I remember when I first started into bonsai how hard it was for me to find out what was in bonsai soil. Recipes were scarce and no one had the be all, end all mix. However as I got more involved and understood what goes into making the soil it made sense why it was so different. Everyone seems to have their own mix and use different ingredients for one reason of another.
Bonsai soils are soil less as they contain no top soil, or sand. Bonsai mixes are developed based upon the results that bonsai artist want to achieve. These specifics are good drainage, water retention, and sharp aggregate. In the following video I review the different types of materials I use for making my bonsai mixes and the reason I use them.
I always like to share information to help other people display their trees. Although a lot of work goes into styling and caring for the tree, it is the finishing touches that really make your tree stand out in a display. Some easy touches are adding a fresh top layer of soil mix, and cleaning the bonsai pot.
Surface soil prior to show
As you can see the condition of both the soil and the pot were in pretty bad shape.
New Soil applied and the rimmed oiled
Here is the tree with just a quarter inch of new soil added and fresh moss. In order to bring out the great color of the pot I apply a thin layer of walnut oil. It has a nice satin finish compared to other oils.
The pot before oil applied
As you can see there is no depth to the pot and the color is a bit washed out.
Ready for show
What a difference! Just look how much better the color is. Even though the pot has a shine to it now, the oil will soak in and take the strong oil look away. With just a few minutes of effort the tree went from plain and ordinary to a real treasure.