coconut coir for aroids?!!

Discussion in 'Araceae' started by leaf kotasek, Jan 29, 2010.

  1. leaf kotasek

    leaf kotasek Active Member

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    i'll be repotting a bunch of pothos, peace lilies, philodendron scandens and other aroids (i'm not sure about what they're all called) and i've been given some coconut coir. should i use it for my aroids?

    i've had them in potting soil for years and they're doing fine and all, but i've been reading lately about how aroids appreciate a more specialized mixture and i want to give that a go. advice, please!
     
  2. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    I love it; it's much better than peat IMHO. My Dieffs, Philos, and terrestrial Anthuriums are all in coir.
     
  3. Tom Hulse

    Tom Hulse Active Member 10 Years

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    I like it too. I also think it is a little better than regular peat, but I use it 50/50 with coarse blonde peat for the water retention portion of my soils, because that peat will hold more air in the mix for the same amount of water (it's hard to get though).
     
  4. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    Tom, have you tried semidecomposed bark in place of the blond peat? I find that it's excellent for air retention with the coir.
     
  5. Tom Hulse

    Tom Hulse Active Member 10 Years

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    Yes! :) I have 3 kinds in my basement soil-mixing room, and I do use it for some epiphytes & orchids. In one limited way, bark is like sand, in that it doesn't really add drainage unless you add it past a certain percentage of the total mix; otherwise the softer ingredients tend to just fill in between the bark pieces in the same way cement does. If you get a high-enough percentage so that it does actually work for adding extra drainage/air, then it no longer also holds nearly as much water as the peat. This works great when you have a humid greenhouse with automatic watering, otherwise you usually have to water more often than most of us care to, if you have a bark/drainage mix.
    The other thing I don't like about bark is it's unstability over time compared to other ingredients. It changes in water retention drastically from initial potting to a couple years later, which makes watering a little more difficult if you have many plants all with more varied water needs. Also, the way it "sours" as it ages is a real fungus gnat magnet. :)
     
  6. leaf kotasek

    leaf kotasek Active Member

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    what about charcoal? would charcoal help keep the soil sweet? and what about a mixture of coconut coir, orchid bark and potting soil?

    thanks, you guys!
     
  7. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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  8. Tom Hulse

    Tom Hulse Active Member 10 Years

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    Yes I do too. I get the 4 cu. ft. bags of horticultural charcoal from my wholesale nursery supply and add a little to many of my soil mixes.
    You might want to be sparing with it though in a mostly-coir mix because of ph. The coir is about neutral, the bark doesn't change ph much (at least at first), but the charcoal can vary widely from one batch to the next, sometimes being very strongly alkali. I usually use it at around 10% max of the total volume.

    Steve you meant that the Missouri greenhouse keeper first recommended it to you, right? Gardeners have been using it for hundreds of years in potting mixes. :)
     
  9. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    Yes, I've known it for a long time as well but when people hear a large botanical garden suggests the use of a method they are far more inclined to believe it.

    I don't ever try to present myself as an "expert" because I'm not. I'm just a grower with a large collection that is fortunate enough to have many friends that are experts. When ever I can quote a reputable botanist, botanical garden, text, research paper or other qualified resource I always do so. The point is to share knowledge, nothing else.

    I am just an aging student of aroid botany and ask tons of questions every single day. I have developed a long list of botanist contacts from around the globe and you'll find hundreds, perhaps thousands of their quotes on my site. I also have a large collection of scientific books and many specializing in aroids. many of those are now on PDF so I can just do a search of my data base and find good answers for people that ask for specific information. The IAS also has every single one of the 32 published issues of Aroideana (the journal of the IAS) available on-line in PDF format. I search those almost every day of the year since the journal is a peer reviewed journal. www.Aroid.org

    Most of the experts I ask already know I will quote and repost their answers. My goal is to help since I don't sell plants and make zero effort to benefit financially from my site or information I share. I've been asked more than once to sell advertising on the site and don't even do that. The "ads" for a few trusted aroid growers are on the site free of charge.
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2010
  10. leaf kotasek

    leaf kotasek Active Member

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    thanks for the advice! my plants also thank you. xD
     

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