The orchid soil often comes in a mixture form. Most of the time, it is for planting commercial orchids. However, it is not impossible to use these types of plantation mediums for non-orchid plants, including those that are friendly for house purposes like bonsai trees. So, there are no surprises if some people ask, “Can I use orchid soil for bonsai?”
Before we answer the question, we’ll guide you through the basics of orchid soil. We’ll start with what materials, compounds, or more are included in the orchid soil.
What is orchid soil made out of
Almost any type of soil would ideally include mosses. Mosses are things that add to the soils’ pH levels and, sometimes, acidity, too. An orchid soil is one of the soils that have mosses. Peat mosses and sphagnum mosses are two types of mosses that are common for orchid soil.
Peat mosses are common for Phalaenopsis orchids, the types of orchids in which the alternate name is the moth orchid. Sphagnum mosses, on the other side, are frequently present in smaller-sized orchids in small pots. An orchid soil can only have one of the mosses.
Other than containing either one peat or sphagnum mosses, a commercial orchid soil mixture will also consist of perlites to stabilize the pH levels. Perlites belong to the inorganic elements in the orchid soil. Other inorganic elements that can be present are the Leca clay pebbles that are often on the bottom part of the plant.
Apart from the mosses and perlites, every orchid soils also include the tree bark to add to the textures. Fir trees are the types of trees that barks are often found in orchid soils. Fir tree barks have three grades: Fine, medium, and coarse. You can adjust the gradings according to the plants you want to grow.
Is orchid soil good for bonsai trees
Most of the time, we know that orchid soils are perfect for any orchid type. Yet, here, the question is, are we sure we’re on the right track if we choose orchid soils to grow bonsai trees?
That depends on the orchid soil’s component types and also the wire materials for the bonsai trees. Some components need regular repotting, while you should mix the other materials with other well-draining soils. Additionally, always make sure you’re using anodized aluminum wires if you plan to grow your bonsai trees using an orchid soil mixture.
Is orchid soil the same as bonsai soil
No. Orchid and bonsai soils have different ideal mixtures even though both types of soils can contain peat mosses.
For example, Akadama, the Japanese granular clay-like mineral, is the mixture component that you can only find in bonsai soils. Another example is the Sequoia bark for orchid soils that are in some of the world’s Orchid Societies.
The pH levels are also different for both types of soils. Bonsai soils’ ideal pH is between 6.5-7.5, which is higher than the average orchid soils’ pH of approximately 5.5-6.5. On the other side, orchid soils require more lightings than bonsai soils so you can grow the plants.
Does orchid soil work for bonsai
Most people think, if the plant types are the same as the soil types, the results will be fruitful. Hence, no wonder we often doubt that orchid soils work effectively for bonsai-type plants.
Amazingly, orchid soils work well for bonsai plants and trees even though they have different characteristics than bonsai soils. There are even cases where people grow bonsai plants inside their houses using orchid potting mixtures.
The popularity of orchid soils among bonsai cultivators exists for a reason, and that is because of the particle sizes in orchid potting mixtures. Their sizes are so ideal that they contribute a lot to improving the drainage and aeration levels that every bonsai plants need.
Can i use orchid potting mix for bonsai
Considering the previous point, we can be sure that the answer to the “Can I use orchid soil for bonsai?” is yes. We can even plant bonsai trees using orchid potting mixtures because their particle sizes are ideal for watering our bonsai plants.
However, that doesn’t mean we should stop scheduling the watering activities for our bonsai plants. Remember that they need to preserve the pH levels. The aim is so they will keep on feeding the plants, either by active or passive methods.
Apart from scheduling the water, you should bear in mind that bonsai trees consist of different subtypes that may need different lighting degrees. Not only that you should mind the ingredients and materials in the mixtures, but the additives are integral as well to improve the quality of your orchid soils.
There are pros and cons that you should consider in determining the answer to the question, “Can I use orchid soil for bonsai?” These two contrasting aspects are what we’re going to cover over the next points in this article.
Pros of using orchid soil for bonsai trees
Orchid soils’ lower average pH levels compared to bonsai soils bring an advantage to them. All materials and ingredients in orchid soils support bonsai trees’ needs for water and lighting in adequate amounts.
When mixed well with other ingredients or adequate water levels, the low pH levels of orchid soils can go higher, so they can balance the whole anatomies of the bonsai trees. The trees’ roots are the parts that can drain the water more than the other parts.
There are many ways you can use to water your bonsai trees if you use orchid soil. You can use more portions of fir tree barks in your orchid soil mixtures because they can ensure faster growth for your bonsai trees. Placing a humidifier or using a water-soluble fertilizer can also be your strategy to ensure your bonsai trees under the orchid soil grow healthy.
Growing bonsai trees while using orchid soil work best when you do it in the morning before 10:00 A.M. every day. It is because the sun and temperature levels reach the most optimal levels for bonsai trees with orchid soils in such periods.
Compared to other “exclusive” types of soils, such as bonsai soils, orchid soils are cheaper. Their overall economical prices are coupled with the beautiful-looking bonsai plants that usually go well with the orchid soils. No doubt any combinations between orchid soils and bonsai trees are the most popular.
Cons of using orchid soil for bonsai trees
Orchid soils are among the neediest soil types when it comes to lighting adjustments. They don’t only require more degrees of lightings compared to other types of soils. If you use orchid soils to plant your bonsai trees, be prepared to adjust the lighting mediums and the lighting exposures.
LED or fluorescent lamps are the most popular mediums for shining bonsai trees under orchid soil. However, paying extra attention to the types of lamps is highly important. Failing to do so can affect your bonsai’s appearance and, eventually, the bonsai’s health and overall well-being.
If your bonsai trees’ leaves are blackened, then, those are yet other red-flag signs that you should pay attention to. It can be because you overfertilize your bonsai trees. Bonsai trees growing on orchid soils don’t need that many fertilizers.
In some places, orchid soils don’t perform in their best states when coupled with bonsai trees. Some of those places are anywhere near radiators, floor heaters, or vents. In addition, you can’t freeze the bonsai trees that grow above the orchid soils as there are chances that they can look dull.
Orchid soil mix for bonsai
Even though using orchid soils for planting and growing bonsai trees have cons and pros, we can use the mixtures of the soils to ensure the best growth for our bonsai plants.
Understanding the anatomy of orchid soil mixes, such as the ingredients and materials for the soils, is the cornerstone of preparing the best orchid soil mixes for our bonsai plants and trees. Starting from there on, we can modify the mixtures while not losing the central characteristics they have.
For example, we can use gravel or lava rocks as substitutes for fir tree barks. Or, we can use coconut husk chips for our soil mixtures to expose more of the root parts to the air, so they can “breathe” inside.
Finally, “yes” is the answer to, “Can I use orchid soil for bonsai?” Don’t forget to mind the pros and cons while doing so. Checking with the nearby stores if they sell any forms of orchid soils can help you a lot.
Another thing that you shouldn’t forget is that you can refer back to this article at any time when you face confusion to use orchid soils for your bonsai plants or not.