How to Make Potting Soil for Palm Trees – 4 Simple Tips
Palm trees require some pretty specific soil requirements. The average potting soil on the shelf isn’t going to work in most cases. While some commercial options specifically for palm trees exist, these aren’t always the best. Instead, you may want to consider making your own palm tree potting soil.
With the right materials, this is pretty straightforward. You do need the correct ingredients, but many of these can be purchased from your average gardening store (or online). However, the next challenge is to mix them in the right ratios to ensure proper drainage.
Below, we’ll take a look at some of the most important things to consider when making potting soil for your palm tree. We’ll look at the best ratios, as well as what ingredients work best.
The 4 Tips to Make Potting Soil for Palm Trees
1. Purchase Ingredients
Firstly, you’ll need to purchase all of the correct ingredients to mix the potting soil. You shouldn’t use older ingredients, as these can be potentially diseased. Using soil out of your yard isn’t recommended, especially if it isn’t well-draining or of the wrong pH.
For these reasons, you’ll need to purchase new soil ingredients from a local store. You’ll need potting soil, an organic material (like shredded bark mulch), and sand.
2. Mix the Ingredients Together
Now that you have all your ingredients, you’ll need to mix them together. You’ll want to use equal parts of potting soil and organic material. However, you’ll want to use half the sand as the other two ingredients. Preferably, you want to mix the ingredients together outside of the pot, as this helps ensure that the materials don’t clump up near the bottom and cause drainage issues.
Usually, it’s best to dampen the material and then mix. Otherwise, the process can be dusty and more difficult. Wetting all the ingredients just makes it easier.
We recommend checking the mixture with a pH meter before continuing. Palm trees prefer a soil of between 6 and 7, which is slightly acidic to neutral.
Palm trees do not do well with rough transplanting. Therefore, you’ll have to be extremely gentle. Otherwise, the plant may react badly. You don’t want to disturb the roots at all, which often means taking much of the old soil with the plant. This is fine, as removing the soil may disturb the root and create problems.
Add the new soil to the new pot and leave a large hole in the middle for your palm tree. The hole should match the palm tree’s root ball as closely as possible. When you’re ready, gently remove the palm from the old pot and place it into the new one.
Once the root ball is seated, tuck in any additional soil that’s necessary. Don’t push against the roots in any way, even with a garden tool designed for transplanting. For success, you have to avoid touching the root ball as much as possible.
4. Keep the Environment Perfect
Palm trees don’t like being repotted. Therefore, you should keep the growing environment absolutely perfect for the week or so after transplanting. Your plant will already be stressed from the transplanting process.
You should provide adequate watering, though the amount will depend on the particular palm tree variety. Of course, you don’t want to provide too much water, either. You should also move the transplants somewhere warm and dry for successful growth. Let the plant get settled before you return it to its original place if you had to move it.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I Use Miracle Grow Potting Soil for Palm Trees?
You can use Miracle Grow potting soil for the soil portion of the palm tree growing medium. However, we wouldn’t recommend using it as the only growing medium. Palm trees need a bit more drainage than it provides, which you can achieve by using the mixture we described above.
Miracle Grow also makes a tropical plant fertilizer, which you can use for your palm tree.
Is Epsom Salt Good for Palm Trees?
Epsom salt can be good for some palm trees as a fertilizer. It helps improve the magnesium concentration in the soil, which is important for a range of reasons. However, not all trees need extra magnesium. It largely depends on the other fertilizers you’re using and the needs of the tree.
Epsom salt is very high in magnesium, though. Therefore, it’s one of the best magnesium supplements on the market.
Are Eggshells Good for Palm Trees?
Eggshells can be used as a fertilizer, as they break down quickly and release their nutrients into the soil. However, that doesn’t mean that you should use tons of eggshells in your palm tree’s soil. Too many nutrients aren’t a good thing. You can use eggshells as a portion of the fertilizer you use, but be cautious not to provide your tree with too many nutrients. Eggshells also have an effect on the soil and will turn into organic matter, reducing drainage. Keep this in mind when using it.
Palm trees aren’t difficult to create soil for. In fact, their needs aren’t much more different than other plants. We recommend using one part sand, two parts organic matter, and two parts potting soil. The exact kind of each ingredient you get doesn’t matter much—as long as they are approved for plant use. You can find these ingredients at your average department store.
The hardest part of this process is transplanting the tree. Palm trees do not like to be messed with very much. Therefore, they tend to do poorly when transplanted. It’s important to keep their root ball as intact as possible and not to press on the roots.
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Featured Image Credit: Kheng Guan Toh, Shutterstock