On February 27, 2020, club president Bob Gould led the discussion on repotting Satsuki azalea bonsai. Bob brought to the monthly meeting of the Bay Area Satsuki Aikokai a number of Satsuki azaleas that were donated to the GSBF Bonsai Garden at Lake Merritt in Oakland, California. These were neglected plants in various containers with potting soil. The task at hand was to eliminate the potting soil and repot the plants in 100% Kanuma bonsai aggregate.
The immediate undertaking was to eliminate the potting soil and bare root the azalea plants. The potting soil had broken down and causing problems for the plants. The use of chopsticks to pick away at the potting soil was found to be most useful for this task. Once the potting soil was removed, then the plants could be wired in to containers on hand and filled with 100% Kanuma (a preferred bonsai aggregate for Sutsuki azaleas).
Japanese Kanuma is the perfect soil for acid loving plants. The most common plant to utilize Kanuma for bonsai is azaleas. Azaleas along with Camellias, Gardenias and other acid loving bonsai can be potting into pure Kanuma. Kanuma is a very light volcanic rock.
The evening produced a number of repotted Satsuki azalea bonsai. Time will tell whether or not these plants will be developed in to bonsai.