Peat, sand, grit
Akadama Japanese Clay Granules
Kanuma Japanese Clay Granules
One of the most controversial topics in the bonsai-world.
Most important is a free-draining mix. If your soil is not free-draining the roots will either become water logged or on the other hand, in dry conditions, water will not be able to penetrate a compacted soil and roots will be starved of water and nutrients, both situations resulting in dying roots which of course means your tree will not survive.
You can of course purchase already mixed ‘bonsai soil’. Generally speaking it is more economical to mix your own, also you know exactly what’s in it.
A basic mix, here again opinions differ.
Peat, horticultural sand and 3mm grit 50/25/25, for conifers use more grit 40/30/30
Some people prefer to use composted fir bark instead of peat and pumice instead of grit and others prefer to use pure Akadama (Japanese clay granules), it must be sieved thoroughly before use to get rid of all the dust.
Trees like Azaleas and Cameleas prefer an acid soil, then use an ericaeceous soil such as peat, and Kanuma (also clay granules which must be sieved before use) which is used in the local Azalea growing regions of Japan.
Experiment by all means, and if you use a mix and your trees are flourishing, ‘stick with it’ don’t change just because someone else tells you to.
Make your Bonsai Garden more inviting with a water fountain from Fountain Crafters, read more