When started with bonsai almost 2 years ago I haven’t had a clue about soils except they have to be porous, let the air and water to pass freely through. My first tree (which died during the first year) ended up in the mixture of claydite (kevytsora, lecasora in finnish), some sand and some pine bark.
Later on when learning about cat litter my trees were ending in large grained sand, cat litter and sphagnum moss. I abandoned the idea of claydite due to difficulty to break its balls into more rougher pieces.
The autumn in Finland is very wet and pots dry too slowly the need for another material to reduce cat litter came along. The idea is introduced by a friend of mine and on his page he examines the characteristics in more details. This source gave me a kick to retry the whole idea.
The main problem (to me) as mentioned is breaking the balls into smaller, rougher pieces. I didn’t invent a better way then putting it into a nylon bag and walk over it. The walking does last, it is not straight forwards, it crumbles slowly.
Why would you break the balls when you can order already broken claydite?! Well, I have already quite an amount of it just standing useless so I decided I will try first to use that and only then start buying yet another bag of it 🙂
After 10-15 mins of walking on it I got this:
Above is broken and below is the original claydite. Some more grinding would be better but I was too lazy.
I don’t know yet. It is much cheaper than sand, lighter than sand, looks it has better characteristics than sand for bonsai use. What I found annoying is that when potting a tree with “soil” containing claydite it tends to “float” to the top when bamboo stick is used to shove the grains between the roots. Perhaps I am not yet able to make it better but it did always “swim to the surface”. I didn’t have issues that some pieces would be washed away when watering. Perhaps it is my watering style or something else. Anyway, I have lots of it, cheaper than anything else and I will give it a shot.