potting soil or substrate

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potting soil or substrate

Post  ericksond on Fri Jun 01, 2012 1:30 am

I am a newbie. At the moment I am reading a lot of books and articles to get as much information as I could. I got two pre-bonsai plants from the nursery that I want to practice with. Please note that these plants are not even close to being a bonsai candidate - weak nebari and small trunk. I have read that it is a bad idea to re-pot it into bonsai pots. Instead, I want to re-pot them in shallow plastic basins to increase root growth. I know I am better off planting them in the ground but I do not have space for that.

My question is if I re-pot them in shallow basins, should I use a potting soil mix or use the suggested bonsai substrate mixes?

I am from Florida and I read an article that the following mix would work:

1/3 Turface MVP or AllSports sifted
1/3 Fafard Soil conditioner
1/3 Red Lava Rock

Should I use this mix or should I stick with potting soil? Thank you for your help in advance.


Last edited by ericksond on Fri Jun 01, 2012 2:47 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: potting soil or substrate

Post  ericksond on Fri Jun 01, 2012 2:46 am

Seems like most of the articles I read says that bonsai soil is not potting soil. I guess i answered my own question. I wish there is a way to delete a post. Embarassed

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Re: potting soil or substrate

Post  JimLewis on Fri Jun 01, 2012 12:35 pm

I wish there is a way to delete a post.

Well, I can't see what you see on your screen, but up at the top of the post you should see "Quote" and "Edit" on the upper right side. Near them there should be a small "x". That should delete YOUR posts.

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Re: potting soil or substrate

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Fri Jun 01, 2012 1:35 pm

Actually your question is still a valid one. Although our basic 1/3, 1/3, 1/3 soil works with a lot of plants, regular pttoing soil is fine for others. Part of the questions should be the species you are growing. A Juniper will generally benefit for a well drained soil. On the other hand, a Ficus will to;lerate more moisture and might develop faster in a traditional

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Re: potting soil or substrate

Post  Poink88 on Fri Jun 01, 2012 1:57 pm

Billy M. Rhodes wrote:Actually your question is still a valid one. Although our basic 1/3, 1/3, 1/3 soil works with a lot of plants, regular pttoing soil is fine for others. Part of the questions should be the species you are growing. A Juniper will generally benefit for a well drained soil. On the other hand, a Ficus will to;lerate more moisture and might develop faster in a traditional
True. There are swamp/marsh plants that will fall in this category too like bald cypress. My buttonwood and logwood/campeche seem to love my soil mix with some potting soil as well. Both can tolerate wet feet and prefer moist than dry conditions that is why I opted for more organic ingredient for their mix (esp here in Texas).

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Re: potting soil or substrate

Post  ericksond on Fri Jun 01, 2012 2:11 pm

Thank you for the replies. Like I said I am new and I just happened to grab these plants from the nursery. The first one is a Clusia Rosea and the other one is just a bougainvillaea. Probably not the most interesting species for you guys but I just needed something to start with.

So I really need to read more about the species to know what to do with it. Some internet articles indicate that the Clusia needs moist but well drained soil. I am not sure about the bougainvillaea, I know they easily grow in garden pots but I'm not sure how it will fare on substrate mix.

Yesterday I moved the Clusia from the nursery pot because I noticed when I water it there is no irrigation at all. I removed the plant from the pot and cleaned the outer area of the root ball. There is a big bulge of brown powdery material - is that rotten root? There's also a colony of small ants in it. For now I use potting soil mix and put it in a shallow container. Should I move it to an inorganic soil mix instead? Is it a bad idea to repot twice in succession?

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Re: potting soil or substrate

Post  JimLewis on Fri Jun 01, 2012 2:46 pm

The ants probably created the fine soil.

Bougainvillea would rather be dry than wet. They are arid-land semi-tropicals. Let them go dry between waterings.

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Re: potting soil or substrate

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Fri Jun 01, 2012 3:04 pm

I am not familiar with Clusia Rosea but Bougainvillaea does like to be on the dry side as Jim said. I use the 1/3, 1/3, 1/3 mix you mentioned plus a coir based commercial mix. Even the commercial mix drain OK until it begins to break down (about six months in our climate)
Frequent repotting isn't good. Wait a couple of months, in our climate that would be enough.

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Re: potting soil or substrate

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Fri Jun 01, 2012 3:07 pm

I don't think I have ever seen Clusia Rosea as a bonsai, how large are the leaves?

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