Understanding Specialist Components

Understanding Specialist Components

Join us as we delve into the world of Specialist Components. We talk about the latest additions to our new rage; Akadama, Lava Rock, Tree Fern Fibre and Molar Clay and learn about the benefits each of them has on our houseplants.

Shop the new Specialist Components Range here



First up, Akadama! A tremendous Japanese export, this porous clay aggregate formed from volcanic minerals is revered by thousands of Bonsai growers and cultural leaders. This amendment has been in use for centuries in Japan for bonsai specimens and spawned an entire world of potting and growing styles. We are so honoured to be able to offer this extraordinary component.

But let's not leave all the fun to the bonsai collectors. Deep cut lovers of xeric plants in horticulture are also obsessed with this material, as well for it's tremendous ability to remain exceptionally porous, whilst holding even more moisture and nutrients than pumice, perlite and even zeolite!

Then comes the colour, this is a unbelievably beautiful topper as well as a component, it has the rare combination of brains, brawn and beauty! When dry it's a gorgeously textured clay matte to the eye, but when watered and saturated, it turns to a deep and rich porous brown, where you can see the clay structures quickly transporting water across any surface and then down into the pot below. Speaking of the colour, Akadama is revered for it's ability to tell you when a plant is ready for water! When it reverts back to it's lighter, dry tone it can be a very good indicator for time to water!

Component Highlights:
  • Bonsai trees
  • Cacti staging
  • Terrarium species
  • Seed starting tropical plants
  • Great as a soil topper
  • Fantastic medium for Begonia

Buy Akadama Here


We are so pleased to have sourced this special component! We've finally managed to find a high quality, durable lava rock that you'll find to be a lot more sturdy than the usual lot. This exceptional component has been a key stone in horticulture since it's Inception. It's made it's way into garden beds, rockery's, bonsai, aquaculture, terrariums and now, your potted plants! It's one of the best aerators out there whether it be in a dry, xeric blend or a humid tropical mix.

Characterised by it's extremely porous structure; it can be difficult to find lava rock at a small size that won't immediately turn to dust under the slightest pressures- we are delighted to break that rule with a much more stable grade and material! It benefits from a neutral pH due to it's inert nature, but it's particular structure is truly unbeatable for culturing beneficial bacteria and fungi in soil. At least in the natural world and without taking out a mortgage. Though we can guarantee the exact colour for each batch, it is usually a blend of; muddy red, dark brown and near black obsidian.

Component Highlights:
  • Fantastic drainage amendment, allows for fast air flow
  • Great as a soil topper
  • Can be added to Semi-hydro to allow for extra oxygen
  • Perfect for Cacti
  • Propagation
  • Aroid amendment

Buy Lava Rock Here


Another popular component in the bonsai and bougie cacti realm. Molar clay is a stand alone drainage element - not only does it have the same super visual queues of being a vibrant terracotta orange when dry and a deep, muddy orange when wet but is one of the few amendments that actually pulls water out of the organic components in our soil. When used in open air, it's the very tippy top of drainage elements and when used in closed terrariums, it becomes a fundamental and active layer to move and hold moisture as well as avoiding soggy pockets and anaerobic dead zones.

Component Highlights:
  • Slightly alkaline pH but is easily offset by blended organic material
  • Extremely absorbent
  • Xeric species (boots house realness)
  • Great as a soil topper
  • Perfect for Cacti

Buy Molar Clay Here


For the true Anthurium and epiphyte lovers out there, this natural product of Tree Ferns is unparalleled in its ability to get even the hardest to grow Anthuriums to root and thrive. We've all heard of the many grand uses of this product but we decided not to stock it until we found a truly ethical source, all of our tree fern is from 100% farmed and maintained land in New Zealand, by FernWood. Not only supporting the recovering populations of tree ferns there but also maintaining ancient forest dynamics and biodiversity that relies on these truly fascinating plants. What does that mean for us? Well, from dart frog keepers to anthurium maniacs, we have a secure and ethical source for this exemplary material!

How does Xaxim/tree fern work? The structure of tree fern is pretty unique in it's ability to continuously transport water up and down long capillaries but not crossing capillaries at all points, meaning tremendous aeration alongside moving water molecules. Leading to a perfect moisture distribution to any thirsty epiphytes whilst also, being a hard organic material and offering a lower pH, sturdy structure for even the juiciest of roots to adhere to. It's pH and naturally striated pore structure also makes the very best surface for specialist beneficial microbes that epiphytes sometimes struggle to access in full soil blends and moss poles. Which brings us to yet another fantastic use, for DIY backgrounds and would-be moss poles, using this material or even combining it with moss or other components creates a far more comfortable environment for any plants you are wanting to size up or just give the very best possible substrates too.

Even mixing it into a soil blend will result in it's endless benefits seeping into the pot, the constant movement of water whilst maintaining grand aeration. If you haven't given this component a try, we HEAVILY suggest trying some in your Anthurium blends, moss poles or background builds in terrariums!

Component Highlights:
  • Perfect medium for Epiphytes and aroids
  • Allows fantastic airflow throughout
  • Evenly disputes water
  • Great for Moss poles and backgrounds
  • Can be added to most blends

Buy New Zealand Tree Fern Fibre Here

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