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The chosen tree will dictate its container. The two must make a visually pleasing combination. Traditionally, the intended shape of the tree is matched to a specific pot.

For instance, a straight-sided pot would be used for a straight-growing formal upright style tree, while a round or oval pot would be used for an informal style with a curving trunk or limbs. The same rules state that evergreens should be exclusively set into unglazed containers.

While there is room for variance, in general you’ll find that your eye will naturally follow some of these same rules of design out of instinct. When choosing a pot, consider the sides and consider the depth. If you’re growing a tree that will cascade out of the pot like it’s growing on the edge of a cliff, you’ll want to choose a tall pot; a collective planting meant to look like a meadow needs a wide and shallow one.

Finally, select the hue of the pottery. Try to complement the color of the leaves most of all.