A tree is a tree, a pot is only a pot.
A bonsai is the combination of a tree and a pot. Hence, the selection of a Bonsai pot is important! When selecting a pot, your first priority should always be the health of your bonsai. The pot should be big enough to encourage healthy growth and it needs drainage holes to drain excess water.
Of course there is also the aesthetic consideration of selecting a pot. We look at the shape, size and glaze. The shape and style of a pot should enhance the style of the tree. A feminine tree, one with smooth bark and elegant curves, for example needs a more rounded pot.
A masculine tree, with old bark, lots of deadwood and a thick trunk need a pot that is a bit more angular. The general rule is: The pot should be of the same height as the trunk is wide just above the nebari, or surface roots.
When you are trying to reduce the size of the pot for your Bonsai make sure to take a gradual approach. It can take years for a tree to grow a more compact root ball. Most coniferous trees are planted in unglazed pots whereas deciduous and tropical trees are planted in glazed pots.
The most general rule when it comes to choosing the glaze or color of a pot is that the color should appear in the tree. Either in the bark, the color of the leaves, and fruit or flowers. Therefore, unglazed brown, gray, and earth tones are usually safe choices.
These considerations can help you select the right pot but ultimately it comes down to your personal taste. The most rare, and therefore expensive Bonsai pots are antique Chinese pots. More recent works, but still rare and expensive are, for example, old Tokoname pots from Japan.
These high quality pots are still made nowadays and these are quite affordable. Check our documentary on Tokoname Bonsai pots for more information. And of course we have handmade pots from Europe and the United States.
Check out our list of Bonsai potters on bonsaiempire.com Bonsai pots are sold at all Bonsai stores, online shops and bonsai events. To select a suitable pot, it might help to bring your tree to the store so you can try different options and make up your mind.
Learn how to create your own bonsai trees by enrolling in one of our online Bonsai courses.