How to choose a bonsai pot no 3 - Gardiol's Commiphora

Updated: Jun 17, 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.

Commiphora harveyi (Kanniedood or Red stemmed cork wood)

Gardiol von Horsten

Current pot size: 45 x 18cm

Tree Size: 55 x 66cm

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 - Masculine, Powerful base with root spread, roots can be improved over time through grafting or just general growth.

  2. Trunk line - Masculine, Straight trunk with very little taper as in the Baobab style.

  3. Bark texture - Masculine, Flaky paper like bark shows age.

  4. Bark colour - Masculine, Dark tones of green, red, brown with hints of white contrast.

  5. Primary branches - Masculine, Thick powerful branch structure with angular movement.

  6. Ramification - Masculine, Same as above angular movement

  7. Leaf size/density - Masculine, Tri-foliate compound leaf with pronounced leaf venation and slight serration.

  8. Leaf colour New/Old - Feminine, New leaves have a beautiful red/pinkish tinge. Masculine, Old leaves are dark green and hardy

  9. Other features - Shari feature, masculine feature showing age and the story of life and death.

Masculine 9 - Feminine 1

On the scale below the tree is at no 5 on the masculine side.

Pot selection

Option A: Landscape X Large 48 x 33 x 4.5cm

Glazed effect: As pictured in the deep stone