How to choose a bonsai pot no 4 - Ficus burtt-davyi

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.

Ficus burtt-davyi (Veld Fig)

Hendrik Koekemoer

Current pot size: 180mm x 230mm

Tree Size: 190mm high x 330mm wide

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, very pronounced enveloping base. Nice flair and character. some finer roots could be grafted to improve over time with taper.

  2. Trunk line - Masculine, Powerful squat trunk with thick first downward branch.

  3. Bark texture - Masculine, Smooth bark with lots of folding that shows age.

  4. Bark colour - Feminine, Light cream colour with green undertone, darker brown tones in places.

  5. Primary branches - Masculine, prominent branches with lots of signs of age.

  6. Ramification - Feminine, finer branches and with development will create a dense fine twiggy growth.

  7. Leaf size/density - Feminine, with development burtt-davyi reduce well. The leaf size will be nice and small over time and show more a fine feminine look.

  8. Leaf colour New/Old - Masculine, shades of green to darker green with age. Very simple leaf shape with a strong curved outline.

  9. Other features - Fruit, Feminine, fruit shows reproduction and health.

Masculine 5 - Feminine 3

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

Pot selection

Option A: Octagonal Fancy small 19.5 wide x 8cm high - Willow Bonsai Pots

Glazed effect: Seaweed glaze as pictured