Ujjawal Roy

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Hello guys, just wanted to share a thought with you about bonsai soils. I'm a self taught "trying to be" a bonsai artist, so, please forgive my lack of knowledge. I consider Mr. Nigel Saunders from The Bonsai Zone youtube channel as my online guru and have learned a lot from watching his videos in the past 5 years. He primarily uses a blend of turface and perlite for all his trees and from seeing his videos i think he waters the trees when he feels the top soil is dry. What puzzles me is how does he end up growing algae and moss over his soil and not 'overwater' the plants? When I try to keep the topsoil moist for moss growth it tends to be too wet for my trees and I live in a tropical climate where the Temps are above 25°c throughout the year. I should also mention that I stay in a apartment so that's different as well as I don't get 6-7 hours of sunlight on my trees. I would appreciate you guys sharing your views and thoughts on this subject. Thank you! 😄
 

Lutonian

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Nigle is in a completely different climate to yours what works for him may not work for you. Nigle is unorthodox and maybe not the best source of information, fun to watch and enthusiastic though. Are there any professional bonsai artist from your country and climate? They may have more useful advice for you.
 

eryk2kartman

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Sound like your soil mix is holding up the water for too long, what do you use at the moment ?
You need something with better drainage etc.
And also if you could update your location in the profile, it will be easier for people to reply.
As was said above, different things works in different climates, i mostly use Molar clay and perlite, sometimes i add potting grit or some bark, but i do get moss grow in the pots by itself, in 100% inorganic mix
However, when i bring tropicals home for a winter, most of the moss goes brown until i put them out in the greenhouse for summer.

Is there any moss that grows naturaly in surrounding areas? try to pick it up and plant it.
 

Ujjawal Roy

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Sound like your soil mix is holding up the water for too long, what do you use at the moment ?
You need something with better drainage etc.
And also if you could update your location in the profile, it will be easier for people to reply.
As was said above, different things works in different climates, i mostly use Molar clay and perlite, sometimes i add potting grit or some bark, but i do get moss grow in the pots by itself, in 100% inorganic mix
However, when i bring tropicals home for a winter, most of the moss goes brown until i put them out in the greenhouse for summer.

Is there any moss that grows naturaly in surrounding areas? try to pick it up and plant it.
I use perlite + lava + clay pot chips (as akadama is too costly for me and not available and turface is restricted in my country) all sifted to a size 3-4mm or larger. I live in Mumbai, India. Temps are usually around 30° c on an avg year around and humidity around 60-70%. I tried planting moss from the side walk on my pots but they dried up even after regular watering and none grows naturally on my bonsai soil. I made this mix for my trees as they stay indoors and don't get the outside elements of mother nature so it dries up in a days time and sometimes in a couple of days but the top soil dries up so quick that moss doesn't grow over it and keeping it moist for a long time gives me root rot on the lower portion of the root base. Basically I'm asking how can bonsai soil be moist enough to get algae and moss but not root rot 🤔
 

eryk2kartman

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Your soil mix seems to be good, and also humid condition should help moss growing, maybe there is a lack of light and that the problem?
Ryan Neil had a good lecture on moss in one of his videos, he would use sphagnum moss and some dried green moss. That way sphagnum is a base for the other moss
its a very good video, worth watching the whole thing, not just moss part :)
 

sorce

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You probably have to follow Ryan's method, or grab more substrate with the original moss so it has something to hold onto.

In a loose soil, you might get a couple patches to take hold and spread some, but it has a hard time since it's so spacey and eroded with water.

Sorce
 

eryk2kartman

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I had a look at your other tread about the Ficus, the moss in that pot looks really dry, maybe instead of watering the whole tree try to mist the moss couple of time a day.
 

Forsoothe!

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If you click on your Icon in the upper right corner and add your location, people can give advice customized to your climate.

You need to collect moss from an exposure closer to where you want it to live. It needs the same amount of sun, the same amount of humidity, a similar substrate, etc. You can see that this is going to be nearly impossible for you. You may be able to find some moss living on a deeper substrate such that you can collect a deeper slice of the substrate and lay that on your bonsai media. There are no guarantees that anything is going to work in your apartment if it is air conditioned. Moss is not damaged by drying out, that happens in the real world all the time when moss is growing on sidewalks and other surface with very little dirt. They survive there because taller weeds don't. That's why you don't find moss on deeper substrates, they are shaded out by taller weeds that have enough moisture to survive. Moss don't have roots but they do have feet, so if you can collect some in a shaded/forest site, along with enough of the soil to bridge the gaps between your bonsai media granules it will do better. Again, whether that will live depends on how close the two exposures, your collecting site and your apartment, is.
 
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Forsoothe!

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You can lay the moss with the deeper collected substrate on a piece of ~cloth~ cut to the shape of your pot that will provide a net to help keep the moss' feet in contact with the substrate which will stay wet longer than the moss bun itself.

You should count on watering more often with less water volume to manage the disparate needs of the moss and the bonsai.
 

HorseloverFat

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Also.. your moss will always suffer indoors without it’s own consideration...

You cooould..Take the “dried” out moss and crumble/topdress it onto some 1/1 organic/inorganic mixture, seal with something transparent and keep beneath lights.. little moss farm.
 

Michael P

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I had a look at your other tread about the Ficus, the moss in that pot looks really dry, maybe instead of watering the whole tree try to mist the moss couple of time a day.
This is what I do when my tropicals come in for the winter, and it seems to help. The trees generally need water about once a week, I keep a wooden probe in the pots to test this. The moss is misted once or twice a week in addition to the full tree watering.
 

63pmp

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I top dress the pot with fine-ish composted bark 1-2mm. Just enough to keep a moist zone, very thin, then lay moss pieces on that, mist to keep moist. In my part of the world they like shade, but not dark. The moss can only be revived from drying out only two or three times before requiring a long period of growth.

This is because the mosses reserves deplete quickly, too many wet dry cycles will kill it.
 

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