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bonsai pots - drainage holes

updated sat 17 nov 01


Luis Fontanills on fri 16 nov 01

Cindy Strnad wrote:

<one or two large ones for a bonsai pot. That sounds like an excellent idea to
me. I always wondered how on earth they got the screen off the roots without
causing damage. Is there any formula for how much drainage area a given sized
pot will require? Should the holes be placed in any particular location? Say,
mostly under the spot where I think the tree should be planted?>>


Hi Cindy,
It is customary for a radially symmetrical pot (round, hexagon, etc.) to have
a good sized drainage hole in the middle. I would make the hole no less than
1 inch in diameter unless it is a very tiny bonsai pot. I have seen some at 2
inches or more; it should be in proportion to the pot size (size visually).

Elongated forms such as a rectangle have two drainage holes. Take the
rectangle and divide it in half then center the holes at the midpoints in
each half.

For very shallow organic formed pots for a group or forest planting (many
trees together), multiple holes are required for drainage and wiring the
trees in place.

Excellent drainage is the most essential element of a bonsai receptacle.

Luis Fontanills
Miami, Florida USA