High quality Akadama or not?

I’m struggling to determine if the premium bonsai mix I purchased from a reputable bonsai nursery (equal parts akadama, pumice and lava rock) is high quality or something less. The Akadama is somewhat dusty but more importantly, crumbles easily when squeezed between my fingers. Is that what I should expect or should Akadama be harder?

Dusty, soft and crumbly would seem counterintuitive to a soil component lasting two growing seasons in a pot before breaking down, but maybe that’s a characteristic of all Akadama that I haven’t noticed in the past.

Any guidance would be appreciated.


You got it! At least this is what I remember from lectures ab soils. High quality akadama should have minimum if at all dust in the bag and doesn’t crumble easily.
Hope this helps

1 Like

High quality has minimal dust. It’s also hard not crumbly.

1 Like

I’m fairly certain I’ve purchased this same ‘high quality’ bonsai soil from the same reputable source. Came in a paper bag? It was terrible. Almost killed 3 of my trees after the akadama broke down and became mud. I had to repot them only 2 months after putting them in that ‘high quality’ soil. In fact, I’m pretty sure ones not going to make it after the ordeal. I’ve been using DE as of late and love it. It’s worth checking out! Here’s a link to a DE thread on the forum.

Like Ryan says, if there’s a lot of dust on the underside of the bag then it’s likely not the best quality-unless the bag was particularly beat up for some odd reason. I’ve had good luck with the brand Clay King. Out of the five other brands i’ve tried-Clay King is the best. The black bag is for refined conifer and red bag(higher percentage of akadama) is for deciduous. I usually cut both with more pumice/scoria-red bag is a better deal if it’s the same price. This Akadama has been consistently hard over the last several years. I know it’s possible that a brand can change quality over time. Jonas at Bonsai Tonight has Clay king in stock.

Looks like this:


By far the best blend I have used
Clay king. Not the easiest to find today

1 Like

I’ve never been able to find Clay King. I’ve been using Double Red Line and I’m pretty happy with it. I do the pinch test to see if I can get it to crumble and typically I cannot. Minimal amount of dust as well.


i tried 2 or 3 type of akadama and this one is the best, little amount of dust in the bottom.

when dry it must offer some resistance to crumbling.

1 Like

Yup, that’s what I use as well. It’s just always been called “Double Red Line” whenever I’ve found it.