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Joined: Tue Dec 29, 2015 1:44 am
Location: Troy, Michigan

Making Bonsai Soil in Michigan

My Story:

I bought Kingsville Boxwood Bonsai from a fair mid summer. After keeping this tree for half the year, it has been doing okay, but I believe it could do better. I have done some research and realized the soil it came in is probably not doing it much good. There were a few small rocks on top and fake moss covering, which ended up molding and getting real nasty.I threw all that fake moss away. I now realize my soils is way to moist. I barely water it now that its winter, maybe once every week or two. It still is getting moldy and I had tons of tiny little white worms infesting the soil which was gross. I have been trying to drought it for a little while to rid the worms, and I ended up getting rid of a bunch of little pellets on top of the soil that I was guessing would be more worms if I watered it. I ended up find a ton of the pellets underneath the pot in the water catcher. Got rid of that mass of pellets too. Now my tree hasn't been watered in a while, but the bottom of the soil is still moist, so I still haven't done anything.

I just learned that most people let their boxwood go dormant during the winter. I don't have very good conditions for that in my house. My garage is heated and living in Michigan, I don't think it would be wise to leave it outside for the winter.

My question:

So my soil sucks. I want to make a new soil which is better for it. I am thinking a mixture of about 60% inorganic and 40% organic matter so it doesn't need much watering, but has good drainage. What types of easily accessible soil components do other bonsaists use in Michigan?

Also, based on the information above, should I replant it in new soil right away or wait until spring to do the replanting?

Thanks for reading, discussing, and any tips or comments!

Kingsville Boxwood Overview
My Kingsville Boxwood overview
My Kingsville Boxwood overview
below you can still see some mold even though I tried to till up the soil and let it dry for almost two weeks.
Mold and unattractive root and soil look
Mold and unattractive root and soil look
below is what i found under the largest drainage hole of the pot. I believed these to be dormant worms or something, so I got rid of them. More was found on top of the soil in the corner of the pot, which I removed as well.
worm eggs?
worm eggs?

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Posts: 25303
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

Re: Making Bonsai Soil in Michigan

Your soil does look terrible. You must have bought it from someone at the fair who was just digging shrubs up and cutting them down to size. Bonsai are often sold in regular peat based potting soil, which is bad for them. But yours looks like it is just in the clay/dirt it was growing in, which is terrible in a little pot. I would run water over the roots (after it is out of the pot) gently to get rid of a lot of the clay before repotting.

I would get it out of there now, especially if you are trying to keep your bonsai growing (not dormant) through the winter. The Japanese Kingsville Boxwood is noted as a good tree for indoor growing in the winter.

Read the articles here on bonsai soil, watering, etc.

If it were me, I would just order some bonsai soil on line. You only need a little bit! :)
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Posts: 5122
Joined: Wed Jul 05, 2006 4:17 am
Location: Western PA USDA Zone 6A

Re: Making Bonsai Soil in Michigan


You probably have a few earthworms in your pot.

Worm Castings

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