A lifelong friend and mentor and I were discussing a bonsai tree I murdered with over watering a while back. We discussed the time it takes to help a tree sprout, the environment it needs to flourish, the care it takes to train it's limbs, the pruning process, and the patience needed to develop a strong root system. The entire discussion was very interesting and educational.
I was surprised to learn that bonsai simply means, little tree. That sparked the question about why the tree is small and what makes it that way. He shared stories about seeds and types of trees, indoor vs outdoor, and how ultimately it boils down to the pot the tree is planted in that keeps it dwarfed.
Types of pot experiences.
Underpotting - to small of a pot
A severely rootbound tree is one that's roots have filled the pot to the extent that it has little or no soil for new roots to grow into; it will survive and issue new leaves in Spring but barely develops further than where it is.
Overpotting - To big of a pot
The fear that growth will be slowed in a small pot leads many bonsai enthusiasts to overpot and advise overpotting. Many times, he stated, he has seen and heard well-meaning enthusiast advise planting, a young tree, perhaps not ready, into as large a pot as possible "to speed growth". However, the size of the pot, the environment, used has a major influence that determines the speed at which the tree grows and too big a pot can have negative impacts on health, stress on the tree and growth rate.
As an entrepreneur I had become like the underpotted tree. I had sprouted, been groomed, nurtured, cared for, developed my root system, achieved growth, and generally was praised for how I had blossomed...but I had grown as far as I could in that pot.
It was through this understanding that I decided to repot myself. I needed forced growth, risk, and to strive for the possibility of no longer being a little tree.
So what is the answer?
A) Stay in the safety of your pot that is to small but comfortable?
B) Hope to be repotted by someone that has your best interest at heart?
C) Be planted in the big pot and try to stretch your roots to one day fill the space? But risk not growing? Risk death?
Every tree is different but if you are wanting to grow, leave the safety of your pot and risk being seen in all your glory.