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Creating Bonsai Soil

Posted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 9:55 pm
by JustinBoi
I have done a lot of research but when I find an answer, the mixture is like for 4 different types of plants. I am sort of looking for a mixture that I can use for all my plants. Is there such a thing? And here's a list of the materials that are available in my area: Pine bark, sand, sphagnum peat moss, perlite, compost, and top soil. Any suggestions? Also, bought a plant today. Think it's a Fukien Tea but not sure. :)


OH P.S. : Where can you find the stuff you put at the bottom of a ceramic pot? Like metal mesh? I was looking for some in department stores/Lowes and Home Depot but only found 1/4". That seems a bit big for the size for the holes in the bottom of the pot. Any suggestions?

Posted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 11:00 pm
by TomM
Justin, You ask the same questions on different threads - even after you get the answers. You say you do "research" but you don't like the answers or you get confused. Calm down - take a deep breath. The "answers" are right here in front of you.

Plastic (not metal) mesh can be found at hobby stores, like MICHAELS or HOBBY LOBBY and it is called CROSS STITCH mesh or backing. Choose one with larger holes. DO NOT USE METAL MESH IN YOUR POTS - they will only rust away.

Where to look for bonsai soils? Here's a tip. When you are done reading my post scroll down to the advertising links at the bottom of this page. Check them out. Here's one - and there are plenty of sites like this.

Posted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 11:18 pm
by Gnome

Of the materials that you mentioned, Pine Bark and Perlite can make a passable container soil. The bark should be partially composted/aged. This is often called 'soil conditioner' mixed with the Perlite you should be OK. Some coarse sand could also be included.

The problem you are going to encounter is finding bark in an appropriate size for your intended purpose which, I presume, is your seedling project. Alternately, you could use the Sphagnum Moss if it is not too fine.

Did you read the 'soils' thread that I suggested to you earlier? If you take the time to read through that thread and to follow the links you will have a much better understanding of this subject and what materials may be available to you.



The site that Tom suggested has everything you will need. Make sure to choose small sized components for seedlings.

Posted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 11:27 pm
by JustinBoi
The thing that is so very terrible about my area is that there is no hobby shops or anything in the sort anywhere close. I will look for CROSS STITCH mesh. And I haven't read the entire thing yet Gnome, but only skimmed. I will try to read it all tonight, and maybe I'll understand a little more.

Posted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 11:33 pm
by TomM
Norm and Justin, Sorry I forgot to mention our friend who sometimes visits this forum - Tom from York, PA. He operates NORTH STAR BONSAI and can help all with inquiries about bonsai soil. His prices are great!!

Posted: Thu Jan 20, 2011 12:52 am
by JustinBoi
For now, I cannot order stuff online since I have to use to my parents credit card (Ugh).
Also, I've been talking to someone who is on Youtube that helped me with the soil issue. He gave me the measurements of how much to use of different substances but he said something like the sand you mix with cement to make concrete... What is that called, the sand?

Posted: Thu Jan 20, 2011 2:42 am
by bonsaiboy
Although generally frowned upon by most of the bonsai community, I have found that pumice mixed with good potting soil works well for all my bonsais. Pine bark mixed with an inorganic medium of sorts also works well, but it should be a fine grade and preferably not the soft stringy stuff either.

You may want to consider looking at other inorganic components than just perlite; it tends to float to the top when the plant is watered.

Posted: Thu Jan 20, 2011 2:48 am
by Gnome

Do you have a NAPA auto parts distributor nearby?


Posted: Thu Jan 20, 2011 12:36 pm
by JustinBoi
Weird enough Gnome, but there is. Never noticed it but there is.
Also, Bonsaiboy, I have looked into other materials but all of those things are not available in my area or not close at all. I have resorted to buying online but if I'm going to do that, I'm going to have to buy more and more offline with each new Bonsai I get. So thats why I am resorting to things that are available in my area so I don't have to wait weeks and pay like $40 for like 6 lbs of something.

Posted: Thu Jan 20, 2011 3:21 pm
by Victrinia Ridgeway
Have you tried contacting:

Beach Tropicals

305 1st St Indian Rocks Beach,FL 33785
(727) 596-9003

They advertise selling bonsai. And have you also tried contacting the bonsai club in Tampa?

Those will be your best sources locally, and the club may even sell components, ours does at times. Using subpar components will have long term effects of your success... so best to exhaust any local expertise before going down any other road.

Good luck!


Posted: Thu Jan 20, 2011 5:01 pm
by Gnome
JustinBoi wrote:Weird enough Gnome, but there is. Never noticed it but there is.
A product that I began using last year is NAPA floor-dry #8822. If memory serves this product consists of diatomaceous earth, I have misplaced the packaging but did make a note of the part number.

Note that I have only used this for less than one year so far but it appears to be stable, I even did the freezer test. I also only use it as a component, not as a standalone product. I know how hard it is to locate components to mix your own soil, it can be very confusing at first.

Victrinia offers good advice about local resources. There is no need for you to re-invent the wheel this early, especially if you only need a few gallons of mix. I mix my own because I usually use a fair amount each spring and wish to avoid shipping costs.