Another Essential to Plant Health: Water Hardness

michael hagedorn

Do you have a film of white buildup on your pots or leaves? Pale, yellowish, and lackluster growth on the bonsai? If so, you may have very hard water, and that can be a limiting factor for plant health.


Above 150 ppm (parts per million) of hardness (Ca + Mg), we get beyond the zone where container plants may be maintained in good health. Over time the roots of containerized trees begin to be coated by the same minerals that coat the outsides of the pots, usually calcium and magnesium…which is essentially liquid limestone. Imagine that: Coating our roots with rock. (Which is less cool than it sounds, really.)

Hard water is a common problem in arid areas of low rainfall, but it can happen in many other places, too.

What’s the problem, then?

  • In extreme cases, very hard water may limit the root’s ability to draw in water (an osmotic…

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Lanarkshire Bonsai Club Meeting 12/6/2016

Robert Nocher Shohin Bonsai

Yesterday I attended the monthly meeting of the Lanarkshire Bonsai Club at Wattston Bonsai. It was a busy day with lots of people passing through the workshop. Some of the members were involved in a number of seasonal tasks including defoliation of deciduous species and the re-potting of trees that respond better to this process when the weather is a little warmer.Here are a few pictures that sum up the day.

Gordon and Stuart discussing a larch.


Dougie and re-potting a juniper with Maurice looking on.


Gordons’ White Pine


Dougies’ defoliated trident over rock


Maurices’ re-potted juniper in a new Bigei pot.


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