Why Are Bonsai Pots So Shallow? How To Choose A Good Bonsai Pot

Bonsai trees are a form of art, and like other forms of art, they need the right tools to be their best. A Bonsai tree pot is one of the most important elements in the process of Bonsai.

You’ve chosen the perfect bonsai tree for your lifestyle, but now you want to know how to choose the right bonsai pots to match it. Bonsai pots come in a variety of shapes and sizes with different finishes and textures to suit your preferences.

Most bonsai trees need special pots to look their best. These pots are typically shallow, have unique drainage holes, and can be quite pricey. If you’re new to bonsai, you may be wondering why these pots are necessary.

In this article, we’ll explain why bonsai need special pots and what to look for when buying them. But first, let’s answer the question on everyone’s mind: do bonsai trees need special pots?

Do Bonsai Trees Need Special Pots?

Bonsai trees don’t necessarily need “special” pots. What makes them different is their shallow depth and wide base. They also have drainage holes on the side, which help airflow around the roots. This is not only good for your tree, but it also helps keep insects away from your tree’s roots.

Bonsai trees don’t require special pots, but there are several reasons why you should use the right pots for your particular tree. The right pots can help to accentuate the beauty of your tree, and they also help to reduce maintenance.

It’s possible to grow a bonsai tree in any container, but if you want your tree to last for decades, it’s best to invest in a quality bonsai pot.

Bonsai pots are made from ceramic or porcelain and are available in many shapes and sizes. These containers have drainage holes on the bottom, which prevent moisture from building up around the roots. That prevents rot and allows the roots to remain healthy over time.

Why Do Bonsai Need Shallow Pots?

The shallow depth of bonsai pots is one of their most unique features. These pots are so shallow because trees grown in them have their roots trimmed and kept at a manageable length.

When a tree’s roots are confined to a shallow pot, the amount of water and nutrients the tree can absorb is limited, which keeps its overall size small.

The roots of a bonsai tree don’t grow freely like those of a normal tree. Instead, they are pruned regularly, which forces them to stay within the confines of the pot.

If one of these plants is placed into a deep container, its roots will continue growing until they reach the bottom of the pot.

Related read: How to prune bonsai roots without killing the tree.

Why Are Bonsai Tree Pots So Expensive?

shallow bonsai pots

The planting pot is one of the first things that people look at when viewing a bonsai tree. It is one of the most important components of a bonsai, as it gives the tree a sense of place and history.

A bonsai pot can be a bit expensive just like a bonsai tree, this is because A bonsai pot is also an expression of the artist. It can be thought of as the frame for a painting—it tells you a lot about the artwork. Bonsai pots are not only functional, but they’re an integral part of the art.

Just like you choose your frame around your art, selecting the right pot is crucial to creating a beautiful tree.

How to Choose a Bonsai Tree Pot

Choosing the right Bonsai pot is essential for keeping your new plant happy.

Bonsai tree pots come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and materials. The pot you choose for your bonsai can have a huge impact on the overall appearance of your tree.

Whether you’re selecting a pot for your bonsai display or for growing purposes, there are a few important things to consider about the material, design, and size of the pot.

Pot Aesthetics:

The first is the aesthetics of the bonsai pot— how will this pot affect the overall appearance of your tree? Bonsai pots can be either masculine or feminine.

Masculine Pot Features

A masculine pot generally has

  • Square or rectangular shape.
  • sharp angles,
  • usually plain, with earthy colors,
  • will look weighty even if it isn’t.

These pots tend to be paired with masculine trees.

Masculine bonsai trees have trunks that are straight and sturdy. The branches grow in a directional manner rather than spreading out in all directions. The leaves are thin and long as opposed to short and round.

Masculine trees tend to look like tall heavy plants in nature — like conifers and deciduous trees.

They can be very effective and beautiful and are suitable for the “heavier” bonsai trees.

Feminine Pot Features

A feminine pot generally have

  • Light or bright colors, white or pastel shades,
  • rounded edges and smooth curves,
  • It may be oval or circular,
  • may have decorative designs to make it pretty.

Feminine pots are usually paired with feminine trees.

Masculine vs. Feminine Aesthetics

You’ll want to make sure that your pot complements the style of your bonsai tree. If your tree is large and dense, you’ll want to choose a masculine pot. Smaller, less dense trees require feminine pots.

Obviously, everything depends on your choices and you can break these “rules”. But whether you go for a masculine or feminine pot, it is still important to balance it with the size of your tree and the style in which you are growing it.

If you’re not sure which style is right for you, consider asking an expert at your local nursery.


In addition to being aesthetically pleasing, a good bonsai pot should also be functional. The primary function of a bonsai pot is to hold soil and plant material. The pot needs to be able to hold the bonsai tree’s root system.

If you’re repotting a mature tree, it should have enough room for the root ball, but no more than 1/3 extra space. This will ensure proper drainage and prevent too much soil from sitting on top of the roots.


Bonsai trees come in many different varieties and also different shapes and sizes. It’s very important that you consider how large your bonsai can get while choosing your pot.

If it doesn’t have enough room to grow, it will not look healthy or aesthetically pleasing. A good rule of thumb is that the pot should be no more than 1/3 as wide as the trunk of your bonsai at its widest point.

Drainage & Wiring

The drainage holes are very important when choosing a bonsai pot. They allow excess water to drain out after watering so that the soil does not become soggy.

Most bonsai pots will have drainage holes at the bottom. The holes allow water to drain out of the pot and prevent root rot.

A good size hole is approximately 1/4″ wide by 1/4″ long. Too small and it may clog with soil over time, too large can be difficult to plug with screen after repotting the tree.

Bonsai pots may also have wire holes or wire grooves around the edge of the pot, just below the lip. These are used to anchor the tree into place so it does not fall over when placed in strong winds or when someone bumps into it accidentally.

Some pots have built-in “feet” (called jin-plats) which serve as anchors for wiring trees in place as well as offering some elevation.


Choosing a bonsai pot is an art form in and of itself. Because they come in so many styles, you’ll need to decide if you want the pot to be the focal point or if you want it to complement the tree’s natural beauty.

You’ll also need to consider practical factors such as where you’ll place your bonsai, how often you plan on watering it, and whether or not you’ll need access to the roots over time.

The bonsai tree pot can make or break your bonsai! If you use the wrong pot for your tree, it could struggle to survive. If you use the right pot, it can grow and thrive.

Choosing a bonsai tree pot is not difficult, but you need to know some key principles. These will help you select the right one for your tree.