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House Plants/how to repot an areca palm

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Question
Hello,

  I bought an Areca Palm for my home and it is still in the original pot that I purchased it in. This is my first plant so I am need of help. I want to change the pot without hurting my plant. It is 3 feet tall has new growth in the center. I have read that the soil should have a mixture of potting soil and sand. Is this true, and if so, what are the steps to create the right mixture for my plant. Do I put sand in the pot first or last? Do I mix the two, soil and sand together? These are my questions...can you be so kind and help me? Thank You, Don

Answer
Don,

It was probably moved to the pot it is in now within the last year so unless it is really rootbound it does not need a larger pot. A larger pot will actually stress it out unless when you remove it from the nursery pot you see nothing but roots and no soil. Then you only want a pot with a diameter that is 2-4 inches larger than the diameter of the nursery pot, absolutely no larger. A larger pot will keep the palm too wet and create root rot. It must go in a pot with a large drain hole and a drain tray under it and when you water it you need to empty the drain tray an hour after watering. If you can't lift it to empty the drain tray you can use a turkey baster to suction the excess water out.

As for potting soil buy any cheap potting soil and an extra bag of perlite. Perlite is a volcanic product that looks like Styrofoam pellets and provides better drainage when mixed with the potting soil.  This will also help prevent root rot and keep your palm happy for a long time. I mix 2 Cool whip bowls of perlite with 3 cool whip bowls of potting soil. That will give you great soil for years. If you decide to grow cacti you can mix a cool whip bowl of play sand in with your soil but it is not necessary for palms. You mix the soil in a bucket or bag before using it, you do not layer it in the pot. If you have more questions feel free to write again. Good luck!


Darlene

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Darlene K. Kittle

Expertise

I have been an Advanced Master Gardener for 24 years and I raise around 300 houseplants and bonsai trees a year including tropicals, succulents, and cacti. I have also been a professional plant care person for businesses in the Fort Wayne, IN area and currently professionally care for bonsai trees for my customers.

Experience

I am also studying the Japanese art of bonsai with tropical plants and is President of the Fort Wayne, IN Bonsai Club.

Organizations
Fort Wayne, iN Master Gardeners. President of the Fort Wayne Bonsai Club. Allen County Master Gardeners

Education/Credentials
I am not a hortculturist. I am a Purdue University Advanced Master Gardener for 24 years. I have studied plants on a personal level by growing hundreds of plants annually for the last 35 years. I have also studied under several nationally known American Bonsai experts.

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