Bonsai pots vary enormously in quality and cost, depending on their origins.
Add to that, the range of styles, sizes and colours can seem overwhelming.
Pot selection need not be daunting:
Choose a pot for a specific tree; a container that compliments the tree, enhances the overall effect. If possible, bring the tree with you to the nursery.
Choose unglazed pots for conifers, glazed pots for deciduous or flowering specimens; any style for evergreens.
The style of your tree will largely determine the shape of pot.
The habit, foliage & bark of your tree will guide colour selection.
With bonsai pots, you do get what you pay for.
If in doubt, re-consider & keep looking. You will never be happy with a compromise purchase. Your tree is fine in its training pot until next potting season!
Quality & Pricing
Without exception, Bonsai pots are priced according to their place of origin:
Undeniably the best in the world and surprisingly, not always the most expensive. Expect to pay a premium over basic Japanese pots for genuine Tokoname ware or pots from other ‘big-name’ pottery centres in Japan.
Tongrae glazed pots show excellent quality & aesthetics & are more readily available in Australia than glazed ware from Japan, but do tend to be expensive. Much heavier than Japanese pots of the same size. Do you need to move your pot often?
Bulk importation & mass-market retailing (eg Bunnings) of cheap pots from China in recent years has not really helped bonsai enthusiasts.
Chinese pots are cheap for a reason. Design and manufacturing faults are common. Never buy a Chinese pot ‘sight unseen’ eg on Ebay. We hand-pick our Chinese pots from a number of reputable suppliers to find better examples, but even so, sell them with the following disclaimer – flaws & irregularities are inherent in Chinese bonsai pots. Examine the pot carefully, it may not be symmetrical and may not stand evenly.
Some Chinese pots DO represent excellent value for money. We’re hopeful that the quality of available supplies will improve over time.
Handmade Australian pots
Original work by studio potters who have extended their repertoire to bonsai pots, and by talented bonsai enthusiasts who have turned their hand to ceramics, is now available in understandably limited quantities. A very few nurseries carry these in stock. Bonsai Island has been using Australian pots for over 10 years with a selection of our bonsai for sale, as they suit Australian Native trees. Pots are glazed or unglazed, in traditional or contemporary designs.
The relatively small size (dimensions) of these handmade pots can be a disappointment to some growers – but you need to appreciate that large pots are prone to slumping, take up a lot of space in & are hard to pack into the kiln. Some potters will accept commissions for large work – we recommend that you contact the potter of your choice directly, to discuss your requirements. Whatever their size, pots must be fired at high temperature to make them impervious to water. Overall, the outcomes are uncertain, with a proportion of losses in the kiln. These uncertainties are reflected in pricing. Bonsai Island stocks a range of unique and beautiful handmade Australian bonsai pots by Trevor Wheeler, Patrick Kennedy, Penny Davis, Theo Koumis – and we’re pleased and excited to now add Marg Fenn to our selection.