Color and Unusual Pot Choice-

A tree with red berries in a green glazed pot. A conifer with green foliage in an unglazed, reddish brown pot. An orange flowered tree matched with a blue glazed pot.

Common and good options. For pot choices, these opposing colors from the color wheel can work, and work well. But they are also Bonsai 101 choices.

This Japanese Maple ‘Beni-Kawa’ has a delicate rose color to the branches. It’s a subtle wash of color that could easily be upstaged by pot color. And arguably this quiet red color the most important feature of the tree. We want to see it. And we have to be careful not to obliterate it.

Japanese Maple ‘Beni-Kawa’ with an unusual pot choice, an unglazed brown.

The decision was to show off the reddish rose of the branches and trunks, to have that be the focus. Often a key tree color is balanced by the opposing color on the color wheel—in this case, the pot would have a green glaze. By NOT going that route we have a quieter tree, with the focus on one simple color. The matte, medium brown clay of the pot recedes leaving the trunk and twig color as highlight.

Pot choice is an opportunity. See it as a chance to support what you most want to show in the tree. If what you wish to show off is color, often the way to do that is to stay close on the color wheel to the color you wish to show off. In this case, red (color to show off) and brown (supporting color).

The bonsai guidelines of balancing a color with its opposite are fine and useful, and often allow for jazzy results. Yet these guidelines may be sidestepped on clear purpose.

5 Comments

  1. Absolutely spot on !!! And the ultra slim profile of the vessel certainly helps take the eye away from what the tree is in… I think something often overlooked is that when we see a tree in nature, we seldom even notice the ground that it sits on/in (except for extreme examples such as cliff hangers and such)

  2. Ray says:

    Good choice

  3. dkoetting says:

    Good explainantion, and a good reason to bring several pots up to look at with a tree. Sometimes you see something that sends you in a different direction.

  4. John says:

    Not my favorite. Furry moss, crossing branch and pot needs something.

  5. Marcelo Nascimento Oliveira says:

    Boa tarde michael me chamo Marcelo e moro em tangará da Serra Mato Grosso Brasil. Adimiro muito o seu trabalho,será que você poderia me desse algumas dicas ensinando como fazer um ápice em juniperus. São mudas que eu comprei em uma feira beneficente aqui na minha cidade,e essa é uma delas vou mandar também a foto das outras pra você ver.

    O negócio é o seguinte Jonas já tem mais de dois anos que eu venho pesquisando na internet vendo no YouTube muitos vídeos e aramando e tentando estilizar alguma coisa, mais eu tenho dificuldade para dar um estilo para elas aí se você puder me ajudar me explicando como dar movimento de tronco fazer os patamares, fazer o ápice e outras coisas também, dar um rumo certo pra elas sou iniciante e gostaria muito de aprender algumas dicas com um mestre como você. ficaria muito grato. Obrigado pela atenção fique com Deus!

    Em Dom, 24 de mar de 2019 06:02, michael hagedorn escreveu:

    > crataegus posted: “A tree with red berries in a green glazed pot. A > conifer with green foliage in an unglazed, reddish brown pot. An orange > flowered tree matched with a blue glazed pot. Common and good options. For > pot choices, these opposing colors from the color wheel ” >

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