Driver170
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New soil for Ficus

I just got this Bonsai gravel. I have a few questions before going ahead and putting my ficus in this gravel.

1. I know i've bought it put the person at Kaizen bonsai recommended it, but is gravel perfect or better than soil for a ficus?

2. How do i monitor the water schedule as i can't do the chopstick method on gravel?

https://www.dropbox.com/s/h4wye0258e8p0 ... 0.jpg?dl=0

tomc
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Re: New soil for Ficus

Why couldn't you use a chop-stick (or your index finger for that matter) on your new soil?

The "test" for dampness remains the same. Test-comes out damp, do not water. Test-comes out dry, its time to water...
Think like a tree
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Driver170
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Re: New soil for Ficus

Because its not soils its gravel per the picture

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Re: New soil for Ficus

I know i've bought it put the person at Kaizen bonsai recommended it, but is gravel perfect or better than soil for a ficus?
I use bonsai type soil for Ficus. Unless you live in an extremely arid environment you could too.
Because its not soils its gravel per the picture
I understand, the chopstick method is often recommended for novices whose trees are generally potted in dense, peat based, soils. With proper bonsai soil try leaving the chopstick in place from day to day, removing to check, in this way the wood becomes as damp as the soil that surrounds it.

Driver170
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Re: New soil for Ficus

So before i go ahead and repot pot my ficus into its new soil, this is the stuff i have purchased

http://www.kaizenbonsai.com/premium-bon ... ed-formula

Am i all good to go ahead with this?

I'll continue to use the chopstick and any methods too !!

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Re: New soil for Ficus

Yes, that is fine. It looks very much like the soil I am using.

Driver170
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Re: New soil for Ficus

Thats great then i'll start the process in june or can i do it now?

Do i still fertilze the same and pour it in the gravel?

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Re: New soil for Ficus

Bonsai soil is gravelly. Usually different grades of gravel are used. Screens are used to grade the gravel. Bonsai need a free draining mix and for a small bonsai fine gravel is good. Larger trees in bigger pots use different grades of gravel. Watering may change because gravel will dry out faster than peat based mixes. You would fertilize the same. I use a slow release fertilizer in my pots.

I live in the tropics, my plants are outside all year round and I water nearly every day so I use pure gravel and slow release fertilizer. The junipers get a little bit of added peat moss. Succulents, desert rose don't like very wet soils. Ficus is pretty forgiving. If you don't water that much and your plant dries out fast between watering you can use a mix that contains some compost. Aeration and drainage is the most important thing in keeping any potted plant alive.
BTW wash the gravel before you use it to remove as much of the fine dust as possible. As the rocks erode and dust is collected from the air, it blocks air spaces, roots take up air space too. The fine dust and rock dust settles at the bottom of the pot. Most bonsai only have small drainage holes so you don't want mud at the bottom of the pot or anything to impede free drainage.. That is also one of the reasons why bonsai are so frequently repotted. I prefer unglazed bonsai pots and concrete or terra cotta training pots because they breathe.


Recommended soil mixtures

Different tree-species demand different soil-mixtures. Below are two main mixtures, one for deciduous trees and one for coniferous trees. Both mixtures consist of Akadama (to provide the mixture with aeration, drainage and medium water retention), organic soil (nutrient rich, water retaining) and split (drainage).
Note that both mixtures can, and should, be adapted to your local circumstances. When living in a relatively wet climate, use more grit/akadama for your bonsai plants.


Deciduous tree bonsai soil
50% Akadama
25% Organic potting compost
25% Grit

Coniferous / Pine tree bonsai soil
60% Akadama
10% Organic potting compost
30% Grit
Kaizen website has a good explanation of how, why, and what to use for bonsai.
http://www.kaizenbonsai.com/bonsai-tree ... ONSAI-SOIL
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

Driver170
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Re: New soil for Ficus

Great information there thanks alot

Driver170
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Re: New soil for Ficus

Hi a little update guys. I'm a bit worried with my lack of experience. Here is a picture of the gravel I'm using for my ficus..

My worry is, with using gravel it feels really strange or i should say i think its the wrong substrate as my plant stays in doors in the UK during winter. Is this ok and also is it suitable for the summer months in the UK
Attachments
image.jpeg

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Re: New soil for Ficus

Driver170, Don't worry, you're fine. It is a bit of an adjustment when switching to a proper substrate but you will adapt and the plant will love it.

Driver170
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Re: New soil for Ficus

Ok thanks. But i just can't take to this substrate! Its more difficult to determine if it needs watered but it seems every 3rd day its needing done as the top stones look dry. Is it normal to water every other day? With my last substrate which was soil it was roughly 4 weeks.

What you think?

Driver170
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Re: New soil for Ficus

My ficus has dropped alot of leafs now. I suppose this is normal after repotting

tomc
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Re: New soil for Ficus

Why would a tropical tree be residing indoors in the middle of June.

And yes, you can use a chop-stick or your index finger to test soil for moisture in coarse soil (like that). I build my own soil, but my finger still works.
Think like a tree
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Driver170
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Re: New soil for Ficus

I'm in the UK and temperature drop at night.

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Re: New soil for Ficus

Driver170
But i just can't take to this substrate! Its more difficult to determine if it needs watered but it seems every 3rd day its needing done as the top stones look dry. Is it normal to water every other day? With my last substrate which was soil it was roughly 4 weeks.
I check everything every day and water as needed. In the summer most things will be watered every day. This is not a flaw but a feature. Roots need Oxygen as well as water, a heavy water retentive soil excludes Oxygen. A loose, free draining, soil necessitates frequent watering which in turn draws in a fresh charge of Oxygen each time, this is good.

In Japan a well known enthusiast was said to adjust his work schedule to accommodate the requirements of his bonsai collection.

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