How to Choose a Pot for Your Bonsai Tree

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How to Choose a Pot for Your Bonsai Tree

Bonsai trees have all the splendour of great trees but in a miniature form. Owners need to prune the trunk, branches, and roots to limit the growth of the ornamental plant. The choice of pot can also help stunt the tree's growth, in addition to providing an attractive display container. Before choosing a pot for a bonsai tree, shoppers should ensure it has drainage holes and consider the dimensions and design features that suit the tree.


Bonsai pots for drainage and watering

Many of the popular Australian bonsai species, such as acacia, brachychiton, and eucalyptus, love the sun. This means they benefit from being outdoors in summer, when they need plenty of water. However, these plants should be indoors during cooler months and kept relatively dry, according to the Australian Native Plants Society. This means that a pot must have drainage holes to allow the plant to hydrate if the owner puts it in a bucket of water for 15 minutes in the summer, in addition to allowing water to drain out to prevent overwatering in the winter, which can kill bonsai trees.


Dimensions of bonsai tree pots

The age of a bonsai tree determines the overall size of its pot. In general, young trees require larger pots than old trees. Shoppers need to consider whether the tree requires a large training pot or a small container for display before choosing the correct width and depth.

Pots for young bonsai trees

Young bonsai trees need to be in large pots so that the roots can grow, which enables the tree to withstand the rigours of intense training. As the training process continues, owners should repot the tree in increasingly smaller containers, which can be made from affordable materials, such as plastic, as they are only temporary.

Pots for old bonsai trees

Older bonsai trees become more accustomed to living in containers because the roots are more compact after several rounds of trimming with pruning shears. Owners can transfer older plants to final small pots that are more aesthetically pleasing.

Width and depth of the pot

As a rule of thumb, the width of a rectangular or oval pot should be approximately two-thirds of the height of the tree. The width of a round pot should measure one-third of the height of the tree. Shoppers should check the thickness of the trunk base and ensure that the depth of the pot is roughly the same. Young trees may start with thin trunks, so owners should make allowances for this before selecting a pot.


Design features of bonsai tree pots

Bonsai tree owners who want the ornamental plant to look attractive during the training process and when it is mature should choose a pot that complements the characteristics of the tree. By taking a moment to observe the features of the tree, they can select a pot with complementary colour, shape, and feet.


Since the main objective of potting bonsai trees is to reduce their growth rate, black plastic pots are appropriate for the training stage. Terracotta pots are also good for training trees because young plants thrive in this material. Many display pots are ceramic and come with a glazed or unglazed finish.

Colour and glaze

In general, unglazed pots are flattering for conifers, while both unglazed and glazed containers suit deciduous trees. Owners should also consider whether the plant produces flowers or fruits. If so, a bright glaze can enhance the look of the blooms. Other considerations include matching the colour of the pot to a feature of the tree, such as its bark or leaves.


A mature bonsai tree with angular branches and gnarled bark suits a rectangular container with sharp corners, rough texture, and a lip on the upper rim. Delicate bonsai trees require a more rounded pot, such as a bowl shape in smooth clay with a straight rim that enhances the femininity of the plant.


Feet on a bonsai tree pot help with airflow and drainage, in addition to enhancing the look of the container. Shoppers should consider whether plain, decorative, subtle, or chunky feet look best with the tree.


How to buy a pot for your bonsai tree on eBay

There is a wide selection of bonsai tree pots available on eBay. After considering the age and species of the plant, use the search field on any page to enter keywords, such as "unglazed bonsai tree pot". Carefully read the item description provided by the seller to learn more about the dimensions and material of the pot, and look at any pictures to get a sense of its aesthetic qualities. Also, search for multiple pots of varying sizes bundled together in one sale.

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