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I bought this Chinese Elm Bonsai yesterday and it came in a traditional glazed square pot. It was too small and the plant was very rootbound. So I repotted it in a larger pot but in all the pictures online I've seen of it its usually in flat wide pots. I have a spare flatter, wider pot and saucer which is next to the plant in the picture.

Should I put it in the spare pot or keep it in its current pot? I could trim its roots and put it back in its original traditional pot and saucer it came with though

1 Answer 1


Bonsai simulates age in miniature.

All planters you picture are far too big. If you treat your plant like a tree, you will help it grow big. Like a tree. Your Chinese Elm bonsai may be the size of a 2-yr old but is actually in the neighborhood of 15 years old. Of course it has the urge to send out roots far and wide. Your seller should have explained all that.

The small pot is part of the illusion. Root prune modestly and plant it back in the original or similar flat pot (annually). The flatness represents the landscape visually.

Chinese Elm bonsai in flat pot

On a note of value for your money, if your purchase cost you well over $100 as it would in the US, you don't want to second-guess it by repotting it in such a different format. Still, the pruning you need on the roots is not the art that pruning is above the soil. Just don't be drastic.

Your tree is beautiful.

  • ive cut the roots down quite a lot and put it back in its traditional pot and saucer and its looking a lot better but at what time should i repot it in a bigger but more suitable pot?
    – Twurti
    Aug 8, 2023 at 13:19
  • 1
    The flat, shallow tray you've replanted it in is the perfect, most suitable pot for a bonsai. If you give it a larger pot, the roots will get bigger and so will the tree ,which isn't what you want in a bonsai. Maybe read up some on bonsai growing, pruning and training, its a complicated rather time consuming business, very different from growing other plants in pots.
    – Bamboo
    Aug 8, 2023 at 13:46

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