How to choose a bonsai pot no 2 - Scott's Pine

Updated: Jun 11, 2021

Due to popular demand we have started this series to help Bonsai artists and our loyal customers in their choice of a bonsai container. There are many factors that need to be taken into account when selecting a bonsai pot and we will be diving into the way we select a container for our trees and customers trees.

Masculine or Feminine

The main consideration in choosing a pot is to work out if the tree is masculine or feminine. This is determined by multiple characteristics of each tree, for example the nebari, trunk line, bark texture, leaf density and much more.

A tree that has characteristics of strength, power, formality, harshness, roughness and struggle can be considered masculine

A tree that has characteristics of calm, delicacy, instability, informality and finesse can be considered feminine.


Please note that these are merely guidelines and form a basis on how to break down the elements of tree and pot to help in choosing a correct Bonsai container. Every artist and bonsai enthusiast will have their own opinions and artistic flair which will create a different composition of their own.

Pinus (Pine)

Scott Kirby

Current pot size: 50 x 35 x 19cm

Tree Size: 60 x 60cm

Tree characteristics

Lets start by listing some of the characteristics of this tree and how they fit into the masculine or feminine approach.

  1. Nebari - Feminine, Not very powerful at the moment, Once repotted look further down into the soil if there is a nice tapering effect and if possible to lift to showcase that.

  2. Trunk line - Masculine, Straight with a slight lean. Conforms to the general rule of Formal upright in this regard.

  3. Bark texture - Masculine, Textured bark with a flaky manner, showing age.

  4. Bark colour - Masculine, Very subdued light grey colour, mostly with hints of dark grey on the flaky bits and speckled throughout.

  5. Primary branches - Masculine, Straight branches with good taper from trunk to end of branch. Mirrors the trunk line well.

  6. Ramification - Masculine, Not very fine branching yet however this will improve over time but the branches will still have a strong supporting look to support the foliage.

  7. Leaf size/density - Feminine, Beautiful colour fine needles give a feel of delicacy to the tree.

  8. Leaf colour New/Old - Feminine, Older needle colour darker, New needle colour light with a tinge of blue.

  9. Other features - Masculine, Scars and deadwood can be used to showcase the masculinity of this tree.

Masculine 6 - Feminine 3

On the scale below the tree is at no 3 on the masculine side.

Pot selection

Option A: Rectangle Window Xlarge 40 x 31 x 11cm - Willow Bonsai Pots

Unglazed effect or Peacock Glaze

A. Pot characteristics:

1. Top View - Masculine, Strong straight sides with sharp edges. Rectangle

2. Side Profile - Feminine, Can be