What are the basics of bonsai soil

What are the basics of bonsai soil

Bonsai and bonsai soil are terms used to describe the ancient Japanese art of growing and forming of small trees in pots. People in Japan and China have practiced bonsai for more than one millennium. This popular art form became popular in Europe and the USA in the last few decades.(1)

In its essence, bonsai represent a creation of miniature version of a mature tree with the help of the same material from which real, big trees grow. The tree itself is a part of a composition and the other element is the pot. The tree and the pot must complement each other in terms of size, shape and color. Another important element that is crucial for the progress of the bonsai tree is the soil. Just like in the case of any other tree, without adequate soil we can’t expect the Bonsai tree to grow properly. So, what makes good soil for bonsai trees?

First of all, it is highly recommended to use a mixture of fine and rough soil in the pot. But, this doesn’t mean that you can use any type of rough and fine soil. In order to understand more about bonsai tree soil we must explain the purpose of soil in details because the soil is used for many different reasons not just for supplying nutrients. To start with, with the right type of soil we can support the plant’s effort to grow upright. So, you will need certain elements that will make the soil heavier and keep the tree in the same position. Furthermore, you will need soil that has the ability to keep the moisture/water. In this way you will rest assured that the plant is growing in a proper way. If the soil has the sufficient amount of moisture, the plant will get the nutrients easily. Finally, the soil must be very porous, if you want to strengthen the root and help it grow. Experts advise people to stay away from regular potting soil because it is very firm and doesn’t provide good air flow and increases water retention.

Now that you know a little bit more about the bonsai tree soil it is time to discuss the best types of soil. Truth to be told, there is no universal answer to this question. The type of tree you are using, the weather, location and some other factors determine the exact type of soil you can use. However, there are some elements of soil that each bonsai tree soil must have. We can divide these elements into inorganic and organic.

The inorganic elements come in non-porous and semi-porous form. Some good examples of the second form are haydite and lava rock (2). These elements support the production of water vapor and support proper air flow. River sand and sharp gravel are known as good non-porous elements for bonsai tree soil. They make the soil heavier and keep the tree upright.

Hayite shale - the basics of bonsai soil

Hayite shale – the basics of bonsai soil

Organic elements like peat moss, coffee grounds and pine bark are good for the fertilization of the plant and keeping the right level of moisture.

According to many experts a good bonsai soil should include both inorganic and organic elements.

1 http://www.bonsaiempire.com/origin/bonsai-history
2 http://www.bonsainut.com/index.php?threads/akadama-vs-pumice-vs-lava-rock.18580/

 

Bonsai Branch Bender

This bender is very helpful as you become more advanced in bonsai. This tool is very adjustable and will easily handle tree trunks up to an inch. They are very low priced and can be left in place. I did a short demo video on this bender. Watch the Bonsai Branch Bender demo video.

Bonsai Knob Cutters


A good pair of Bonsai Knob Cutters is essential for advanced bonsai artistry. These tools are great for gettting in close and removing small buds, branchs, gins, and inperfections. This is a high quality pair and is made from carbon steel.

Bonsai Tweezers

This is probably not the first bonsai tool I would buy, but it sure comes in handy. There is always something small, like a bud or a bug that needs to be grabbed. This type is good because there is a blade tool on the opposite end. This can be used to loosen the plant from the edge of a pot.

Bonsai Leaves Branch Shears

For a smaller hand, the best pair of shears is Bonsai Leaves Branch Shears. The smaller opening allow the user greater control and the length allows you to reach deep inside a plant and clip interior leafs and branches.

Bonsai Knife

A good sharp Bonsai Knife is one of the most important tools you can have. There are so many uses that I can't even list them all. You just need it there when it is needed.

Free - My First Japanese Maple Bonsai eBook

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