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Chilean Fire Tree

svcbsvcb Posts: 3
Hi, I have a Chilean Fire Tree which was removed from my parents' garden and has been sitting (looking miserable) in a tub of ericaceous compost for a few years. I'm keen to get it into the ground, but have very alkaline soil and am not sure if there's any point. I appreciate that it may not perform at its best in my soil, but does anyone have any experience of growing these in alkaline?
Many thanks.


  • According to this it would much prefer it to ericaceous compost. May be why it looks miserable!

  • svcbsvcb Posts: 3
    Thanks for that link. It's the only ref I've seen that says it's happy in alkaline soil.
  • NollieNollie Posts: 7,340
    Stunning tree, this link provides lots of advice on why they fail to thrive and how to grow them:

    Acid-neutral (but not rich) soil does seem to be the consensus, apart from the bbc, but I have a camellia planted in alkaline clay, which is doing perfectly well. I added a bag of ericaceous compost to the planting hole and give it an acid feed occasionally. Allegedly ‘acid loving’ Nandina domesticas do fine in my alkaline soil too, so better to get in the ground whatever your soil, I reckon.
    Mountainous Northern Catalunya, Spain. Hot summers, cold winters.
  • MarlorenaMarlorena Posts: 8,359
    I wouldn't grow anything from Chile in anything other than lime-free soil... I'm amazed that the BBC website lists ''chalky/alkaline''...   no other reputable source I know of says this...  sometimes their advice can leave a lot to be desired..

    Presumably you have the 'Norquinco' form of Embothrium..?  an open sunny site, on acid soil is recommended by the more authoritative writers on these plants..
    I sometimes find pots of ericaceous compost can get waterlogged and airless.... when using this medium I like to incorporate lime-free horticultural grit with the mixture, copious amounts, mixing like you would a cake...  I've lost Camellias before to winter waterlogging in unamended ericaceous...
    East Anglia, England
  • svcbsvcb Posts: 3
    Decided to risk it. It's in the soil, with some ericaceous compost around it and sulphate of iron dressing on the soil. We'll see what happens ...
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