Mesh in a bonsai pot is very important and you can actually use a number of different things for this, which I will discuss below.
However, you really you just want to use the proper bonsai mesh, it’s simply going to the best thing you can use.
What Is The Mesh Bonsai Pots For?
The whole point of the mesh is pretty simple. It stops the soil from falling out of the pot, while also allowing the water to escape.
If you look at the bottom of a bonsai pot they have pretty big drainage holes. This combined with the small particle size of bonsai soil means that if we don’t have some sort of mesh, the soil is just going to pour out of the bottom.
The mesh just has to keep the soil in, while also not stopping the water from escaping. This is why it’s a mesh and not something more solid. The drainage holes are needed and we need to make sure excess water can still escape through them.
This means we can use a lot of different things to do this job, so long as it can hold the soil in and lets the water out, its probably going to be suitable for he job.
I will go through some of the common things that people use for mesh in their bonsai pots.
(You can read more about – Why Do Bonsai Pots Have Drainage Holes?)
Actual Bonsai Mesh
If you want to know the best thing to use in your pots, it’s clearly going to be actual bonsai mesh.
This mesh is specially made for bonsai and there really is no reason to use anything else. This stuff is just simple plastic mesh and does the job brilliant and is exactly why it is used by pretty much everyone who does bonsai.
The beautiful thing is that it is extremely cheap. You can get a sheet of it easily online for like around £5, probably less and its reusable, making it extremely cost effective.
You just have to cut it to size and add it your pot so that it covers the holes. When you next repot it will no doubt get dirty and full of roots, but really you can just give it a quick wash and its good as new and ready be used again and again.
I bought a sheet a number of years ago and I still have it. One sheet is probably about 30cm by 20cm and that means you can get a lot of use from it. I would need to do some maths, but I would say you would have enough mesh for 25 pots from one sheet, probably more.
Bonsai can be an expensive hobby at times, but the mesh is not. I’m going to talk about some others things you can use, but really, just buy this mesh.
You Can Really Use Anything…
If for some reason you don’t want to buy proper mesh then you can really use anything you want.
You just need to make sure that whatever you use can do a few things.
You will you want your mesh to be strong enough to hold the weight of the soil, which isn’t really going to be much. You also need to make sure that whatever you use is going to keep the soil in place, while also not affecting the drainage. This is why you want a mesh. It is going to have enough gaps to allow the water out, while still holding the soil in place.
You also want to make sure that whatever you are using is going to last in the conditions you are putting it in, basically you don’t want it to dissolve.
Proper bonsai mesh is plastic and it can easily withstand being wet all the time, so just make sure whatever you are using is going to do the same, you don’t want everything to rot away after a few months and cause your soil to fall out.
Plaster Board Mesh
I can’t remember why I had this stuff, but I was looking at it and thought it might make some good mesh in a bonsai pot and I was right.
The role I bought must have lasted about 5 years, maybe longer! I ended up using this in all my DIY pots (Ice cream pots I had cut holes into) and it’s done a great job, but it’s certainly not perfect.
It’s quite thin, so it can easily bend, so sometimes you need to add two or 3 layers, it’s certainly not as rigid as the actual mesh.
However, it is made from plastic, so it won’t break or dissolve. It’s pretty strong and it will do the job, it’s just the weight of the soil can cause it to bend slightly, but it’s not really a problem.
I’ve never had any trouble with it, but at the same time, it costs around the same price as the actual mesh, which is just a superior product, so I would still recommend that instead.
You can also reuse it, sometimes… Sometimes the roots grow through it and when you are pulling it all apart it can get a little stretched and loose, meaning it’s not great to use again.
Basically it will not last long term, maybe a few years, which is not the same as the proper mesh, which will probably last longer than you.
Window Screen/ Mosquito Mesh
My friends in North America like to use window screen mesh in their pots. We don’t really have that here as there is not really much a mosquito problem, but I believe for anyone elsewhere, you should be able to find this pretty easily and cheaply.
This is one of those things where you end up having to buy it in bulk, so you will end up with a lot of it. One purchase pretty much lasts a life time.
I’ve not used it myself but everyone who has used seems happy enough with it. The problems I can see with it are that its very light, so it may struggle with the weight of the soil.
It looks like most people get around this by cutting it to the size of the bottom of the whole pot, rather than just the holes themselves and this seems to help hold it in place.
I’m also not quite sure on the size of the mesh. I imagine its quite fine, so I’m not sure how good the drainage is and if it can get easily clogged. However, as I’ve already said most people are happy enough with it. So I’m assuming all the fine particles can flush through no problem.
It should also be reusable, but I can also seeing the roots growing through it and this being very hard to pull apart without stretching and deforming the mesh. I’ve not used it, so I can’t be sure, but I guess you will end up with a large roll of it, so you will have plenty to just cut some more and use some fresh mesh.
If you want to try using something else as a mesh in your bonsai pots, go for it, but honestly you won’t find anything better than the mesh that is designed for the job.
It’s cheap and easy to get hold of. It’s also going to last you a very long time and you will not find anything that does a better job …so just use it.
You can experiment with things, but you will still always think the actual mesh is the best option.
Hi, I’m Ian. I discovered bonsai in 2014 and I’ve been hooked ever since.
I created this site to spread all the knowledge I have acquired over the years.
Don’t forget to check out my Youtube videos where I show the progress of my Bonsai