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What did I do *right*? (a mango tree in Iceland)

Karen Pease
11 years ago

So, I used to live in the US, in Iowa, and am in love with growing tropicals indoors (24/7). One tropical that I've had a love/hate relationship with is a Carrie Mango tree. I got my first Carrie maybe three years ago. I planted it according to the instructions I was given. It basically did nothing but just sit there in my grow room until it died. The post-mortem revealed root rot. So when I tried again last year, with another Carrie, I potted it in a less organic mix and watered less often. The tree didn't die, but well.. for all effective purposes, it might has well have just been a fake tree. While, say, the banana tree sitting right next to it was growing like crazy, it just sat there, never either dropping nor growing a single leaf.

I moved all of my plants and myself to Iceland at the end of February. NOT EASY. Just ignoring the crazy permitting process, they all had to be crammed into suitcases and boxes that could go on the plane, bareroot, heat packs and insulation to keep them freezing to death, etc. Something like 40 different plants, ranging from little sprouts to whole trees (the largest ones being the 5' mango and a 6' cherimoya). To repot, my usual choice of inorganic growing materials was sadly unavailable; it was unfortunate to learn that most of the stuff that's available here is rather peaty. But I had to repot, so I used what was available, and was really worried that the roots were going to rot again. I cared for them for a couple weeks, then left them in the hands of a plantsitter while I had to return to the US for a month.

I came back to Iceland, and... wow, I can't believe it. It's putting on this massive flush of beautiful new growth. When all is said and done, it'll probably have twice as many leaves as it had before. What on earth did I do *right*?

* It's the same light fixtures -- not even all of them that I had before, although I don't have as many plants as before. They're running through a voltage converter, but that shouldn't change anything.

* There's more sunlight through the windows, but the light fixtures should still easily be the dominant source of energy, as they're right next to the plants and are on 24-7.

* It's drier here, and they're next to a radiator (although it's been somewhere between low and off).

* I don't think I'm fertilizing any different than I used to, but who knows.

Thoughts as to what was the key that triggered the growth? There are so many possible factors, but if any of you think you know what was the key, that'd be great info!

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