When people buy their first bonsai tree, they usually get them planted in potting soil or garden soil. It’s key to have an understanding of the soil considerations for bonsai trees, which are usually quite special. It’s key to note which bonsai soil is proper in order for your tree to flourish.

Why Is Bonsai Soil Important?

Let’s look at regular trees: they can be planted in a yard and grow well enough. Why does bonsai soil have to be part of a bigger conversation? Simply put, it’s all about the tree’s roots.

Understandably, the aesthetic of the bonsai tree matters far more to starter bonsai owners than what’s actually contained in the bonsai pot. However, it should be noted that no matter how beautiful a bonsai tree is, that look will only be sustained if there’s a strong foundation supporting the tree. Needless to say, the foundation in question is essentially the roots.

Fibrous, fine “feeder roots” must be developed if bonsai is the conversation. That’s because these roots are able to best consume nutrients that come from the soil. Those same nutrients are what ends up feeding the tree. Trees will tend to weaken without having a strong feeder root network. When the potting soil used is average (“normal”), feeder roots won’t be encouraged to grow.

In order to best help bonsai trees, then, other soil types must be considered.

Does Bonsai Soil Not Count as Actual Soil?

It’s key to clarify that “bonsai soil” is more soil in name than anything else. Bonsai soil mixes typically contain substrates, such as lava rock that’s crushed. Those actually have less of a closeness or similarity to soil and more to gravel. Mixes like these give the tree a great environment wherein feeder roots can be grown out more easily to thrive.

Does Bonsai Soil Really Help With Root Growth?

In a nutshell, bonsai tree roots usually need air, water and nutrients. Bonsai soil with the following properties are best for root growth:

  • Water Retention
  • Drainage
  • Bonsai Soil Aeration
  • Aeration

As previously stated, oxygen is crucial for bonsai tree roots. Packing them tightly in garden soil makes it hard for them to get the necessary oxygen. Since bonsai soil is generally loose, it means there’s fresh air that can permeate between particles. That way, the root system gets proper aeration going.

It’s generally not helpful for bonsai trees to be soaked for long in water. Over-watering can lead to root rot, which could affect the tree to the point of killing it. It’s key to ensure that the bonsai tree roots have good drainage.


Bonsai trees have been getting increasingly popular over the years. Understandably, most first-timers are more into the beauty than what’s in it. However, it’s key to pay attention to things like the soil used for root growth. This is because bonsai soil allows for the growth of fibrous roots, which helps strengthen the tree. Luckily, you can get this special soil in shops specifically selling bonsai trees, tools and accessories.
For high-quality bonsai soil, Check out Bonsai Shop today! We sell bonsai start kits, pots, tools and accessories for people who want to grow bonsai trees for themselves.