Bonsai Soil

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Bonsai Soil

Post  hoboman on Wed May 19, 2010 5:42 pm

How can I make bonsai soil?
What is required for a good mix?



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Re: Bonsai Soil

Post  Mike Jones on Wed May 19, 2010 7:21 pm


No one soil suits all Bonsai, much the same as when planting in your garden, some species prefer acid based (ericacious) others will not thrive on an acid based soil.

For bonsai however I can only tell you what I use and in 26 years of bonsai it has not let me down yet.

I use (in varying percentages) good quality washed grit. I favour aquarium grit but you need to be certain you get one that is not all smooth, a coarseness to the stone, or sharpness is better. Then my base product has to be Akadama clay granules, sieved and graded for differing levels of the pot. I also use Kyodama (possibly now not being manufactured so pumice will work well in place of it) and Kanuma for Azaleas, although I have found that as long as it is free draining and has a pH of around 5-5.5 they do well. I have just recently been experimenting with a semi-hardened clay granule specifically for aquarium plants that require an acid base. Whilst not as hard as Akadama, it holds together well in trials, but is not as attractive as Akadama as the granules are very evenly rounded where as Akadama varies in size and shape.

I use Kiryu when repotting Pines as I have found good results.

When money has been tight I have not always been able to afford the quantities I need and have had to improvise. IMO, and that is all it is, as long as it is a quality soil, free-draining and retains a good composition then you should be fine.


Mike Jones

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Re: Bonsai Soil

Post  Kev Bailey on Wed May 19, 2010 8:18 pm

I'm unsure how many Japanese soil components are available in South Africa. I manage to use none now, as I am concerned at the environmental impact of using limited soils materials that have been shipped around the world. I also resent the prices that have doubled in the last couple of years.

My mix consists of crushed granite sold as "Alpine grit" for growing rockery plants, chipped wood bark and high fired Diatomaceous Earth cat litter. This type of cat litter is the same sort of product as that used by greenkeepers to improve golf turf and football pitches and by mechanics to mop up oil spills. Some version of it should be available in most parts of the world. There is a good detailed discussion of this type of soil component here

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.” - Charles Darwin.

Kev Bailey

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Re: Bonsai Soil

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