Bonsai Study Group Forum

Presentation => Bonsai Pot Discussion => Topic started by: bonsaiTom on September 08, 2011, 05:49 PM

Post by: bonsaiTom on September 08, 2011, 05:49 PM
I learned about this product on another forum and want to 'toss it out there' among our study buddies here too. I have not yet tried using them and want to know if anyone has, specifically for bonsai culture. I found them to be available at our local hydroponics shop, but only in the 3 gal. size at the moment. Cost was $4.95.

For those not familiar with this it is an aeration container made of soft felt. It is American made (Oklahoma City) and has a US patent. It has these claims on the packaging - BETTER THAN PLASTIC CONTAINERS, BETTER THAN RAISED BEDS, RELEASES HEAT, AERATES THE ROOT ZONE, STOPS ROOT CIRCLING, AIR-PRUNES THE ROOT STRUCTURE, GREAT FOR AQUATIC PLANTS.

The connection to bonsai? Well some folks are touting Smart Pots as fantastic for developing pre bonsai, particularly the root systems on pines. I'm anxious to try this but will probably start out with a tropical that can be easily replaced if need be prior to experimenting with a pine.

Hoping to hear back from others who may have an opinion - some experience.

Read about Smart Pots at (
Post by: Zach Smith on September 08, 2011, 06:55 PM
These look like fabric pots, what are called pond pots as they are commonly used for placing your aquatic plants in your pond.  The advantage there is the water flows through easily, but your plant still resides in a container if you have to move or replace it.  I bought a bunch of these two years ago.  I'm in the business and deal almost exclusively with collected material.  My experience to date has been that they are not especially better at promoting fibrous root development, but let me qualify that by saying you might need to be more scientific than I've been.  Here are my two big negatives: one is that for a newly collected tree, you have zero structural support for moving the tree; it's like picking up a wet paper sack, and this means the tree will likely shift in the pot during the move.  Not good for new roots.  My second problem is that if you water heavily as I've had to do this summer during the drought, slime grows on the outside of the pot.  This may not happen for you, but it sure did for me.

I'm getting rid of these pots as I move trees out of them.  I don't see any advantage to them, and the disadvantages to me outweigh any possible benefits. 

For what it's worth, of course.

Post by: John Kirby on September 09, 2011, 02:37 AM
I have never used them for collected trees, seedlings yes, bareroot trees with well developed and pruned root systems, yes. THey claim to result in better root systems, I am not sure. I have seen them used at a big container grower in OK and they worked well in that environment, they were essentially using bags the same size as the opening of a cinder block, pumping up the fertilizer and water and growing tall tridents (6-7' all with  1-2" caliper, etc) and then transferring them to hard plastic containers for sale at big box stores and other nurseries. Was impressive- but not necessarily bonsai. My biggest issue with them was keeping them upright while maintaining enough space between them to make them accessible and have enough air movement.

They can work very well, but if you only have a few dozen (less than a 100 or so) pond baskets will probably work better, you can tie in and they have flat pot bases.

Post by: bonsaiTom on September 09, 2011, 06:25 AM
Thanks for the responses. Makes sense. Main issues - stability and nothing to tie to for support. If they do not promote improved root development they are not worth the trouble.

Not so "smart".