Author Topic: Soil Recipie?  (Read 3976 times)


  • Legit New User
  • *
  • Posts: 35
Soil Recipie?
« on: July 30, 2009, 06:01 PM »
So i am new to bonsai.
i have picked up a couple field grown boxwood from the nursery i work and this past spring have trimmed both the root systems and foliage. They are doing great. The thing is, i cannot find anything to pot them in (soil/growing medium) so right now, they're planted in potting soil and crushed slate. (which i realize isn't the best, but it's temporary.)

the thing is, i live in the middle of illinois and the closest bonsai shop/nursery is over 3 hours away and i do not have the time to drive there  :-\.

What i am asking, is there anyone who has made their soil using products from like hardware stores or anything that i could get from a non-bonsai store. I'm a fan of ordering stuff online unfortunately. I can't even find turface anywhere... it sucks.

anyone who would have some suggestions would be awesome. thanks everyone!


  • Sr. Forum Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 432
  • Kat-Su-Ra
Re: Soil Recipie?
« Reply #1 on: July 30, 2009, 07:20 PM »
Here are my suggestions. Any Feed & Seed stores(livestock, poultry supplies) look for chicken grit(usually crushed granite), don't get the one that is made from oyster shells. Lowe's has Timberline Aged Mini Pine Nuggets in 2 cu ft bags. Home Depot has Nature's Helper Soil Conditioner(aged pine bark) in 2 cu ft bags. Those last 2 can be sifted for different sizes and the fines removed. The crushed slate may work with these. Slate is a harder form of Shale which Haydite(what I use in my mixes) is a intense heated form of Shale. The only setback I see is the slate is it will probably not hold moisture like Haydite or crushed Red Lava rock. If you are near a place that sells rock material(sorta like a quarry but isn't) by the ton(truck bed load) you could inquire what types of material they have and any in the 1/8"-1/4" range. Basically you want a mix that drain well and retains enough moisture. The organics(pine bark) helps retain any organic ferts you may use. If your tree or trees do not tolerate salt well(tap water from the garden hose) I'd suggest getting some Gypsum pellets to add to the mix. Also learn what type of mix the tree requires. A one all mix is not suited to ALL trees. Remember these are my suggestions and anything I said or say is not etched in stone nor exact. Use them at your discretion.
And Welcome to Bonsai! :D


  • Administrator
  • Hero Forum Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1786
  • Thanked: 33 times
  • USDA Zone: 8a
Re: Soil Recipie?
« Reply #2 on: July 30, 2009, 10:16 PM »
Check your local John Deere dealer or Lesco for Turface.  If they don't have any they'll likely order you some.

Make sure whatever you come up with drains well and retains moisture.  Other than that, its pretty wide open.  Some even suggest you could grow your trees in shards of glass given proper care, but I haven't seen any research cited on that.


  • Jr. Forum Member
  • **
  • Posts: 50
Re: Soil Recipie?
« Reply #3 on: July 31, 2009, 09:49 PM »
There is a fellow in Oregon who seems to have an unending supply of red or black lava.  You could email him for price and size since he will custom pack the Lava.

Most of my Bonsai supplies are purchased through since I have no Bonsai supplies in this part of southern NJ. I have no business relation with this supplier, but I find them very reputable.


  • Full Forum Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 101
Re: Soil Recipie?
« Reply #4 on: August 01, 2009, 11:14 AM »
I also order lava from bonsaimonk, and have ordered some pots from them too. Decent complaints.