Help with Mangosteens

johnmerr(11)October 13, 2011

I got these Mangosteen trees today; and I am seeking help in keeping them growing. I live in Guatemala City, the City of Eternal Springtime

It is my plan to grow them here, in the shade until May 2012, the beginning of the rainy season; and then to move them to my lemon farm which is warmer and at a lower altitude.

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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

what is the soil mix.. cant tell from the pix... might be lacking in drainage??? as it looks muddy ...

most trees like a drink of water.. and then near flow thru of excess ....


    Bookmark   October 13, 2011 at 9:46PM
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Thanks. The soil is a rich loam with some citrustone organic fert mixed in; it is what the "book" says to plant them in. The soil looks wet because the foto was taken right after transplant and water to settle the soil. Drainage is average to good with this type soil.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2011 at 10:41PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

What "book", and is that book about container planting? Container culture is radically different than planting in the ground. I'm with Ken, and suspect you will eventually have a drainage problem with that soil in those containers.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2011 at 11:14PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

We're worried because the the prettiest, richest, loveliest loam in the world turns into icky muck when transferred from the good earth to the confines of a container. An outdoor soil can rarely behave itself properly in pots without the rest of the working soil SYSTEM in place.

If you have had luck before with this mixture, then I'd say that you should, at the very least, put those pots up on little feet so that nothing impedes the free flow of excess water from the drainage holes.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2011 at 12:26AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

since you have 3 ...

and since they are just planted ...

if you have some mini bark nuggets... see link ... take out one tree ....dump soil into a larger container ... and add about 1/3 of the mini chunks ... and mix well with what you have .... and then repot ...

as stated.. loam.. has a tendency to restrict drainage... and 'hold' too much water .... FOR A TREE IN A POT ...

then .. you have an experiment ... and if i am right.. you save one.. and if i am wrong .. you still have 3... because i doubt that the looser matrix will fail ... though it will need water on a different schedule than the other soil ...

insure that you water a tree... WHEN IT NEEDS IT.. rather than often ... insert finger to test ...

i realize you may not have access to the suggested product.. but there has to be some kind of equivalent at a good nursery store ... something to loosen the mix.. and allow near full drainage ...

also .. i would not have fertilized a 'stressed' plant ... maybe once it settled down.. but not at transplant ....


Here is a link that might be useful: link

    Bookmark   October 14, 2011 at 9:10AM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

I would strongly recommend that you read the article, linked below. It is THE most read/discussed thread on GardenWeb and for good reason. Anyone that hasn't read it should at least take a quick look. I started to write a similar post a few years back before I found this one, but Al probably did a better job explaining this stuff than I could have.

Here is a link that might be useful: Container Soils - Water Movement & Retention

    Bookmark   October 14, 2011 at 9:03PM
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Thank you all; but I really wasn't looking for advice on container growing; I get that from Meyermike for my citrus; these trees will only be in pots until next May when I put them in the ground at my lemon farm at the beginning of the next rainy season. FYI, the nursery where I got these plants has them in bags of pure clay... the most compacted soil I have ever seen for a nursery plant. The Mangosteen really could care less about drainage... it needs water, water, water; and heat, heat, heat, and now and then some good balanced fertilizer.
I have some local "experts" giving me advice; I was only looking for someone with some actual hands on experience growing mangosteens.

I love this site and all the folks who offer advice for free; thanks again to all of you who responded.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2011 at 1:32AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

you are welcome ...

we are saying that loam has too little drainage.. too much water retention

your seller grew in clay.. which is near water repellant..

and you seem to opt for the loam ...

you are going with neither our suggestion.. nor the sellers soil ...

i just hope you arent setting yourself up for failure ...

not many tropical fruit growers here in the tree forum .... so i doesnt surprise me that there is no one with direct experience ...

good luck !!!!!


    Bookmark   October 15, 2011 at 3:15PM
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Well, it is really just a tour de force with me; I have been studying Mangosteens on 3 continents for about 25 years trying to learn what works and what doesn't. It is such a super fruit and soooooo tempermental. It takes 2 years to get to 12 inches; and 16 years to produce fruit; but there are tricks to make 1 year into 3 or 4 and thus get fruits in about 5 or 6 years. The most successful mangosteens in Honduras, Thailand, and Philippines are growing in loamy soils; but some are also in poorly drained clay soils. We have a piece of land at the side of Rio Dulce here in the rain forest; and a giant mangosteen tree; the problem is, I don't want to live where the tree would like to grow; I will try to make it content, if not happy where I have my farm. Thanks for all your concerns and the wishes of good luck. I will post again here when there is progress.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2011 at 4:52PM
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