Indoor Potted Palm - what's the best soil for potted palms

sweetannie4u(midOK_z6b/7a)July 17, 2009

I read that potted palms need the same type soil as citrus trees, and that mushroom humus works fine as a substitute.

Is that true? They need special soil?

I bought some Hyponex potting soil for my other plants.

Can I use that or do I need to mix in other materials?

The last palm I had lived four years and grew very well - had shiny, healthy fronds - very lovely. Every year in early summer I would set it out in the garden with my Elephant ears. It was gorgeous. In the fourth year it died quite suddenly in late summer.

What kind of soil should I use when repotting my new palm?

When I repot it, do I need to loosen the root ball or just set it in the new pot and fill around it?

How deep?

Does it need any top dressing or mulch of some kind?

If so, what is the best kind to use?

Would appreciate any knowledgeable advice.


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I use equal parts perlite and Turface. Completely "inorganic". I have tried all sorts of different mixes in the past, this one outperforms them all. It is the most stable and provides the best aeration.

You can also add conifer bark fines, pumice and other similar ingredients.

There are many different opinions out there. Eventually you'll learn to understand the properties of all the available substrates and how they will perform with your particular plants and growing conditions.


    Bookmark   July 17, 2009 at 6:54PM
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scaldude(Sunset Z23 SouthOC)

I'd use "potting soil" that is intended for "indoor use". I know I sound like a smart a** (well, I normally am), but I'm serious....there's also "patio" potting soil for outdoor plants.

An indoor mix should provide good drainage so the roots don't rot. Just keep it simple...

    Bookmark   July 17, 2009 at 8:31PM
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I use the Miracle gro blend for Cactus, palms, and citrus. May be a little expensive but works good.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2009 at 10:14AM
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I start off with an ordinary potting soil, avoiding anything with extra moisture retention (such as some of Miracle Gro soils). Palms tend to like a good humusy soil rich in organic material as they are relatively heavy feeders so I might throw in a bit more humus. The most important thing though is for the soil to have excellent drainage so I add a generous amount of coarse sand and/or perlite. Kind of related to soil type/moisture control issues though is the pot size. I try not to place the plant in a pot that is too big for it (too small and it won't grow or dry out excessive fast, too big and you may be inviting a problem with rotting). Since I put my palms outside for the growing season (and can't control the monsoons),this is important to consider. Good luck with your palms!

    Bookmark   July 19, 2009 at 7:12AM
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Many thanks to everyone for your contributions and experiences.

I got some pine mulch and put the 'fines' in the bottom. I bought two bags of the Miracle Grow blend for Cactus, Palms & Citrus. It is VERY light. I think everyone gave great advice.

Going to try this and see how it GROWS.

We grew them outside in the ground in California, but I was just a kid. Mother and Grannie just stuck them in the ground. As far as I know they never did anything else except "drip" water them with gray water the first season. After that, they were on their own. Our date palms were gigantic and the dates were yummy. There were several other varieties, but I don't know what the others were. I do recall that Grannie sprayed them with the hose from time to time to wash off the dust. They loved it.

Having palms in the house makes me feel like I am home again. (Oh...those childhood memories).

As for the size of the new pot, I got an emerald green ceramic Lotus pot and put it on a black wrought iron plant dolly with a clear plastic drip tray underneath. That will make it handy for moving when I clean the floors or rearrange things. The pot is about 4 inches bigger around in diameter, and in depth, it's about 1/3 deeper than the container it came in, so I think it is "joosta" - just right for the pot upgrade. The color is beautiful with the green palm fronds.

One thing I did forget to ask, though. Should I cover the top of the soil with a little bit of the bark fines or the potting mix or both? I don't want to suffocate it since I know they need to breathe, but it does look a bit exposed on the surface.

Thanks for your help, Palm lovers.


    Bookmark   July 19, 2009 at 3:28PM
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