How to plant a robellini palm tree

Plant Care & Growing Guide

These dwarf palm trees make great houseplants and landscape accents


Cori Sears

Cori Sears

Cori Sears specializes in houseplants and houseplant care. For more than 10 years, she's been on a mission to transform her urban apartment into an indoor jungle. She's been a contributing writer for The Spruce since 2019.

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Updated on 10/20/21

Reviewed by

Debra LaGattuta

Reviewed by Debra LaGattuta

Debra LaGattuta is a gardening expert with three decades of experience in perennial and flowering plants, container gardening, and raised bed vegetable gardening. She is a Master Gardener and lead gardener in a Plant-A-Row, which is a program that offers thousands of pounds of organically-grown vegetables to local food banks. Debra is a member of The Spruce Gardening and Plant Care Review Board.

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The Spruce / Gyscha Rendy

In This Article

  • Care

  • Pruning

  • Propagating

  • Common Pests & Diseases

Robellini palms are dwarf palm trees that are popular among landscapers and houseplant enthusiasts alike. Their small size makes them versatile and they grow well individually or when planted in clusters. Robellini palms are frequently used as accent plants in landscaping, in containers, and indoors as houseplants. Characterized by graceful fronds that grow between three to five feet long and a thin trunk, robellini palms are sure to add a tropical flair to any space.

 Botanical Name Phoenix roebelenii
Common Name  Robellini palm, pygmy date palm, miniature date palm 
Plant Type Tree
Mature Size  6-12 ft. tall, 5-10 ft. wide 
Sun Exposure  Full sun, partial sun
Soil Type  Moist but well-drained 
Soil pH  Acidic, neutral, alkaline 
Bloom Time  Spring 
Flower Color  Creamy white 
Hardiness Zones  9a, 9b, 10a, 10b, 11a, 11b
Native Area  Asia

Robellini Palm Care

These miniature palms require specific conditions in order to thrive both indoors and outdoors. Generally, robellini palms require warm, humid conditions, regular watering, and consistent sunlight. The robellini palm is dioecious, meaning that individual plants are either male or female; a dioecious plant has either male or female flowers, not both. You must have at least one corresponding male plant growing in or around your landscape for the fruit-bearing female plants to be pollinated. Healthy trees will produce small creamy white flowers in the spring which will eventually develop into miniature dates that are reddish-purple when ripe. These dates are the seed pods of the robellini palm. 

The Spruce / Gyscha Rendy

The Spruce / Gyscha Rendy

The Spruce / Gyscha Rendy

The Spruce / Gyscha Rendy


The amount of light robellini palms require differs if you are growing it indoors or outdoors.

  • Indoors, robellini palms require as much light as possible, ideally at least six hours of direct sunlight each day.
  • Outdoors, the ideal amount of light depends on geographic location. For example, in climates that experience extreme heat and intense ultraviolet rays, such as Florida, robellini palms benefit from protection from the hot afternoon sun. In milder climates, these palms should be planted in a location that receives full sun, at least six hours of direct sunlight each day.


Robellini palms prefer moist, but well-drained soils. This means the soil should have an adequate amount of organic matter which helps to retain moisture but also include plenty of inorganic matter (such as perlite) which helps with drainage. Avoid soil that is either extremely acidic or extremely alkaline. Robellini palms require soil that is acidic to slightly alkaline. A pH meter can be used to measure the soil pH level. If the pH is too high or too low, amend the soil with lime or sulfate to correct the pH.


While robellini palms can tolerate short periods of drought, these palms should be watered regularly so that the soil never dries out completely. Water deeply once the soil has partially dried. Newly-planted robellini palms should be watered daily for the first two weeks to help establish their root systems, after which watering can be reduced to two to three times a week, depending on temperatures. As a general tip, the best time to water robellini palms is during the morning or evening, and you should not water during the hottest times of day.

Temperature and Humidity

Like most palm trees, the robellini palm requires warm, humid conditions. This dwarf palm is not frost-tolerant and is hardy in USDA zones 9 to 11. If you live in an area that experiences cold winters, grow your robellini palm in a container so that it can be moved indoors during the winter months. If you are growing your robellini palm indoors, be sure to keep it away from drafty vents or air conditioners.


Robellini palm trees benefit from regular fertilization. Mature trees should be fertilized three times a year with a balanced fertilizer designed for palms. Younger trees and seedlings should be fertilized once a month to help encourage strong growth.


Robellini palms can benefit from occasional pruning, however, it is important that the pruning is done correctly so as to not damage the health of the plant. For most gardeners, it is best to contact a landscaper that specializes in palm tree pruning and have the tree professionally pruned.  

Propagating Robellini Palms

Propagating robellini palms is easy if the mother plant is producing suckers, or offshoots. Separate the suckers from the base of the mother plant, being sure to keep as many of the roots intact as possible. Place the new plant in a small pot with a moist but well-draining potting mix and place it in a location that receives bright but indirect sunlight. After a couple of months, the new plant can be moved to a location that receives brighter sunlight.

Common Pests & Diseases

Robellini palms are susceptible to a few common pests including scale and spider mites. Spider mite infestations can be identified by yellow discoloration and de-pigmentation on the leaves of the plant, as well as webbing between the leaves. Treat spider mite infestations with insecticidal soap until the pests are gone. 

Scale infestations can be identified by the sticky sap substance that they leave behind on the stems and backs of the leaves. Treat scale infestations with rubbing alcohol and a Q-tip to remove scale insects from the plant.

Robellini Palm Gardening Guide - 101 Tips and Tools

The Robellini Palm Tree is a favorite among landscapers looking for a beautiful tropical plant that doesn’t grow too big.

The Robellini Palm is easy to care for in many growing regions that don’t freeze. The bright green foliage and graceful trunk of the Robellini Palm creates an exotic garden atmosphere, particularly when the palms are planted together or in containers.

This article will explore the key information you need to grow healthy and strong Robellini Palm Trees. You will learn how to spot potential health problems before the palm is too sick or injured to recover so you will get many years of enjoyment from your landscape.


  • Robellini Palm Care
    • Plant Where Palms are Happy
    • Protecting Robellini Palm Trees
  • Robellini Palm Size and Fruit
  • Care of Robellini Palm Planting
    • Robellini Palm Temperature and Sunlight Information
    • Soil Conditions for Robellini Palm Trees
  • How to Water a Robellini Palm
  • Can Robellini Palms Grow in Containers?
  • Robellini Palm Diseases
    • Fungal Infections
    • Leaf Spot Fungus
    • Pestalotiopsis Fungus
    • Insect Infestations
  • Conclusion

Robellini Palm Care

The Robellini Palm is relatively easy to care for when you know the proper methods professionals use to keep these tropical plants thriving. There are a few key things to consider when deciding to choose the Robellini Palm for your landscaped garden.

Plant Where Palms are Happy

Like most palm trees, the Robellini Palm originates in tropical and subtropical regions of the world, most specifically East Asia. Robellini Palm size is considerably smaller than most palms. When planted in soil, it may grow up to 10 feet, but the Robellini Palm usually won’t grow taller than six feet in a container.

Robellini Palms are considered cold hardy to USDA zone 10A, but are frequently grown in zone 9B. Robellini Palms can be found throughout the American South and Southwest, and are popular in states like Florida and Arizona. Lots of people in colder zones have success with Robellini Palms grown in containers that can be moved indoors during the cold months.

Many people have grown Robellini Palm Trees in zones that regularly have temperatures that drop below 25-30 degrees Fahrenheit, the coldest temperatures the plant can handle. While some mature plants may be able to withstand brief temperature drops, the Robellini Palm will be harmed.

Protecting Robellini Palm Trees

To prevent Robellini Palms from being damaged by cold weather you will need to take a few steps to keep them healthy when the weather is not cooperating. One thing that you can do is to use a spray-on product that protects plants from frost. It’s also a good idea to water thoroughly before a frost. A thick layer of mulch around the base of the tree will also help to prevent damage from frost.

When temperatures are excessive, your Robellini Palm will tolerate the temperature for a while, but you should ensure the soil remains well watered. It’s a good idea to use shade cloth or another method of preventing excessive heat which can cause the leaves of a Robellini Palm to burn and curl up.

Robellini Palm Size and Fruit

The plant is frequently called Pygmy Date Palm or Miniature Date Palm because of its short stature, but these plants also have a large canopy of leaves that can grow to a diameter of five feet.

Robellini Palm Trees produce fruit similar to other date palm varieties, only smaller. Robellini Palms produce creamy white flowers in clusters in the spring. The flowers will develop into miniature dates that begin dark purple to black and are reddish-purple when ripe. The fruits are the Robellini Palm seed pods. They are edible and have thin skin and a large pit.

Robellini Palm Trees are slow-growing and will often take five to seven years to reach maturity. Seeds also take a long time to germinate, typically requiring three to six months. Sprouts are similar to other palms with a single blade of the grass-type shoot.

Care of Robellini Palm Planting

When planting a Robellini Palm Tree, you will need to take into consideration the size of the tree, not just its height but also the spread of leaves. Because these palms don’t get very tall, leaves may obstruct walkways when the palm is planted too close.

Robellini Palms also have sharp thorns that can cause injury simply by brushing up against them, so it’s a good idea to give them some room when you plant.

Robellini Palm Temperature and Sunlight Information

The Robellini Palm enjoys full sun to part shade growing environment, but can’t tolerate freezing temperatures. Place the Robellini Palm so that it receives between two and six hours of daylight year-round.

It’s best to plant this palm in an area where it isn’t exposed to late afternoon sun, particularly in hot environments.

Soil Conditions for Robellini Palm Trees

When you choose a location to plant your Robellini Palm Tree, you’ll want to pick a spot with good draining soil. Robellini Palms can’t tolerate soggy soil or standing water which causes root rot and stunt the growth of the plant. These palms prefer soil with plenty of loam, which you can improve by adding sand, perlite, or compost to your soil.

The Robellini Palm lives best in slightly acidic to slightly alkaline soil. The best type of fertilizer for your Robellini Palm is one that is intended for palm trees. A slow-release fertilizer is the best type to use, and the plant should be fertilized every three months.

How to Water a Robellini Palm

The best way to water a Robellini Palm is to set a garden hose on a low volume and allow the soil to soak. You don’t want the soil to dry out completely between waterings, as this will stunt the Robellini Palm growth rate. You can use a test meter like this one from Vivosun to measure the amount of water, light, and even the pH of your soil to maximize the health of your Robellini Palm Tree.

Can Robellini Palms Grow in Containers?

The Robellini Palm is a perfect candidate for container planting because of its relatively small size. Robellini Palms tend to grow best when they are somewhat root bound, which makes container planting an ideal solution.

The key to successfully growing the Robellini Palm in a container is to make sure you don’t overwater and provide regular fertilizer since the plant’s roots won’t be able to get nutrients from the soil.

Robellini Palm Diseases

Robellini Palms don’t suffer from many types of diseases or pests. Understanding what caused your Robellini Palm to turn yellow, or why your Robellini Palm growth rate is slow can help you to identify some of the common diseases.

Fungal Infections

One of the more common ailments Robellini Palms suffer from is fungal infections. The palm is susceptible to bud rot, a fungus that attacks newly-forming leaves and can spread to the trunk and roots.

Bud rot can be the cause of Robellini Palm turning yellow and can cause the palm to stop growing. Bud rot is typically caused by overwatering, particularly when water is allowed to gather on the crown and trunk. Fungal growth is most common in hot, humid environments.

Overwatering and poor drainage can also cause a fungal infection in the roots called root rot. This fungus kills the roots, preventing the Robellini Palm from getting the nutrients the plant requires for proper health and growth. You can prevent root rot by ensuring your Robellini Palm has excellent drainage and isn’t getting overwatered.

Leaf Spot Fungus

This disease attacks the leaves or fronds of the Robellini Palm. Leaf Spot Fungus looks like small pustules on the fronds, and it may cause the Robellini Palm to turn yellow.

There is a wide range of causes of Leaf Spot Fungus, and the easiest way to treat the disease is with over-the-counter antifungal products. If left untreated, Leaf Spot Fungus will infect the entire plant, eventually killing it.

Pestalotiopsis Fungus

This fungus looks similar to Leaf Spot Fungus in its early stages. Spots appear first on the fronds of the Robellini Palm that can appear yellow, brown, or black. As the fungal infection spreads, the spots will grow and often develop a black ring

Left untreated, Pestalotiopsis Fungus will infect the Robellini bud, causing rot and inhibiting the Robellini Palm growth rate. Carefully pruning infected leaves and the use of an antifungal treatment can stop the growth of this fungus.

Insect Infestations

Palm trees are generally resistant to many types of common insects that damage other ornamental plants. A common insect that attacks Robellini Palm Trees is called scale. These small, primarily immobile insects attach to the fronds of the palm. Only juvenile and female scale insects feed, but they can cause the entire Robellini Palm to die if not treated.

Treating scale is best done with an approved insecticide specifically formulated to kill scale on palm leaves. Treat the plant in its least active growing season, ensuring the fronds are completely sprayed on top and bottom. The bud and trunk must also get thorough spraying of insecticide to kill adult male scale insects. The female and nymphal scale insects do not move, but adult male scale insects do not feed.

Other less common insects include caterpillars, weevils, and mealybugs. These insects should be controllable with pesticides. Keep in mind that the young leaves of the Robellini Date Palm are typically covered in a thin, whitish fuzz often mistaken for insect infestation.


Robellini Palm Trees are a great landscaping tree that grows slowly and doesn’t get very big. They thrive in hot, humid environments provided fungus and insect infestations are prevented. The Robellini Palm does well in containers and makes an attractive, low maintenance house plant that rarely gets larger than five feet tall indoors. The red Robellini Palm seed pods are edible when ripe.

Growing beautiful Robellini Palm Trees is easier than you might think. In fact, these are great plants to help create a tropical environment in your landscaping. They grow well in clusters and also look great when grown near larger species of palm trees to add color and definition.


  • Robellini palms are popular accent plants in landscaping.
  • Robellini palms are popular because of their small size relative to other palms.
  • Robellini palm trees grow well in hot conditions but can’t tolerate freezing weather.
  • Robellini palms should be watered deeply and allowed to dry out between waterings.
  • Palms are resistant to many insects and diseases.
  • Robellini palms are ideal in containers.
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Date Robelin - care at home.

Robelin date cultivation, transplantation and reproduction. Description. Photo

Roebelin date (Phoenix roebelenii) grows wild in southern China, India and Laos on moist forest soils and in climates with high levels of humidity. This beautiful exotic plant belongs to the Palm family and is a two or three-meter tree with a thin straight trunk with a bumpy surface in its lower part and a lush bunch of openwork leaves at the top. Half-meter or meter dark green leaves with a silvery tint have an arcuate curved shape, and at a young age their surface is covered with a powdery coating of white. The palm tree blooms with small yellow flowers. Edible black oval-shaped fruits have an unpleasant taste and reach a length of only about one centimeter.

1 Breeding for the dates of Robelin at home

1.1 Location and lighting

1.2 Temperature

1.3 Watering

1.4 Air humidity

1.6 Feeding and fertilizers

1.7 Pruning

2 2 Propagation of Robelin date

3 Diseases and pests

4 Date palm - home care (video)

Care of date Robelin at home

As a houseplant, the Robelin date palm is considered a rather capricious flower and requires special attention and strict adherence to all rules of care and maintenance.

Location and lighting

The growing area should be well lit or close to a light source. Robelin date can grow in semi-shade conditions and in full sun. During short daylight hours, additional lighting with phytolamps can be used. In order for the crown to have a symmetrical beautiful shape, it is recommended from time to time to turn the container with the plant in different directions towards the light.


Robelin date is one of the most heat-loving types of palm trees, which react negatively to cold ventilation and drafts in the winter months, but also do not welcome close proximity to hot central heating radiators.

The most favorable temperature in summer and spring is 20-25 degrees Celsius, in autumn and winter - 15-18 degrees Celsius.


Each subsequent watering is recommended only after the soil surface has dried out by about 2-3 cm. Robelin dates love moisture, so watering should be plentiful, but not excessive. Excess water will stagnate in the pot and lead to root rot.


It is not possible to grow a date in a room or apartment with dry air, as it prefers only high humidity. You can maintain such a high level with the help of household air humidifiers, as well as regular daily spraying in the morning and evening (or a plentiful shower - 1 time per day). For water procedures of this type, it is recommended to use only boiled water with a temperature of about 25 degrees Celsius.


When purchasing a ready-made soil mixture for palm crops, it should be borne in mind that such mixtures do not have sufficient nutritional value and a new soil will soon be required. It is better to immediately prepare a high-quality and nutritious substrate. This will require two parts of humus-leaf and sod land, one part of rotted manure, peat land and coarse river sand. Before laying the substrate in a flower pot, do not forget about a reliable drainage layer of expanded clay, which will not allow excess water to stagnate.

When transplanting a large adult plant into a new flower container, it is recommended to put a decent weight on the bottom, which will not allow the palm to tip over under its weight.

Top dressing and fertilizers

Complex mineral fertilizers are recommended to be applied in liquid form, the period of top dressing is every 10-15 days from March to November.


Robelin dates houseplant can be repotted in any season except autumn. Autumn transplantation will lead to the death of the culture. This process itself is recommended to be carried out only in case of emergency, since the palm reacts negatively to it and the root system is easily damaged. Florists advise transplanting only because of the age of the room culture, which no longer fits in the old flower container. It is very important to keep the earth clod safe and sound. This will help to put a minimum of stress on the plant and further reduce the time for the adaptation of the flower in a new place.

Indoor flower growers recommend re-potting the top layer of potting soil every year. To do this, a layer of earth from 3 to 10 cm is removed, and a fresh nutrient substrate is poured in its place.


Pruning should only be done on the lower dried or old leaves, which spoil the decorative effect of the Robelin date. At the base of each petiole there are sharp long spikes, this must be taken into account during the procedure.

Robelin date propagation

Robelin dates are most commonly propagated from seeds. Since this culture belongs to slow-growing plants, it will be possible to see a large seed-grown date palm only after a few years.

Diseases and pests

Pests such as spider mites, aphids, scale insects and mealybugs require appropriate targeted or general purpose insecticides. It is recommended to use them strictly according to the instructions on the package.

Robelin dates are resistant to infectious diseases. One of the possible diseases may be drying of the tips of the leaves. The disease is associated with non-compliance with the rules of care and maintenance. In particular, the tips of the leaves begin to dry in conditions of dry indoor air or high air temperature.

Note to the florist!

Houseplant lovers with little experience may hear about multi-stemmed dates that do not actually exist. Such stem branching or "multi-stemming" can be created artificially during the planting of young crops. By planting several specimens in one flower pot at once, and placing them very close to each other, you can get such an unusual Robelin date with several trunks. Such a beautiful illusion is created by the adjoining trunks of palm trees.

Date palm care at home (video)

Date palm care at home

Watch this video on YouTube

Houseplants Palm trees

home care, photo


  • Short description
  • Characteristic
    • Features
  • Plant use
  • Care instructions

An exotic tree is Robelini's date, or Robelin's date in another way. It is a dwarf evergreen palm. Due to its small size, beautiful appearance and tasty and healthy fruits, this date palm is often grown at home. Planting and caring for her is easy, so she is becoming more and more popular.

Robelin date - spectacular ornamental plant

Short description

Robelin date is native to China, Laos and Vietnam. It can reach a height of 3.6 m. The trunk with a diameter of up to 15 cm tapers to the top and is covered with leaves, they are usually almost all removed and remain only on the upper part. Leaves up to 1.2 m long grow in two rows. Inflorescences arise among the leaves and reach 45 cm in length, male or female inflorescences appear on individual plants. Ripe purple fruits are about 4 cm in size. This palm tree blooms and bears fruit throughout the year.

Robelin date palm is the botanical name of the plant, there are other names: miniature date palm and Pygmy date palm. The name of the species comes from the plant collector Carl Roebelin (1855-1927), who discovered it in Laos.

Robelin date is often found in Vietnam, China and Laos


An ordinary date palm can grow up to 30 meters, therefore, due to its small size, the Robelin date is called miniature. A plant of the genus Date from the Palm family. It can be found in Western Asia and North Africa. In the Philippines, dates are grown as ornamental plants. Consider a detailed description of this type of palm tree.

Plant elements Characteristic
Barrel Thin, with distinct petioles.
Leaves Long-petiolate, narrow-lanceolate, hard to the touch, dark green to greyish bluish, evergreen. Straight, grow in two rows. Longer at the base with a gradual decrease towards the top
Inflorescence Produced among leaves with one bract at the base
Flowers Small, pale yellow, appearing separately in summer
Fruits Cylindrical or oblong-ellipsoid, with edible pulp

Robelin date usually grows up to 2 m in the first years, and after 10-20 years of life it can become higher than 2. 5 m. in greenhouses, greenhouses and indoors and subtropical dates.

Palm flowers are light yellow


Robelin date palm has many useful properties. Plant components can be used for various purposes (fruits, seeds, flowers and pollen). Dates are not only tasty, but also nutritious. The usefulness of the fruit is as follows:

  • high in calories with important minerals and vitamins;
  • high magnesium content; natural source of folic acid;
  • fruits contain a lot of carbohydrates (sugar - 44-88%, fat - 0.2-0.5%, protein - 2.3-5.6%), 15 types of salts and minerals, vitamins and a high percentage of dietary fiber 6, 4-11.5%;
  • fruits contain 0.2-0.5% oil, and stones 7.7-9.7% oil;
  • in the pulp are minerals: boron, calcium, cobalt, copper, fluorine, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, phosphorus, sodium and zinc, elemental fluorine and selenium;
  • dates contain at least 5 vitamins including C, B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), nicotinic acid (niacin) and vitamin A.

Robelin date fruits form phenolic compounds with the release of cinnamic acids, which are used in the perfume industry and in the production of certain pharmacological preparations and flavonoids (flavones, flavanols and flavanones), which are used as natural dyes and food antioxidants and have an antibacterial effect.

Date tissues contain tannins, saponins, sterols or triterpenes, alkaloids and coumarins (in stems, leaves, pollen and fruits).

Date fruits are rich in nutrients

Plant use

The fruit of this date palm is used as a medicinal tonic, aphrodisiac, antioxidant, and the flowers are used as a laxative. In the Philippines, dates are used in folk medicine. They are used to treat fever, colds, cystitis, edema, sore throats, liver cancer, low sperm count.

Date stones are ground into a paste and used to relieve gum pain and to treat diarrhea.

The roots of the plant are used in the treatment of toothache. Different parts of the date palm are used as animal feed. They affect the increase in height, which is explained by an increase in the level of estrogen or testosterone in plasma.

The Egyptians are known to have used date pollen to improve fertility in women. Middle Easterners still consume these fruits in the morning on an empty stomach to flush out all the toxins from the body. In Tunisia, they are used to prevent constipation.

Watch this YouTube video

Care instructions

Robelin dates are grown from seed, planted in the spring at a temperature of 19-24°C. Caring for a date palm is easy. It doesn't require pruning. It may be necessary to remove yellowed or dried leaves. It is better to plant this plant in loamy compost, other types of soils are also suitable: chalky, sandy, clay. Ideally use potting mix. Soil acidity should be neutral.

Place for the palm tree should be chosen brightly lit, but with a shadow, so that the plant is not under the intense influence of the hot sun.

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