Does anyone prefer wooden boxes over ceramic/cement pots?

SU2

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I know training pots are easier to make out of boxes, but I'm talking about a large-scale boxing of specimen in various stages (this coming spring), right now about half of my specimen are in boxes and, the ones that are good boxes, I'm very happy with their aesthetic however I'd gotten it in my head that "that's not bonsai!" and that I needed real pots, and have begun making cement pots.


After planting in my first cured (ie leached for >1mo so pH effects are minimal) cement pot, I like it but am honestly unsure whether I even like it more than a good wooden box (aesthetically), am hoping for opinions o this from an aesthetic point of view although anything else that differentiates them in function/practicality would be nice to know! I suspect the wooden boxes are far better insulators than comparably-thick mortar but unsure..

Thanks for any thoughts on this one!! I've got a batch sitting in a bucket curing right now and am about to go start another round right now, the original idea was to fill a shelf with them so, when it's spring and I'm re-boxing everything, I can switch everything over - I'm now wondering about whether that's the smartest idea, maybe a better approach would be to make cement containers *only* for the smaller/medium specimen, and leave the large ones in wooden boxes? Any thoughts on any of this would be appreciated :D

Here's a pic of the first DIY cement pot I got into circulation, then a pic of my favorite box (in terms of build/lumber, it came out the nicest!)

19700217_200209.jpg 19700111_144949.jpg


Thanks!
 

AZbonsai

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I am guessing weight would be a factor. I like the boxes as well. I have my plants in boxes and pond baskets. I screw my boxes right to the bench to they will not fall over.
 
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In the training stage aesthetics are not that important (but that is personal). For material to grow out and train primary branches it is better to use grow boxes (more adaptable in size, more growing room, better ventilation,...). When the primary branches are set a concrete pot or other training pot is good.
 

rockm

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There really is no substitute for ceramic pots for bonsai--cement included.

Just ain't, no matter how much you want them to be.

wood rots, cement deteriorates over the years. Ceramic does not. Wooden and cement pots are clunky as the materials aren't nearly as workable as clay.

Cement and wood pots are fine for growing plants out. Not so much for final bonsai.
 

Anthony

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Bring your trees up to standard --------- 1" trunk diameter to 6 " height
if it is a tree / shrub that exhibits surface roots get that covered.
Then work out your first 6 branches.

Call them - refinement boxes, where you develop your fine branches.

It is height x 3/4 or 2/3 gives the length of the pot so ---- 12 height / also width= 9 or 8 inches length.

You can purchase large basic plastic bonsai pots or mica pots.

https://www.amazon.com/Rectangular-...13108651&sr=8-13&keywords=plastic+bonsai+pots

https://www.amazon.com/Rectangle-Mi...513108651&sr=8-9&keywords=plastic+bonsai+pots

You can also use coloured fibre glass bonsai pots.

The cost of your hobby will go up.
Good Day
Anthony
 
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I prefer ceramics over cement actually, but a bonsai buddy of mine made this cement pot that I very much like:

20171212_235630.jpg
Yeah, it is just 1 pot and it's gonna be a final one too.
 

Adair M

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A concrete pot is likely not freeze proof.
 

Tieball

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I use wooden boxes. I use treated lumber....called Cedar Tone at the Home Depot (I don’t know if that’s offered at all stores). Once built, I use stainless steel screws, the boxes last me 8-10 years. At the 10th year, the box is usually still a box but I need to replace the bottom slats which are round-edge 1 x 2 stock (the same Cedar Tone). Usually around the 10th year I rotate old boxes to use for cuttings, moss or used Bonsai soil. The wood offers me good insulation properties during hot and very cold seasons. Trees in the wooden boxes just sit outside all year. The slats I build in drain very well.

I like your concrete pot. In my climate though it might crack more easily with freezing and thawing. Mortar patching could work though. I’ve considered make a concrete pot to challenge my thinking though. The weight of the concrete would likely be problematic for moving and shifting. I’m certain that the roots really like gripping that concrete wall edge inside though.
 

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Adair M

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The one on my pic has been outside for about two years.
It may not be concrete proof, but still ;)
That pot doesn’t really contain the soil. A more traditional shaped pot would, and the water the soil is holding. It’s the water expansion as it turns to ice that’s been the demise of many containers.
 

Shima

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Sometimes I use styrofoam vegie boxes. Light and good insulation. P1000716.JPG P1000868.JPG
 

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Anthony

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Very sensible @Shima ,
We did the same.
Grape export boxes.
Good Day
Anthony

*Wonder if winter harms them ?
______________________________
Cannot concrete be rendered frost proof ?
 
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I used styrofoam pots before. Good and light. They did break sometimes and roots grow through the boxes. Single use here.
 
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That pot doesn’t really contain the soil. A more traditional shaped pot would, and the water the soil is holding. It’s the water expansion as it turns to ice that’s been the demise of many containers.

Then maybe that's the trick. Making non soil holding pots
 

POSEIDON

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I've got some tall JBP I want to bend and get some movement in the trunk they we're planted in the late 90s gonna make literati out of them I think. Would the wooden boxes allow me to use guy wire easier? I rent and may be moving either this June or next no sure when or if I'm moving but being a renter I don't want to plant em in the ground. But I guess I'm asking do I need to build wooden boxes this spring to repot they have been in 1gal. Plastic pots for no telling how long till I slip potted them a couple weeks ago
 

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POSEIDON

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I'm just gonna repot this spring a let em grow to see what they look like after they get some good growth em
 

sparklemotion

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I know training pots are easier to make out of boxes, but I'm talking about a large-scale boxing of specimen in various stages (this coming spring), right now about half of my specimen are in boxes and, the ones that are good boxes, I'm very happy with their aesthetic however I'd gotten it in my head that "that's not bonsai!" and that I needed real pots, and have begun making cement pots.
Having not used either, I won't comment on the functionality of either choice.

But aesthetically, I wonder if you would be happier with the wood boxes if they were shallower (for material that is appropriate for that). Part of the magic of bonsai, for me, is not just pots that seem impossibly small, but pots that are so shallow that they make you think that that all the roots must be hidden inside the trunk.

But I also think that your cement pot looks cool, so what do I know?
 
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I use wooden boxes. I use treated lumber....called Cedar Tone at the Home Depot (I don’t know if that’s offered at all stores). Once built, I use stainless steel screws, the boxes last me 8-10 years. At the 10th year, the box is usually still a box but I need to replace the bottom slats which are round-edge 1 x 2 stock (the same Cedar Tone). Usually around the 10th year I rotate old boxes to use for cuttings, moss or used Bonsai soil. The wood offers me good insulation properties during hot and very cold seasons. Trees in the wooden boxes just sit outside all year. The slats I build in drain very well.

I like your concrete pot. In my climate though it might crack more easily with freezing and thawing. Mortar patching could work though. I’ve considered make a concrete pot to challenge my thinking though. The weight of the concrete would likely be problematic for moving and shifting. I’m certain that the roots really like gripping that concrete wall edge inside though.

I make wood boxes much like this for collected material. Only, I put screen in the bottom and space out the slats, like every other one pictured, for more air & drainage. I often put a screw through the box into a large root to hole the tree in place while it grown roots. Works for me...
 

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