Pot selection

This sub-Forum is for posts on the basics of Bonsai, handy tips and other useful ideas to get you started on your own Bonsai. If you are new to Bonsai, read here before posting queries as you may find the answer. Ask questions on the main Bonsai forum and if the answer is of general interest it will end up here.

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Pot selection

Postby taffyman » Tue Mar 06, 2007 8:19 pm

The subject of 'what pot' to use is pretty large and varied. Have a look at these two posts:

http://www.gardenexpress.com.au/forum/v ... php?t=4846
http://www.gardenexpress.com.au/forum/v ... php?t=4774

The first has two posts of trees in bonsai pots and the second has one. Take note of the different sizes and styles compared to the trees.
Shallow pots are much harder to maintain than deeper ones because they don't hold a lot of moisture and dry out very quickly. Very basically it comes down to Unglazed for pines, glazed for deciduous and flowering trees. Now, that is a very basic 'rule' because sometimes a deciduous or Broadleaf tree can look good in an unglazed pot. The pine family very seldom look their best in a glazed (and coloured) pot. The length and width of the pot is also a consideration. If the pot is a lot wider and longer than the tree is, it doesn't look natural - it looks totally out of balance. Likewise, if the tree has a thick trunk and a wide foliage spread on it, then it would look silly in a little pot barely larger than the trunk - it would always look as if it was about to topple over. The height of the tree, the foliage spread and the thickness of the trunk all play a part in selecting the 'right' pot for the tree. My advice until someone gains more experience at matching pots to trees is: If you think it looks good in a particular pot - then do it. One of my friends here has a Port Jackson fig growing in a glazed terracotta dogs water bowl (he drilled a couple of holes in the bottom) and it looks good. I'll go in to more technical detail in future posts on this thread - things like the spread of foliage, thickness of the trunk and height of the tree in relation to the dimensions of the pot, and also what specific pots to use for different styles of tree - with photos.
Here's a quick photo of the type of pot for a cascade and another for a semi cascade just to give you an idea.
Cascade. This one is in an Unglazed pot because I didn't have a glazed one at the time: Image

Semi Cascade. Although the second photo is a Chinese Elm on a rock (root over rock) it is also a Semi Cascade because of the branch on the right: Image
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Postby The Estate » Tue Mar 06, 2007 8:46 pm

Are they your plants taffy, if so you are a show off and I just love em :mrgreen:
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Postby taffyman » Tue Mar 06, 2007 10:45 pm

Yes TheE, they're mine :D - and thank you. The cascade won 1st place at the Maryborough Spring Flower show in October last year, and the Chinese Elm was one I did as a demonstration for the Fraser Coast Bromeliad Society. Unless I say different, all the tree photos I post are mine, ask Pam - she's seen them all :shock: If I post photos that aren't mine, I'll let you know whose it is and where I got the photo from - like that Wisteria photo I posted. I'll always give credit to someone else's trees.
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Postby taffyman » Thu Mar 08, 2007 4:34 pm

Bonsai is an art form dealing with living trees. There are flowers, fruits, berries and different shades of foliage that need to be emphasised besides the shape and style. The tree is the primary object and the pot secondary, but the pot must also be complimentary to the tree.
Selecting the right colour can be a difficult decision because everyone has his/her own favourite or un-favourite. When in complete doubt, check with the spectral ring. It shows the primary colours and the secondary colours.

Image


The spectral ring or colour wheel:
For Red flowers the chart points to green, which should be the colour of the pot. For Orange berries, the pot can be Blue. Of course, one cannot follow this chart entirely; common sense is always a good guide. If the contrast is too distracting, try the colour next to it for harmony.

This is the reason why the subtle colours of the unglazed earthenware have become so popular. Not only do they harmonize with most plants but the colours bring a philosophical enjoyment and satisfaction of being close to the earth. Most Conifers, Deciduous, Flowering or Fruit trees will accept the natural colours of the unglazed pots.
A white pot, not chalky white, but off-white, such as ivory, beige, or light grey can be used for non-conifers.
There is a famous saying in Japan, HAKUSHA SEISHO that means ‘Green pine growing in the white sand’. Occasionally pines are planted in white pots for this reason, but normally the unglazed pots are preferred.


Following is a reference chart showing the types of trees and the suitable pot. A few exceptions can be made because of individual taste and availability, but as a whole they have been tried and tested by the masters. The shape whether they are round, oval or rectangular depends on the tree and the style.

Please bear in mind THIS IS A GUIDE ONLY.



TYPES OF TREES TYPES OF CONTAINERS

Dainty tree with small trunk Light, thin, shallow
Powerful tree with large trunk Heavy, deep, sturdy
Straight upright, smooth trunk Straight lines, simple, shallow
Rough gnarled trunk Deep, heavy, voluminous
Sparse looking tree Simple, shallow, various shapes
Very dense tree Heavy, voluminous
Young tree Pastels or bright colours, but not gaudy
Old tree Traditional subdued colours, sturdy
Tall tree Outer-lipped rim
Low growing tree Straight edged, inner lipped
Tree with small leaves Simple soft lines
Tree with large leaves Heavy, deep, sturdy
Conifers Non-glazed
Non-conifers Glazed in contrasting colours
Cascading tree Medium depth to deep – square/octagonal
Semi cascade Medium – usually square/octagonal
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Postby Pam » Thu Mar 08, 2007 4:47 pm

all the tree photos I post are mine, ask Pam - she's seen them all


shhhh! I'm surprised Taffy hasn't missed any yet! :lol:
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Postby The Estate » Thu Mar 08, 2007 6:14 pm

Pam wrote:
all the tree photos I post are mine, ask Pam - she's seen them all


shhhh! I'm surprised Taffy hasn't missed any yet! :lol:


well he wouldn't coz he's lost count :shock:
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Postby taffyman » Thu Mar 08, 2007 11:38 pm

No he hasn't - he has every tree catalogued and entered in his database :-? :twisted: :lol: :lol:
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Postby taffyman » Fri Mar 09, 2007 12:31 am

Back to the subject :lol:
These pics show a few do's and don'ts with pots. I've gone to extremes with them but you might get a bit more idea of how to select the right pot for your tree (yes TheE, I've used photos of my trees again :lol: ). The first shows totally the wrong pot for a cascade and the second shows the right one. The first looks totally out of balance and very unnatural. The taller pot balances out the cascade and if you think about it, it gives the idea that the tree is growing up on the side of a cliff or on something high and cascading down.
Image Image
The next one is in a pot that is way too small for it - again it looks totally out of balance and easily tipped over. The tree could never look happy in a pot this small. Number four is in a pot that is way too big for it. It looks lost - like a weed growing way out in the desert somewhere. Then we have the tree is the right pot. The whole picture looks balanced, the pot enhances the tree, the tree looks comfortable and the foliage spread is in just about the right proportions to the pot by overhanging the sides a little bit but not too much.
Image Image
Image

Finally, I did this one to show that even though this is the right pot to use, the placement of the tree in the post is another criteria that needs consideration. It looks totally out of balance, and has no harmony with its surroundings.
Image
Last edited by taffyman on Fri Mar 09, 2007 8:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Lin » Fri Mar 09, 2007 8:12 am

Thanks for the information Taffy, but a couple of your pictures aren't showing up for me - the first and fourth :(
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Postby The Estate » Fri Mar 09, 2007 8:30 am

I bags the 2nd. last one in the blue pot :P
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Postby taffyman » Fri Mar 09, 2007 8:00 pm

That's strange Lin, I've just clicked on all the links and they all work for me. Does anyone else have a problem seeing the thumbnails - or bringing up the links?
Bet you would TheE - that was a 1st place tree in the Fraser Coast Show last year - hope to do the same this year, it looks even better now than last year. The canopy has filled out a lot more since then - and it was made from cut-down garden nursery stock.
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