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TOPIC: Help Needed - My Bonsai Generic Soil

Help Needed - My Bonsai Generic Soil 11 months 1 week ago #30387

Hello bosai experts,

In my country we don't have stores that sells bonsai soil, also Akadama is not available. So i mix 2 part of Compost + 1 part Peat Moss + 1 part Lava pebbles + 1 part pine and oak leaf mould.
Is that a good mix? do you have any suggestion?

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Help Needed - My Bonsai Generic Soil 11 months 1 week ago #30391

It can depend on the tree you wish to keep & the climate you live in.
It sounds like you have lots of organic material in the mix, much of it fine, which means it will retain lots of moisture. That's not a good thing for most bonsai, unless you live in a very dry climate. Even still, you would need to make sure it is thoroughly watered each time, as the surface may appear damp, but portions unseen can still be dry.
Fine particles are not ideal for your bonsai mix, as they clog drainage holes and can retain more moisture than is healthy. Organic material breaks down over time, turning into finer particles. It becomes almost like mud if there's too much of it, which chokes roots & leads to rot.
You'd be better off to add more sifted coarse-size inorganic material, like the lava pebbles you already have. Other available products out there work great, too. Unscented kitty litter (kitty-dama), fired clay soil conditioner (Turface is a well-known brand), chicken grit, gravel, river stones. As long as it's sifted to a reasonable size and not too large or small. My mixtures are sifted to a size between ~2mm-6mm.
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Help Needed - My Bonsai Generic Soil 11 months 1 week ago #30395

Thank you very much for your informative answer.
Cat litter is available and i can get it, can mix it with other organic soils i have and Lava pebbles? could you suggest a good recipe?
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Help Needed - My Bonsai Generic Soil 11 months 1 week ago #30396

I might be good to tell us what type of plant you have. This would determine the best mix. An Azalea is completely different from a juniper when it comes to what it grows best in. Also what type of climate do you live in. Is this going to be in full sun?
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Help Needed - My Bonsai Generic Soil 11 months 1 week ago #30398

Bonsai Bender wrote: I might be good to tell us what type of plant you have. This would determine the best mix. An Azalea is completely different from a juniper when it comes to what it grows best in. Also what type of climate do you live in. Is this going to be in full sun?


Yes mostly in full sun, i know there are some plants like Azalea that needs special requirements, but for my case i need a general purpose mix that will work with most of bonsai trees.

My bonsai trees are Oak, Olive, Jasmine، Portulacaria, Schefflera and Bougainvillea.
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Help Needed - My Bonsai Generic Soil 11 months 1 week ago #30399

According to the video from this post www.bonsaiempire.com/basics/bonsai-care/advanced/bonsai-soil
I will use 2 parts of Cat litter (as an alternative of Acadama) + one part Lava pebbles + one part of compost.

What do you think?
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Help Needed - My Bonsai Generic Soil 11 months 1 week ago #30402

For what you are requesting (a general mix) that's good. I am partial to Pumice so I might use pumice instead of lava but that is me. Just make sure you know the needs of your plants and water accordingly. I have seen too many drowned and dehydrated pictures of plants on this forum.
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Help Needed - My Bonsai Generic Soil 11 months 1 week ago #30417

That sounds like a lot of organics in that mix. I would not use that for any evergreens. Better drainage means better root growth. Turfice and perlite are inorganic fillers that are better for drainage and can be found easily. Lava rock is great for both drainage and water retention, plus it NEVER breaks down. I know a guy who uses 100% lava rock for most trees. For your ingredients, for tropical trees, I would use 1 part compost, 1 lava rock and 1 part pine bark. For evergreens, i would reduce the compost to 1/2 part. Peat moss is generally a low quality filler thats bad for drainage.
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