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Keys6505

Seedling potting mix

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Keys6505

Awhile back I did some digging on this site in regards to looking for a good general use potting mix for palms.  It seemed a lot of people here recommended simply cutting 50% turface mvp and 50% cheap generic bagged garden soil.  Maybe I got my info crossed because I read tons of posts, but this mix seems to be fine for the larger pots that I keep outside but I've had some issues with smaller pots and seedlings rotting because some small pots seem to be staying wet a lot longer than others.  Is this just because the garden soil I'm using is junk or is this mix just better for larger pots/plants?  Any recommendations or tweaks anyone would recommend?  I have some germinated seeds that are about ready to pot up but don't want to start them off wrong or risk losing them.  Thanks

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climate change virginia

any will work I just get them in bulk at the home depot

Edited by climate change virginia

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PalmatierMeg

Don't try cheap garbage potting soil. You want something that drains really well and doesn't stay wet. You also have to be careful about overwatering.

I'm switching my seed growing mix over to about 50% coco coir, 25% coarse potting or garden soil and 25% perlite. You can buy 11 lb or smaller blocks of compressed coco coir, soak it in water to make up to 18g. Coco coir weighs a fraction of potting soil, regulates moisture better and helps curb root rot. 

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OC2Texaspalmlvr

@Keys6505 I would say you got your info mixed up a llilfor sure. Most would say to not use any king of potting soil but to amend regular garden soil. I was using 50% turface with miracle gro palm garden soil. I have now backed off on the turface to maybe only using 25-35% cause it made my soil to dense and some seedlings didn't like it. Adding some perlite to that mix or coco coir should help a bunch. Unfortunately perlite makes the mix much more expensive comparatively.

T J 

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Keys6505
5 hours ago, PalmatierMeg said:

I'm switching my seed growing mix over to about 50% coco coir, 25% coarse potting or garden soil and 25% perlite. 

Is this mix for germination only, seedlings, both?

2 hours ago, OC2Texaspalmlvr said:

@Keys6505Most would say to not use any king of potting soil but to amend regular garden soil. I was using 50% turface with miracle gro palm garden soil. I have now backed off on the turface to maybe only using 25-35% cause it made my soil to dense and some seedlings didn't like it. Adding some perlite to that mix or coco coir should help a bunch. Unfortunately perlite makes the mix much more expensive comparatively.

Forgive me if if my original wording was confusing, I haven't been using any potting soil. I've been planting everything in the 50% turface/ 50% bagged garden soil.  Do you use a different mix for indoor and outdoor, or do you just use the same mix across the board?  Does adding the coir result in the mix holding water longer?

Edited by Keys6505
Words are hard

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OC2Texaspalmlvr
45 minutes ago, Keys6505 said:

Does adding the coir result in the mix holding water longer?

Yes for me I believe it does so. I really have to learn myself to water less. The Turface retains moisture too but doesn't keep it soggy at all. If your using garden soil then I think your good. The hardest time for me is getting past the 2 leafer stage and beyond. I have been trying so many different types of seeds that I'm slowly learning which ones work with my schedule and so on. I think it's all truly and error honestly =) 

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PalmatierMeg
14 hours ago, Keys6505 said:

Is this mix for germination only, seedlings, both?

Both. I am also switching over my palm seedlings and potted valued palms. I've been working at it since Oct. and have a ways to go.

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climate change virginia
21 hours ago, PalmatierMeg said:

Don't try cheap garbage potting soil. You want something that drains really well and doesn't stay wet. You also have to be careful about overwatering.

I'm switching my seed growing mix over to about 50% coco coir, 25% coarse potting or garden soil and 25% perlite. You can buy 11 lb or smaller blocks of compressed coco coir, soak it in water to make up to 18g. Coco coir weighs a fraction of potting soil, regulates moisture better and helps curb root rot. 

sounds expensive :bemused:

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PalmatierMeg
40 minutes ago, climate change virginia said:

sounds expensive :bemused:

That's why I am doing it gradually.

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lzorrito
22 hours ago, PalmatierMeg said:

I'm switching my seed growing mix over to about 50% coco coir, 25% coarse potting or garden soil and 25% perlite. You can buy 11 lb or smaller blocks of compressed coco coir, soak it in water to make up to 18g. Coco coir weighs a fraction of potting soil, regulates moisture better and helps curb root rot. 

3 hours ago, PalmatierMeg said:

Both. I am also switching over my palm seedlings and potted valued palms. I've been working at it since Oct. and have a ways to go.

Meg, on what concerns to organic matter/nutrients you only rely on the 25% coarse potting/garden soil and on the seed attached?

After the seedlings discard the seed do you adopt a regular fertilizer schedule/ratio or superior to usual?

I've started to use a mix with 40% coco coir; 35% terrestrial orchids special substrate; 25% perlite, aiming to mitigate root and stem rot (wet cool Winters). Although it provides healthy relaible growth, it is not fast.

2 hours ago, climate change virginia said:

sounds expensive :bemused:

Much more expensive out there in the States, I suppose.

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PalmatierMeg

If I have to fertilize my potted palms more often, so be it. If they aren't dropping dead from root rot it's all good. Despite my best efforts at maintaining a well draining soil mix I was losing a high % of seedlings. By the time rainy season hit high gear my potting mixes turned to muck. One thing I've noticed about coco coir: it is much lighter than muck.

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lzorrito

Your FL rainy season is not easy for seedlings to handle, and when the potting mix breaks down...I can only imagine. I'm now trying a 5% to 10% add of crushed Leca to the mix when potting more tender palms. Started to use coco coir at about 10 months and no sign of decay until now. It tends to get more compact with time, that's why I'm now adding the crushed Leca, in order to soften and open it.

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Keys6505
4 hours ago, lzorrito said:

Your FL rainy season is not easy for seedlings to handle, and when the potting mix breaks down...I can only imagine. I'm now trying a 5% to 10% add of crushed Leca to the mix when potting more tender palms. Started to use coco coir at about 10 months and no sign of decay until now. It tends to get more compact with time, that's why I'm now adding the crushed Leca, in order to soften and open it.

Leca is baked clay, correct?  When you refer to crushed Leca do you know if it's any different than Turface MVP?  I'm not sure if you have that product in Portugal.p

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Keys6505
On 3/2/2021 at 8:23 PM, OC2Texaspalmlvr said:

Yes for me I believe it does so. I really have to learn myself to water less. The Turface retains moisture too but doesn't keep it soggy at all. If your using garden soil then I think your good. The hardest time for me is getting past the 2 leafer stage and beyond. I have been trying so many different types of seeds that I'm slowly learning which ones work with my schedule and so on. I think it's all truly and error honestly =) 

Do you get the coir from anywhere around here or online?

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OC2Texaspalmlvr
59 minutes ago, Keys6505 said:

Do you get the coir from anywhere around here or online?

So far only online , actually both times from Amazon =/ 

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lzorrito
5 hours ago, Keys6505 said:

Leca is baked clay, correct?  When you refer to crushed Leca do you know if it's any different than Turface MVP?  I'm not sure if you have that product in Portugal.p

Exactly, baked clay. Mainly used in hydroponic culture and it's somehow different than Turface MVP. It doesn't hold nutrients, those are either provided by the mix's organic matter, fertilizer and watering. Water holding capacity 37 to 41%, releases it according to plant needs. Improves aeration of the soil (oxygenation/air pockets/it resembles crushed lava). Natural, inert, stable and non-toxic product, free from bacteria and any phytotoxic substances. Makes the substrate lighter. It favors the attachment of the plant's roots to the substrate. Requires reduced maintenance (irrigation). Sterile product, does not accumulate salts. It improves the mix draining capacity and complements the perlite performance.

We don't have Turface MVP around here, but we do get lots of similar suff from bonsai and turf growers/shops (too expensive). Seramis is also a good option around here, but also too expensive. I buy a 50 Lt Leca bag for 5€.  

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PalmatierMeg

I get my coco coir through Amazon as they sell it in 11 lb blocks. I check the site almost daily because sometimes they offer coir in 1-day sales at greatly reduced prices. I'm also a member of Amazon Prime for internet tv viewing and get free shipping on most things as part of membership. You could check the orange and blue Big Boxes' online sites to see if you could order blocks of coco coir for pickup at a local store.

One 11 lb block makes 18 gallons so if you are using it for occasional seedlings you might not find the cost too dear. Some garden centers sell it in small amounts but the unit cost is exorbitant.

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cobra2326
Dartolution

Ive used the coco/perlite blend, and Jungle Growth mix you can get at the big box store. 

JG has really excellent drainage, I've been using it for at least a decade. I currently have about 30 adonidia seedlings producing their first strap leafs in it, and 6 sabals that have already produced their first strap leaf. 

 

If your seedlings are rotting, you are likely overwatering them, which is easy to do. Remember those seedlings barely have any roots, and the roots-to-soil ratio (so to speak) means a little water goes a very long way. 

@PalmatierMeg I know exactly what coco brick you are talking about. I got one on black friday for about $8! A little goes a long way. I've used it primarily for carnivorous plant soil mix. The EC is very low on it, which is excellent. I think I measured it at 20ppm TDS after simply rehydrating in rain water, and mixing with pumice and sphagnum. So far everything seems to like it quite well. 

 

On the subject of Turface. I have an incredibly hard time finding it here, which is why I usually just use perlite, pumice or something else. 

You can also use "Flourite" from SeaChem. They are an aquarium products manufacturer and while fluorite isn't cheap, it is heavy, and works very well as a leca or turface substitute. 

 

 

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Steve Mac

My experience is at odds with a lot of other people.  I have used a lot of the cheap potting mixes and garden compost for years with little trouble, but mainly for seeds and seedlings. I grew these Ch. falcifera from seeds, they have been happy in this mud for a couple of years. It started out as 100% organic compost which breaks down after a year or two, to soil and then to mud.  I have also used coco coir and other rocky/gritty mixes similar to what others have recommended, they don't break down to mud like this but I did not notice any advantage in palm survival or growth.

 I am not recommending this, I'm just saying that for me soil type, in growing seeds and seedlings is not critical.

 

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cisco

My conditions in my home determine what I can put in a pot. We have a long and dark winter. The floors and windows are cold. The radiator is under the window. Without growth lights, my palms growth would be very weak. I need something that won’t hold water for too long. I started using PalMeir mix 5 years ago. The best choice ever. My palms have never grown so well. Seramis, pine bark, crushed leca gravel. I,m calling it palmumix in finnish.

20210129_121142.jpg

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Missi
On 3/2/2021 at 3:17 PM, PalmatierMeg said:

Don't try cheap garbage potting soil. You want something that drains really well and doesn't stay wet. You also have to be careful about overwatering.

I'm switching my seed growing mix over to about 50% coco coir, 25% coarse potting or garden soil and 25% perlite. You can buy 11 lb or smaller blocks of compressed coco coir, soak it in water to make up to 18g. Coco coir weighs a fraction of potting soil, regulates moisture better and helps curb root rot. 

What coarse potting or garden soil are you finding, and are you finding it locally? I need some badly. I have personally been finding that even Miracle Gro's palm/citrus potting soil has been way to dense and heavy the past couple years. I know that Jungle Grow stuff is good, but all the box stores stopped carrying it here. :crying:

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Missi

If you guys get really desperate for coco coir, you can get bags and compressed blocks of it at pet stores in the reptile department. But plan to pay a premium :rolleyes:

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