Bonsai Pot or Other?

Hi,
Purchased a Spruce from a well known retailer in the UK. Tree was from the Italian Alps and will be ready for re pot in the spring. When I inquired as to what size and shape pot it could go into I was informed that it is way to early to put into a Bonsai pot.
Question, on an old tree, possible 200 years, why would it be detrimental to pot into a larger bonsai pot instead of a plastic pot?
Tree is growing well but is not wired into the plastic pot and does slide around in the wind.
Thanks for any suggestions

Hi @JLF
i don’t see any reason why you shouldn’t repot the tree in a bonsai pot in spring. In my opinion there is no difference between bonsai pot and plastic pot except in heating-up.

I would worry about the wobbling in the pot. If the tree is well rooted it shouldn’t wobble or slide and especially in the windy fall this could become a problem.

I think they just told you to take a plastic pot because the design of the tree isn’t set yet and you don’t know which pot suits the tree but if you don’t buy a rare and expensive pot (or if you have the money for it :wink: ) i don’t see any problem with it.

Thanks Skeil, my thoughts are the same. Pot is curved with a smallish flat spot so tree moved in the wind.
I have now wired over the soil.

Hi @JLF
When was the tree collected?
Is the tree in development or refinement?
Your primary concern will be the health of the tree, and the older the tree, the slower they are to re-establish after any work.

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When was the tree collected? The only major reason I would see for it not to go into a bonsai pot is if it was collected recently. But you said it is ready to be repotted, so I assume it wasn’t collected within the last three years?

There are a lot of different opinions on the time frame of which it takes for a tree to go from collection to bonsai pot. An older view on the process would have you very incrementally reducing the root ball over the course of many repots, not getting to a refinement stage for over a decade. We know now, from what Ryan has showed us, that this isn’t really necessary. If it can go into a bonsai pot it should go into a bonsai pot, so that you can start reaping the benefits of finer growth and shorter internodes and get the tree into the refinement stage much sooner.

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Thanks you, I agree. The tree was collected 3 or 4 years ago and is making good growth.
I will style once the cold weather is here and there will be very little foliage removed. It basically just needs a good clean & wire. Reason I wanted to get it into a bonsai pot is that it will then grow with finer growth.

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Repot OR style but should not do both in one year. More important to get adapted and growing strongly in pot than to style. Maybe need to wait 2 years after repotting for strength to manifest. Spruce already has fine growth so no hurry to get finer. Robust growth during development stage is Strength of more solar panels(needles) so smaller needles may just be weak growth if pushed too soon. Please take care.

Echoing above: we’d need to know why the retailer said “don’t put it in a bonsai pot.” My money says because it’s not ready for refinement yet.