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Bonsai Pots

(To see our listing of Bonsai Pots, click on the picture of the Glazed or Unglazed Pot at the top of this article)

Most of our bonsai pots are Chinese Imports with a few Japanese Unglazed pots. They are all stoneware so that you get the best wear and tear for your money. Stoneware is impervious to water, chip resistant, can withstand high or low temperatures and is oven safe (without the bonsai tree, of course!). This means that your stoneware pots will not freeze and break if kept outdoors during the winter months.

The colors of the Bonsai pots will vary slightly from the photographs. As you all probably know, it is very difficult to take a picture of something and get the color to be an exact copy, especially on the internet.

Choosing the Right Bonsai Pot

Choosing a pot that really suits the tree is difficult, as different variables (like shape, choosing between glazed/unglazed and color) need to be taken into account. A few basic guidelines can be used to select the right pot:

  • Use unglazed pots for conifers and pine trees
  • For deciduous trees you can use both glazed or unglazed Bonsai pots; do not use a bright glaze unless the tree has flowers or fruits
  • Use a pot with a length a little more than 2/3 the height of the tree (see chart below)
  • The depth of the pot should be equal to one to two times the thickness of the trunk at its base
  • For masculine trees use angular pots, while for more gently shaped feminine trees use rounded curvy pots
12" tree = 8" pot
14" tree = 9" to 10" pot
16" tree = 10" to 11" pot
18" tree = 11" to 12" pot
21" tree = 14" pot
24" tree = 16" pot

Finally, it is most important to select a container that is large enough for the tree to sustain its health and to use a pot that is subordinate to the tree (simplicity is key).

Think about more than just the size of your tree. Trees are often said to be masculine or feminine; Japanese maples are feminine (slender, curved trunks with a smooth bark and finely cut, delicate branching and leaves), and black pines are masculine (squat, chunky trunks with craggy bark and solid, dense branching). You get the idea.

Look at your tree and decide if it is a boy or a girl. Masculine trees look best in dark, square or rectangle and feminine trees look best in ovals and rounds of a slightly lighter shade. Remember that some species need more moisture so a taller pot (up to twice the recommended depth) is appropriate. You will often find pots three times as tall as they are wide or deep; these are cascade pots and should only be used for that style (wide, flared hexagonal and octagonal pots are sometimes found and are more appropriate for semi-cascade than the cascade pot). Let good taste be your main guide.

  • Old trees with old pots, new trees with new pots
  • If it is a three legged pot, one leg faces forward
  • Leave used pots out in the sun to sterilize them
  • Reds and browns with green, brighter color with flowers, Pines in unglazed stoneware!