What Kind Of Soil For My Yan Shen Ficus?

Z06Bonsai

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I am new to bonsai and ive had this Yan Shen Ficus for about a year. The soil is running low and I need to re-pot it. Ive read quite a few pages on soil and now Im more confused then ever.

Can someone tell me the best soil mixture for this plant?

Thanks in advance for the help!
 

rockm

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Chinese banyan ficus (Ficus microcarpa) is sometimes called Yuan Shen ficus. Care and soil for this tree is basic tropical bonsai mix. Soil mixes vary widely and dramatically, depending on source.

If I were you, I'd order a small bag from a reputable online source and go from there. Here are a few vendors I found with a quick search:

http://www.bonsaiwest.com/gallery/index_misc.html#soil
http://www.hollowcreekbonsai.com/item32678.ctlg
http://www.bonsaioutlet.com/soil-potting-c64.aspx

For a list that's more local, contact your local bonsai club. They're the best source. There are typically at least two clubs in every state. Some areas have a dozen or more:
http://www.absbonsai.org/USAClubs.html
 

rockm

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Well, the Bonsai West soil is cheaper :D, but don't forget to add in shipping. A fifteen lb bag is going to cost ya...

The difference here --I think--is that Bonsai West is an actual bonsai nursery and probably makes its own soil. Bonsai Outlet doesn't have the nursery facilities and probably buys its soil elsewhere.

All this is speculation on my part. I've not bought anything from either place, but I have seen Bonsai West as a vendor for many years. They're a known quantity.

The differences in sourcing, ingredients and composition of soils are endless. Some fly-by-night-vendors sell crappy soil for a lot of money (neither of these is one of those). Beginners are often bewildered by making or buying soil. Bonsai soil is the basic building block for success. Scrimping on it, using the wrong stuff, using commercially made stuff that doesn't live up to its billing will kill your tree.

That's why it is so important to contact your LOCAL bonsai club. Its members have all been through what you're going through. They know what works in your area, where to get decent soil--or, most proably, make their own which you can buy (or receive free if you have generous club members) from them.
 

Bill S

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$3.50 per pound is the difference, and thats probably all you can tell unless each being compared lists all the ingrediants by quantity. I agree with rockm's advice, Bonsai West is a reputable bonsai nursery, he deals with a lot of VERY nice trees, I really don't know Bonsai outlet at all. If comperable buy the cheaper version from Bonsai West. Best advice is check with a local Bonsai nursery if there is one near, if not head for the nearest club, these places you get advice based on your local climate.

If you have trees that will need to potted, I would suggest getting a 5 gal pail of "soil" typically these will run from $25 to $35/bucket, and you will go thru more than you think.

Question comes to mind is are you thinking repotting now? if so what kind of tree, this is not a typical repotting time, unless you are repotting tropicals in the northern hemisphere.

Oh and some find it acceptable because it's cheap, but stay away from kitty litter, at least until you can tell by yourself if the tree planted in it will survive. This will take at least several years of hands on experiance to figure out, due to the wide range of variables involved with soil and climate, then add in horticultural requirements.
 

mcpesq817

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I'd echo what Rockm said. Find a local club and ask members where they source their soil components. Sometimes you can save money through the club if the club buys soil in bulk for their members. You can also save money by buying locally sourced components. Not sure where you are, but I can get 50 pound bags of Turface for about $11, and smaller bags of DryStall (pumice) for around $13 with no S&H. Depending on how many trees you have, this could end up saving you a lot of money.
 

rockm

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Contact info for Texas clubs:
http://www.absbonsai.org/USAClubs.html#TX

Dallas club site:
http://www.bonsaisocietyofdallas.com/

I urge you to contact the Dallas or Ft. Worth club (which ever is closer). They are the best sources for info for growing bonsai in your area. They will have the info on where to get appropriate soil, how to care for trees in your area, etc. Don't be afraid to call. that is what they're there for.

The web is fine, but bonsai, like politics, is mostly local--what works for someone in Brisbane or Geneva isn't going to work for someone in Dallas...and vice versa.
 

rockm

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You can do better. CALL THE LOCAL CLUB.
 
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