It’s customary, for bonsai displayed indoors, to cover the surface of the soil with moss. Moss, however, isn’t always readily available. What can a bonsai artist do? Here are some solutions from the East Bay Bonsai Society’s 50th Anniversary Show.
Moss – nice when you can get it
Bonsai soil with patches of moss
Patches of moss with lava
Patches of moss, lichen, and fine soil particles
Moss growth accelerates in fall in the Bay Area. It’s around this time of year when Bay Island Bonsai members start scoping out moss collection locations ahead of the January exhibit. If the supply falls short, we’ll be sure to employ some of the above techniques.
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I’ve been using yamagoke (mountain moss) typically used for satsuki, which grows at the base of Cryptomeria japonica (Tsugi) here. It locks to itself preventing soil from washing away.
Daniel Dolan says
Trying to start assembling my soils for next season. Had a question about the Pumice in the Boon Mix…..color, granule size…possibly a preferred supplier or brand name. The Hyuga Pumice from Japan seems a great color but prohibitive especially when shipped to Midwest.
Candidly I have had it with Turface, so I am desperately searching for something to replace Turface and Peat.
Thank you. As always great job with Bonsai Tohight.
Hi Daniel – the pumice I use is white, fairly hard and porous. I’ve used different sizes and always sift or wash it. For my basic mix I use roughy 1/4″ particles. I buy it from a bulk soil company (American Soil Products).
I think a number of alternatives could work well as long as the particles retain some moisture, are the appropriate size and free of dust. Finding cheap soil is a worthwhile project. In Japan, “river sand” is popular in soil mixes. It most closely resembles decomposed granite, a good, if heavy, particle to use in bonsai soil.
The trick – one I’m still trying to figure out – is to use the right mix of particles. I’ll let you know if I ever figure it out!