On and about Bonsai

torsdag 4 oktober 2012

Substrate Test

This test wich I like to share with me, was performed by a member of the Swedish Bonsai Association, Henrik Björck.
Here follows his results:

Substrate Test

This test was performed in Sweden.

Following was tested:

- Gravel
- “Soil” (a mixture of bark, gravel and mainly leca 2-3mm)
- Cat litter (Brand: Eldorado. From: Hemköp) 
- Easy Care Substrate 1-4mm (Brand: Akvarietekniks. From: Hornbach)


First 2dl of each was cleared of particles less than 1mm and larger than 4,5mm.



 Cat litter

 Easy Care Substrate

The above show the approx. amount of waste. The larger particles can always be used for extra drainage at the bottom of the pot while the dust must be thrown away.

Water absorption

1dl of medium was weight in a dry state. 1dl of water was added and left for 30s. Draining for 30s to be weight again. To get amount of absorption and water that got stuck between the particles. See pictures below:

LH: “Soil”. RH: Easy Care Substrate

LH: cat litter. RH: Gravel


-1 dl Gravel dry 155g. Wet 167g. Water absorption 12g/1dl
-1 dl “Soil” dry 59g. Wet 76g. Water absorption 17g/1dl
-1 dl cat litter dry 55g. Wet 87g. Water absorption 32g/1dl
-1 dl Easy Care Substrate dry 67g. Wet 80g. Water absorption 13g/1dl

Water evaporation

Room temperature 21-22 grader (dry air)
g = water weight
- Start 12g
- 1h 8g
- 3h 8g Decrease in % 33
- Approx. 10h 4g
- 24h 2g Decrease in % 83
- Start 17g
- 1h 17g
- 3h  17g Decrease in % 0
- Approx. 10h 13g
- 24h 8g Decrease in % 53

Cat litter
- Start 32g
- 1h 32g
- 3h 31g Decrease in % 3
- Approx. 10h 26g
- 24h 21g Decrease in % 25
Easy Care Substrate
- Start 13g
- 1h 13g
- 3h  12g Decrease in % 8
- ca 10h 7g
- 24h 3g Decrease in % 77


- Gravel, minimal absorption, good size (depending of gravel), minimal waste, cheap.

- ”Soil”, minimal absorption, slow drying, great variation of size and type.

- Cat litter, very good absorption, cheap, relatively a lot of waste, large size, pinkish colour.

- Easy Care Substrate, expensive, even and good size, average waste (only dust)

For myself i will for the future use cat litter ½ to 2/3 of the pot and finish of with a finer mix on top consisting of: Gravel, leca, bark and Easy care substrate for a pleasant and “natural” look.

More test to come:

In the coming month I will be testing the above against 3 different Japanese substrates. This time it will be allowed to soak for 1m and drain for 1m and tested after 1h, 3h and 24h. 

Feel free to copy and pass on this information.

Best regards, Henrik

Bonsai Cuttings Stockholm
email: henrik.bjorck@bonsaicuttingsstockholm.se

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