Pine Bark Fines


Pine Bark Fines aged and composted from Ontario sawmills is a great base as it retains moisture while not waterlogging (protecting from root rot), provides nutrients and drains very well. 

This is undoubtedly the best substrate base for developing young Bonsai. Unlike substrates used for refinement (finishing a bonsai tree in a bonsai pot), Pine Bark fines is the best soil type to thicken trunks, develop branching and all other stages of Bonsai development. Best used in growing pots, this substrate is not Pine Bark Mulch. It has been refined into smaller particles and composted to provide an ideal base to plant your developing trees in. 

Our Pine Bark fines come in 1.5L and 3L bags. 

1.5 L will be sufficient for a 6" Azalea pot or colander.

3L will be sufficient for a #1 Gallon grower pot.  


Soil (Substrate)

Bonsai soils are usually a mixture of organic potting compost (Pine Bark or Forest Floor), Akadamapumice, lava rock in varying amounts. 

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)

50% Akadama

20% Pumice

20% Lava Rock

10% Potting Compost


Coniferous Tree (Evergreen like Juniper, Cedar)

1/3 Akadama

1/3 Pumice

1/3 Lava Rock


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.


Customer Reviews

Based on 4 reviews
Matt Levis (Windsor, CA)
5 stars

Worked like a charm

Dennis Crisp (Orillia, CA)
Juniper, Maples, pine fines, wire etc

Arrived in excellent condition due to superb packaging, my best experience in Internet purchasing

Frances Sawler (Church Point, CA)
Excellent product

Purchased Akadama, lava rock, bark, and soil substrate. Arrived promptly, well packaged. Products are impeccable, lava rock is clean with no need to rinse, very happy with everything!

Jozette Aaron (Barrie, CA)
PBF - who knew?

Never heard of this until researching a good soil mix for my monstera. The plant loves it and so do the others I added a bit to. Helps with drainage in potted plants; I added vermiculite to it and that’s a dynamic duo.

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