Josh - help with Pachira repot

thinkstoomuch(6)June 22, 2014 helped me out over the winter with my struggling Pachira plant. Your advice at the time was to simply get it into a smaller pot back then, and to repot over the summer.
The plant has survived, and is having all kinds of new growth. It is still showing signs of struggle, though, in the leaves as they age. I'd say a few weeks after they emerge they start to curl and die back from the tips.
I'd like to repot now, but having trouble finding lava rock. Any suggestions on where I could find that? (I live in the Boston area). Your mix suggestion was:
lava rock
1:1:1 ratio
I have turface and chicken grit on hand if any of those substitutions will help at all. ???

Last question. When I do repot - I know that there is a compact ball of mix really adhered in the root ball area. Is it ok to swish that in a bucket of water to help dislodge all the old mix before repotting?

As always, thanks so much!

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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Hey! Thanks, Kim :-)

If you have Turface and grit and bark, you can make a great mix for your Pachira. I like the lava rock because it doesn't hold as much water and it's a little chunkier than Turface....but it is not essential. Most importantly you want really good drainage so that you can water this plant as it prefers, which is to have it's root-zone thoroughly flooded and then dried back out in a reasonable amount of time.

Yes, swish that root-ball in water! You may want to soak the root-ball for 15-20 minutes ahead of time to start softening that hard old mix....then begin to remove it with a chopstick or similar tool. Get all the old mix off.

Be sure that the new mix is also moist when you re-pot. Make a little mound, set the clean roots on top, add a layer of fresh mix, work it into the roots with a chopstick, add another layer of mix, and repeat. Once the plant is completely re-potted, water it really well and return it to its spot. I would water again two days later to be sure that the upper inches of mix are staying moist while the roots are re-establishing themselves. After about a week, give it a 1/2 strength dose of fertilizer.


    Bookmark   June 22, 2014 at 2:48PM
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Great! Thanks Josh!
So.....use bark, turface and grit in 1:1:1 ratio? Any perlite?
A mix like this should need water every few days during the summer, correct?

    Bookmark   June 22, 2014 at 3:27PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Kim, I would use a little more bark, maybe two parts, and then one part Turface. Add one part Perlite, sure, that'll lighten the mix. Get it nice and wet. During the Summer, watering every 2 - 3 days sounds right, with a weekly fertilization. During the Winter, watering approximately once a week or so.


    Bookmark   June 22, 2014 at 4:10PM
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Thank you Josh. I appreciate your help. I look forward to my tree thriving again!

    Bookmark   June 22, 2014 at 4:18PM
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