What’s all the fuss about selecting the right pot for bonsai? A pot that’s too big can make a powerful tree look small. A pot that’s too bright can be distracting. Pots can accentuate foliage or flowers, and they can clash with or complement other pots with which they are displayed.
Maybe we’ve searched for years with no luck before finding a good match. Or maybe we’ve had a pot for a long time but didn’t have a good tree for it. I’ve experienced both over the years.
The actual selection process can also be frustrating. When having to make trade-offs like right shape but wrong color, or right size but wrong style, the final decision don’t always feel great. But when we do find the right pot for a tree, it can be really satisfying.
I went through the exercise of collecting and testing a number of pots to use for a dwarf wisteria in January ahead of this year’s Bay Island Bonsai exhibit. Here are the options I considered.
Round glazed Japanese
The round pot above is too deep for me and lacking in character. Next!
I find the pot by Koyo a good match. I like the size, color and depth of the pot, but the straight sides are a bit strong for a deciduous tree with a slender trunk.
Pots by Bunzan often elicit strong reactions, whether positive or negative. I find both the pot above and the one below to be appropriate, in terms of size and shape, but a bit busy for such a simple tree.
I really like pots that show great age, but the Chinese antique below is a bit much for such a young tree. I might consider it again if the trunk grows much larger but the tree remains small.
Unglazed antique Chinese
The Japanese pot below is appropriate but doesn’t excite me.
The pot by Michael Hagedorn below showed me how well the oval shape works. I find the pot to be a good selection, however it’s a bit large for the tree.
The green oval below is just as wide, but a bit more shallow than the Hagedorn. It’s a good option.
I also liked how the Chinese antique with namako glaze looked. The size, shape and color are all a good match.
Glazed Chinese antique
Of the options above, any favorites?
Subscribe to Bonsai Tonight
New Posts Delivered Every Tuesday and Friday