Why are bonsai pots shallow

Bonsai plant lovers are always curious to learn more and more about the entire bonsai cultivation culture. They need answers to all of their interesting questions.

One of the popular questions that we have been asked many times is that why are bonsai pots so small?

It’s quite interesting, isn’t it?

Do you also want to know why bonsai pots are so small? If yes, then keep reading because we will explore everything about bonsai pots in this complete informative article.

Do Bonsai pots need to be shallow? 

Yes, Bonsai pots need to be shallow. The essence of Bonsai tradition is to keep a tree small. Among the best way to achieve this is by controlling the nutrient, soil, and water requirement of the tree. If these trees are growing in an uncontrolled environment, they will have access to these essentialities in abundance, hence growing into very large trees.

Growing a Bonsai tree in a shallow pot will limit their access to them which will result in a miniaturized tree.

Why are bonsai trees in shallow pots

All you need to know about Bonsai Pots

If you’re following bonsai cultivation culture for a long time, you must have witnessed that almost all the bonsai plants are grown in shallow and small pots. Most of the pots look like they are barely 1.5 inches deep.

You must be wondering that why are all the bonsai pots so small and shallow.

Here we are going to look at all the possible reasons why bonsai pots are smaller:

1. For design and aesthetics

The very first reason why bonsai pots are so smaller has to do with design and aesthetics.

In bonsai culture, small and shallow pots are considered to be more attractive. The reason is simple that the bonsai plants are also smaller in size. Thus, keeping them in a small pot will give it a more attractive outlook.

Everyone wants to make their bonsai plants look beautiful and that’s why they use smaller pots for that purpose. Smaller pots are aesthetically pleasing and attractive.

2. For matching the size and dimension of the bonsai plant

The second reason why bonsai pots are so small is that we have to use a pot that matches the size and dimension of the bonsai plant.

Since we know that the bonsai plants are extremely small in size, therefore, we have to use smaller pots for them. Simply because a small pot will better suit the small bonsai plants. It will match the size and dimension of your bonsai plants and make them look attractive.

Let’s understand this through a funny example. What if a kid aged 10 wears the dress of his old grandpa? It’ll look hilarious and won’t suit him at all right? Because that dress will not match the size and dimension of the kid’s body.

Similarly, if we use a giant pot for small bonsai plants, then it will look completely weird and ugly. The bonsai plant and pot will not match each other.

Therefore, we use a small pot for bonsai plants as they better suit each other and look attractive.

3. To limit the size and growth of bonsai plants

The third reason why we use small pots for bonsai plants is that they are useful for limiting the size and growth of bonsai plants.

In bonsai culture, we want to keep the plants as small as possible. Because we are creating a mini version of fully grown plants. This can only be possible when we can limit the growth of bonsai plants and prevent them from expanding.

It is said that small pots prevent the roots of bonsai plants from expanding and help us to keep their size small. This way we can get a perfect-looking bonsai plant that will brighten up the surroundings with its beauty.

4. It helps to reduce the chance of getting your plant over saturated

Most Bonsai trees need to be watered at least once a week to survive. However, too much of it can also lead to their death, especially when the soil retains water.

Using a shallow pot will help to reduce the possibility of your plant retaining water when you overwater the soil: they will drain off due to little space to hold on to them. This will ensure that your plant gets only the required amount of water needed for survival.

5. To maintain uniform growth for your tree

A shallow pot is not only ideal for younger Bonsai trees, but it can also be used throughout the growth stage of your tree. For a young Bonsai tree that is accustomed to a specific growth rate, putting them in a much larger container will mean increased access to nutrients and space to grow bigger, and once this happens, it will be very hard to keep the tree in line with the Bonsai tradition.

To accommodate the size of your Bonsai tree as they mature, use a bigger shallow pot instead of a deep pot. This will keep the growth at a steady rate.

How to choose the right bonsai pot for your plant

Choosing a Bonsai Pot

Do you want to know how to choose a bonsai pot for your bonsai plant? If yes, then keep reading because we are going to tell you some key factors you should keep in mind while selecting a bonsai pot.

Total Time: 25 minutes

Know the gender of your bonsai plant

In the first step, you should determine the gender of your bonsai plant. Figure out whether your plant is feminine or masculine.

Doing this will help you a lot while selecting the right bonsai pot. Because you’ll be able to get the pots specific for the gender of your plant. It’s like buying clothes either for a boy or a girl.

Select the design of your bonsai pot

Once you have found the gender of your plant, it’s time to choose the design for your bonsai pot.

The design of the pot should match the gender of your bonsai plant. For example, some pots are specifically made for masculine bonsai pots only whereas some pots are made for feminine bonsai pots only.

If you’ll pick a pot that is closer to the gender of your bonsai plant, then it will look more attractive.

Select the size of your bonsai pot

Now it’s time to select the right size of your bonsai plant.

If you’re getting a rectangular or ovular plant then it should be 2/3 of the plant’s height.

If you are getting a square or round pot then it should be 1/3 of the plant’s height.

Regularly pruning the roots will help you maintain the size of the pot.

The pot must’ve enough space for the roots

The reason why most of the bonsai plants die is that they don’t get enough water.

While choosing a pot for your bonsai plant, you need to make sure that it has enough space for the roots of your bonsai plant.

The space should be enough for the roots to stretch a little bit and properly absorb the water and nutrients from the soil.

Avoid metallic pots

Experts say that metal pots can release toxins in the soil that can be harmful to your bonsai plant.

Thus, it is better to avoid metallic pots and use another material that is considered safe and beautiful.

The bonsai pots are available in different other materials like porcelain, ceramic, concrete, wood, mica, stoneware, clay, or plastic.

What are the qualities of a good bonsai pot

Do you want to know what are the qualities of a good bonsai pot?

A good bonsai pot should have:

1. Holes for drainage

The holes will help water move through the soil and reach the roots of the plant. They’ll also help keep the bonsai soil aerated.

2. Holes for wiring

These holes will help you fix your bonsai plant to the pot. This will help it stay firm at its place and don’t get misplaced.

Therefore, these are the two very important qualities that you should look for in every bonsai pot.

What make Bonsai pot special? 

They are made with ceramic or porcelain materials that are stoneware burned. This makes it possible for a typical Bonsai pot to be able to absorb water but impossible to hold on to them. These special qualities of the Bonsai pot make an ideal environment for the tree.

Why are Bonsai pots so expensive? 

The complexity of their design 

Designing a Bonsai pot may be very complex. This is because a Bonsai pot to a large degree, determines how the shape and the size of the Bonsai tree will be. Because of this, they usually consider some factors like the appearance of the plant, and the health of the plant, before they come up out with a design. This can be time-consuming and requires a great mental effort, hence their expensiveness.


Bonsai pots are designed especially for housing Bonsai trees; therefore, they are different from regular pots. When you plant your Bonsai tree in a regular pot, its survival chance is reduced. The uniqueness of the Bonsai pot places an extra value on them, which may also be the reason why they are expensive.

They are of high quality 

Bonsai pots are made with quality materials. It is a no-brainer that good quality materials come at higher prices which will reflect in the price of the final product: they will be sold at high prices. Therefore, the material used in making Bonsai pots is also a reason why they are expensive.

Can you grow Bonsai in a normal pot? 

Yes, you can grow Bonsai in a normal pot. You can use ordinary or any container for your Bonsai tree. Just make sure they retain most of the qualities of an ideal Bonsai pot, and most importantly, they are shallow.

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