Hi all! I've been wanting to get in to this hobby for years now and decided that this year is the year. I watch a bunch of Bonsai youtube channels and have done a fair amount of reading, including more recently some of the great materials provided on your website. I was planning on attending a meeting or two to ask some questions before getting started myself, but that is currently off the table. I'm planning on starting with some raw nursery stock material as my first few plants. However, the one thing currently holding me back that I'm asking for advice on is soil. What sort of basic mix do you all use. Further (and more importantly), where do you source it? I live in Boulder (moved here last fall for grad school). I'm also open to any other helpful tips or tricks, including what species you might suggest as relatively forgiving for this climate (and possibly a bit more shade tolerant). Thanks for your time!
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New to Bonsai. Where to source soil?
New to Bonsai. Where to source soil?
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RMBS doesn't currently have soil mix available. Check out the basics education page on how to make some! We hope to have pre-mixed soils available very soon for many different applications, but the operation has been put on hold currently due to the current coronavirus outbreak.
I ordered some from bonsai Jack on Amazon. They ship quick, are much cheaper than most other mixes I've seen this far, and they ship 1 quart up to 5 gallons. You can also get the aggregates individually if you don't want a ready-to-pot mix.
I know we are working on having bagged soil available, but the timelines have shifted with regard to the current events. Andy would most likely be the best person to defer to
Here's that article: https://www.rmbonsai.org/post/what-are-best-bonsai-species-for-beginners
I should also mention that I believe the club has soil available. But I'll let @Andy Berry or someone else in the know answer that for sure.
Hi @Jesse Snelling
Welcome to bonsai! 🙂
I'm sure there are club members using a wide variety of substrates, but here's what I do, as well as many professionals around the country. The three main components are Akadam/Lava/Pumice. for most conifers I mix these at a 1/1/1 ratio. For deciduous I up the Akadama ratio to 2-3 parts, or even go straight akadama for Japanese maples. For a large collection it's cheapest to buy in bulk and mix your own, but for a small collection or just starting out I'd recommend buying quality pre-mixed soil.
I haven't bought from them yet, but I would give these guys a shot if I were in your shoes:
As for species, deciduous in general will be more shade tolerant. (Amur maple, elm and larch are the first few that come to mind as good hardy starts. If you get even a few hours of direct sunlight in your yard during the day you can likely keep most conifers happy as well. (Juniper, pine and Colorado spruce are a few good hardy starts.
The club also just published blog post on good trees for beginners. I'll go find that and attach it shortly.
Good luck! And keep up the research, you're doing a great job planning ahead! 😉
Hi welcome -There is a really good training pdf on soil on our education area - https://8bc4b7f0-5a8a-4445-8895-7fb4dd612c49.filesusr.com/ugd/e28426_cbb1d3d00a3843458d4a058e76038766.pdf
You can then get the Pumice, Scoria, Turface/Akadama from various sources. I grabbed mine initially from Amazon / Bonsai Outlet but over time have got some from the club.
Im relatively new, but have been using native species - Rocky Mountain Junipers / Pines etc and then grabbing cheap nursery stock from Home Depot to torture / practice on such as Boxwoods, Pines etc.