A pot can be expensive investment for your tree; buying an unsuitable pot for your tree can mean having to find a more suitable pot in the future. Finding the right pot, first time, is not only satisfying but saves money and helps avoid ending up with a pile of pots that don't quite seem to suit any of your trees!
This article is written to help the enthusiast understand how to go about choosing the correct pot for their tree. My express thanks go to Vic Harris of Erin Pottery for his help in writing this guide and for providing images of some his pots to illustrate this article.
Choosing the right pot for your tree
Choosing the best pot for a particular tree is not easy. As well as the more mundane factory-made Chinese and Korean pots there are a number of bonsai potters and potteries throughout the world that are able to offer individual and diverse pot designs and glazes to the enthusiast. There are so many available colours, sizes and designs that it can become very difficult to identify exactly which one(s) are best for your tree.
Pot choice is also subjective, ultimately some of the final decision will be made according to your own personal tastes. Some enthusiasts prefer more conservative pot shapes, textures and glazes, other enthusiasts prefer to make more unusual 'individual' choices.
In an effort to help choose the correct 'type' of pot for your tree I have asked Vic Harris to help me draw up some basic guidelines when choosing a new pot for your tree.
To arrive at a good decision, it is useful to break down the choices into 4 parts. Pot dimension, pot shape, pot colour and Texture
The first thing to consider is the size of the pot that you will need. The correct pot dimensions can be achieved using some basic rules according to the dimensions of the tree itself.
The general rule of thumb is that the pots depth should be equal to the diameter of the trunk just above soil level.
For oval or rectangular pots, the length of the pot should be 2/3 the height of the tree.
For round pots, the diameter of the pot should be 1/3 the height of the tree.
For trees with especially wide canopies a wider pot can be necessary and this can be compensated by using a slightly shallower pot.
As equally, a tree with a very thick trunk (in comparison with the height of the tree) may suit a slightly deeper but narrower pot.