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Mycorrhizal Fungi & Bonsai

RHS approved rootgrow mycorrhizal fungi

Mycorrhizal fungi are a remarkable group of organisms that have been benefiting plants for 500 million years.

At the dawn of time when plants were just beginning to colonise our planet mycorrhizal fungi were there living in a symbiotic relationship with plants. They became a secondary living root system that enabled plants to extract nutrients and hold onto water in very difficult soil conditions.

As plants evolved so did the mycorrhizal fungi, the more developed forms that associate with large woodland trees evolved fruiting bodies (mushrooms) as a means of dispersing spores into the air. Some of these mycorrhizal mushrooms such as Truffles, Chanterelles and Porcini are prized in the kitchen for their culinary value.

In its simplest sense mycorrhizal fungi do everything plants roots do just BETTER.

When new plants are planted with rootgrow it takes only 2-4 weeks under normal conditions for these fungi to start benefiting plants. In that time they attach themselves to the plant's root system and grow out rapidly into the soil, searching for nutrients and water. They essentially become part of the plant's own root system.

The benefits to plants are;

Better nutrient uptake

These fungi are so much thinner and finer than the plant's own roots they can therefore find nutrients in the soil far more efficiently that the plant's own course roots. They are especially good at finding nutrients responsible for flowering and fruiting such as Phosphorous and Potassium. As they can explore a much greater amount of soil than the plant's own roots they are also far more likely to find trace elements and the rare nutrients that all plants need to grow well.

Drought tolerance

Mycorrhizal fungi are an essential part of a plants ability to combat drought. Leaves and stems have developed mechanisms to combat drought such as silver leaves, waxy leaves and hairy leaves but these adaptations on their own aren’t enough if the plant doesn’t have its friendly fungal partner on its roots.

Mycorrhizal fungi hold onto water in soils like a sponge.

Specific Benefits to roses

Over the last few years the benefits of treating roses with rootgrow at planting time has been well documented. Using rootgrow with roses will not just help them to establish well and produce a good show of flowers but it will also enable gardeners to grow roses in soil that has previously had roses growing in it.

Now established throughout the UK as a standard treatment for roses strong>rootgrow has reported to be successful in combating the problem of rose replant disease or rose soil sickness.

Establishment in difficult soils

Mycorrhizal fungi will enable plants to establish and thrive even in difficult soils. In poor sandy soils the mycorrhizal fungi will be able to find scarce nutrients and hold onto water. In clay soils these fungi will be able to unlock nutrients from the soil acting like a clay breaker.


This video is produced by the UK manufacturers of rootgrow mycorrizal fungi and isn't directly about bonsai, but the same principles apply. The key difference being that when we repot our bonsai trees we will also destroy much of the fungi's mycellium. or their network of nutrient and water absorbing fibres. The fungi will re-establish over time, but this can take many months or years and they may not be established fully when you come to repot your tree again.. This is why its recommended to use rootgrow mycorhizal fungi every time you repot. Only a small amount is required for each tree so it is extremely cost effective. After repotting the fungi will begin to grow and with 2-4 weeks it will already be providing beneficial nutrients to your tree.


Click here to see our range of rootgrow mycorrhizal fungi products.

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