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The UK's bestBonsai Potting Compost Mix2022 Review

What To Look For in a Bonsai Potting Compost Mix

The first decision is whether to use ‘organic’ or ‘inorganic’ soil components. An organic mix contains naturally-occurring nutrients which are beneficial to all plants. However, organic components can break down over time, becoming more compact and hindering drainage. After time, organic mixes require additional fertiliser to replace spent nutrients.

Inorganic soil components are increasing in popularity because they offer good drainage and aeration. However, nutrients need to be added separately, as inorganic bonsai soil components, such as lava rocks, don’t contain any themselves. Inorganic bonsai soil can help reduce the chance of root rot.

A lot of bonsai growers choose to use a combination of organic and inorganic components to get the best of both worlds. Look for organic mediums like pine bark or peat, and inorganic materials like pumice and lava rock. Akadama and Seramis clay are useful inorganic components as they retain water well.

Look for bonsai potting mixes that have components of various sizes, as these create air pockets which prevent the bonsai’s roots from rotting. Also, you should consider the potting mix’s pH. Bonsais prefer a neutral or slightly acidic living environment (PH 6.5 – 7), so look for a potting mix that reflects this. 

After comparing different potting mixes, I recommend the Westland Bonsai Potting Compost Mix. It’s a loam-based compost containing both organic and inorganic components. There are Seramis clay granules as well as wood fibres to create a lightweight mix. Additional fertiliser will be required after eight weeks.

For more information about this compost mix, as well as some alternative options, take a look at the reviews below.

What Are The UK's Best Bonsai Potting Compost Mixes?

IMAGE RECOMMENDED PRODUCTSPRODUCT FEATURES
best-bonsai-potting-compost-mix Westland Bonsai Potting Compost Mix
  • Added water-retaining granules
  • Open airy structure
  • Food for 6-8 weeks
best-bonsai-potting-compost-mix Bonsai Focus Repotting Mix
  • Mix of grit, sand, and peat
  • Suits most bonsai species
  • Small good value bag
best-bonsai-potting-compost-mix Semillas Batlle Bonsai Compost Soil
  • Mix of nutrients and drainage
  • Provides aeration
  • Root boosting
best-bonsai-potting-compost-mix Miracle-Gro Cactus, Succulent & Bonsai Compost
  • Contains less lime
  • for bonsai and succulents
  • free-draining
best-bonsai-potting-compost-mix Grow Buddha Bonsai Soil
  • Contain vermiculite and perlite
  • Pine bark base
  • No peat

Read Our Bonsai Potting Compost Mix Reviews

B0765YZN47
5023377006227
Added water-retaining granules, Open airy structure, Food for 6-8 weeks,

Westland Bonsai Potting Compost Mix

best-bonsai-potting-compost-mix Westland Bonsai Potting Compost Mix
FEATURES RATING PRICE
FEATURES
  • Added water-retaining granules
  • Open airy structure
  • Food for 6-8 weeks
RATING
99
PRICE
Save 35% on Amazon

Westland Bonsai Potting Compost Mix Review

Westland Bonsai Potting Compost Mix is worth consideration if you want bonsai potting compost that retains moisture. It has added SERAMIS granules to regulate water intake and ensure availability so bonsai trees don’t dry out and shed their leaves.

Added SERAMIS in this bonsai potting compost retains water and releases it slowly so bonsais get a steady supply of moisture around their roots. This helps long-term growth and avoids browning leaves caused by drought.

It’s a specialist blend, so along with water-retaining SERAMIS granules, Westland has used loam-based compost to slowly release nutrients along with added wood fibres to open the compost and create a light, airy structure for optimum drainage.

This compost supplies bonsai with enough nutrients for 6-8 weeks, so it will need feeding after two months with a bonsai feed every two weeks in the spring to summer growing season.

On the downside, it’s been reported as slow to drain, which can cause root rot. To combat this you could add perlite or horticultural sand.

Overall, Westland Bonsai Potting Compost Mix is a compost designed for bonsai tree needs. It has water-retaining properties and an open structure, so it’s a good choice if you forget to water your houseplants or you’re away from home a lot.

Pros

  • Water-retaining granules regulate a steady water supply
  • Added wood fibres create an open aerating structure to avoid root rot
  • It comes with enough nutrients to last 6-8 weeks before feeding is necessary
  • Comes in a 4 litre bag that’s enough to fill one 14 cm pot.

Cons

  • May not drain adequately so needs added perlite or horticultural sand.
  • Adding perlite and sand will detract from its water-retaining capabilities
B00BBAMIDK
4693138064974,5025644913696
Mix of grit, sand, and peat, Suits most bonsai species, Small good value bag,

Bonsai Focus Repotting Mix

best-bonsai-potting-compost-mix Bonsai Focus Repotting Mix
FEATURES RATING PRICE
FEATURES
  • Mix of grit, sand, and peat
  • Suits most bonsai species
  • Small good value bag
RATING
95
PRICE
Check Price on Amazon

Bonsai Focus Repotting Mix Review

If you’re looking for a bonsai-specific potting compost that suits the majority of bonsai trees then Bonsai Focus Repotting Mix is worth a look. It contains growth technology for the best result on a wide range of bonsai trees.

Growth technology potting mix is a general bonsai compost suitable for a wide range of species and handy for bonsai keepers that have a mixture of bonsai types. It contains peat, fine grit, sand, and fine bark to create a mixture that suits many small trees.

The texture is open and airy due to the inclusion of sand and grit, but there’s bark in the mix to soak up moisture, and peat to provide vitality and optimum growth.

There are no added chemicals or nutrients in the mix which is important to create strong slow growth in bonsai trees. Added growth chemicals can cause a rush of greenery at the expense of roots and exhaust the tree.

On the downside, it contains peat which is a natural resource under threat and disappointing to people concerned about our peatlands.

Also, some reviews report the grit pieces are too large to provide useful drainage in peat which can stick and prevent tree roots from breathing or growing. You may want to add extra perlite or grit to be sure you’re bonsai drains properly.

Overall, Bonsai Focus Repotting Mix is a good mix of nutrients and free-draining material for optimum bonsai tree health. It suits a wide variety of species and comes in a good value 2 litre bag.

Pros

  • It contains a mix of nutrients, grit, sand, and fine bark which is important for root health
  • The mixture is suitable for the vast majority of bonsai and other plants with free-draining root requirements
  • Comes in a small 2 litre bag so there’s no wasted product or expense.
  • Great value for bonsai enthusiasts on a budget

Cons

  • It contains peat which is not environmentally sound
  • The mix is short of small grit and sand so may not drain particularly well
  • Peat is a thick material that struggles to drain so without good grit inclusion it will suffocate roots
B0166LT1OM
8414934007677
Mix of nutrients and drainage, Provides aeration, Root boosting,

Semillas Batlle Bonsai Compost Soil

best-bonsai-potting-compost-mix Semillas Batlle Bonsai Compost Soil
FEATURES RATING PRICE
FEATURES
  • Mix of nutrients and drainage
  • Provides aeration
  • Root boosting
RATING
90
PRICE
Check Price on Amazon

Semillas Batlle Bonsai Compost Soil Review

A scientific mix of ingredients makes Semillas Batlle Bonsai Compost Soil one of the best bonsai potting compost mixes on the market. It’s formulated to provide the correct amount of nutrients to a range of bonsai.

Semillas Batlle Bonsai Compost Soil contains a food mix of 10-15-10 and a pH of 7 for optimal bonsai growth that’s not fast, but provides enough nutrients to feed a bonsai and keep it growing. When bonsai trees grow quickly it’s usually at the expense of a sturdy root system so this ratio that boosts roots is a good bet.

The potting mix contains black and white peat, quartz crystals, volcanic clay and coconut fibre. Coconut fibres are a natural ingredient that retains moisture and releases it slowly, the clay and quartz crystals provide aeration and drainage to stop root rot, and the two different types of peat add nutrients.

On the downside, including peat is not environmentally friendly and contributes to the decline of our peatlands. It can also hold onto moisture making the compost claggy and cold which does not promote good health, in fact, it may begin to rot root systems. To combat this, you could add more grit or sand if necessary.

It’s a 5 litre bag so holds more potting compost than the majority of others on the market which is good news if you need to repot a series of bonsai or have a large specimen to boost.

Overall, Semillas Batlle Bonsai Compost Soil has a good recipe to feed, drain and boost root development. Owners of multiple bonsai or young specimens that need regular re-potting might want to consider this.

Pros

  • It’s scientifically formulated to provide the right nutrients for healthy growth
  • It’s good for root development which is important for long-living bonsai
  • Contains lots of free-draining materials such as coconut fibre and quartz crystals
  • Good sized bag for multiple re-potting jobs.

Cons

  • Peat is not environmentally sound and isn’t an eco-friendly choice
  • The peat may retain too much moisture if the drainage material isn’t thoroughly mixed in
  • The drainage material may be too large to provide all the necessary drainage
B085156QFR
5010272186550
Contains less lime, for bonsai and succulents, free-draining,

Miracle-Gro Cactus, Succulent & Bonsai Compost

best-bonsai-potting-compost-mix Miracle-Gro Cactus, Succulent & Bonsai Compost
FEATURES RATING PRICE
FEATURES
  • Contains less lime
  • for bonsai and succulents
  • free-draining
RATING
86
PRICE
Check Price on Amazon

Miracle-Gro Cactus, Succulent & Bonsai Compost Review

If you’re looking for the best bonsai potting compost mix and the best cactus/succulent mix then take a look at Miracle-Gro Cactus, Succulent & Bonsai Compost 6 litre bag. It contains less lime so it’s suitable for bonsai, cactus, succulents, and other acid preferring plants.

Bonsai, cactus, and succulents prefer a slightly acidic compost blend that is provided in this compost potting mix. It has less lime included to cater for acid-loving plants including African violets and alpine plants too.

Its peat and loam base contains 14 minerals for optimal plant growth including nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, plus trace elements for good health and optimal growth. All this is essential for potted plants that can’t top up nutrients from the surrounding soil

Bonsai and cacti need very free-draining compost and this blend has a special sand mix to create good drainage and aeration around the roots. This is particularly essential when tightly packed peat is used as the base. Its free-draining mixture makes it suitable for propagation too. 

On the downside, it includes unsustainable peat which is becoming a scarce resource and isn’t environmentally friendly. Reviews also suggest there isn’t much compost for the price so it isn’t as good value as other bonsai potting compost.

Overall, this is a versatile bonsai potting compost mix that services cacti, succulents, African violets, and alpines well too. If you need a good all-rounder for acid-loving plants this might suit.

Pros

  • It’s suitable for a range of acidic loving plants like succulents, alpines and African violets
  • It contains a mixture of nutrients and free-draining materials
  • Sand is added to create aeration and free draining conditions
  • It’s versatile and pleasant to handle straight out of the bag

Cons

  • It’s more expensive than other bonsai potting compost mixes for the amount you get
  • It contains unsustainable peat that damages the environment
  • Needs thorough mixing to distribute the sand evenly or it doesn’t drain well
B08V32569J
6014417755747
Contain vermiculite and perlite, Pine bark base, No peat,

Grow Buddha Bonsai Soil

best-bonsai-potting-compost-mix Grow Buddha Bonsai Soil
FEATURES RATING PRICE
FEATURES
  • Contain vermiculite and perlite
  • Pine bark base
  • No peat
RATING
81
PRICE
Check Price on Amazon

Grow Buddha Bonsai Soil Review

Bonsai trees need good drainage from hard materials around their roots. Grow Buddha Bonsai Soil is one of the best bonsai potting compost mixes with a well-thought-out free-draining mix containing vermiculite, perlite, and sand for good drainage.

This compost mix contains just 4 ingredients recommended by bonsai experts and put together in the UK. It contains pine bark, vermiculite, sand, and perlite that creates healthy conditions for new or old bonsai trees.

Pine bark is slightly acidic and provides a good base for your trees to draw nutrients and moisture from. The remaining sand, vermiculite, and perlite stabilises its roots and creates an open airy consistency that roots can flourish in.

It’s ready mixed into the right proportions for repotting or growing seeds and encourages microbial growth in the soil. This supports bonsai trees by helping them increase nutrient uptake and resist stress. Bonsai trees can become stressed by drought and re-potting so this is a real bonus.

One gripe is that the packet only contains 2 litres of soil and is more expensive than others on the market. It’ll repot one to three medium-sized bonsai trees at most. However, it doesn’t contain peat which is a natural resource under threat and used in a lot of bonsai potting compost mixes which help justify its extra cost.

Overall, this is a well-received choice of bonsai compost potting mix. Reviews attest to its free-draining mixture and because it doesn’t contain peat it’s an eco-friendly choice too.

Pros

  • This compost is created by bonsai experts who understand the conditions bonsai need to grow in
  • It contains a balanced mixture of pine bark, vermiculite, perlite, and sand
  • It promotes microbial growth to boost your bonsai’s relationship with the soil
  • No peat included makes it an environmentally-friendly choice
  • It comes in a small bag so there’s no waste or overspend
  • Comes with a bonsai care manual to help you report and tend your bonsai like an expert.

Cons

  • Small amount for the price so not great value
  • Some bonsai growers prefer a higher amount of nutrients to boost leafy growth
  • Can make a mess out of the packet – be sure to repot over a newspaper or cloth

How to Choose the Best Bonsai Potting Compost Mix

Some people shy away from growing bonsai because they’ve heard it’s difficult to grow them.

It’s not that hard, but one of the major aspects you need to get about right is the compost. Bad compost conditions equals a sick tree, so here’s how to choose the best bonsai potting compost mix

The right mix is essential

The best bonsai potting compost mix will contain a mix of growing mediums such as pine bark or peat and plenty of materials that create free-draining conditions such as perlite, quartz, sand, or grit.

You might think bonsai compost just looks like a load of dry stones that couldn’t sustain anything but these are the condition they like best! Experts often suggest a 40/60 or even a 50/50 split of growing medium and drainage materials.

Good water retention for healthy growth

Bonsais are mini trees and they need plenty of water or they drop foliage to conserve their supply. Some bonsai mixes include pine bark which is an excellent natural moisture retainer.

Others use peat, coconut fibres, or water-retaining crystals in their specialist mixes. It’s important your compost mix has at least one of these to retain enough moisture.

Good drainage is really important

Bonsai need a steady supply of moisture, but soggy, wet roots will kill it.

Excess moisture must be able to run away, so bonsai compost must contain vermiculite, grit, sand, perlite quartz crystals, or other hard, fine materials to create free-draining conditions.

Good aeration prevents root rot

Hard materials in bonsai compost should vary in size enough to create pockets of air in the soil. Good aeration prevents root rot by allowing oxygen into the mix to dry out too much water and promote microbial growth in the soil.

If your bonsai mix arrives looking too dense it’s a good idea to add horticultural grit, vermiculite or perlite before using it. You can find them in garden centres or online easily enough.

Aim for the right pH balance

It’s best to look for a bonsai potting compost that has neutral to slightly acidic pH.

Pine bark is naturally slightly acidic, but mixes without pine bark are offered with less lime content too. It might not seem worth the bother, but your bonsai will be able to tell the difference.

Check out our FAQs below if you need more information on how to choose the best bonsai compost.

Bonsai Potting Compost Mix FAQs

Do you need special compost for bonsai trees?

Bonsai won’t survive long in plain old garden dirt. It’s too hard and dry and won’t provide the right conditions for your bonsai to thrive.

It’s best to buy or make a bonsai potting compost mix that has plenty of drainage from sand, grit, perlite, vermiculite, volcanic rocks or similar with a bark or peat base. Bark is better for the environment!

A well-drained mix encourages healthy roots that can suck up nutrients and water effectively.

Should I feed my bonsai tree?

Yes, bonsai trees need regular feeding because they’ll use up all the nutrients in their pot and start to suffer the ill effects of poor nutrition.

Choose a specialist bonsai fertiliser because they need weak feeding that promotes slow strong growth rather than a flurry of greenery.

Can I use cacti soil for bonsai?

You can and it works well because both species need aeration and well-drained soils.

Many manufacturers offer joint bonsai and cacti compost in one which is worth considering if you have both types of plant.

When should I report my bonsai tree?

This will vary between species and pot size, but in general young trees need repotting every two years and established trees every 3-5.

Check beneath the pot and if there are roots breaking through the drainage hole it gives a good indication that repotting is required.

Choose a pot only a little bigger than its current one or your bonsai will try to fill the soil with roots rather than producing greenery that we love to admire.

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