A Larch Rock Planting

Don’t be shy, help me improve this Larch rock planting I just did yesterday. Im planning on one additional tree smaller than the main tree planted in the back right into the pot. Ryan’s Sphagnum and akadama recommendations really helped me out with this planting. Also, the top dressing he recommends seemed to work really well.

Any tips or critiques welcome.


I think this is an amazing pot that is loosing some of its star appeal in competition to the rock and the tree. I would use a much less conspicuous pot, something round or oval that passes unnoticed (without meaning either small or shallow) and make this pot shine with a tree alone. A slab would also be cool if of the same material/color of the rock would complement the rock.


Hmm I wondered if the pot my distract a bit. I like the idea of a slab but finding one to match will be difficult. Thanks

I agree with @rafi I think the pot is kind of fighting the rest of he composition. Trying to steal the attention from the rock and the tree. But for me this is because the pot is too deep/tall and that gives a visual mass to the pot that is far too heavy for this composition. I always tend to think these type of rock planting’s look the best in an extremely shallow pot, more like a tray. Kind of like the Michael Hagedorn composition that Rafi posted a thread on recently.

The rock planting itself looks fantastic so far though! My only critique, and you’re probably planning this anyways, is that you should wire all the branches on the left downward further to match the branch angles on the right side of the tree. Looks like the branches on the left are still in the position of the old planting angle. Very nice! I’m a sucker for rock planting’s, got a couple in the works right now.


Generally looks very good. It feels though, as if it is heavy towards the right, looking unstable, as if it will flip off the rock. I would balance it slightly by letting some branches on the Left grow a bit more. Just my 2 cents.

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I agree with you on a little too much movement to the right. I wonder if there is anything beyond growing the branches on the left out more that I could do. Possible something with the third tree. hmmmmm

Hi Matt,

The angle of the tree, styling and the rock I think go together very nicely, I agree that this pot may be too interesting to pair with this setting. Also, maybe a less demanding and shallower pot would suit this composition better.

Otherwise I really like it.

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Hi, really like the pot/rock/tree combo. Like the smaller daughter tree too. From a design point the top part of the trunk seems to straight to me, with all the movement and taper lower down. I would let it grow and grow the first branch out a little more to the right. The question in my mind if it were mine, would be can i put some movement into the top third of the trunk… or reduce the hight by almost a third and form a new apex with the two branches growing at that point. But you need to see how it responds to the repot. Nice tree.

Thanks for your input and it is very nice to hear because I accidenitly killed the apex by leaving wire on too long there effectively chocking it there. This design change will come out of necessity and I am not really upset because I think it is a good idea. ooops

Hey Matt…

I have created a few rock plantings in my time and I would like to offer a couple suggestions.

First let me say congrats for taking a chance/risk and creating a rock planting!! Good work!

I like the rock and the primary tree you have chosen. However, the angle of the tree in relation to the stone feels uncomfortable…it also seems to create some reverse taper that makes my eye hesitate…the flat area between the trunk and tip of the stone needs something, as well. Perhaps a slightly more upright position for the tree could potential rectify both of these issues. Granted…at this point it will be difficult to make this change but perhaps this will help in future creations.

For me, the second tree does very little to improve the overall composition. Perhaps it will get better with time, but I might be inclined to replace it with something that might provide more of a shrub appearance. Perhaps something that might add some different seasonal interest??

Personally I don’t mind the container…I had to take a second look to see what the others folks were concerned about:)

Thanks for the tips John, I’ve admired your rock plantings and have a few in an “inspiration folder”. I agree with the angle of the main tree and it could be straighter. I was thinking of adding some fern as well. Do you think another tree would help?

for me, I would only add another tree if the sum of both trees resulted in something greater than the single tree. Do they have similar lines, or does the difference in the size of the trees add perspective that is not obvious with just one…

I know, fuzzy answer, but I hope you can see what I am saying. It is like Ryan’s slab video…the two trees together created a greater visual impact than the single tree…for me this is why he chose to keep the second tree. So, without knowing anything of the second tree you might use makes it is hard to answer your question specifically.

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