Earlier this week, I presented a program on repotting for the East Bay Bonsai Society. We started by covering techniques for securing trees into containers based on the numbers of holes in the pot (see “Securing” for details).
Next we looked at the process with a live tree – a dwarf wisteria. After performing the root-work, we got to the fun part: selecting a new container.
The first photo shows the tree in its previous container. Because I want the the tree to grow up a size, the other options are larger.
Pot #1 – Victoria Chamberlain (the previous container)
Pot #2 – Reiho
Pot #3 – Japanese
Pot #4 – Yamaaki
Pot #5 – Yamaaki
Pot #6 – Yamaaki
Pot #7 – Reiho
Pot #8 – Minarai
Pot #9 – Minarai
Pot #10 – Rayner
Pot 11 – Japanese
Pot #12 – Ikko
Pot #13 – Mazan
Pot #14 – Mazan
A number of the pots surprised me by how well – or how poorly – they worked for the tree. The pot I used last year worked well. If I had another one like it that was larger I’d likely use it.
Pots 2 and 3 were good stylistic matches, but they were both shallow and wide. Narrower versions would have looked better but they would have done little to help the tree grow larger.
I found pots 4, 5, and 6 to be suitable in terms of their style, but pot 6 was too large. And although these pots did little to highlight the tree’s branches, foliage, or flowers (if it were to bloom), the sizes were appropriate.
Pot 7 is way too big, but I think the shape is great for the tree.
Pot 8 was a great match were the tree going in an exhibit, but I’d want it to be deeper to support additional growth. Pot 9 was another favorite of mine – a surprise, given the shape – but it was one size too small.
I liked the color and size of the Rayner (pot 10), but the increased depth made the trunk look small. This is in part due to the darker color of the glaze. Pots 4 and 5, for example, were even deeper, but because they are lighter in color they don’t attract as much attention.
Pots 11 and 12, while beautiful, are too much for the tree. And I was surprised that pots 13 and 14 did so little for the tree. Pot 14 would have looked better were it smaller, but the dark color makes the container stand out too much.
In the end, I went with pot number 4.
The winner – pot #4
The size is appropriate for my development goals and the light color and slender band across the middle help the pot take up less visual weight.
My takeaway from this exercise? If I want to downplay the tree’s slender trunk, use a light-colored glaze.
I expect you had favorites too – feel free to note them in the comments below!
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