What is The Best Juniper Bonsai Soil?
Junipers are some of the most popular varieties for bonsai and aesthetics. They are renowned for being tolerant and resilient to various environmental and soil conditions. In this article, we’ll discuss the best soil for junipers so that you’re better able to take care of your tree.
The Best Soil for Juniper Bonsais
Junipers are strong enough to withstand even poor-quality soil. However, care must always be taken as certain conditions aren’t good for their growth or could even destroy the tree. Whatever kind of soil you have, whether it’s loamy or rocky, grainy or compacted, make sure that it’s moist and allows for good drainage.
You can make your own soil mix or even purchase from the nurseries. As a beginner, you might want to purchase a pre-made potting mix for junipers. While making a mix, use 50% sand in it if looking for something less expensive. To make a good quality mix, you’ll need one part loam, two parts granite grit, and two parts sphagnum moss.
Junipers can tolerate various pH levels but prefer neutral to slightly acidic soil. Ideally, a pH scale of 5.5 to 7.0 is suitable, which is found in most garden soils. You can check the pH level of your soil by using a soil pH tester probe. To make the soil more acidic, lower the pH level by adding Sulfur, Chelated Iron, or Aluminum Sulfate; or adding mulch compost. To make it more alkaline, raise the pH level by adding pelletized limestone.
Mulch or pine straw works wonders for the soil, as they retain moisture and keep weeds at bay. As the mulch starts decomposing, essential nutrients are released to it.
Junipers are quite drought-tolerant plants and need fewer fertilizers. If your soil lacks essential nutrients, it’s a good idea to light-feed your bonsai with fertilizers. It’s best to use a balanced 10-10-10 fertilizer during spring. Scatter two tablespoons over the soil and work into it up to six inches. In most cases, a low-nitrogen fertilizer is useful.
Generally, liquid fertilizer can be applied once or twice a month. Check the manufacturer’s instructions indicating how often to use it and the amount of water needed to make the solution. The granular fertilizers also come with a strict set of instructions and should be used more frequently as compared to the liquid ones. Granular fertilizer is applied directly, and the soil quickly absorbs its nutrients. You can also use slow-release fertilizers such as pods, spikes. Again, follow the instructions on the packaging to know how often to use it.
When using a liquid fertilizer, apply it directly to the area and avoid the leaves at all costs. Add the granular fertilizer to the top part of the soil and make sure to use the exact measurement as mentioned in the manufacturer’s instructions. To release maximum nutrients, slow-release fertilizer should be added close to the soil’s waterline. If your plant is large, use a lot of spikes or pods to distribute the fertilizers evenly.
The soil should also provide excellent drainage but shouldn’t dry out completely, as junipers need consistent moisture. Poor drainage can cause root rots. They can also withstand dry to humid conditions, but the roots sitting in soggy soil can be fatal for the plant. Water the plant when the top one inch of the soil is dry.
A watering frequency of twice or thrice a week is ideal in moderate climates. If the climate is extremely hot, you must water the plant once or twice a day, depending on its exposure to the sun. You could also move the bonsai to a shady location to protect them from extreme weather. However, unnecessarily placing them in the shade can result in diseases and pests.