How to choose a bonsai pot no 7 - Pinus Radiata

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 Radiata

Paul Moult

Current pot size: 240mm wide x 65mm high

Tree Size: 200mm high

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 pronounced base as yet(may improve with age) however it give the impression of a more slender tree

  2. Trunk line - Masculine, Very straight, no movement at all and very little taper.

  3. Bark texture - Masculine, Rough textured bark that will get rougher with age. Slight bit of flakiness at the moment,

  4. Bark colour - Masculine, Different tones of brown from light to dark

  5. Primary branches - Masculine, straight and mimicking the trunk line. For the future work will be needed to correct the bifurcation as reverse taper will develop in time.

  6. Ramification - Masculine, as it is not very fine dense twiggy growth.

  7. Leaf size/density - Feminine, Depending on the story one can think of the needles as fine and delicate or straight and sharp. As this is a coastal pine with development going towards a rounded crown it can used to create a more feminine feel.

  8. Leaf colour New/Old - Feminine, As the tree stands at the moment the colour is more a subdued green than a dark green foliage.

  9. Other features - Suggestion for more a feminine look is to remove the thick trunk towards the apex. Just above the dense canopy of the lower branches there seems to be a strong left and right branch that will set the apical growth.

Masculine 5 - Feminine 3

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

Pot selection

Option A: Natural Planter Small 35cm long - Willow Bonsai Pots

Glazed effect: Unglazed Manganese