Chojubai Notes: Part 4— Pots for Chojubai
Being a thin-trunked bonsai, most Dwarf Flowering Quince ‘Chojubai’ would naturally make us think, ‘Shallow pot!’ but we’d be just causing grief to our tree…
Because that’s really the crux of the matter. Chojubai is a shrub, a fact which influences everything about its care and maintenance, including pot choice. You’ve probably noticed photos of beautiful old azaleas in Japan in rather deep pots. Almost all shrubs do better in deeper pots.
Why is this? Why do they prefer deeper pots? Shrubs tend to have surface feeding roots rather than deeply seeking roots. Which sounds like they’d do fine in a shallow pot…except that shrubs like Chojubai prefer even moisture on their roots, not overly dry or overly wet. And shallow pots easily create those more extreme conditions.
In some cases a shrub’s root system in a deeper pot will only colonize the top 2/3 of the pot, but don’t worry about that. The bottom 1/3 or so is like a bobber, to float the roots above the area most likely to stay too wet.
Shallow pots might be used with Chojubai, but care will be more exacting, and mostly they are only used for show. The care of many plants in shallow pots, even for those plants we tend to grow in them, like maples, is challenging. For usual care and growth, a Chojubai should be planted in much deeper pots than you’d think.
To sum up, pots for Chojubai should be:
- Shallow: For show
- Deeper: Best for year-round growth
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