Q:

How do you care for a pygmy date palm tree?

A:

Quick Answer

Caring for pygmy date palm trees involves providing moist soil, bright indirect sunlight, fertilizer and temperatures from 65 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Weekly care also involves inspecting the plant for mites, misting its fronds with warm water and removing any dead leaves.

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Full Answer

Maintaining a pygmy date palm requires balancing the need to maintain a moist environment with preventing standing water around its roots. Planting the palm in a pot with drainage holes helps achieve this balance. Additionally, using a water meter or a finger to establish soil dryness to a depth of 2 inches signals the appropriate time to water. A fertilizer designed for palm trees applied according to package directions during active growth provides the nutrients necessary to keep the plant healthy.

Pygmy date palms are tropical and sensitive to changes in sunlight, wind and temperature. Partial shade outdoors and an east-facing window indoors provide consistent light, and a sheltered location away from drafts or wind protects the leaves. Unless within U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones nine to 11, the palms must be over-wintered indoors. In extreme heat, a controlled environment such as a greenhouse prevents damage.

Preventing insect infestation entails inspecting and cleaning the leaves. Using water mist is the best approach because commercial cleaners dry and damage the fronds. Trimming dead fronds diverts energy back to new growth, and removing only brown leaves retains the nutrients stored in the green leaves.

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