Akadama is a Japanese Red Clay Soil, that almost every Bonsai professional and enthusiast agree is a must for growing Bonsai.
This Soil has wonderful drainage but also has tiny pores that capture moisture and keep it around the roots.
Akadama usually comes in 40-pound bags, but as we know that most of our clients do not need that kind of quantity, we are happy to offer Akadama in one-pound bags for your convenience.
This size is mainly recommended in the potting of large specimens in pots over 12". But can also be used sparsely to better aerate the soil and help drainage. Keep in mind that young roots will have a hard time growing in an environment mainly consisting of grains this size.
The best use of this sized grain is in pots 8" and larger. Ideal for use together with pumice and lava rock for Boon's Mix, as its size is consistent with the other particles in the mix. For best results use this grain size with Bonsai over 10" tall.
Sometimes referred to as Shohin size. This grain size is ideal for smaller compositions and can also do very well in a Boon's mix with smaller Bonsai. We recommended using this grain size with all of our Baby and some of our Young sizes and with any pot that is smaller than 8" or Bonsai less than 10" in height.
It is important for the soil have good water retention while also draining well, along with very good aeration. The quality of the soil directly affects the health, size and growth of your tree. One of the worst things you can do to your tree is plant it in regular garden soil. Garden soil hardens when it drys and can often lead to a disadvantage when growing a Bonsai.
Soil mixtures can be purchased here, but given their weight and cost of shipping, you can also easily make your own.
Depending on the type of Bonsai you're growing, here are the general formulas for successful mixtures.
Deciduous Tree (Leafy and looses leafs in the fall)
10% Potting Compost
Coniferous Tree (Evergreen like Juniper, Cedar)
If you are not able to check on your Bonsai's moisture levels daily, add more Akadama to the mix.
Given how these soils erode over time, repotting every 2-3 years is required.
Here are some suitable replacements if you cannot find the recommended types of soil.
- Akadama - fine fired or baked clays, some even recommend cat litter as a substitute.
- Pumice - fine crushed aggregates, expanded shale and vermiculite.
- Lava Rock - This can be replaced with fine gravel or you can also look into purchasing a larger lava rock at a hardware or gardening centre and crushing it.
One of the best and easiest ways to fertilize your Bonsai, is to add a liquid fertilizer mix when water your Bonsai's once a month during the spring/summer. If your Bonsai looses leaves in the winter there is no need to fertilize it then. If you have a coniferous tree, fertilizing the tree once in the beginning of winter and once in the middle of winter should be sufficient.