Neem-Coir - the wonder medium for Palms
I have been growing palms in a cool climate for 15 years. During this time I have continuously searched for a medium in which palms can be grown easily and healthily. I have tried everything, peat based composts, loam based composts, coir , magic mixes and none are perfect. Peat for example, dries easily, shrinks and is difficult to remoisten. Loam based composts seem to cause a high mortality rate and are easy to overwater. Normal coir leads to nutritional problems as it is devoid of nutrients and problems start when you add soluble fertilisers. And magic mixes each tend to have one or more of the above problems. The end result is that a proportion of seedlings die, many seedlings are stunted and unhealthy, adding fertiliser can cause salt build up and PH problems and it is difficult to get watering right.
Finally I have found the solution, NEEM-COIR.
Since trialling this medium no seedlings have died, with an almost 100% transplant ratio of germinated seed (over 2000 seedlings to date). Neem-coir does not shrink as it has a phenomenal capacity to hold water so waterings can be reduced by 50%.
Seedlings are extremely vigorous and healthy with enlarged root systems. Even as single-leaf seedlings roots are bursting from the bottom of the pot.
Here are two Butia eriospatha seedlings.
The seedling on the left was germinated in August 2004 and grown in Neem-Coir. Note that the roots are growing out of the bottom of the pot already. The seedling on the right is a typical example of a seedling grown in a well known brand of good peat based proprietary compost and is one month older than its counterpart.
The Neem-coir contains its own organic slow release fertiliser so there is no need to add fertiliser. The medium contains a natural pesticide and fungicide meaning that pathogens and soil borne pests are kept at bay. You cannot overwater this mix. It is sold in a dried compressed form so is easy to transport. When adding water to the dried compressed product it is easy to add further vitamins and growth supplements as this is soaked directly into the Coir granules and remains there for the plant to feed on.
I can promise anybody that tries this medium that they will no longer lose seedlings because of a poor medium, and will not experience any of the other problems associated with other mixes. I mix the Neem-coir with perlite in a ratio of 2:1 and I add a supplement containing vitamins to encourage strong root development before adding water to the medium . The results are impressive.
Neem-Coir and the palmbooster supplement can be purchased at this site in the accessories section.
by Nigel Kembrey