This is the second in a series of eight choice high-quality plants being trained in a full range of styling in very shallow saucer-pots by Ron Davis of Montana.  To see other of his articles on this website, go to his portal page at      

By Ron Davis (Montana)

     This tree was repotted twice in the same afternoon.  I nearly finished it with a foil collar with four wires outside the pot for security.  Then I realized that the tree did not have an interior anchor, something for the roots to grab onto. So I removed the collar and tree and started over.

     Two wires coming up through four holes to be bent over and twisted together to form an anchor about 1” above the plastic separator. Center anchor being filled with mix of half media and half coarse lava.  Collar is cut from a 4” plastic nursery pot.  Outside wires will secure plant to pot.

     White plastic disc holds media inside foil collar in preparation for transfer to base collar. Note insulation cut from 12 gauge electrical wire to serve as a cushion for wire over plant.

     Plastic transfer disc about to be removed from beneath foil collar.

     Finished design.  Collar from base lava to top of foil is  7” tall, 4” at plastic base, 1.5” at the top.  Height to top of plant from soil line is 13”.  The final test to determine success of this potting procedure: can the entire design be lifted by the plant’s trunk and all remains secure together?  YES!


        IMPRESSIONS BY RON:  The rigid plastic helped form and stabilize the collar; it was easier to fill with media than if the entire collar were foil.  Masking tape is used to secure foil on the outside of the plastic. The pot has four wires coming up through eight holes. When I placed them so each would cross over beneath the center of the pot it created too much bulk and the pot did not sit level. I then replaced the two long wires so that they did not cross the center. Imagine a clock face with twelve holes:  one wire goes through number two and number four, the other wire goes through number eight and number ten. At the top of the collar, these wires were brought to the opposite side of the tree and twisted together. The two opposing pairs of wire nicely secured the tree to the collar.  I am not sure if the internal anchor wires at the bottom of the collar will be enough to stabilize the tree when all foil is removed.  Time will tell.   July 25, 2011


        COMMENTS BY DAVID: Ron was running his trials at the same time that Fuku-Bonsai was in the very early stages of the 1:10 Project.  So we were still learning from each other. For ROOTS, there seems to be two major routes:  1)  Do like Ron did to attach a "megaphone-like aluminum foil cone" to the partially bare-rooted plant and fill media from the bottom.  Then up-end it and place it on a gravel pile (within a plastic collar) like Ron did.  One of the concepts of this very shallow potted concept is that the tree would be permanently bonded to the saucer pot, and if so, there needs to be something for the roots to grab onto, but to be eventually totally hidden by the roots.

        2) A second method:  One of our solutions has a heavier U-shaped wire coming up through two holes. With a pair of pliers, twist it so it grabs the bottom of the saucer-pot.  About an inch or two up, twist the two wires together with there being a loop below the twist.  Make another twist an inch or so up again with there being another loop for the roots to intertwine and anchor the plant.  The loops would be fairly narrow so the roots will totally cover and hide the wire in the future. Wedge the end of the wire up into the base of the tree in the heaviest part of the root ball so the tree is hanging up at the desired height.  Create aluminum foil cylinders and start from the bottom,  filling and decreasing the size of the cylinders as you go up.  Use external additional wires or ties to further secure the plant.

        While the methods may vary, Ron effectively secured the plant and as long as it's not shaking, the roots will have a chance to grow strongly.  Note that in a shallow saucer-pot, a tall slender elegant ROOTS design will be more attractive than an overly heavy wide mass of roots.  NICE WORK RON! 

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