Vanz Bonsai & Pottery

Bonsai Growing in New Zealand

170 pages with full colour photos

At last comes a book that has been written especially for all New Zealand bonsai enthusiasts. This is for the long time growers as well as for all those who would love to start and just don't know how or where to begin.


(plus $6.50 postage within New Zealand)

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Words from my readers

Choosing the Right Pot for your Bonsai

Low fired pots should be avoided if possible. To check the porosity of a bonsai pot, put a drop or two of water on the inside unglazed surface. If it immediately disappears into the pot, the pot could suffer damage during winter frosts when the water within the pot walls freezes and expands, cracking the pot. If the water doesn’t disappear then the pot is more
than likely vitrified and safe to use. The higher temperature a pot is fired to, the less likely it is to shatter in frosty weather. 

This applies to both stoneware and earthenware clays. 
If you can only find earthenware (terra cotta) pots and are not sure of their 'frost' strength, move them to a frost free spot in your garden during cold weather.

A general rule in choosing the correct sized pot is to select one where the width of the pot is 2/3 the height of your tree from the trunk base to the apex. The pot should also be deep enough to accommodate the trimmed root ball. Wire holes will allow the tree to be wired in place giving the planting added stability. 

Another guideline is this. The pot for a mature bonsai should be somewhere as deep as the diameter of the tree's trunk. If however the tree trunk diameter is only a centimetre or so, common sense tells us the pot needs to be a lot deeper than that one or two centimetres. As the tree ages a more shallow pot can be used, both for the health of the tree and for a more aesthetically pleasing result. 

Choosing a suitably coloured and proportioned pot is like choosing a picture frame for a beautiful painting. It should harmonise with the tree, not ‘shout’ for attention. The tree should always be the focus of the viewer, not the pot. Although essential to the composition, the pot is always secondary in importance to the bonsai. Quiet muted colours are preferable. Mame and shohin pots can sometimes be in brighter colours but these are seldom used on larger pots.

Bonsai pots should not be glazed inside and should have feet to allow for water drainage in order to prevent pots sitting in pools of water, especially during winter. Continually wet soggy soil can introduce a fungus which can cause root rot, which is usually fatal to the tree.

If possible take your tree when you go shopping for a pot. That, or measure the tree before you go. We think we will remember but most of us have notoriously unreliable memories. Better still, also take a photograph of your tree on your phone. 

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Vanz Bonsai & Pottery

Christchurch N.Z.

Beverley Van

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