Ericaceous is a term that refers to plants that prefer acidic soil conditions, such as azaleas, rhododendrons, camellias and blueberries. These plants have adapted to thrive in environments with low pH levels, where other plants may struggle to absorb nutrients. For bonsai enthusiasts, ericaceous plants require special care and attention, especially when it comes to the choice of soil, fertilizer and water.
Ericaceous bonsai can benefit from using kanuma, a Japanese volcanic soil that has excellent drainage and water retention properties, as well as a pH of 5.5. Kanuma can be used on its own or mixed with other substrates to create a suitable growing medium for acid-loving plants. Alternatively, ericaceous bonsai can be grown in regular bonsai soil, but with the addition of an acidic fertilizer, such as Green Dream Ericaceous, which contains seaweed extracts and trace elements that help combat excessive calcification of the soil mix.
Another factor to consider is the quality of the water used for ericaceous bonsai. Hard water, which has high levels of calcium and magnesium, can raise the pH of the soil and cause nutrient deficiencies or toxicity for ericaceous plants. Therefore, it is advisable to use rainwater or distilled water for watering ericaceous bonsai, or to add some vinegar or citric acid to the tap water to lower its pH. By providing the right soil, fertilizer and water conditions, ericaceous bonsai can grow healthily and produce beautiful flowers.