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downtownfish

Soil mix

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downtownfish

Hi I was wondering what everyone uses for a general soil mixture. I know that all palms like different soil qualities, but was wondering what my base should be. I know i shoud use part perlite, part large granule sand, but was wondering what the everyone uses for the third part.

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Kim

I have no idea what 'everyone' uses, but in my very small garden I use a commercial bagged cactus mix, then I add pumice, and in some cases lava rock. I have added sand on occasion, but not routinely -- sand is very heavy, and is not a good thing to add to clay soil. My main concern is to have a well-drained soil that is not too heavy.

I suspect you will find there are as many recipes as palm growers. :) Florida mixes undoubtedly vary from California or Texas mixes; a lot will depend on your weather and what is locally available. (For instance, I would never include peat in dry Southern California.) Nursery operations probably have their favorites, maybe even 'secret' recipes, but other factors will come into play, especially cost. If I have to pot up 1,000 plants, that's quite different from potting up 2 or 3.

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Kostas

In my small garden in Pyrgos,i use a peat/mulch potting mix where i plant new palms and as the top layer at the in patios(in ground)Elsewhere the soil is clay/sand/pebles to humus rich clay/sand/pebles which is our native soil amended by years of falling leaves from trees.Pyrgos is humid and with lots of rains during the winter and there is ground water withing only a couple of meters from the soil surface so there never is a water sortage for established plants.Palms are drip irrigated profussely so the soil never drys out completely where the palm's roots are :)

I generally dont like having perlite in my mixes,not because its bad for palms but because it seems simply ''not natural''...

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downtownfish

Thanks

Right now I am using the miracle grow cactus and palm mix as my base, then adding sand, and perlite. I first used play sand, but now have switched to a coarser sand mix. It still seems to hold too much water then I want, but I am trying to change that.

Edited by downtownfish

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PalmatierMeg

The soil and fill at my house is alkaline beach sand full of fossilized shell and coral, very nasty for many palms. I try to amend the soil according to the needs of the plants. In my shade garden, I add top soil and compost to the planting hole and mix in. After planting I water with transplant solution, then mulch heavily. Mulch is critical and must be added regularly because it enriches the garden as it breaks down. To raise acidity, I sometimes sprinkle plants with peat or used coffee grounds.

When I pot up palms I start with the Miracle Gro cactus soil and add extra perlite for drainage, critical during rainy season. I've also started tossing leftover coffee grounds from my 4-cup maker into the mixing bin. For palms that need rich soil mix, I add peat and sometimes compost or top soil. I never use Miracle Gro alone. But perlite is the budget buster. Last year I could find perlite in 16-lb bags for $10-12. This year I can't find it anywhere around Ft. Myers. The stupid 8-qt bags are $4+ each. Ouch.

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DoomsDave
Hi I was wondering what everyone uses for a general soil mixture. I know that all palms like different soil qualities, but was wondering what my base should be. I know i shoud use part perlite, part large granule sand, but was wondering what the everyone uses for the third part.

Welcome to our group!

You have come to the right place, though I have to warn you that there are nearly as many opinions about soil as there are growers.

(Ooops, Kim beat me to that!)

In any case, follow the recommendations of fellow Floridians, especially those near you. Soil varies all over the place over there. Jeff Searle is fairly near you, as is WayKoolPlants, and Bubba.

In any case, show us your garden and your town. I visited Florida in 2007, and can't wait to get back, if only in spirit!

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edric

Here we go again! I just started using Coconut coir peat, and it's fantastic, takes years to break down unlike bark based soils, that turn into worm castings, after about eighteen months, I just mix in Perlite, and a little coarse yellow plaster sand, you don't need the sand though, this stuff drains great, and holds moisture too, I can't believe it took me so long to find out about it, there is a down side to it though, it's a bit of work to get the compressed bricks re-hydrated, and broken up for use, but if you are planing on leaving your palms in large containers for a long time, there is nothing that can touch it, Ed

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downtownfish

edric

I am going to try your method for my next planting. All my stuff will be in pots for sometime. I rent the house I live at now, so I don't want to plant anything too nice in the ground. I have already redone the whole yard, since there was nothing growing there when I moved it. Most of it came from bulk trash pickups or garage sales, so none of it really compliments each other, but its better than what was there before.

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DGP

Ed / Troy

I've been using coir in my potting mix for about 18 months. I started out using straight coir mixed with perlite but became concerned that the coir was holding too much moisture for our cool wet winters.

So now I'm mixing about 50:50 coir and a commercial potting mix, the usual bark/peat /compost type, then adding perlite. Seems to give a nice light mix that drains well. My only other concern with the coir is that the pH seems a little alkaline

So far growing results seem pretty good, though I do have a D. baronii that seems chlorotic despite fertilising + minors.

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Matt in SD

I'm with Ed on Coco-peat. I've been using a mix of coco-peat/perlite/fine bark in a 1:1:1 ratio. It's very light, lasts forever, and has just the right amount of water retention. This is a great mix for germinating seeds as well, it will not mold. I have a heavier mix that I make with supersoil/pumice/ lava rock in a 2:1:1 ratio that also works well. I've found that some palms seem to like the lighter mix, and some like the heavier mix...you just need to have a few of each species so you can experiment.

Matt

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Tyrone

I agree with everyone about coconut coir. I mix about 40% basic potting mix to 50% coir and about 10% finely crushed granite dust to my mix. If I want it super light I put in some perlite. That's in my pots. The ground is different. Generally speaking I've always been taught that potting mixes in the garden is wrong. Potting mixes really aren't soil, merely a growing medium for the artificial environment which is a pot. My garden is on ancient sand dunes where every bit of nutrient was leached out 500000 yrs ago. So I'm constantly amending the soil with compost and manures. Whenever a new plant goes in, the old soil comes out and new compost and manure goes in. I mulch the garden in compost. The hungry soil eventually eats it all, so I'm constantly reapplying it.

Best regards

Tyrone

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DoomsDave

Sounds like I need to experiment with Coco-peat!

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