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Palm “soil” for containers


Maximum

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I know there’s a lot of “soil” mixtures that can work well for palms but I’m afraid of the super chunky and airy mixes and/or mixes that need pH or nutritional additives to get them in an acceptable range. 

I want to use either:

Miracle Gro potting “soil” as a base.

OR

Jungle Growth potting “soil” as a base. 

What other items do I need to encourage draining and prevent “soil” compaction? I’d prefer to use perlite as a replacement for sand cause if it gets too heavy it’ll become difficult to manage the plants.
All opinions are welcome! Give me the “gritty” details! (No pun intended). 
By the way it’d be great if there are general “soil” recipes that work for most palms all the way through the seedling phase to 100g containers size. Though I have a feeling it doesn’t work that way. 😅 

From Ft Myers, Florida 

Max 

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I just used coco coir and perlite and it's very light weight and drains fast, but holds water some too. If you use "soil" from a bag make sure it's light and not "garden" soil but specifically "potting" soil or it will be too heavy and could rot the roots.  Made this mistake with seedling royal poincianas and they nearly rotted until they rooted in and grew a bit.

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Super-chunky mixes generally try to compensate for growing something in completely the wrong climate/conditions to what it's evolved for. No palm ever evolved to live in a house. But it depends what your conditions are. In nature palms just grow in normal soil, but everything else has to be right. So people from Northern latitudes will pontificate about the right media, but this probably matters less in Southern Florida.

That said, avoid composts meant for growing annual vegetables (like Miracle Grow, unless your Miracle Grow is completely different from mine). I'm not familiar with Jungle Growth. Coir chips are great for drainage, although they will eventually degrade. The same with pine bark. The trouble with perlite is it will float to the surface and you'll have compaction at the bottom and not notice it. Pumice doesn't have this problem, but it's heavier and costlier.

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2 hours ago, flplantguy said:

I just used coco coir and perlite and it's very light weight and drains fast, but holds water some too. If you use "soil" from a bag make sure it's light and not "garden" soil but specifically "potting" soil or it will be too heavy and could rot the roots.  Made this mistake with seedling royal poincianas and they nearly rotted until they rooted in and grew a bit.

Sounds nice.

How long have you been using that blend?

What are the ratios of coco coir to perlite?

What brand of coco coir and perlite do you use (and what size if applicable)? 

 

 

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2 hours ago, Maximum said:

I know there’s a lot of “soil” mixtures that can work well for palms but I’m afraid of the super chunky and airy mixes and/or mixes that need pH or nutritional additives to get them in an acceptable range. 

I want to use either:

Miracle Gro potting “soil” as a base.

OR

Jungle Growth potting “soil” as a base. 

What other items do I need to encourage draining and prevent “soil” compaction? I’d prefer to use perlite as a replacement for sand cause if it gets too heavy it’ll become difficult to manage the plants.
All opinions are welcome! Give me the “gritty” details! (No pun intended). 
By the way it’d be great if there are general “soil” recipes that work for most palms all the way through the seedling phase to 100g containers size. Though I have a feeling it doesn’t work that way. 😅 

From Ft Myers, Florida 

Max 

Jungle Gro ...If you can find it, is a fantastic soil mix " base "

Miracle Gro -anything?    To be blunt,  ..I'd be embarrassed to use it -for anything- ..Horrible product(s)  ...Same with 99% of the " bagged " soil products at the big boxes.. Wayyy too much " finer woody products ", fine sand, etc stuff you don't want in a good soil mix.


...Using the " Jungle Gro as a base " route, only thing(s) i added to it were Turface MVP,  and Pumice / Gro stones, which unfortunately aren't made any more..  ..and or / the limestone - based " paver " base product i used to find  at the big boxes there.. Mainly for stuff that naturally grows on that type of " soil " aka anything that grows on limestone / coralline / old shell deposit -type soils

As mentioned, Coco Peat, More appropriately called Ground Coconut Husk, is a great / ethical alternative to Peat Moss ..That said, be sure it is rinsed properly because some manufactures don't process it enough before packaging to lower it's natural salt content.. Unlike Peat Moss, it does not decompose rapidly and turn to oxygen depleting muck, ..esp. when added in with Limestone ( some weird, bad chemical reaction occurs when the two are mixed together )  Coco Peat also contains natural compounds that thwart fungal / bacterial pathogen growth / establishment, and may further stimulate root growth.

Better alternative to Perlite ...Despise the stuff personally:   Pumice,  Gro Stones, if they were still around, ...and / or small Lava rock, aka: Scoria.. While both colors will work just fine, " red " colored lava tends to be from older parent rock that contains high levels of Iron ...Why it turns red in the first place..

Bio Char is a great soil mix additive also, but not sure if you could find bulk amounts ( for big pot sizes ) and it isn't exactly cheap. Could make your own fairly easily if inclined.

For " rainforest " palms that would grow on a deep layer of organic material laid over X parent rock below? ..can add some good Compost / a few handfulls of fallen leaves to the soil mix..

As mentioned,  for Caribbean " Limestone Lovers " adding generous amounts of Limestone Paver Base, chunks of crushed Oolite / Coral Rock / Cap Rock to the soil mix for them would be the route i'd go personally..  Some don't, using their own " standard " soil mix and get pretty good results,  but, i like to stick with what the palms -or other plants- grow in / on  out in habitat myself.


..For fertilizer,  you can incorporate some good quality, 4, 6, or 12 month slow release synthetic product, or organic based product in the soil mix as you create it to get nutrients to the plants as they root in. 

Individual soil mix components like Pumice, Bio Char, Turface MVP, and Lava have lots of crevices / pores which will retain and store some %' age of various fertilizer components and slowly release it over time as they are wetted. 

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2 hours ago, PalmsandLiszt said:

Super-chunky mixes generally try to compensate for growing something in completely the wrong climate/conditions to what it's evolved for. No palm ever evolved to live in a house. But it depends what your conditions are. In nature palms just grow in normal soil, but everything else has to be right. So people from Northern latitudes will pontificate about the right media, but this probably matters less in Southern Florida.

That said, avoid composts meant for growing annual vegetables (like Miracle Grow, unless your Miracle Grow is completely different from mine). I'm not familiar with Jungle Growth. Coir chips are great for drainage, although they will eventually degrade. The same with pine bark. The trouble with perlite is it will float to the surface and you'll have compaction at the bottom and not notice it. Pumice doesn't have this problem, but it's heavier and costlier.

Hmm. Good to think about...

Maybe going heavy on the perlite might help enough to stay in the lower areas of the pots? Or maybe using a larger particle size perlite might help? Thoughts? 

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2 hours ago, PalmsandLiszt said:

 Super-chunky mixes generally try to compensate for growing something in completely the wrong climate/conditions to what it's evolved for. No palm ever evolved to live in a house. But it depends what your conditions are.  In nature palms just grow in normal soil,  but everything else has to be right. So people from Northern latitudes will pontificate about the right media, but this probably matters less in Southern Florida.

That said, avoid composts meant for growing annual vegetables (like Miracle Grow, unless your Miracle Grow is completely different from mine). I'm not familiar with Jungle Growth. Coir chips are great for drainage, although they will eventually degrade. The same with pine bark. The trouble with perlite is it will float to the surface and you'll have compaction at the bottom and not notice it. Pumice doesn't have this problem, but it's heavier and costlier.

Not true, at all..  The soil here / in many areas of California, Mexico / Baja is naturally chunky, ...as is the soil anywhere where it is derived from Lava / Pumice, etc Volcanics, or Corals / Shell..

There is no such thing as " normal " soil ..."  soil "  is made up of whatever decomposed / weathered parent rock ( or other non- organic material, like Shell / Corals )  it originated from.. Plus whatever organics have accumulated in it over time, which can contribute their own set distinct to a region of chemicals.  yes, some soils ..like those derived of Sedimentary rock types like Shale or fine Sandstone can be ..fine... / contain X degree of Clay,  but, each will still contain it's own unique mineral / elemental profile / footprint to which the plants growing in it,  have evolved to  ..grow in it.. .. There is no " broad brush " " Normal " soil..

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5 minutes ago, Silas_Sancona said:

Jungle Gro ...If you can find it, is a fantastic soil mix " base "

Miracle Gro -anything?    To be blunt,  ..I'd be embarrassed to use it -for anything- ..Horrible product(s)  ...Same with 99% of the " bagged " soil products at the big boxes.. Wayyy too much " finer woody products ", fine sand, etc stuff you don't want in a good soil mix.


...Using the " Jungle Gro as a base " route, only thing(s) i added to it were Turface MVP,  and Pumice / Gro stones, which unfortunately aren't made any more..  ..and or / the limestone - based " paver " base product i used to find  at the big boxes there.. Mainly for stuff that naturally grows on that type of " soil " aka anything that grows on limestone / coralline / old shell deposit -type soils

As mentioned, Coco Peat, More appropriately called Ground Coconut Husk, is a great / ethical alternative to Peat Moss ..That said, be sure it is rinsed properly because some manufactures don't process it enough before packaging to lower it's natural salt content.. Unlike Peat Moss, it does not decompose rapidly and turn to oxygen depleting muck, ..esp. when added in with Limestone ( some weird, bad chemical reaction occurs when the two are mixed together )  Coco Peat also contains natural compounds that thwart fungal / bacterial pathogen growth / establishment, and may further stimulate root growth.

Better alternative to Perlite ...Despise the stuff personally:   Pumice,  Gro Stones, if they were still around, ...and / or small Lava rock, aka: Scoria.. While both colors will work just fine, " red " colored lava tends to be from older parent rock that contains high levels of Iron ...Why it turns red in the first place..

Bio Char is a great soil mix additive also, but not sure if you could find bulk amounts ( for big pot sizes ) and it isn't exactly cheap. Could make your own fairly easily if inclined.

For " rainforest " palms that would grow on a deep layer of organic material laid over X parent rock below? ..can add some good Compost / a few handfulls of fallen leaves to the soil mix..

As mentioned,  for Caribbean " Limestone Lovers " adding generous amounts of Limestone Paver Base, chunks of crushed Oolite / Coral Rock / Cap Rock to the soil mix for them would be the route i'd go personally..  Some don't, using their own " standard " soil mix and get pretty good results,  but, i like to stick with what the palms -or other plants- grow in / on  out in habitat myself.


..For fertilizer,  you can incorporate some good quality, 4, 6, or 12 month slow release synthetic product, or organic based product in the soil mix as you create it to get nutrients to the plants as they root in. 

Individual soil mix components like Pumice, Bio Char, Turface MVP, and Lava have lots of crevices / pores which will retain and store some %' age of various fertilizer components and slowly release it over time as they are wetted. 

Good stuff!! 

I’m curious why you don’t like perlite. Is it cause it’s too dusty, too lightweight and/or because it floats up and out of the soil?

Could you give me a standard potting mix (including the ratios of each material) that you think would work for most common SWFL palm species for example like foxtails, royals, Chinese fan palms, Alexander palms, Christmas palms, date palms, Bismarckias, etc.?  

If there is a standard mix that you think would work well for these?  

What items and in what ratios for Jungle Growth potting mix as a base?

What items and in what ratio for the ground coconut husk as a base? 

PS-  I’d like to staying away from adding limestone or any other pH adjusting ingredients if that’s reasonable. 
Also, if you’d like to include the brand name of each material you use. Or not if that doesn’t matter. 🤗

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I just ordered blocks of the coir from Amazon and a large bag of perlite, then mixed the perlite in until it felt right to me. The amount is maybe a third of the total volume. Then I mixed in the fertilizer I was using when I added it to the pots to plant.  I have mixed soils before in a tumbler, but we never did it by ratios just by how it felt, and went from there if the plant likes more or less aeration.  In cannabis grow operations they use straight coir with no perlite, and the medium gets heavy, but the three gallon Bentinckia I just potted up feels much lighter with the perlite added.  I did not know it will float but have seen a bit of that on the top of the pot too.  I'm trying to be economical too, so I did not go with more individulized mixes, and I will be watching carefully to see if any plants in that mix have issues with it and adjust as soon as I see evidence of needing a change like pH.

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20 minutes ago, Maximum said:

Good stuff!! 

I’m curious why you don’t like perlite. Is it cause it’s too dusty, too lightweight and/or because it floats up and out of the soil?

Could you give me a standard potting mix (including the ratios of each material) that you think would work for most common SWFL palm species for example like foxtails, royals, Chinese fan palms, Alexander palms, Christmas palms, date palms, Bismarckias, etc.?  

If there is a standard mix that you think would work well for these?  

What items and in what ratios for Jungle Growth potting mix as a base?

What items and in what ratio for the ground coconut husk as a base? 

PS-  I’d like to staying away from adding limestone or any other pH adjusting ingredients if that’s reasonable. 
Also, if you’d like to include the brand name of each material you use. Or not if that doesn’t matter. 🤗

#1:  Too lightweight / floats up ( and out of... ) a soil mix is why i stopped using it..  yes, Pumice ..and or smaller lava " Scoria " can blow around or float a bit too, but not nearly to the degree of Perlite.. Have had situations where, over time, all of the perlite content in a soil mix worked its way out of the mix, leaving behind just the mucky peat-y based part of the mix.. Real bad for the plants growing in it..

I will say this about the stuff..  About 40-45 mins. due east of me is a Perlite Mine ..The product everyone sees is completely different than the actual " stone " itself " ..which more closely resembles translucent Volcanic Glass  ..Folks in Hawaii probably know what i'm talking about having skinned a knee or hands upon the stuff a few times, lol..  My grandparents would never let us climb around on the large chunks of it they had ( and still have ) in the yard.

Anyway, it is much heavier / denser ( though still light, and breaks down fairly easily ) than " processed " Perlite, and absorbs a lot of moisture.. I wish someone would sell the " raw " material for folks to try out..  I may collect a bucket full or two sometime next spring to do just that..



#2 These are going to be palm species/  species within overall genera that would grow in soils that contain more organic content, so ou can go " less chunky / more containing more organics like compost / Coco peat route.. Think about what Royals naturally grow in as a clue to what they'll enjoy.. They can handle a soil mix that will retain more moisture.

#3: Same with these ..or palms like Pseudophoenix, Coccothrinax / Copernicia / etc sps / genera that naturally grow on really chunky ..and often Calcium rich... soil types, Provide some organics obviously, but make sure the soil mix for them leans chunky / well draining...   W/ Phoenix, they're fairly adaptable / will accept a soil mix that might not be quite as chunky / well draining as you might provide for the " chunk lovers "... but isn't say 80% organics..




As far as ratios of X soil component? ..that will depend on container size of course...  but, as a general rule.. Using Jungle Gro as your base ( Again, lucky you if it is available there, lol )  ..For example, let's say using a 5 gal..  If potting up some Royals / Alexanders / Foxtails into 5's, i myself would have the J. G. " base " content at around 50-60%, then add 20% Coco Peat, 20% Turface MVP,  and/ or 10% Lava / Pumice ..if accessible.. ..Maybe toss in a handful or two of some Paver Base to the total volume..

If potting up some chunk lovers, like say Coccothrinax or Buccaneers, bring the J.G. content of the total soil mix down to around 40-50%, and increase the %'age of chunky stuff, Plus some Coco Peat.. In their case, i personally would toss in some crushed Oolite / Cap / Coral Rock.. That's just me though..

I myself did a 50% J.G. / 25% Turface MVP, 20% Gro Stones ..remaining %'age of my mix being Coco Peat mix and it worked for everything i was growing at the time there..  ( Archontophoenix, Chamaedorea, Veitchia, Coccothrinax/ Copernicia, Sabal, etc )


Yes it is more work and obviously, you'll probably be playing around with the exact ratios of stuff until you find the balance that suits your needs best, but, we all want the healthiest plants possible.. Understanding the individual soil needs of each plant ..or groups of plants... ( Rain forest species / Genera, vs. those from more arid environments / habitats ) is a crucial aspect of getting them off to a good start and reducing the potential for nutrient-related issues later..

No soil mix will ever be perfect, but, one can provide a better option than just whatever is in a cheap bag of soil mix at HD. or sold in bulk at a cheap price at the local Landscape Supply.. 

Can't tell you how many times i have rinsed through a bag of bagged  " soil " from say HD and discovered most of it's content was fine sand ( not good -often retains wayy too much moisture ) decomposed, oil - like " Muck " ( Likely highly degraded peat, and /or manure ),  and / or big chunks of wood ( Bad because Lignin, ...what wood is made up of..., doesn't readily break down in the soil easily / can suck various nutrients from the soil faster than the plants growing in it can access as soil bacteria work to start breaking down the wood chunks ) ...or garbage.. Yes, lol, i've even found nails and chunks of glass in " Premium " bulk soil mixes sourced from landscape supply places.

With bagged Manure, ..Can you really be sure it was aged properly?, before being bagged / rushed to be stuffed on a shelf?    You'll have all sorts of issues if it wasn't, before you bought it..

Situations like that, plus talking with serious plant gurus, and  detailed observation of natural habitat was a big motivator for pursuing  mixing my own ..mixes..   Still run into a few issues at times here and there of course, but, ..some pleasant surprises as well..


*** Lastly, because it just came to mind, lol..  If Pumice  and/or Lava is tough to access there, look for a bagged/ bulk stone product ( at the big box stores / landscape supply places ) called " Timber " ..or  " Fire " -Lite  ...Is actually a type of light weight lava rock, and can be easily crushed to whatever size you want for adding to your soil mix.. Beautiful when used as a ground cover in a landscape too..

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I've tried a lot of various odds and ends, as everything I have/had was in pots. I had approx 35 potted palms in my apartment in various sizes.

The best base soil I've ever used was Fox Farm Ocean Forest, but I've used cheap garden soil and it works too. Sometimes I paid more for my additives because I didn't have the room or need for a 50 pound bag of Turface. I used Mondo Clay from Bonsai Jack, and Repti Bark. The Repti Bark is a nice size fir bark and its already sterilized. I also always added a handful of LECA to the bottom of my pots and sometimes mixed it in with the soil. 

There's a thread on here with @Pal Meir's recipe for a soil-less media on here too, it drains crazy fast. You'll have to water more often using that, but it's wonderful. My lytocaryum is in this. Pal seems to be the king of potted palms, his plants always are healthy and beautiful and impressive.

I just kept the soil in a home Depot bucket and threw my additives in when I potted. I tried perlite but omg wear a mask when you unbag and mix it.... I'll probably end up using it more just due to what's available locally. 

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10 minutes ago, Silas_Sancona said:

#1:  Too lightweight / floats up ( and out of... ) a soil mix is why i stopped using it..  yes, Pumice ..and or smaller lava " Scoria " can blow around or float a bit too, but not nearly to the degree of Perlite.. Have had situations where, over time, all of the perlite content in a soil mix worked its way out of the mix, leaving behind just the mucky peat-y based part of the mix.. Real bad for the plants growing in it..

I will say this about the stuff..  About 40-45 mins. due east of me is a Perlite Mine ..The product everyone sees is completely different than the actual " stone " itself " ..which more closely resembles translucent Volcanic Glass  ..Folks in Hawaii probably know what i'm talking about having skinned a knee or hands upon the stuff a few times, lol..  My grandparents would never let us climb around on the large chunks of it they had ( and still have ) in the yard.

Anyway, it is much heavier / denser ( though still light, and breaks down fairly easily ) than " processed " Perlite, and absorbs a lot of moisture.. I wish someone would sell the " raw " material for folks to try out..  I may collect a bucket full or two sometime next spring to do just that..



#2 These are going to be palm species/  species within overall genera that would grow in soils that contain more organic content, so ou can go " less chunky / more containing more organics like compost / Coco peat route.. Think about what Royals naturally grow in as a clue to what they'll enjoy.. They can handle a soil mix that will retain more moisture.

#3: Same with these ..or palms like Pseudophoenix, Coccothrinax / Copernicia / etc sps / genera that naturally grow on really chunky ..and often Calcium rich... soil types, Provide some organics obviously, but make sure the soil mix for them leans chunky / well draining...   W/ Phoenix, they're fairly adaptable / will accept a soil mix that might not be quite as chunky / well draining as you might provide for the " chunk lovers "... but isn't say 80% organics..




As far as ratios of X soil component? ..that will depend on container size of course...  but, as a general rule.. Using Jungle Gro as your base ( Again, lucky you if it is available there, lol )  ..For example, let's say using a 5 gal..  If potting up some Royals / Alexanders / Foxtails into 5's, i myself would have the J. G. " base " content at around 50-60%, then add 20% Coco Peat, 20% Turface MVP,  and/ or 10% Lava / Pumice ..if accessible.. ..Maybe toss in a handful or two of some Paver Base to the total volume..

If potting up some chunk lovers, like say Coccothrinax or Buccaneers, bring the J.G. content of the total soil mix down to around 40-50%, and increase the %'age of chunky stuff, Plus some Coco Peat.. In their case, i personally would toss in some crushed Oolite / Cap / Coral Rock.. That's just me though..

I myself did a 50% J.G. / 25% Turface MVP, 20% Gro Stones ..remaining %'age of my mix being Coco Peat mix and it worked for everything i was growing at the time there..  ( Archontophoenix, Chamaedorea, Veitchia, Coccothrinax/ Copernicia, Sabal, etc )


Yes it is more work and obviously, you'll probably be playing around with the exact ratios of stuff until you find the balance that suits your needs best, but, we all want the healthiest plants possible.. Understanding the individual soil needs of each plant ..or groups of plants... ( Rain forest species / Genera, vs. those from more arid environments / habitats ) is a crucial aspect of getting them off to a good start and reducing the potential for nutrient-related issues later..

No soil mix will ever be perfect, but, one can provide a better option than just whatever is in a cheap bag of soil mix at HD. or sold in bulk at a cheap price at the local Landscape Supply.. 

Can't tell you how many times i have rinsed through a bag of bagged  " soil " from say HD and discovered most of it's content was fine sand ( not good -often retains wayy too much moisture ) decomposed, oil - like " Muck " ( Likely highly degraded peat, and /or manure ),  and / or big chunks of wood ( Bad because Lignin, ...what wood is made up of..., doesn't readily break down in the soil easily / can suck various nutrients from the soil faster than the plants growing in it can access as soil bacteria work to start breaking down the wood chunks ) ...or garbage.. Yes, lol, i've even found nails and chunks of glass in " Premium " bulk soil mixes sourced from landscape supply places.

With bagged Manure, ..Can you really be sure it was aged properly?, before being bagged / rushed to be stuffed on a shelf?    You'll have all sorts of issues if it wasn't, before you bought it..

Situations like that, plus talking with serious plant gurus, and  detailed observation of natural habitat was a big motivator for pursuing  mixing my own ..mixes..   Still run into a few issues at times here and there of course, but, ..some pleasant surprises as well..


*** Lastly, because it just came to mind, lol..  If Pumice  and/or Lava is tough to access there, look for a bagged/ bulk stone product ( at the big box stores / landscape supply places ) called " Timber " ..or  " Fire " -Lite  ...Is actually a type of light weight lava rock, and can be easily crushed to whatever size you want for adding to your soil mix.. Beautiful when used as a ground cover in a landscape too..

Fantastic info thanks a million 

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13 hours ago, JohnAndSancho said:

I've tried a lot of various odds and ends, as everything I have/had was in pots. I had approx 35 potted palms in my apartment in various sizes.

The best base soil I've ever used was Fox Farm Ocean Forest, but I've used cheap garden soil and it works too. Sometimes I paid more for my additives because I didn't have the room or need for a 50 pound bag of Turface. I used Mondo Clay from Bonsai Jack, and Repti Bark. The Repti Bark is a nice size fir bark and its already sterilized. I also always added a handful of LECA to the bottom of my pots and sometimes mixed it in with the soil. 

There's a thread on here with @Pal Meir's recipe for a soil-less media on here too, it drains crazy fast. You'll have to water more often using that, but it's wonderful. My lytocaryum is in this. Pal seems to be the king of potted palms, his plants always are healthy and beautiful and impressive.

I just kept the soil in a home Depot bucket and threw my additives in when I potted. I tried perlite but omg wear a mask when you unbag and mix it.... I'll probably end up using it more just due to what's available locally. 

I’ve heard good things about Fox Farm Ocean Forest soil too… The super fast draining mixes are not my thing but the concept is interesting 🤗

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 10/29/2023 at 3:15 AM, Maximum said:

I’ve heard good things about Fox Farm Ocean Forest soil too… The super fast draining mixes are not my thing but the concept is interesting 🤗

Sorry for the late reply 

 

But fast draining mixes are really what you want in a pot. And as far as my palm that's in the soil-less Pal Meir blend, I had to reposition the palm maybe a month ago and I was shocked at how much moisture it still holds. I mean, you can almost spit in this stuff and watch it run out, but with the Turface and the bark, it still holds enough moisture without clumping or turning into muck like soil does in a pot. 

 

I use a stainless chop stick to aerate my palms that are in actual soil every month or so just to make sure the roots can still get oxygen and help with drainage. Just be gentle as some plants have sensitive roots. 

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for younger plants i use a mix of about 70% coco fibre and 30% perlite. As and when they need potting on i will gradually add more regular potting compost to the mix that has been put through a soil sieve to remove any large woody bits that are sometimes in the compost. I never bother with brand name composts such as Battle or Compo that are common in most spanish nurseries or garden centres, as my local horticultural co-operative sells a good quality compost that is a fraction of the price.

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I usually do a simple mix of

1/3 Compost

1/3 Coco Coir 

1/3 Perlite

Optional: add Bloodmeal for N, Bonemeal for P and Kelp or Greensand for K. 

I also have been planting in a blend called Top Pot, Recipe: 

35% Coir or Peat

30% Pumice 

20% Perlite 

10% Sand 

5% Biochar (charged with fish emulsion, Liquid Kelp and Wormcasting liquid.)

Topdressed with compost and an all purpose 4-4-4 organic fertilizer. 

For some water loving species like Butias I have used pure wood compost. They grow great in that and it drains properly too. I also have a thriving Kentia in wood compost as well, grew very fast. 

All of this is obviously overkill for most palms, but I love making different blendes of medium. 

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On 11/16/2023 at 7:36 AM, RichardHemsley said:

for younger plants i use a mix of about 70% coco fibre and 30% perlite. As and when they need potting on i will gradually add more regular potting compost to the mix that has been put through a soil sieve to remove any large woody bits that are sometimes in the compost. I never bother with brand name composts such as Battle or Compo that are common in most spanish nurseries or garden centres, as my local horticultural co-operative sells a good quality compost that is a fraction of the price.

Thanks for sharing! Sounds simple yet effective 😁

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On 11/23/2023 at 12:33 PM, Palmfarmer said:

I usually do a simple mix of

1/3 Compost

1/3 Coco Coir 

1/3 Perlite

Optional: add Bloodmeal for N, Bonemeal for P and Kelp or Greensand for K. 

I also have been planting in a blend called Top Pot, Recipe: 

35% Coir or Peat

30% Pumice 

20% Perlite 

10% Sand 

5% Biochar (charged with fish emulsion, Liquid Kelp and Wormcasting liquid.)

Topdressed with compost and an all purpose 4-4-4 organic fertilizer. 

For some water loving species like Butias I have used pure wood compost. They grow great in that and it drains properly too. I also have a thriving Kentia in wood compost as well, grew very fast. 

All of this is obviously overkill for most palms, but I love making different blendes of medium. 

Thanks for sharing. I love the detail you provided!

Do you use these mixes for all pot sizes both small and large?

Do you add in the bloodmeal, bonemeal and the kelp just once when you repot then use the 4-4-4 fertilizer from then on? 

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