What kind of potting soil should I use?

gwtamaraJanuary 1, 2013

> Soils for containers should drain 2 to 3 times faster than native soils.

> Soils must drain quickly, but still retain a reservoir of water.

> Commercial bonsai soil mixes are available and for the beginner with just a tree or two, this may be the easiest way to go.

> If you wish to mix your own, keep in mind that good bonsai soil needs basically three elements: *Organic matter to supply nutrients, such as peat moss, or composted pine bark with all of the big chunks removed and the dust sifted out. *Inorganic filler such as coarse sand (swimming pool filter sand), chicken grit, turface, perlite or small, uncoated aquarium gravel. *Water holding material, such as compost,
peat moss, untreated kitty litter, crushed brick or vermiculite.

> Many enthusiasts incorporate a time release fertilizer, such as Osmocote, into their mix.

> Preparing your own soil doesn't have to be complicated, and a basic soil recipe like 50 percent crushed granite or kitty litter or turface or pumice and 50 percent sifted pine bark mulch is easy enough to put together.

> A slightly more advanced mix would be organic matter, inorganic filler and water retentive material in equal parts by volume. This mix would suffice for most conifers.

> Custom mixes can be made by varying any of the basic elements. Many bonsai growers have their own special formula. One part of the mix given in #7 with one part of a good, commercial potting soil is good for all broad leafed trees and most tropicals.

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