Indoor potted palm trees provide a tropical touch to the home. Dwarf date palm varieties are well suited to container growth because of their smaller size, and they also may produce edible fruit. If the palm is to grow healthy and remain attractive, the proper potting soil must be used.
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Drainage and Aeration
Date palms naturally grow in sandy, well-drained soils. The palms also require good aeration around the roots. The trees cannot tolerate overly wet or compacted soils. Mineral content in the potting soil provides this aeration and drainage. Sand, perlite and vermiculite are the most common mineral ingredients in commercial potting soils. A mixture containing up to one-third of these components in a potting soil provides enough drainage for palms.
While date palms need drainage, the potting medium should not be one that dries out completely. Peat moss and shredded bark both retain moisture without becoming overly soggy. Another option is ground coconut coir, which is the fibres between the outer husk and the meat of a coconut. Use up to one part of one of these materials to provide the proper amount of moisture retention in a palm soil.
Organic material provides some moisture retention but is more important for the nutrients it provides. Organic material also adds weight to lighter potting mixes, which helps support the roots of the palm tree. Compost, sterilised soil and loam or humus all provide nutrient-rich organic material to the potting mixture. Compost and loam are not prone to sogginess like soil is. Use up to one part organic material in date palm soil.
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