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How to Determine an Effective Bonsai Soil

Bonsai that delicate tree that lives in a tiny pot is very dependent on the quality of the soil that helps it breathe, gain nutrients and water. Without this proper mixture your tree would suffer and if not cared for properly would most likely die.


How do I know the best bonsai soil?

Soil is the primary medium in which your tree will get its air and water. Bonsai requires a more thoughtful selection of soil and soil additives in order for it to thrive more.

Actually, there’s no best bonsai soil to use. The secret comes from different brands and types of soil you use; and from your own incredible techniques in combining and mixing soil until you’re satisfied with the results.  In fact, the bonsai tree soil and its additives will determine the health of your bonsai’s roots. Moreover, determining an effective bonsai soil is extremely important if you want your bonsai to flourish. A good bonsai soil mixture is made up in such a way that any water added to the soil drains out quickly, and prevents the roots of your bonsai from washing out.

What do I need to make bonsai soil?

If you wish to make a bonsai soil at home, you will need a loam, sphagnum peat moss, and granite grit. This mixture can give you a good blend for your bonsai tree. To prevent damage roots, make sure that the water is drained completely.

There are some complete potting soils available which includes Akadama, Fujiyama Potting Medium, and Kanuma. The additives or components to make a complete potting medium are zeolite, river sands. Pine bark, peat moss, grit, and calcined clay.

Akadama is also known as red clay soil. This type is widely available and is manufactured in Japan. It is graded by particle size whether it’s fine, very fine and standard.  It contains no organic matter and the granules retain their structure for years and are able to drain and hold sufficient water. Moreover, Akadama is best suited to high summer rainfall and moderately cold temperatures in winter. This type of soil prevents water-logging and freezing.

Fujiyama is best used as a wetting agent and very useful for all bonsai plants.

Kanuma in Japanese is ‘dirt’, and is dug up from 10 feet below. It is named after the region in Japan. This soil is ideal for acid-loving plant like Azalea, Gardenia and Camellias.

Kiryu is a Japanese imported mixture which is made up of clay and pumice. This mixture is deal for plants which require extra drainage like pine trees and evergreens. Kiryu is also mixed with normal oil for it allows air circulation.

Kyodama is a traditional volcanic grit and is often mixed with other soils. This soil holds moisture, and has a neutral ph.


About the Author: Elias Cortez is freelancer writer that specializes in writing in the education field for students looking to pursue a career in graphic design. Read his latest articles titled “Graphic design schools” and “Graphic design career information” to learn more.

Bonsai Soil

© Budi Setiawan - Fotolia.comChoosing the right bonsai soil is a very important factor if you want to have a healthy bonsai plant. Bonsai is a plant that has undergone special cultivation process to make it appears small. Bonsai plants actually are the same as their bigger versions, but the roots are pruned regularly so they will only grow to a certain small size.

Bonsai needs a lot of moisture and nutrients to survive. In this case, bonsai soil plays a very important role because it should be able to hold sufficient amount of moisture as well as hold nutrients to be the plant’s food. In addition, bonsai soil needs to be mixed appropriately so it has good air circulation for the roots and able to drain water properly. Since many bonsai lovers need good quality soil, there are many ready-mix bonsai soils available in the gardening stores and nurseries. You should understand that these bonsai soils are quite expensive. Moreover, you will need to spend more because your bonsai will need repotting every year or two.

In order to save cost, some bonsai planters have decided to make their own bonsai soil. Basic materials that you need to make this soil are dead plant substances and several forms of organic matter. These materials are mixed together to make a good bonsai soil mixture. The type of your bonsai plants affects how you should make your own bonsai soil because each has its own needs. For example, some bonsai plants require soil that can retain water, while others can do well without a lot of water.

If you are relatively new in the art of bonsai making, it is better for you to buy ready mix bonsai soil before you try to make one by your own. This is to make sure that you can grow a healthy bonsai first rather than making pig’s food from your soil experiments.


As mentioned briefly, bonsai needs to be repotted periodically. You will need to change the soil during this process so it can supply sufficient nutrients for the plants. In addition, repotting is also the time for you to prune the roots of your bonsai. Some roots grow rapidly, while others grow slowly. In general, you need to repot your bonsai every year or two years.

This is also another reason why bonsai planters make their own bonsai soil. In many cases, it is more practical and economical to make bonsai soil from various organic matters around your house than purchasing bonsai soil mixtures from stores and nurseries. You do not need to buy organic materials to make your own bonsai soil and this is also a good way to recycle your organic matters.

By Cindy Heller