The name bonsai, which came to us from Japan, consists of two parts: bon – which in Russian means “pot for flowers” and sai – “to grow”.
Hence, bonsai translates as growing a plant in a pot and can mean both the plant itself as well as the art of growing it. This art in Japan is more than 1500 years old, but in fact it originated in ancient China about two thousand years ago, and it came to Japan in the 6th century AD along with Buddhism and from there began its triumphal procession, reaching almost all countries of the world. In fact, it is nothing more than a repetition of an old or mature tree in miniature, while maintaining all the originality and beauty of the copied look. But, it is very difficult to achieve complete repetition in miniature and only a few masters who are fluent in art can do it.
Pots for bonsai are of paramount importance and, it is on them that the final result of the long process of growing and forming a miniature tree depends. They should not only be suitable for the plant, but also harmoniously combined with its appearance. As vessels for bonsai, both special, variously shaped flat containers made of various materials (glass, plastic, metal, etc.) and pots made of plastic or clay are used.
It is best to give preference to a clay vessel made of natural material, but when watering, you need to take into account that clay pots for bonsai absorb moisture and watering should be plentiful and frequent than in pots made of other materials.
The size of the bonsai pot is of great importance and is selected taking into account the size of the root system and the height of the plant stem. If the vessel is too small or too large, then the plant will not be able to properly form the necessary root system.
Regardless of the material from which the vessel is made, it must have a large drainage hole (or several holes) and small legs on the bottom to ensure ventilation of the root system.
The shape and capacity of the pot depends on the type of plant. Flat vessels are more preferable than deep ones – their shape contributes to the formation of a flat root system. A flat pot sets off a miniature tree very favorably, giving it a more meaningful look, but the lower the pot, the more plentiful and frequent watering.
The shape of flat vessels can be very diverse: round, square, triangular, oval, rectangular, polygonal and even irregular.
Rules for the selection of flat vessels:
- the length of the container should be slightly more than 2/3 of the width or height of the plant;
- the width of the container is slightly less than the longest branches of the plant on both sides;
- the depth should correspond to the size of the tree trunk – that is, be equal to the diameter at its base. The exceptions are forest (depth not more than 2 cm) and cascade style (depth more than 10 cm).
Of great importance in aesthetic terms is the color of the pot. For flowering plants with gray-green or light foliage, light-colored vessels are suitable. For plants with dark green foliage, a dark trunk or branches that visually dominate the mass of foliage, dark brown, dark gray and dark blue vessels are suitable.