How to choose a bonsai pot no 8 - Juniperus chinensis

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.

Juniperus chinensis

Ken Wainman

Current pot size: 250mm wide x 80mm high

Tree Size: 600mm long

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, slender and delicate base

  2. Trunk line - Feminine, long slender trunk line with a gentle taper.

  3. Bark texture - Feminine, smooth trunk with very little flaky bark left on this tree for display.

  4. Bark colour - Masculine, Nice deep red tones to lighter red in places which highlight and contrast the foliage.

  5. Primary branches - Feminine, Fine branch design that will improve with time. More should be done in the future to showcase the structure more with foliage on top.

  6. Ramification - Feminine, Delicate fine branch structure that will improve.

  7. Leaf size/density - Masculine, The dense compact foliage gives more visual weight to the tree but the fineness of the foliage hints at a feminine feel.

  8. Leaf colour New/Old - Feminine, The light green highlighted with darker green with age has a lightening effect on the composition.

  9. Other features - Deadwood, Masculine, The future deadwood of the tree(in the picture it is edited to show deadwood for the future image) gives great contrast to the more feminine approach of this tree.

Masculine 3 - Feminine 6

On the scale below the tree is at no 4 on the feminine side.

Pot selection

Option A: Moon Pot XL 26cm x 23cm - Willow Bonsai Pots

Glazed effect: Manganese