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Bonsai Soil

The increased popularity of growing Bonsai trees and plants has brought with it many specialist shops. The Internet is being awash with Bonsai supplies. As a beginner, it is usual to buy everything you think is needed to grow one, however there is a good chance you may not need it.

Hoffman Bonsai Soil Mix

You can buy Bonsai soil at very reasonable prices. This soil is a perfect mix of nutrients, soil and grit that will help it grow, but many practitioners of the ancient art of Bonsai would probably consider this cheating.

As a beginner, it is important that you do what you can to make your first Bonsai as successful as possible. Many people will throw in the towel after just one failure.

When you consider how long it can take to reach maturity, you will realize this isn’t an overnight hobby. You must get into a regime of regular watering, annual potting, plenty of care and attention to be able to enjoy a beautiful Bonsai for all the effort you’ve put in.

Arcillite - Large and Small Grains

Is Bonsai soil expensive?

Bonsai soil shouldn’t cost much more than normal potting compost or bags of nutrient rich soil normally used in the garden. Good soil however, may contain a lot of ingredients including clay, soil and bark.

Some of these ingredients are loaded with the nutrients that a Bonsai will thrive on, and paying that little extra can certainly promote good healthy growth for your beloved project.

Schultz Sphagnum Peat Moss

Whether you decide to use bags of Bonsai soil or make your own, there are certain things you need to make sure of before rushing into things.

Good soil needs to have excellent drainage to make sure the water seeps to the roots and to the bottom. The pot needs holes for drain excessive water. A good idea is to have two different types of soil, one coarser than the other. The coarse soil will be acting as irrigation.

You might also consider buying nutrient supplements which can be added when re-potting your Bonsai – mixed with the soil. However, if you are growing your Bonsai in a suitable area this isn’t always needed.

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  • David Stroud 13 Oct 2009, 17:02

    I am relatively new to handling bonsai dealing with purchased plants to making bonsai from nursery plants and air layering. I am mixing my own bonsai soil and have experimented with several formulas but find it sometimes difficult to get a good reading in a very drainable soil with a water meter. I use turface, diatomatious earth, crushed granite, soil conditioner, and course potting soil or tree & shrub soil. I have also experimented with long fiber sphagnum moss but find it difficult to find even online in a 2 or 3 cu. ft. bale. What would you recommend along with any comments on the above. Thanks!

    • Andrew 07 Sep 2012, 16:14

      David, are you in Cape Town? Where do you buy Turface?

  • Topsoil Supplier 02 Feb 2011, 10:47

    Try using a higher loam mix, say 60/40 soil to sand, and substitute that for the crushed granite.

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