Pots for palm trees


Most palms need tropical or subtropical temperatures, but there are some suitable for planting outdoors in the British Isles. Hardy palms are invaluable as structural plants in tropical-style gardens and look effective when planted with bananas, bamboos and New Zealand flax.


Hardy palms can be planted at any time of the year, but ideally is should be done during the spring and summer.

Try to dig a hole a good deal bigger than the root-ball, which should be given a good soak before planting, then back- fill with a free draining mix.

Water thoroughly. This will be beneficial to the establishment of the root system. If planting during a dry spell, water the hole first, allow to drain, plant, backfill, and then water again.


A bright, sunny spot sheltered from strong winds is ideal, especially for species like Trachycarpus fortunei whose large fan-shaped leaves can be damaged in an exposed location.

Some, such as Trachycarpus fortunei and Chamaedorea species can also be grown in a shaded position though the lower light levels result in the palm growing longer petioles (leaf stems).


Good drainage is the key to success with most hardy palms. Palms dislike having their roots in cold, water-logged soil. For this reason, and depending upon your soil composition, sharp sand and/or grit or a fibrous organic material such as composted green waste should be mixed into the soil, especially if it has high clay content.

A light well-drained soil also warms up more quickly in the spring thus aiding the palm’s growth.

The downside to open sandy soils is that they are not very good at holding nutrients, so it is a good idea to supplement feed.


Unlike other trees, palms cannot be pruned. However, unsightly dead lower leaves can be removed. When cutting the fronds, it is crucial to take care of the bark and avoid exposing the underlying layers.

Apply fertilizer one week before removing yellowing leaves. Use appropriate tools to prevent accidents or damage the bark. Cleanly cut off yellow or brown fronds at the base of the stem.


During the winter most hardy palms are effectively dormant and require little care. Once the growing season is underway you should water your palm periodically to prevent it drying out, especially palms grown in containers.

To keep your palm in absolutely tip-top condition, apply fertiliser with every other watering.

Ideal growing conditions vary among palm species, but most suffer similarly when they receive too little or too much water. Potted and newly planted palms are most vulnerable to water stress. Soil dryness is usually a reliable indicator of a need for watering. In severe cases, symptoms appear on the foliage or trunk.

A grass-free ring or mounded berm around the base of the tree at the edge of the root mass makes it easier to ensure that the palm roots receive adequate water. A layer of mulch conserves soil moisture, blocks weed and regulates soil temperature.


The Palm Centre’s specially formulated Palm fertiliser will ensure the plant gets all the nutrients and elements it requires to stay healthy.

Follow the instructions on the label carefully and adjust the quantity applied according to the pot and/or plant size.


It is very hard to generalise. In most parts of England and during an average-to-mild winter, the more reliably cold hardy species (Trachycarpus, Jubaea, Chamaerops, Brahea, etc.) should be fine left to fend for themselves without protection, as long as they are of a reasonable size when planted out.

Seedlings and very young plants are more susceptible to the cold. In the cooler parts of the country and during unusually cold winters it is advisable to tie the fronds of the palm together and wrap the whole plant with several layers of horticultural fleece or hessian during the worst of the winter cold. You can purchase from The Palm Centre plant fleece jackets in order to protect the plants from frost.

Potted specimens should be moved into a shed, garage or unheated room during the worst of the cold.

As the palm stems thicken with age, the plants become more tolerant of lower temperatures.

Palms in Pots

SERIES 17 | Episode 30

Nothing beats an attractive palm in a nice pot, there is a huge selection of palms to choose from, and what’s more, they grow all over Australia.

Potted palms are versatile. They add a decorative element to an indoor space, can also help create a lush tropical look to a balcony, or beside a pool and they are great in gardens with limited space.

Palms come in a range of sizes, leaf shapes and growth habits. Many single trunk species emanate from rainforests, where they have to grow tall and slender to get through the forest canopy and to the light. In a pot they don’t grow anywhere near as tall and they’re ideal for full sun positions.

Palms with a clumping growth habit are more often found nearer the forest floor. Because they’re used to low light positions, they lend themselves to use indoors and in shaded areas. However some clumpers like the Golden Cane Palm Chrysalidocarpus lutescens love full sun and are ideal for the poolside.

Container grown palms can be used to great effect to enhance the architecture of the home. For example Rhapis palms can be used to great effect.

There is no rocket science attached to potting up a palm – it’s just common sense. But there are a few basic rules. Firstly buy the best pot you can and make sure it’s got a drain hole in the bottom – the bigger the better. The next thing is a good quality potting mix – one that’s free draining but does hold some moisture. If it’s too free draining, you’ll be continually watering.

The next thing is to plant up the palm. Take it out of the pot and put it into a new one. Don’t tease out the roots, and add potting mix. Firm it down. Sprinkle a few water crystals evenly and add some slow release fertiliser. Always follow the directions but about a spoonful is usually enough. Mix it all together. Always remember to leave about an inch, or 25 millimetres, between the top of the pot and the top of the potting mix. That makes it easier to water because if it’s filled to the top, the water runs off. But it also allows a space to add some decorative pebbles.

Another fabulous palm is the variegated Rhapis excelsa. A palm that originated in China, but the variegation came about because the Japanese painstakingly developed it. It’s extremely rare, which means that it’s quite expensive. It’s a slow grower and so it doesn’t have to be repotted all the time. And it’s a real shade lover, so it’s great for indoor use.

From time to time all indoor palms are likely to get attacked by an insect called mealy bug. To get rid of the insect, just dip a cotton bud into some methylated spirits and wipe it over the insect and before long it’s gone.

Hyophorbe lagenicaulis, commonly called the Bottle Palm because of the shape of its trunk, is brilliant for containers. It has glossy green leaves and pinky red stems.

There wouldn’t be a plant on this planet that epitomises the tropics better than the palm. So regardless of where you live, or how much room you’ve got, you can transform that balcony, living area, or lounge room, into a tropical paradise simply by growing a few palms in pots.

Palms for a shady spot

Q: I have an area that is almost completely shaded currently supporting six leather leaf ferns and mahonia bushes. I would like to transplant the mahonia and plant some shade-tolerant palms. Which ones would you recommend? The palms should be relatively small – not more than 6- or 7-feet tall. I was leaning toward either the dwarf palmetto or saw palmetto.

Q: I have an area that is almost completely shaded currently supporting six leather leaf ferns and mahonia bushes. I would like to transplant the mahonia and plant some shade-tolerant palms. Which ones would you recommend? The palms should be relatively small – not more than 6- or 7-feet tall. I was leaning toward either the dwarf palmetto or saw palmetto.
A: We gardeners sometimes forget that palms can be great plants for the shade. There are a few excellent palms and palm-like plants to choose from that do well in shady spots like you describe.
The lady palm – Raphis excelsa – is one the best choices. It has 7- to 8-foot canes and dark green, fan-shaped leaves. It is cold hardy down into the 20s and really does well in limited lighting. This palm spreads by the roots, so a friend might be able to share some with you.
The needle palm is good for shade as well. Also known as Rhapidophyllum hystrix, this native palm grows like a 6-foot-by-6-foot bush and has black spines at the base. It is very tropical looking and well-suited to North Central Florida.
The dwarf palmetto you are considering is a natural choice. It is a native and looks like a Sabal palm that never quite gets a trunk. The leaves of the dwarf palmetto, or Sabal minor, have a blue cast to them, so its other common name of blue palmetto makes sense.
If you live in a warmer spot in town, or if your shady spot is in a protected area like a courtyard, think about using the majesty palm. Majesty palms have long pinnate leaves that are dark green, and the palm stays smallish at less than 20-feet tall.
Another palm choice isn’t a palm at all; it is a stunning cycad called Dioon. Dioon edule is a slow-growing cycad that does beautifully in the shade. The fronds have a bluish cast, and the plant can tolerate temperatures well below freezing.
One of the plants that could be included on the list is the miniature date palm. I have a hard time recommending the miniature date palm, or Phoenix roebelenii, for the Gainesville area. This little palm experiences cold damage when temperatures go below 30 degrees. You can protect them with frost cloth, but it would be better to select a more cold tolerant palm to survive our chilly winters.
Q: I would like to grow two container shrubs on my front porch. The sun is very strong and hot there. The pots will sit on brick. My dog also might eat them, so I would like to have non-toxic plants. How would evergreen boxwood do?
A: Front porch containers can have different themes or styles. Many folks go for the evergreen or topiary look, which is very low maintenance. You only need to keep it watered and fertilized occasionally to keep them looking their best. Some of the best plants for this use are Burford holly, dwarf holly, podocarpus, tall junipers and boxwoods. All of these can take the full sun and the heat.

If you want to add some color or pizzazz in the containers, you might try knock out roses, thyrallis or lorapetalum. These bloomers would require a little bit more pruning and care, but the color would be well worth it. The boxwood can be poisonous to dogs. They experience gastric problems if they ingest the leaves. So if you go with the boxwood, make sure the dogs don’t take a bite.

10 Of The Best Palm Trees For South Florida Landscapes

There are more than 2,500 different types of palm trees, and they range in size, height, leaf color, shape, and growing requirements. Before specifying palm trees for any South Florida landscape, we must consider the conditions at the planting location. How much sun does the area receive? Is the planting space near a pool, or situated next to a walkway? What maintenance commitment does the palm tree call for in terms of watering and pruning?

Selecting palm trees also includes thinking about the character of nearby buildings. For example, more formal architecture calls for a different type of palm tree than a Spanish-style residence or modern abode. Also important is the other plants in the landscape and how palm trees will be placed to complement and enhance the overall appearance.

Tim McKernan is manager and head designer at Reef Tropical Landscape, and he previously served as chairman of the South Florida Palm Society. Here, he recommends 10 of the best palm trees for South Florida landscapes.

Best Palm Trees For Full Sun

The interesting shadows cast by palm trees is an attractive side-benefit to the shade some palms provide. Look for denser palm tree varieties. Here are a few suggestions.

Coconut Palm Tree: The coconut palm tree is what many people envision when they think of the quintessential tropical palm. It can grow up to 98 feet tall and has long, wispy leaves that grow in dense bunches, providing ample shade. A note with coconut palm tree care—be sure to properly prune and cut back seeds twice annually, or remove small coconuts to prevent them from falling and potentially causing injury.

African Oil Palm: This palm tree is known for the edible oil its fruit produces, and it’s a great choice in a full-sun South Florida landscape when owners desire more shade. That’s because of its deep-green feathery leaves that appear to spew from the trunk top. (There is no crown shaft.) Its leaves can grow up to 15 feet long. Also, this palm is a medium to fast grower, so you’ll achieve shade more quickly than with other palm tree varieties.

Chinese Fan Palm: The drooping, fan-shaped leaves of the Chinese Fan Palm appear to weep, offering shade. This lower-growing palm tree matures at about 25 feet in height. The interesting fan shape of this palm tree adds texture to the landscape.

Best Palm Trees For Shade

Palm trees that thrive in the jungle’s understory are the varieties you’ll select for shaded areas of your South Florida landscape. These palms naturally thrive with low sunlight. Many shade palm trees perform well indoors, as well. Here are a few varieties you might select for your property.

Rhapis (Lady Palm): The layered Lady Palm grows multiple, thin trunks and fills in with clusters of green fronds. This palm clusters and grows slowly. Not only does it provide privacy screening because of its lush, full display of foliage, it grows strong in full shade.

Red Sealing Wax Palm: The Red Sealing Wax Palm gets its name from the vibrant crown shaft that is the same color as the wax used to seal documents. You’ll also hear this tree referred to ask Lipstick Palm. The red color extends down from the crown at least 3 feet, and it also radiates into the palm shafts. (The remainder of the trunk is green.) Its feather-like palms are emerald on top and lighter green underneath. Red Sealing Wax Palms require lots of water, and they thrive in boggy spots of your South Florida such as in or near water features.

Chamaedorea Palms: Palm trees in the Chamaedorea family are known for their ability to thrive in shaded landscapes and indoors. Within this family are Bamboo Palms, which are great container growers. Leaves range from fine and feathery to thicker, depending on the type of Bamboo Palm. It thrives in well-drained soil, and can withstand temperatures just below freezing. (We rarely see nights like this in South Florida, but it goes to show how hardy Bamboo Palms are.)

Best Palm Trees For The Poolside

When selecting palm trees for the poolside, consider the palm’s sunlight requirements and how much coverage you hope to achieve from the plant. Are you looking for a palm tree that will provide some privacy screening and shade from the sun? Or, do you want a more formal, slender palm that will add structure to the pool area? Palms range in height, growing habit and leaf texture. So, there is a palm tree to suit most any style and a full range of growing conditions. Here are a few poolside palm trees we like.

Buccaneer Palm: This is a great all-around palm tree for South Florida landscapes, including by the poolside. It’s incredibly versatile and thrives in a range of environmental conditions. The native palm is a slow grower and thrives in full sun. Buccaneer Palms require virtually no water, so it is drought-tolerant and low maintenance. Its palms range in color from green to blue-green and silver. They generally reach 10 to 15 feet in height, and their flat, fan-shaped leaves provide coverage from the Florida heat.

Montgomery Palm: This tropical palm tree grows up to 35 feet tall and they are often planted in symmetrical rows to create a border in the Florida landscape. Its palm fronds are stiff, feathered and emerald green. It features a long crown shaft, and the overall stature of the palm tree creates a formal feel.

Best Small Palm Trees

Palm trees can replace hedges and shrubs in the landscape when you select lower-growing varieties. There are hundreds of small palm trees available, and several are particularly successful in South Florida.

Robellini Palm: The Robellini Palm grows 6 to 12 feet tall, making it a perfect-sized plant for landscape bed areas and smaller spaces where a 30- to 50-foot tall palm tree would look out of place. It features a bushy palm crown with fronds that can create an overall span of 10 feet. So while the Robellini might be a small palm tree, it certainly makes an impact. We love the interesting, spiny branches for their texture. However, you might want to avoid placing a Robellini close to pedestrian walkways where someone might accidentally rub up against its trunk.

European Fan Palm: The trunk of the European Fan Palm is somewhat furry, and its pomade-style leaves are fan-like (unlike Robelinni with its feathery leaves). These leaves are green to silver, offering an appealing hue change. The evolving show of color and appealing textures this palm tree bring to the landscape make it a versatile, eye-catching choice if you’re seeking a small palm.

Put The Right Palm In The Right Place On Your South Florida Landscape

As with selecting any type of plant, it’s all about choosing the best variety for your climate and specific location. (Keep in mind, you’ve got micro-climates on your Florida property—areas of shade, full-sun, wind exposure, damper soils and dry spots.) That’s why it’s wise to consult with an experienced landscape professional that can guide you toward the best palm tree for your South Florida landscape.

At Reef Tropical, our head designer is also a palm tree aficionado. (Have a palm tree question—then, ask our own Tim Kernan!) Contact us any time at 305.367.2005, or fill out this simple contact form and we’ll get in touch with you.

Lady Palm

Rhapis excelsa

Lady palm has a layered, almost Oriental look – different from most other South Florida palms.

A graceful palm for garden areas that allow it room to spread out, this palm grows multiple thin trunks topped with fronds like little green umbrellas.

The fronds above are slightly offset from lower ones, so many are visible at the same time to create a lush, layered look.

Even though lady palms are clustering, they grow so slowly they’re easily controlled and won’t get away from you. Their rounded shape gives an appealing formal yet tropical appearance.

You can clean up the base if you like the tall, Oriental umbrella look, or leave the palm full to the ground.

Plant specs

The lady grows slowly to an ultimate height of about 8 to 10 feet. Sun or shade is fine, though in a shady spot, the fronds keep their best deep green color.

Lady palms are moderately cold tolerant – best when grown in Zone 10 or in Zone 9B in a protected area. If your palm suffers any winter damage on existing trunks, new ones will usually appear to replace them (although it takes a while).

These palms are moderately salt-tolerant as well.

Sun OR shade?

When you buy one of these palms, ask at the plant nursery in which light – sun or shade – the palm was grown.

Most are grown in partial to full shade, so if you take it home and plant it in full sun, it may suffer leaf burn and possibly heat wilt as it adapts. Better to buy one grown in the same light where you’ll be planting it.

For ways to help a sun-or-shade plant adjust to a new light condition, see the page on Plant Light Requirements in the Gardening How-To section.

Plant care

Plant with organic peat moss or top soil added to the hole. Water regularly…this palm can suffer damage from going too dry over long periods, though it doesn’t like “wet feet.”

Fertilize during the warmer months of spring, summer and fall, at least once per season.

In a sunnier location, you’ll need to fertilize and water more frequently to keep the palm fronds a healthy green and the plant full.

Trimming is usually only necessary occasionally, most often to clean up any cold damage. In this case, you can cut off browned fronds, and remove dead trunks at ground level…new ones forming will grow up to fill in any gaps left.

Plant spacing

If you’re planting several, they can go as close together as you like.

And this is one palm that can go right up against a house, fence or tree, since it will spread outward from wherever it’s planted.

When you’re placing in a garden area, you can closely surround a lady palm tree with small plants that can be removed later (perennials are a good choice for this) as the palm fills out.

As long as you provide regular watering, containers or planter boxes are perfect homes for these palms since they grow so slowly.

Landscape uses for lady palm

  • as a screen or hedge against walls, fences or along the property line
  • backdrop plant for smaller plants
  • at the entry
  • in beds with a definitive stopping point for the palm – between the house and a walkway, for example
  • under or between trees
  • as a base filler among taller palms
  • in containers

A.K.A. (also known as): Rhapis palm, Raphis palm (a common misspelling of Rhapis)

GOOD SNOWBIRD PLANT? YES (in shaded areas with year-round irrigation)

COMPANION PLANT SUGGESTIONS: Plants that do well in partial sun or shade will be good companions, such as orange bird of paradise, variegated arboricola, star jasmine, heliconia, cordylines, Aztec grass, and pentas.

Other palms you might like: Cat Palm, Bamboo Palm

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These beauties prove you don’t have to live in the tropics to experience the joy of palms:

1. Chinese windmill palm

An elegantly shaped tree, the Chinese windmill palm (Trachycarpus fortunei) is well suited to growing in the subtropics, along with cool and temperate climates. Its beautiful silhouette and graceful fan-like fronds are perfect in a pot or garden setting. Plant in full sun in well-draining soil, and protect from strong winds. Height: 7m


2. Golden cane palm

A popular landscaping plant, the golden cane palm (Dypsis lutescens) is ideal for bringing a tropical feel into your garden or home. Its bright green and gold stems are a stand-out and the dense foliage is perfect for providing that lush verdant look – great for screening. Plant in a large pot and place in a well-lit spot indoors or, if planting outdoors, position in full sun or partshade and plant in organically enriched, well-draining soil. Height: 4m (in garden)


3. Parlour palm

Want to grow small in size but still deliver big impact? The parlour palm (Chamaedorea elegans) is a graceful specimen, with clusters of slender stems and handsome green foliage. Keep it in a pot and place it on the patio, or if planting in the garden, position in part shade in well-draining soil. It makes a great indoor plant too. Height: 2m


4. Lady palm

Graceful, elegant and incredibly attractive. The Lady palm (Rhapis excelsa) is a true lady, with its dark, glossy green stems looking gorgeous on the verandah or under trees in a sheltered spot in the garden. Lady Palm is best planted in a shady spot in moist, well-draining soil, but also grows well indoors. Height: 3–4m


5 Australian fan palm

Forming an attractive clump of large round fan leaves, the Australian fan palm (Licuala ramsayi) is a gorgeous native palm – arguably Australia’s best – that is suited to subtropical and temperate climates. It’s slow-growing and can eventually reach 15m, but will be smaller if kept in pots. Plant in a shady spot, in moist well-draining soil. Height: 15m


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When looking for the best fertilizer for palm trees, there are a few things to keep in mind.

Not only do you need to find one that provides the right balance of nutrients, but you also have to be sure that it delivers them in the right way.

Because of the environment where palms primarily grow, the type of soil and how it interacts with the fertilizer are important factors to consider. Whether your palm is growing outdoors or growing in a pot indoors matters, too.

Here are some things to think about before choosing the right fertilizer for your palm tree.

Palm Tree Fertilizer Requirements

Palm trees usually grow in tropical or subtropical climates where the soil is sandy and rain is plentiful. Nutrients are quickly leached from this type of soil, particularly during heavy rains, which is why fertilizer is so important.

Palm tree fertilizer needs to replace the lost nutrients and maintain them. That’s why it’s really important to use a long-lasting fertilizer for palm trees. It fixes the immediate problem and helps prevent more in the future.

All plants, including palm trees, require a combination of nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus, and other micronutrients. In palm trees, deficiencies of different nutrients present in various ways:

  • Magnesium (Mg). Not enough magnesium presents as yellow or orange leaves on mature trees or deep green leaves in younger trees of new foliage.
  • Potassium (K). A deficiency in potassium can cause leaves to develop yellow or orange spots.
  • Manganese (Mn). Low manganese causes new growth to turn yellow or wither.
  • Iron (Fe). A palm without enough iron will also have yellow leaves, particularly on new growth, though the veins will remain green initially.
  • Nitrogen (N). Nitrogen deficiency presents as a uniform yellowing of the palm leaves.

These deficiencies not only affect the way the plant looks, but they will also eventually kill the palm if not corrected. Using the right type of fertilizer with the right application is really important.

When choosing your fertilizer, the longer-lasting is it, the better. There are some slow-release formulas that are really effective at maintaining the right level of nutrients over time, even if they’re leached away.

These products are available in several forms including granules, liquids, pellets, and spikes. Although they’re applied differently, most are formulated to work over long periods of time. In fact, some only need to be applied twice a year.

The 8 Best Fertilizer for Palm Trees

There are a lot of great options when it comes to palm tree fertilizer. Whether you’re looking for something to use on an outdoor palm or potted plant, here are some of the best.

Pictures Palm Tree Fertilizers Fertilizer Analysis Links
Jobe’s Palm Outdoor Fertilizer Spikes 10-5-10
Jobe’s Organics Palm Tree Fertilizer 4-2-4
Miracle-Gro 3002910 Shake ‘N Feed Continuous Release Palm Plant Food 8-2-12
Jobe’s 05101 Fern & Palm Fertilizer Spikes 16-2-6
Miracle-Gro Fruit & Citrus Fertilizer Spikes 10-15-15
Dr. Earth INC 756P Exotic Exoitc Blend Palm, Tropical & Hibiscus Fertilizer 6-4-6
Carl Pool Palm Food 12-4-12
Palm Tree Liquid Fertilizer HighTech NPK, Root, Soil, Foliar, Fertiliser 8.5-6-9

Best Palm Tree Fertilizer Reviews

1. Jobe’s Palm Outdoor Fertilizer Spikes

These fertilizer spikes from Jobe’s deliver nourishment right to the roots. There’s no wasteful runoff or mess and no harmful odors. All you have to do is insert the spikes twice a year between March and October to deliver a constant supply of nutrients for active root growth.

One package includes five spikes which can be used for multiple plants. For best results, water the area well first. Then, insert the spikes at the drip line using a hammer and the plastic driving cap. Drive the spikes in until they’re about two inches below the soil’s surface.

Make sure spikes are evenly placed around the area and at least 24 inches away from the tree trunk. Because these spikes release nutrients directly to the roots, you don’t have to worry about the fertilizer leaching away when you water.

2. Jobe’s Organics Palm Tree Fertilizer

Jobe’s makes a great fertilizer that works quickly for all types of palm plants. That’s not all, this blend is also USDA certified organic which means it doesn’t contain any synthetic materials.

What makes this fertilizer so effective? Jobe’s Bizome, a microorganism specially formulated by the brand. It aggressively breaks down the nutrients in the soil to deliver faster results. This fertilizer comes in an easy-to-pour bag and should be applied every two to three months.

This product actually improves soil conditions and helps resist disease, drought, and insects. That’s not all, it increases root mass for stronger, heartier plants. It delivers long term results without harsh chemicals and is safe to use around children and pets.

3. Miracle-Gro 3002910 Shake ‘N Feed Continuous Release Palm Plant Food

One of the easiest fertilizers to apply is Shake ‘N Feed by Miracle-Gro. It has the magnesium, iron, and manganese palm trees need to grow strong and lush. Plus, it prevents yellowing and curling of fronds for a heartier look.

You can use this fertilizer anywhere. It’s great for individual trees or those included in your landscaping. You can even use it potted palms.

One of the cool things about this product is it contains compost that feeds the natural microbes in the soil. The microbes break down the nutrients so that they can be absorbed more quickly by the roots. Plants become more water-efficient and grow stronger roots.

All you have to do is shake the applicator so the fertilizer falls within the drip line. Just be sure to avoid contact with the trunk and foliage to avoid damage. Lightly mix the granules into the top layer of the soil and water to begin feeding your palm. Reapply every three months for best results.

4. Jobe’s 05101 Fern & Palm Fertilizer Spikes

If you’re looking for a palm fertilizer specially made for potted plants, take a look at these spikes from Jobe’s.

Potted palms are a little different than those planted outside. They’re not exposed to heavy rain and the nutrients don’t leach away in the same way.

These spikes can be used in pots between four and 12 inches in diameter. The larger the pot, the more spikes you need. Follow the package directions to make sure you’re using the correct amount.

One of the best things about these spikes is they eliminate any mess, hazards, or smells. Each one is premeasured to provide a continuous supply of nutrients, right to the root. One application lasts for up to 60 days.

This package comes with 30 spikes which should last a while, depending on the size and number of potted palms you have. They’re pre-measured, easy to use, and perfect for indoor and container-grown plants.

5. Miracle-Gro Fruit & Citrus Fertilizer Spikes

These fertilizer spikes from Miracle-Gro are great for palm trees as well as citrus and other fruit trees. They release nutrients right into the root zone to promote strength and strong growth.

Application is pretty easy. For best results, use these spikes once in the spring and again in the fall. This provides a long-lasting, continuous release of nutrients to promote lush foliage. Wet the ground slightly before driving the spikes into the ground at least three feet apart from one another.

Use the plastic cap to protect the spike when hammering it into place at least two inches below the top of the soil. Spikes should be placed at the drip line. That said, these spikes should always be placed two feet away from the trunk, even if the drip line is closer.

6. Earth INC 756P Exotic Exotic Blend Palm, Tropical & Hibiscus Fertilizer

Dr. Earth is a great product, especially if you’re looking for something that’s Non-GMO Project Verified. It’s people and pet safe and contains no synthetic chemicals or other toxic ingredients. Plus, it’s sustainably made in the USA.

So, what’s in it? Feed-grade ingredients enriched with multi-minerals, proteins, and trace elements that create healthy soil for growing strong, hearty plants. This blend is ideal for palm trees as well as other tropical and sub-tropical plants.

This product works best when applied every other month from early April until late August. You can actually use it effectively with new trees, use one cup in the planting hole then an additional cup inside the drip line. For established trees, mix ½ to ¾ cup for every foot of plant height.

7. Carl Pool Palm Food

A product that was formulated especially for palm trees is this food from Carl Pool. Specifically, this blend has higher levels of magnesium and manganese that palm trees need.

That’s not all, it also contains three different sources of nitrogen to support both fast growth and long term support.

Because this formula uses insoluble nitrogen, it resists leaching and won’t contaminate groundwater. That’s not all, one application provides three to four months of coverage.

Another great thing about this fertilizer is it can be used for landscape plants, potted plants, or even as a broadcast application. This is a good choice for all palm varieties. In fact, a lot of professional palm growers prefer Carl Pool so you’re bound to see results.

8. Palm Tree Liquid Fertilizer HighTech NPK, Root, Soil, Foliar, Fertiliser

For those who prefer liquid fertilizer, check out this product from Green24. It’s a great choice for palms as well as other tropical and subtropical plants and supports lush green leaves, strong stems, and balanced roots. Just be sure to follow the instructions carefully.

This 250 ml bottle of concentrate makes between 60 to 125 liters of liquid fertilizer. Mixing it is easy, just use the cap to measure out the right amount of concentrate. The final product can be absorbed through the roots or leaves. A spray bottle delivers a quick and easy application.

Detailed instructions are included so you can make sure you mix the right dose. The wrong mix can be very harmful to your palm tree. This formula is compatible with most pesticides and, because it’s so rich, it’s absorbed rapidly. You should see quick results.

What is the Best Fertilizer for Palm Trees?

It’s hard to choose which is the best palm tree fertilizer. It really depends on what your preference, the type of soil your palm is planted in, and the climate.

Jobe’s Fertilizer Spikes for All Outdoor Palm Trees is the best choice for outdoor palms, especially if you prefer fertilizer spikes as opposed to granules or liquids. This package contains five spikes in all and they’re really easy to apply.

The best thing about this fertilizer is it delivers nutrients right to the roots. It absorbs more quickly than granules or other fertilizers that need to be watered in. There’s less chance of leaching, no wasteful runoff, and no harmful odors.

If you’re looking for something organic, try Jobe’s Organics Palm Tree Fertilizer with Biozome. It’s USDA certified and doesn’t contain any synthetic materials. One thing to note is that it doesn’t last quite as long as some other options and should be applied every two to three months.

This organic fertilizer also helps to improve conditions of the soil for the long term and is safe to use around children and pets.

Finally, if you prefer a liquid fertilizer, check out Palm Tree Liquid Fertilizer HighTech NPK, Root, Soil, Foliar, Fertiliser. Mix the concentrated formula as appropriate and apply to roots of leave for fast results.

Remember, pay close attention when mixing concentrated liquids so you don’t end up with something that’s too strong.

When Should You Fertilize a Palm Tree?

As we mentioned, most palm tree fertilizers are long-acting and only need to be applied a few times a year. Each product has its own schedule but here are some general guidelines as to when you should apply fertilizer.

If you’re planting a new palm, it’s usually best to wait until the plant puts out a new spear to add fertilizer unless the label specifically states it’s for new plants. A new spear that comes right from the heart of the bud is an essential growth point for a new plant and signals a healthy plant.

Established plants are a little different. Their nutritional needs can be met by following a yearly schedule but that varies from one product to another. It’s really important to use a fertilizer that’s made especially for palm trees and follow the directions on the package.

Some products only require application twice a year, once in the spring and again in the fall. Others should be applied every two to three months. Generally, how often fertilizer needs to be applied depends on the soil and climate.

In warm climates where the temperature doesn’t go below freezing, palms may need fertilizer up to four times a year. Although they go dormant when the temperature drops, in warm climates, they grow continuously throughout the year and require more nutrients.

Although they’re primarily known for growing in warm or tropical climates, palm trees can grow just about anywhere. If you live in a climate where the temperature regularly goes below freezing, some recommend that you stop fertilizing the plant two months before the first frost.

Continuing to fertilize a palm tree in the winter can encourage the plant to continue growing even though conditions aren’t ideal. This may result in weaker growth and vulnerable leaves.

Another school of thought is that you should fertilize your palm before the cold weather hits. The thinking is that the availability of nutrients can help the plant stay strong over the winter and be ready for growth when the weather warms.

So, should you fertilize in the winter or not? There’s no clear answer either way. Ask people in your area who also have palms if they’ve had success either way before trying it for yourself.

Again, it’s important to read the package and follow the directions for the fertilizer you choose. Each is formulated differently and should be applied according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.

How Much Fertilizer Does a Palm Tree Need?

It’s hard to give an exact amount of fertilizer that a palm tree needs because there are so many variables. It depends on the climate, where the palms are planted, the type of soil, and what fertilizer you choose. Your best bet is to follow the directions on the package.

Remember, in sandy soil, palm trees rely on the nutrients that fertilizer provides. It’s important to follow the directions carefully to make sure your palm gets what it needs to thrive.

It’s always better to under fertilize than over-fertilize so if you’re unsure, start with a low amount and add a little more as needed. There’s no way to correct over-fertilization and it could cause problems long into the future.

How to Fertilize a Palm Tree?

In addition to using the right type and amount of fertilizer, applying it correctly is also really important. Follow the directions on the package carefully because too much fertilizer placed too close to the tree can have disastrous effects.

Most of the time, fertilizer is placed at the drip line – the outer circumference of the branches where water drips to the ground. Spikes are usually driven into the ground at this point and granules are distributed along the drip line as well.

Potted palms are an exception to this rule. They’re a completely different scenario because the soil, roots, and nutrients are contained and leaching isn’t a problem. Salt can accumulate quickly, though, so monitor it closely.

In addition, there are some other important things to keep in mind when fertilizing palm trees. Here are some helpful tips to set you up for success.

1. Only apply fertilizer when the soil is moist and water thoroughly after fertilizing. This helps the nutrients get down to the roots.

2. Don’t fertilize dry soil because the roots can burn easily which can damage or kill the plant.

3. It’s always better to use too little fertilizer than too much. Under-fertilizing can easily be corrected but over-fertilizing could kill the plant.

4. A 3:1:3 NPK ratio with added magnesium and calcium is ideal.

5. Slow-release is better than quick-release for outside palms. It provides long-term coverage and doesn’t need to be reapplied too often.

6. Don’t shy away from different combinations of fertilizer. A slow-release spike fertilizer used with organic granules or a quick-release liquid might do the trick. Just don’t overdo it!

7. Apply mulch over the soil if possible. It helps improve the overall quality of the soil and prevents it from drying out too quickly. Some people even add organic granules over the mulch for added benefits.

8. Granular fertilizer should always be placed at the drip line. Avoid getting too close to the trunk of the tree unless the manufacturer’s instructions indicate otherwise.

9. Don’t fertilize new palms right away. Remember, it’s best to wait for a new spear to develop so you know that the water content is good and there’s less chance of shocking the plant. It can take as long as four to six weeks.

10. If you’re growing your palm in a pot, keep in mind that potted plants have a tendency to collect salt buildup. Check regularly and leach the plant outside if necessary.

11. Store unused fertilizer in a water-tight container. If it gets wet, the nutrients will be leached out and it won’t be as effective.


Remember, there’s more than one way to successfully fertilize a palm tree. There are so many factors that affect how a plant grows which is why it’s so important to choose the best palm tree fertilizer for your unique situation.

A palm tree planted in sandy soil in a tropical climate has different needs than one planted in dense soil in a cool place that goes dormant in the winter. And both of these plants are different than an indoor potted palm.

It’s very important to follow the instructions for the product that you choose. While there are a lot of things that all fertilizers have in common, each is formulated differently. Some are great for potted plants while others can help maintain a healthy palm outside for multiple seasons.

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