Pairing a pot for this Chinese Quince

First, I really appreciate the current pairing, a Shuho rectangle with cut corners.

But I thought it might be fun to try some new shoes. Chinese Quince is special, as it has 4-season interest: pink flowers in the spring, exfoliating bark in the summer, bright red and orange fall color, and large yellow fruits that persist into winter. This makes pot pairing a lot of fun. They can handle masculine and feminine pots, glazes to compliment or contrast flowers, bark, or fruit. The sky is nearly the limit. So…

What do you like?

Here a few to consider. Pot info and my evaluation are under each photo.

Oribe Koyo rectangle with bamboo accents.

Good color and size. To me the walls are a bit too vertical. Maybe I’m used to a lip. The green glaze will be attractive with the bark all year, and nice with the fall color. If it flowers, pink is a good contrasting color to green, and a complimentary color to the yellow fruit.

Another Oribe Koyo, oval with feet and a lip.

Slightly narrow, but visually, the depth makes up the volume, and a smaller pot makes the trunk look fatter. The shape is a bit more interesting. It has a lip. Glaze color is the same as above, but a bit clearer, with a touch of blue where it built up at the band and feet.

Green Chinese oval cheapo.

I like the color and the shape, but it is too big; the width is almost the same as the canopy, so the tree looks small. The color is pleasing and it’s not too shiny.

Blue Namako Shuho rectangle with cut corners, a lip and carved feet.

This is the current pot, and it’s a good fit, maybe a bit deep. It’s a bold pot, but it’s a bold tree. Good fit.

Blue glazed Yamafusa rectangle with cut corners.

Clearly too big for now. Maybe in 10 years. It’s very muted in this photo, a conservative safe pot. Incidentally it was my first “nice” pot, and the one I showed my maple in at the 3rd US National Bonsai Expo.

Yellow vintage Chinese rectangle with window panes and cloud feet.

Great patina, good shape and the color suggests the fruit color. This pot should be perfect, but to me the pot feels lighter than the tree, creating instability. The tree was in this pot for a year or so around 2015.

Black round Yamato.

Too big, but the red crackles go nicely with the bark. The right size, and it could work.

Tan unglazed rectangle, vintage by Keizan.

Good size, but a tad plain. Very reserved.

Cheapo bag-shaped Chinese.

The size and shape could work, but this is really a cheap, ugly pot. This style of pot glazed in light blue could be a winner.

Formal unglazed rectangle Tokoname by Sankyou or Sanpo…can’t remember which.

This works to my eye. Good size, good shape, solid color. Not sure I’m ready to commit to the look yet, but would be easy to use as the tree grows older. Now, it almost looks like a pairing you’d use when you’re ready to sell the tree and dump off a pot you don’t care about as part of the deal.

Unglazed rectangle with cut corners, 3rd Gen Yamaaki.

The soft shape does work, but the warm red clay color is more for a juniper to me. If I went unglazed, I think I’d stick with a brown clay color like the previous, not red.


So, 11 to choose from, with half being legitimate options for sure, and a few others to demonstrate what does not work and why. A decent exercise when you have time and pots to work with.

Scroll back through and pick one. Which one did you pick?

Ready for my pick?

First, unpotted and combed out:

I didn’t remove many roots, just combed them out and will replace the soil. Interestingly, the akadama soil which has remained in place for 4 years now is still quite in-tact. I read how people complain that it breaks down fast or turns to mush, but I simply have not had that experience.

And the winner is…

I love the pot, a production-grade Koyo with a sexy shape, a Chinese feel, and clear green glaze which beads up in blue at the bands and feet. The root mass stayed rather small, so while it is one of the smaller pots, the roots fit comfortably, and the base shows a bit wider too.

A couple shots with a ruler to show dimensions, the pot is about 11″ wide, and the tree height is 16″.

Leave a comment with your pick, would love to hear your thoughts.

A few new pot pairings, Part 1

About the big box from Matthew Ouwinga…

It’s been a while since I went shopping for pots with specific trees in mind, but I have been refining a pine with Bjorn that is ready for a decent pot. We had discussed softer rectangles, bigger lip, and I had really thought a windowpane pot would be nice. The current pot is a heavy, blocky Chinese production pot, 16x13x4.5″. It’s deep enough to accommodate the roots…which I have been reducing from a 15-gallon can over the last several repottings.

This Gyouzan is by the kiln founder’s son-in-law, Yuji. It is slightly wider across the top, due to the lip, and gently turns inward at the bottom. The edge along the bottom suggests a windowpane, and the size was right so I pulled the trigger. 17.5×11.3×4.3″:

I’m eager to work the tree into this pot in the spring. Isn’t it funny how the new pot is wider, but looks smaller all around?

Here is a rough virt:

Next up is a tricky one. It took a while to find one I believe will fit this sumo Shohin trident maple. It’s been growing in a nice Ino Shukuho for the last couple years, which is an outstanding pot, but at 11.8″ wide, far too big to work in a Shohin display rack. This Ikkou (Tokoname) is 7 3/8″ wide, and should just work. I’ll be sure to post some shots of the shoehorn-style repotting in the spring.

Next week, we’ll finish unpacking the box…

Rectangle Tofukuji

Here is a recent pickup. A small, baby-blue glazed formal rectangle pot. It’s just about 4.5″ wide and just over 1″ high. It will be difficult to use; very small for a Shohin, on the formal side for an accent plant. But, fits easily on the shelf.

A chojubai quince, with its tiny leaves and bright orange flowers could work…

Or, maybe this Bonsai kit will produce something memorable and worthy of the pot. What do you think?😜