Soil pH and Bonsai

Now this is something! Thank you a lot. I tried the cattier and lost 2 trees :((


Ask a room full of Bonsai artists about soil and you will probably get different perspectives from each and every one of them. Soil for Bonsai cultivation is widely discussed and opinions are easy to find. From those who can afford to import Akadama and other Japanese sourced mediums through to Cat litter soils and organic mixes, all serve a purpose. In the end it is probably better to talk about the “Growing Medium” rather than soil as some Bonsai trees grow in mixes that can hardly be classified as Soil when one goes with the “normal” definition of what soil is. Here in New Zealand we just refer to it as “dirt”, but that is probably not good English for what we use to grow our Bonsai in. One thing that is not very well considered when it comes to soil and soil types, is the pH of the…

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Salix arbuscularia

New addition to the nursery, from  the mall. I got a little tree, reduced in prize, left to stand alone among the neglected, doomed-to-dry-out corner of the  garden store. And I got a heart for those abandoned. Besides, it still looks cute.

It is a grafted tree, the top neatly added on top of some other sort of Salix. Top branches hanging down, catkins flowering. I’m gonna add pics later.



Shohin Bonsai Europe - Morten Albek

4 items, three shohin-bonsai and one accents. Is it right or wrong? Does it matter? Does it work? 4 items, three shohin-bonsai and one accent. Is it right or wrong? Does it matter? Does it work? Photo: Shuga-ten and the Japanese Shohin-bonsai Association.

We are still clinging to the bonsai rules thing. When we do not cope with the artistic freedom or maybe are afraid of failing, we can always say we did what we did, because the rules told us to do so. But the frightening truth is, there are no rules in bonsai. There may be some restrictions regarding exhibit areas on a exhibition, how tall a tree going into the shohin category have to be e.g., but generally speaking THERE ARE NO RULES.

A common belief concerning shohin-bonsai displays is that the display has to be with a odd number of trees; when counting elements, dead items do not count in (scrolls), – and even at the latest  exhibition I took part in a…

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Charcoal for bonsai soil

This is a very good idea, also the Portugese soil mix contains charcoal.

Shohin Bonsai Europe - Morten Albek

In the older days Indians added charcoal to the soil when growing their plants. The result was healthy and vigorously growing plants. Today’s science has shown why charcoal is beneficial for the health of the root system and the plants. What does charcoal do then? It is pretty simple; first of all it takes up nutrients and slowly releases them to the soil. This slows down the process of washing out nitrogen gasses that is useful for the growth and vitality of plants and trees. For container grown plants it is even more useful than for plants in the field, because the nutrients are washed out faster, and therefore charcoal is an important ingredient to add to the soil mixture.

Soil mixture added. A very small shohin pot with a little charcoal added to the mixture.

In Japanese bonsai nurseries this trick is widely used, and charcoal should be a natural component of the soil…

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spring updates

Last week I’ve been repotting some of the trees and the little ones from the nursery (still need some ID’s on them). I thought, I share some of the pic with you guys.

Tilia cordata (most likely 8 years, mallsai), buds just about to break

Fagus sylvaticus (about 10 years, nursery tree)

Acer buergeranum (I suspect it’s 6 years old – bought it from last years Bonsai exhibition in Hallein)

Morus albus (6 years, mallsai)


Prunus incisa (6 years, nursery tree) still shrubby looking, waiting for the bloom to finish


Tsuga canadiensis – have no idea how old, nursery tree…

Juniper procumbens nana (older than 10, nursery tree)

The 11th Annual Shohin Pottery Competition (1)


Japanese Bonsai Pots Blog

Every year I look forward to Gafu Ten and the results of the big pottery competition and exhibition that is held there each year. For articles on the previous exhibitions, click the over to the Table of Contents page under the menu bar.

Lots to talk about from this year’s exhibition, with many images, so I’ll be separating it into two posts. First up, the winners, and the entries from last year’s gold medalists.

Overviews of the exhibition.

Now, on to the pots!

Unglazed Containers

The Gold medalists for the previous year aren’t eligible for prizes(nor are those who have won top honors more than a couple of times), but they are always invited to display in the following year. This was the entry from British Potter Andrew Pearson, of Stone Monkey Ceramics, who took gold last year. This year’s entry features real silver rivets. I was quite impressed with…

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