Your bonsai soil or potting mix is the most important ingredient for growing healthy plants. A good bonsai soil mix provides a balanced medium in which your trees and plants live and grow. It will also provide the initial nutrients plants need to grow rich colored leaves and flowers. A high quality japanese bonsai soil like akadama brown for indoor trees and a conifer soil blend for outdoor trees. Both of those products permit moisture retention while still allowing any excess water to drain away, it also retains fertilizer better.
Types of mix: conifer, tropical and sub-tropical bonsai soil. Professional in 2 to 20 lb bags.
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Maintaining your topsoil on your bonsai tree is as important as maintaining your roots and pruning. These tools make it easy to repot as well as aerate and increase water absorption in your bonsai tree.
For most bonsai gardeners, buying a package of prepared soil mix is the most efficient method of selecting house plant soil. Bonsai potting soil is sold in varying sized packages, so you can purchase only the amount you need at the time.
Use a commercial mix specifically formulated for house plants. It temporarily provides the nutrients that plants need; you can replenish these nutrients when necessary with plant fertilizer. I recommend the packaged akadama bonsai soil mix which has been sterilized to eliminate any pests or diseases that might be present. If you prefer other potting soil mixes are readily available at nurseries, indoor plant stores, or other stores where garden supplies are sold.
Some lightweight mixes need to be moistened before planting. Squeeze a handful of soil in your fist; the mix should be damp enough to form a compact ball when you release it, yet not be dripping wet. If the mix is dry and crumbly, add enough water to the mix to make it cohesive.
Every ingredient in a soil mix has a purpose
If purchasing a bag of re-potting soil in a plastic bag isn’t your idea of natural organic gardening, you can make your own. Blend equal amounts of coarse washed sand, garden loam or a good garden topsoil and peat moss, leaf mold or fir bark.
Garden loam or topsoil contains particles of clay that hold fertilizing materials in an available state for plant roots. Sand, perlite, and leaf mold hold air around the roots, which is essential to good plant growth.
Leaf mold also provides some nutrients. Charcoal bits keep the soil “sweet.” These ingredients are usually available at most nurseries, garden supply stores, or indoor plant stores. With any new soil, you should add a a small amount of a high quality bonsai fertilizer.
Making your own bonsai soil mix
Any potting bonsai soil mix that you make yourself which contains garden soil must be sterilized. Garden loam or topsoil may contain pests, weed seeds, or plant diseases; sterilizing the mix eliminates these problems.
An alternate method is to cover the soil-filled pans with kitchen foil or clear baking wrap and seal. Insert a cooking thermometer through the center of the covering into the soil but not touching the pan. Place in the oven and heat until the soil temperature reaches 180′; keep the temperature at that level no higher for 30 minutes. Prepare yourself for the nasty odor of baking soil. Luckily this odor isn’t lasting. Remove the sterilized soil from the oven and let it air for a few days. Store it in sturdy paper or plastic bags.