Each Bonsai has a preference for its own soil mix. They are as individual as people. Often, in order to find what type of soil your tree likes best, you have to try out several different soils. Its trial and error; pure and simple. It may be a good idea to have your notebook ready to write down each different Bonsai soil mix you try so that when you hit upon the best one, you can reproduce it without having to go through the trial again. There are two basic types of Bonsai trees and they respond better each to a different mix of Bonsai soil. The coniferous bonsai like growing in 70% akadama and 30% kanuma, while the deciduous bonsai grow better in 90% akadama and only 120% kanuma.
Soil Mixes For Deciduous Trees
Bonsai are not specific tress, any tree can be shaped to be a Bonsai tree. The indoor Bonsai are typically of tropical origin, like the Ginseng Ficus Bonsai, the Cape Honeysuckle Bonsai or the Hibiscus Bonsai. These trees will grow very well inside. Other Bonsai like growing outdoors much better because that is where the original trees are grown. The deciduous Bonsai are Chinese Elm Bonsai, Crape Myrtle Bonsai, Japanese Maple Bonsai or Pomegranate Bonsai. Good Bonsai mix for the deciduous trees are 60% akadama, 10% kanuma and about 30% of peat soil. You can change these mixtures to suit your trees best.
Soil Mixes For Coniferous Trees
Of the coniferous Bonsai, choices include the Cedar Bonsai, Juniper Bonsai, Black Pine Bonsai and several others. The variety of Bonsai for you to grow is enormous. Just be sure you choose the right mix for Bonsai soil and you can have the showcase of the neighbourhood with your Bonsai garden. Conifers like higher blends of the akadama soil. 70% akadama and 30% peat soil work well, as does 50% akadama plus 20% kanuma and 30% peat soil.
Adjustments To The Soil Mixture
If your Bonsai soil mix gets too dry, increase the percentage of akadama and decrease the other soils of the mix. Good water drainage is also very important for your tree. If you see that the water does not drain as it should, all more sandy soil, like haydite, to provide better drainage. It may take a little time to get the perfect soil mix but the rewards for your patience and perseverance are worth it.
Potting Soil Is Not Advisable
Some people try their first Bonsai in regular potting soil. This is acceptable but not advisable. Bonsai prefer the texture of soil mix. One reason they like it better is because this tailored soil mix drains better and has less fertilizer than potting soil. Your Bonsai may survive in potting soil but it will not thrive and grow into its full beauty. It would be sad to spend the energy and time to select the perfect tree you want to shape into a Bonsai only to have it look sickly and without shape. If you are serious about your Bonsai, give it the best chance to grow from the onset.
Tools You Will Need
To grow and shape your Bonsai, you will need a set of Bonsai gardening tools. They are sold individually as well as in full sets, including
• root hooks
• a sod and root cutter
• a soil scoop
• By-Pass Pruner
• and very importantly, stones to sharpen those tools.
For the beginner, a full set will have every tool needed to make your tree growing a success. They can be a bit pricey but they will last you a long time. Aluminium wire is also necessary to tie the tree and its branches down. Copper wire can be used but the aluminium wire is more economical and looks just as good because it has deep red or brown coating that is anodized onto the aluminium Of course, you also need Bonsai soil.