How to mix bonsai soils (fun part!)
Welcome to Bonsai Soil Tutorial
In this tutorial, you'll learn the basics of bonsai soils and how to mix them for your bonsai.
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Wherever you buy the soil, try to grab the one with small grain always. It is easier to use. You can use small grain akadama as the soil for plant propagation.
Basically, making your own soil is more of a trial and error process -- the only way to learn is to try it and see if your plant likes it or not. Mixing the soil for your plant is also about discovering what your plant likes, as in "does your plant like it more wet or dry?" "does it like to be inside or outside?" So mixing the soil for one bonsai is different from the next, including where you keep the bonsai as well. Even though for the same kind of bonsai, a lot of people use a different mix of soil because they know their bonsai based on their experience and the way they grow it is different. So search a little bit about your plant and discover your plant's favorite. It's worth it.
Bonsai soil techniques and knowledge
There are basically two kinds of bonsai:
- Coniferous trees (e.g., pines or any trees that make cones)
- Deciduous trees, broad leaved trees and fruit trees. (e.g., maples)
The basic soil knowledge:
Akadama soil works similar to seramis and Kanuma soil is Japanese pumice.
For coniferous trees, akadama (or same kind of soils) 70% and kanuma(pumice)30%.
For deciduous trees, akadama 90% and kanuma 10%
akadama 2lb-$13.95 Pro bonsai mix soil 2lb-$6.95
If your blend gets dried out too fast, you can try more akadama or soil with good water absorption and lessen other soils.
If your blend retains too much water and does not drain well, then you can try more sand type soil (like haydite, decomposed granite for better drainage), and lessen akadama or the main soil that you use to retain the water.
The best way to make your own blend is to try out different things and adjust accordingly, because every bonsai is different depending on location and climate, etc.
There is no specific way that you need to follow to make your bonsai soil and a lot of bonsai people use their own blend.
Example blends of soils for coniferous trees are:
- Akadama 50%, peat moss 30%, and Kanuma 20%
- Akadama 70% and peat moss 30%
- Akadama 70% and Kanuma 30%
Example Blends of soils for deciduous trees are:
- Akadama 60%, peat moss 30% and kanuma 10%
- Akadama 90% and kanuma 10%
- Akadama 90% and peat moss 10%
- Akadama 60%, peat moss 30% and sand (other grit 10%)
- Akadama 90% and pumice 10%
Let's say that your plant is a kind of coniferous tree, and you made your blend with akadama 50% peat moss 30% kanuma 20%, you should check if the the plant or soil gets dried too fast or the soil has the right amount of water all the time.
Just imagine that this way: akadama allows for some space for air in the pot so the soil and roots can breath, kanuma holds the water inside, and peat provides the nutrients needed for the plant. Always try to imagine what's happening inside the pot and the reason why you mix the soil with other soils. It's always better that way and it makes you try and find a better mix of soils for your plant, thinking of the reason why you pick the soils and how they will work.
Thanks and happy mixing!