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Bonsai seed starter soil?

I'm wondering what kind of soil (or how to make it) would be good for starting a Japanese Elm tree. I've asked this question before a few times but people just keep responding that it depends on the growers preferences and that people use their own mixtures... I AM A BEGINNER! I have no idea what kind of stuff goes into the mixture. please help

BTW: I've had these seeds sitting in my fridge for probably 3 months so I need to get them growing

thanks, Connor

Green Thumb
Posts: 380
Joined: Wed Dec 24, 2008 2:05 am
Location: Elizabeth, PA

Its kind of a trade-off. With a highly inorganic mixture you have to be very good about keeping it moist, whereas with a very organic mixture like potting soil you have to watch out for mold and fungus. My advice, if you have more than one seed plant half in potting soil and half in a 50/50 organinc/inorganic. Keep both moist and well ventilated.

As an aside, you might want to think about getting some more mature material to work with. Most bonsai are not grown from seed. That's not to say that it doesn't have its merits, but if you have more mature stock to work on while you wait for your seeds to grow, you will have more fun and more practice for when your seeds become trees.


P.S. the reason you may have not gotten any replies before is because this topic has been asked countless times and you can use the search feature to find the answer. Also, growing from seed is not really a method most of us use frequently.

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Super Green Thumb
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Joined: Wed Jul 05, 2006 12:17 am
Location: Western PA USDA Zone 6A


For seed starting I have been using the fines that I have sifted out of my larger components. When making my bonsai soil part of the process is to remove any material that is too fine in texture. Not wanting to dispose of it I have found that it is fine for starting seeds and cuttings.

This could contain any of the materials that I have used over the years such as, Turface, Haydite, D.E. Lava Rock, Perlite and, for the organic component, Pine Bark or coarse chopped Moss. Still, not a recipe I know but that's what I use.

I do have a concern about your timing. The chilling process you speak of (stratification) is usually begun in late winter in order to allow a spring planting and germination. If your seeds do germinate you are now forced to keep them inside for the winter, not the ideal circumstance.

When beginners ask these types of questions I usually point out how long a process it is to grow bonsai from seed and that you can cut years from the process by obtaining something a little more mature. But since Jack covered that I won't mention it. :wink:


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