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Posted:  24 Mar 2011 16:45  
Anyone had difficulties maintaining kentias with the different soil mixes.  I buy from brokers for Florida and California/Hawaiian material.  I have seen lava rock, clay, and Florida media.  What's the best?  Technicians have a tough time with all.  With one media I feel they could make better watering decisions.  Any thoughts?
Posted:  24 Mar 2011 17:06  
This is a sore subject with many 'scapers, especially given the cost of replacing Kentias of any size.

Hawaiian lava rock media can be the most difficult to manage, because it's so hard to tell just what the moisture level is at the root zone...probes don't always give good samples, meters don't register properly in gritty mixes, and sticking a finger into these mixes might cost you some skin or a fingernail!

Florida media that have mostly sphagnum peat moss are more familiar to techs and thus easier to gauge for watering judgments.  However, these can hold TOO MUCH water and can be a killer in low-light spaces.

The clay media you refer to are not that common to us so I can't comment, except to say that a heavy soil with small particles like clay can exclude air and result in root rot even if moisture levels and watering intervals are correct.

I'm all in favor of standardizing media, but growers obviously use what works for them (and what is most cost-effective), so that's not going to happen anytime soon.  If you find you have better results with one media over the others, then you'd be wise to stick with that one and eliminate the multiple learning curves and frustration that comes with trying to master multiple media types in multiple interior environments.

Posted:  28 Apr 2011 00:51  

Interiorscapers hate it, however Kentias actually do their best in a very heavy soil mix. Years ago we potted all Kentias in a very heavy mix, like impossible to put your finger in the soil at all, until the market demanded a lighter mix. Watering had to be done with caution.

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