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Which Pot ...?

Which Pot For Which Shape Of Tree?


Pot shapes, seen by a text from 1904

The roots play a fundamental role in the life of a tree, which is why repotting is an important point for cultivating trees. The roots need to be developed before a tree is styled. A pot that fits a tree also determines the development of the roots. This article shows the relationship between the shape of a tree and the shape of a pot, which is basic for repotting a tree.

The following text and illustrations from 1904 may provide some orientation in this process. The text distinguishes seven different shapes of pots. A pot's shape can be a good or bad fit for a certain tree shape. Since there are so many possible shapes, some abstraction is needed and that's how we arrive at seven basic shapes. Of course one cannot judge the harmony of pot and plant solely on the basis of these drawings, but each of these basic shapes represents a certain growth habit. Groups of trees, such as in the forest style, can also be matched to this typology.

The 7 types of pots are:

A:  Round pots (deep)

Round, deep pots are reminiscent of a hill or mound and can be used to good effect for trees with a straight trunk, or for cascades or semi-cascades. The position in the pot depends on the shape of the crown.

B and C:  Cascade pots

Deep pots indicate height, which is why they are well suited for trees in the cascade style. This type of pot also requires a high or half-high presentation table. The position in the pot is determined as for type A.

D:  Square pots

Square pots are similar to the round pots of type A, they only differ in the edges. They are equally suitable for trees with a single trunk in the cascade or semi-cascade style.

E:  Round pots (shallow)

Shallow round pots symbolize a plain landscape and can be used for trees with straight trunk, with twin or multiple trunks. The position in the pot is the same as for type A.

F:  Oval and rectangular pots

Oval and rectangular pots have similar requirements as the round, shallow ones. They are also flat and depict a flat landscape, so they are also suitable for the trees described in type E. For high, slender trees with multiple trunks, these shapes should be chosen.


The shape of the tree determines the shape of the pot

Upright trunk

If the branches are mainly oriented to the left, the tree should be positioned on the right-hand side of the pot.

Upright trunk

If the branches are oriented to the right, the tree should be positioned on the left-hand side of the pot.

Cascade-style trunk

If the cascade is to the left as shown in the drawing, the trunk is positioned more on the right.

Upright trunk with radial branches

If the branches are equally distributed to all sides, there are no restrictions in the position in the pot.

Trunk in the cascade or semi-cascade style

Depending on the orientation of the tree, the position is on the right or left side, but it can also be in the rear part. In the example shown on the drawing, a high table is required.

Twin trunk

A high and slender tree with a twin trunk harmonizes with a rectangular or oval pot.

Multiple trunk

For bonsai in this style, round pots that are not too deep are especially suited.

Trunk in the semi-cascade style

Trees in the slanted or semi-cascade style are especially suited for oval pots.


Positioning the tree in a round pot

Position to the rear and decentral.

Decentral position on the right or left side.


Positioning the tree in a rectangular or oval pot


The trunk is positioned decentral on the right or left side and to the rear.


Example for positioning trees in a forest style

Example for a group in the forest style.


This article was kindly povided by BONSAI ART.


Translation: Stefan Ulrich

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