Is It Really A Trivial Part Of Bonsai Paraphernalia?
At the first glance an article dedicated for Bonsai Soil might seem a little out of place.
One could argue that it is a trivial part of the whole bonsai paraphernalia. However if you look at it a little more carefully, soil is a very vital part of the bonsai art and thus it makes sense to understand the role it plays in the upbringing of the bonsai plant.
It is of utmost importance to find the right kind of soil mix for your bonsai plant as it would decide not only the overall growth of the plant but also the time a plant needs to be in full glory.
Bonsai plant grows in a very small pot all its life, and its most important source for food is the small amount of soil placed inside bonsai pot. Hence the quality of the soil decides the quality of the bonsai plant.
The bonsai derives all its nutrients and water from the bonsai soil; I guess this in itself is a reason strong enough to force you to consider thinking seriously about the quality of the soil you use for your bonsai plant.
Bonsai Soil Quality
The most important attributes that you should be looking for in your bonsai soil mix can be listed as follows.
Aeration Soil should have an proportionate mix of optimum sized particles. This ensures that the soil mix has enough air packets to help the roots of the bonsai plant get adequate amount of oxygen. This is very essential for the over all well being of the plant.
Water retention capabilities Water retention abilities of soil are instrumental in deciding the amount of water the plant can take up from the soil. For example excessive sandy soil is a poor retainer of water. Having greater proportions of sand in the soil might lead, at times, to need of excessive watering of the plant which would be then detrimental to the growth of the plant.
Water Drainage capabilities The soil should be able to drain out excess water. Too much of moisture content in the soil would result in root rot and other adverse effects on the plant.
Organic or Inorganic
Soil could be further classified as Organic or Inorganic soil. This is generally decided by the kind of soil mix used.
If you use components like dead plant matter, leaves or other parts from other plants, then you could call it organic soil. Instead if you use components like volcanic lava, clay etc, then you could call it an inorganic soil.
Organic soil components are generally avoided as they tend to make the bonsai soil more water retentive and this could be detrimental to the health of the plant, instead using inorganic components improves aeration and water drainage capacities of the soil and aid in the overall growth of the bonsai plant. The most commonly used inorganic components for the bonsai plants are:
Akadama This very porous fired clay soil mix. It is excellent water drainage capabilities. It is generally used to grow pines and is used along with a mixture of sand and grit. Though it is very porous it also has moisture retention capabilities, it aids a very fast growth of the bonsai plant.
Seramis Is a special type of clay granule which is made from high fired clay bricks. It is generally used in mix with peat. The proportion in which it is used is five parts of Seramis in one part of peat. It is known to promote excellent root growth.
Diatomite ( Diatomaceous Earth) This is a special kind of soil which consists of fossilized remains of single celled microscopic plants which are usually known as diatoms.
This soil variety is generally sourced from fresh water lakes. Some of the best places for this type of soil are the Australian fresh water lakes. This soil is known to promote resistance against common plant diseases. It reduces the number of times you have to water your bonsai plant. It has good water retention and aeration properties.
In addition to the above mentioned varieties of soil mix there are many different bonsai soil mix which would help you in growing a healthy bonsai plant. So please give a careful consideration to the soil you use to grow your bonsai. A little due diligence early on could save you a lot of time and energy over time.