What is the best soil mixes for conifers?

Cofga

Omono
Messages
1,134
Reaction score
1,070
Location
Western NC
USDA Zone
7a
Which conifers? Bald cypress are very different from junipers, and some pines want more water than others.
 

Eckhoffw

Chumono
Messages
774
Reaction score
1,096
Location
St. Paul Mn.
USDA Zone
4
For better drainage should I add akadama , pumice and lava rock ?
I think it depends on your specific specimen and plan for it.
If your ready to put it in bonsai pot, the amendments may be a good plan.
If you plan on sizing up or growing your tree out, A larger pot with a cheap nursery like mix can be just fine.
 

Nybonsai12

Masterpiece
Messages
3,186
Reaction score
4,694
Location
NY
USDA Zone
7a
Akadama, pumice and lava rock is a good mix for pines. there are cheaper alternatives of course, but I prefer the akadama pumice lava mix. i Used to have an eastern white pine and it did fine in that mix before I sold it, because well, it was an eastern white pine...:D
 

Shibui

Masterpiece
Messages
2,704
Reaction score
5,168
Location
Yackandandah, Australia
USDA Zone
9?
'Best' and 'cheapest' are not usually the same. The best mix is the one that works for you at your place under your conditions and that varies considerably which explains the frequent differences of opinion among bonsai growers.
All the trees here are in the same mix - conifers, deciduous, tropicals. I don't have time for mixing custom mixes for each tree but they still all seem to grow well.
 

Paradox

Imperial Masterpiece
Messages
5,369
Reaction score
5,400
Location
Long Island, NY
USDA Zone
7a
DO NOT use a pine bark-peat mix for pine bonsai. It stays too wet!
Landscape nurseries use it in deep pots on trees that are intended to be shipped to a tree lot without getting water for a few days then purchased and planted out relatively soon.

For pine bonsai, most use a mixture of akadama, lava and pumice in equal parts.
 

Vance Wood

Lord Mugo
Messages
13,731
Reaction score
16,130
Location
Michigan
USDA Zone
5-6
1 part Pine bark Mulch, 1part Espoma Soil perfecter, 1 part red lava stone, 1 part Pumice. All mixed by volume. You have to watch you levels of water to make sure you don''t over water or under water.
 

Njyamadori

Shohin
Messages
284
Reaction score
195
Location
New Jersey
DO NOT use a pine bark-peat mix for pine bonsai. It stays too wet!
Landscape nurseries use it in deep pots on trees that are intended to be shipped to a tree lot without getting water for a few days then purchased and planted out relatively soon.

For pine bonsai, most use a mixture of akadama, lava and pumice in equal parts.
Okay yeah that’s what I thought to I boaight akakdama , lava rock and pumice from eastern leaf
 
Messages
118
Reaction score
120
Location
New Jersey
USDA Zone
7a
I like to add a decent amout of Safe-T-sorb ;fullers earth..great inorganic substrate for real cheap..add with pre bought succulent mix and its great

Then again the conifers I have best luck with are cedar ..I dont seem to do well with the few pines ive pulled...i dont think I was on to fullers earth at that time tho come to think of it
 

Leo in N E Illinois

Imperial Masterpiece
Messages
8,871
Reaction score
16,612
Location
on the IL-WI border, a mile from ''da Lake''
USDA Zone
5b
If you stick with the Akadama, pumice, lava mix, you will have success. It is a good mix.

Buy some straight pumice, and keep it on hand. Possibly some straight akadama. To dry a mix out, you add more pumice & or lava. To make a more water retentive mix, add more akadama.

Bark, Diatomaceous earth, Turface, haydite, perlite, rock wool, decomposed granite, crushed granite, quartzite, chopped rubber tire mulch, horticultural charcoal, coconut husk chunks, coir, vermiculite, peat, long fiber sphagnum, river gravel, sand, marl, leaf mold, and many other things all have been used as part of bonsai mixes, with varying degrees of success, but usually with some success. If watered correctly, most any of these components can be used as part of a mix.

Key trait is particle size. All mixes are improved by being sieved to a uniform particle size. Eliminate coarse and fine pieces. The more uniform, the better the air voids in the mix. The better the health of the roots.

You can grow trees in just about anything, but the traits of a Akadama, Pumice, & Lava blend are hard to beat. This the "best" tried and proven mix.

It is far better to pick one mix, like akadama, pumice & lava, and learn to water and fertilize it correctly, than it is to have a dozen different mixes, each requiring its own watering frequency and fertilizing adaptations.
 

Eckhoffw

Chumono
Messages
774
Reaction score
1,096
Location
St. Paul Mn.
USDA Zone
4
No such thing as “cheapest” and “best”.
Yes. Funny how with experience my cheapo ingredients are getting less and less used. I’m really wanting to transition to primarily pumice and lava. I will admit to still using larger particle sized calcined clay and DE mixed in to stretch out my supply though. Trying to pot up large containers for collected material gets very expensive very fast!
 

yenling83

Chumono
Messages
915
Reaction score
969
Location
Nipomo, CA
Great podcast called Bonsai Wire, the latest episode is Jonas(Bonsaitonight.com) and Michael(Crataegus.com) discussing Michael's new book primarily, however they go fairly in depth about different mixes they use depending on different factors. I'd definitely recommend checking it out!
 

Jure_v

Seedling
Messages
22
Reaction score
9
Location
Slovenia
USDA Zone
7b
Hey guys. Hope i can use this thread for my question.
Well i am quite new in bonsai. Already read some therads about soil but didnt find info about pine burk mulch. Everybody says it has to be composted. How can i determine if it is or not if on the bag is not written. I am wondering what happen if i use normal pine bark mulch? What problems can show up. I add a picture of the much i found in local store. I gladly ask you for some explanations about that.
I would like to use pine bark and perlite for mugo pines.
Lime stone would be ok as inorganic component instead of granite?
 

Attachments

  • 20201129_085447.jpg
    20201129_085447.jpg
    318 KB · Views: 14

Adair M

Pinus Envy
Messages
13,534
Reaction score
31,071
Location
NEGeorgia
USDA Zone
7a
Hey guys. Hope i can use this thread for my question.
Well i am quite new in bonsai. Already read some therads about soil but didnt find info about pine burk mulch. Everybody says it has to be composted. How can i determine if it is or not if on the bag is not written. I am wondering what happen if i use normal pine bark mulch? What problems can show up. I add a picture of the much i found in local store. I gladly ask you for some explanations about that.
I would like to use pine bark and perlite for mugo pines.
Lime stone would be ok as inorganic component instead of granite?
Just don’t.

pines grow great in strictly inorganic soil.

I use akadama, pumice, and lava.

Some people refuse to use akadama. Ok, then just use equal parts lava and pumice. Just water more often. Be sure to sieve the mix to assure uniform particle size.
 

Jure_v

Seedling
Messages
22
Reaction score
9
Location
Slovenia
USDA Zone
7b
Just don’t.

pines grow great in strictly inorganic soil.

I use akadama, pumice, and lava.

Some people refuse to use akadama. Ok, then just use equal parts lava and pumice. Just water more often. Be sure to sieve the mix to assure uniform particle size.

Thank you for answer.
I hope i can find those ingredients for the mix.
Can you also give me some more explanations what can cause mix i mentioned above? I like to understand that more.
 

stu929

Mame
Messages
214
Reaction score
202
Location
Central PA, USA
USDA Zone
6B
Yes. Funny how with experience my cheapo ingredients are getting less and less used. I’m really wanting to transition to primarily pumice and lava. I will admit to still using larger particle sized calcined clay and DE mixed in to stretch out my supply though. Trying to pot up large containers for collected material gets very expensive very fast!
I just recently ordered the public that was on sale and was thinking the same thing. I have a bunch of trees I would like to throw in pots in the spring. All are very pre bonsai but I like the idea of getting them in the correct soil. I was beating adding in extra pumice to cut the mixture a little thinner. I wish I could find a good deal on akadama or lava but I haven't seen anything.
 

Similar threads

Top Bottom