put if somewhere unheated) to also stop dehydration. A bonsai with a root ball that is frozen solid cannot take up water.

We did a social media campaign to identify which for the four pots above was the generally preferred choice and the result was POT D.
Holly, from Bonsai Direct, now shows you how to re-pot this specific Chinese Elm bonsai (which Lloyd named Angus) into POT D. View Holly’s blog on How do I re-pot and root prune my bonsai tree.

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