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Colin Lewis Bonsai Soil

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colin lewis

Most plants can survive for a while with their roots growing in almost anything . From pure gravel to nothing but water, from clay to rotting tree stumps. But to really thrive for year after year, they need a good balanced growing medium.

Most commercial bonsai soils contain 'fillers', such as hyalite, large particles of grit or excessive amounts of turface - all of which take up space that could otherwise be colonized by the roots. They also often contain poor organic material such as dried and sterilized bark chips or dusty peat-based potting composts. The bark chips remain inert and impenetrable by roots for years, and when they finally begin to decompose they leach nitrogen from the soil, robbing the tree of a valuable nutrient. The peat-based composts rapidly break down into dust, which compacts, clogs the micro-pockets in the soil and causes poor drainage and finally root decay.

My bonsai soil blends are based on over thirty years' experience and close observation of how different species perform with various soils. Every ingredient is selected to perform a specific function and blended with the others to a formula that suits each species group.

Akadama: Japanese clay-like granular mineral that permits roots to grow through the particles, thus maximizing available space in the pot for root growth.

Calcined clay: Used only in relatively small amounts, calcined clay absorbs vast amounts of water and provides a 'buffer' which adsorbs nutrients for release later as required by the roots.

Crushed lava: As well as absorbing large amounts of water, the pore spaces in each granule are large enough to allow roots to penetrate. Lava also contains many available minerals important for healthy plants

Grit: The grit I use is finer than in most other commercial bonsai soils. Finer grit means more spaces between the particles and a greater surface area to retain a film of moisture, which in turn leads to more fine root growth.

Secret ingredients: Yes, there are some! Among them are a prepared organic material that is a proven stimulant for root growth and slow to break down (3-5 years), and a range of trace elements or micro-nutrients that are essential to healthy plant growth.


Colin Lewis's  Deciduous Blend

Colin Lewis's  Conifer Blend

Colin Lewis's  Pine Blend

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