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Ratio for Soil Mix for Pines, Juniper and Ficus

Hello Everyone I am new in the group. I live in Subtropical area with humid long summer and short mild winter here. I am training ficus and pines for bonsai for nearly 2 years. They are currently growing in garden mix soil from nursery. I want to change the soil for their vigorous growth. I want to ask for the perfect ratio for maximum growth which my trees and plant will love. I had Pines, Juniper and Ficus plants.

Kindly suggest me the optimal ratio for Pines, Juniper and Ficus plant. I got Garden Soil, Compost, crushed granite, crushed fire clay baked bricks, coco peat, peat moss, leaf compost, coconut husk chips, pine barks and decompose cow dung. Thank you very much. Suggest from the mentioned things what to pick along with ratio keeping in mind about weather i mentioned.

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Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:32 pm
Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: Ratio for Soil Mix for Pines, Juniper and Ficus

If you want the trees to grow, it would be best to keep them in the ground. Once you pot them up, you are looking to control growth and proportions, not to get a lot of rapid growth. If you grow them in pots, pot them up frequently so they are not pot bound. You would not be restricting roots if you want them to grow. Fertilize them in the growing season. My potting mix is 50% peat moss, 50% perlite or cinder.

Bonsai are trees and need to be in the sun for most of the time. In the tropics Juniper and ficus are good choices. Pines are less happy since they come from colder climates but they still do o.k. They do need space so the light hits them evenly.

Your mix components have a lot of organic material
I would not use garden soil in a pot
Compost, only vermicast and only a very small amount like a handful in a 5 gallon bucket of mix.
Crushed granite and crushed bricks. I don't use so I cannot say.
coco peat, peat moss, coir 20-30% of the mix max if you don't water often
I don't use manure in pots. For me it is a good way to kill plants. Too much salt and ash in manure.

Bonsai mixes have very little organic matter in them to hold moisture and nutrients. Bonsai soil must be loose and drain well. Small shallow pots usually mean they need to be watered almost everyday when they are kept outside. It depends on the kind of pot you have ( glazed, unglazed. Pots that breathe like cement, rock, terracotta lose water faster), how many holes, how much root reduction (shallow and wide pots will lose water faster especially if you have reduced the root volume to support a relatively large plant, and the kind of plant you have.

Bonsai is not a fast hobby. You do a lot of little trimming and shaping, but the plant itself cannot be rushed to mature.

For pines and even mix of akadama, pumice and lava cinders

For deciduous trees the mix is 50% akadama, 25% pumice, and 25% lava cinders.

Usually I screen the mix through a 1/4 inch screen for the final pots, but for training pots, I use 100% lava cinders and a handful of vermicast. The mix is coarse but the plants grow well in it. I use either nutracote or osmocote fertilizer every 3 months.

This bougainvillea grew in my backyard for over twenty years. It put out 25 foot canes. I cut it down and the root was thrown in a pot. It survived, so now I am training it. In May, the bonsai master from the local bonsai society cut it in half. The other half is in a pot, it survives as well. This one was repositioned. and it was trimmed up. I wired the branches to start the layering of the branches. I just removed the wires yesterday. The top is still a work in progress. I will need to bring it in for another consultation. I have wired the top into a better position. This plant root was reduced to fit this 14 inch terracotta pot. I am using pure black cinder, it is not screened. Crushed cinder is about 1/3 to 1/2 inch in size. I fertilized recently with nutracote so it will be good for another 3 months. There are no other organics except what dust blows in. I water it every 1-2 days. To maintain a tree in a pot, drainage is everything. With the roots confined you need a lot of air space. I still have to keep reducing the root to a shallower pot. I was told this bonsai is feminine so it should stay in a round pot. In training, what is important is to get the proportions right and to mimic nature while showing off the character of the plant. Here, the leaves are secondary to the shape, and texture of the trunk and bark. You want to see the bark and branch structure. This bougainvillea has age and character in the curves of the trunk. This is not an easy bonsai. Junipers and ficus are easier for me since they behave better and don't try to send up very long canes. I need to turn my pot. It is growing a bit one sided.

You can get akadama from Amazon. ... onsai-soil
lava cinder + nutracote
lava cinder + nutracote
November 16, 2018
November 16, 2018
Bougainvillea May 2018
Bougainvillea May 2018
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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