How to water a palm tree


How to Care for Your Indoor Palm Tree

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Nothing screams "tropical houseplant" quite like Palm Tree. Learn how to care for your indoor Palm Tree (

yes, you need to do your best to keep this plant alive because it's pretty pricey).

Palm Tree or Arecaceae is one of the most popular indoor plants if you want to bring a lush, tropical look to your home. Aside from its attractive look, which can complement any decor, it can also grow in low-light spaces, it's low maintenance, and tough to kill. I guess the only con of this plant is some of its types are pretty pricey, so if you're planning to get one, you need to do your best to keep this plant alive.

Fun Fact: Palm Tree has been a popular houseplant since the Victorian era because of its versatility to adapt to indoor conditions.


CREDIT: ALONDA BAIRD / THE SPRUCE

One of the best indoor Palm Tree types is the Areca palm or also known as bamboo plants, which originated in Madagascar. It can grow from 6-8 feet, and it prefers a warm climate. There are about more than 2,600 species of Palm Trees today, with each variety having different care requirements. However, in general, indoor Palm Tree prefers bright, indirect light, a humid environment, and needs to be watered up to once or twice a week.

Botanical Name Arecaceae
Common Name Palm Tree
Plant Size Indoors: 6-8 feet, Natural Habitat: 80-100 feet
Types of Palm Plants Areca Palm, Bamboo Palm, Canary Island Date Palm, Cascade Palm, Chinese Fan Palm, European Fan Palm, Fishtail Palm, Kentia Palm, Lady Palm, Majesty Palm, Parlor Palm, Ponytail Palm, Pygmy Date Palm, Sago Palm, and Yucca Palm
Sunlight Palm Tree prefers bright filtered light, but it can also thrive in low light areas.
Water A new indoor Palm Tree should be watered every day in its first week. Next, move to every other day in its second week. Then settle for 3 times a week on the third. Once your indoor Palm Tree is completely settled, water it 2-3 times per week, or when the top 1-2 inches of the soil is completely dry.
Humidity Your indoor Palm Tree will thrive in average household humidity, but it's best if you mist it often, place it near a humidifier, or use a pebble tray.
Temperature It prefers average room temperatures between 60–80°F.
Toxicity Some Palm Tree types are toxic to humans and pets.
Food Feed your indoor Palm Tree regularly during the growing season with a water-soluble fertilizer.
Pests and Problems Indoor Palm Trees are prone to common bugs like mealybugs, scale insects, and spider mites. To eliminate these insects, use an insecticidal soap with warm water. Also, your indoor Palm Tree is prone to potassium deficiency. Treat it with a controlled-release potassium supplement.
Omysa Plant Care Tip Mist your indoor Palm Tree a few times a week to promote growth and prevent pest infestations.

CREDIT: ALONDA BAIRD / THE SPRUCE

Indoor Palm Plant Care Tips

To keep your indoor Palm Tree alive and healthy, you need to do proper research because each type requires different care. Some plants prefer shade and a more humid, darker environment. Some plants may need fertilizer. Also, it's best to place your indoor Palm Tree in a spot where there's not too much traffic brushing against or pulling on the fronds because this will weaken the plant. Keep in mind that you can never top-trim a Palm Tree because it will die.

Here's everything else you need to know on how to care for your indoor Palm Tree, from sunlight requirement to common problems and its solutions.

Sunlight

First, on our list on how to care for your indoor Palm Tree is to place it in a spot where it can receive bright, indirect light. However, it can also tolerate low-light conditions, especially during the winter. Do not place your indoor Palm Tree under direct sunlight because too much direct light can kill your plant.

Common Problem: If the leaves on your indoor Palm Tree are turning yellow, this means it’s not receiving the right amount of light.

Solution: Yes, your indoor Palm Tree can tolerate less light, but if the area is too dark, it will stop growing, and leaves will start to turn yellow since there's not enough light to support photosynthesis. It's best if you can put it in an area where it can get medium to bright, indirect light.

Water

Next on our list on how to care for your indoor Palm Tree is to water it when the top 1-2 inches of the soil is completely dry. Usually, this could be 2-3 times per week. Also, keep in mind that good drainage is important for your indoor Palm Tree. Never let your plant's root ball sit in water since this could lead to its death.

Common Problem: If the leaves on your indoor Palm Tree are turning brown or yellow, this means inconsistent watering or unfiltered tap water.

Solution: Inconsistent watering can create stress for your indoor Palm Tree, especially if the soil is bone dry. It's best if you can create a watering schedule. Also, check if the soil feels dry. If it is, then water your plant accordingly.

Another cause could be the quality of the water you're using. Tap water is not suitable for plants because it contains salts, chlorine, minerals, and fluoride, which causes the tips of the leaves to burn, curl up, and turn brown. Filter the water by either using a water filtration system or by leaving the water in an open container overnight.

Humidity & Temperature

Adding to our list on how to care for your indoor Palm Tree is to place it in a spot with normal room temperatures between 60–80°F. Your indoor Palm Tree can thrive amazingly well in average humidity, but it's recommended to mist it often, place it near a humidifier, or use a pebble tray to prevent insect infestations.

Common Problem: If the leaves on your indoor Palm Tree are turning yellow, this means that the area has low humidity, and the plant's soil is completely dry.

Solution: If possible, get a humidifier for your plant. This is the best solution and also recommended by experts. Regular misting a few times a week will also do the job. Avoid cold drafts, air conditioning vents, doors, and sudden temperature changes to keep your indoor Palm Tree happy and healthy.

Toxicity

Some Palm Tree types are toxic to humans and pets.

Food

Another on our list on how to care for your indoor Palm Tree is to feed it with a water-soluble fertilizer regularly during the growing season. Also, give your plant extra potassium and manganese since Palm plants are prone to potassium deficiency. The main sign that your plant has this disease when its fronds are turning brown or yellow.

Common Problem: When the leaves are turning brown, this could be due to excessive fertilizing.

Solution: Fertilizer burn or plant burn is the result of applying too much fertilizer to your indoor Palm Tree. Fertilizer contains salts, which draw moisture out of plants. Remember, anything too much is bad for your plant. To avoid plant burn, it’s best to follow the recommended amount of fertilizer and schedule.

Pests & Other Problems

Your indoor Palm Tree is prone to common bugs like mealybugs, scale insects, and spider mites. To eliminate these insects, use an insecticidal soap.

That's a wrap on how to care for your indoor Palm Tree. Again, each type requires different care, so it's important to check the plant's label. However, in general, if you have a Palm plant in your home, this guide could give you an idea regarding how to keep it alive and healthy.

Grow your plant knowledge. Check out our Plant Care blog to learn more about different houseplants and tips on how to keep your plants alive and healthy.

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How To Fertilize and Water a Palm Tree from the Experts at Wilson Bros Gardens

Palms are very easy to grow when planted in the right spot and cared for properly. Before planting a palm outdoors, make sure to select a variety that is hardy in your USDA Zone. These zones are listed on every individual plant page in Wilson Bros Gardens. 

The most important factor in growing a healthy palm tree is good soil. The type of soil determines how much nutrients and water the plant receives.

The best contribution you can make to your palm tree's soil is the addition of beneficial mycorrhizal fungi. These fungi exist naturally in most soils that haven't been disturbed by tilling or treated with chemicals and chemical fertilizers. The word "mycorrhiza" comes from the Greek language and literally means "fungus roots." You may not know it but mycorrhizal fungi are a crucial part of the health of 95% of the plants growing throughout the world. Organic compost is a good source of fungi. When planting a palm, be sure to add some to the backfill mixture.

Fertilizing Instructions

A vital component of palm tree care is proper fertilization. 

Newly Planted Palms

Newly planted palms should not be fertilized until after they put out a new spear. That being said, if you live in a region where temperatures drop below freezing during winter, cease fertilization two months prior to the average first-frost date in your area. 

What kind of fertilizer for palms?

Palm trees nutritional needs are easily met by following a yearly fertilization program. Mature palms in the landscape should be fertilized with a complete, granular, palm tree fertilizer, specially formulated for palms and containing all the essential elements and manganese: a mineral that helps prevent yellowing and necrosis between the leaf veins and a reduction in leaf size. Follow application instructions on the package. 

When to apply fertilizer to palms?

In regions where temperatures do not drop below freezing, 3 to 4 applications of a palm fertilizer are recommended to provide a constant supply of nutrients during the growing season. Be sure to only fertilize during the growing season (end of March through end of October). If you are using slow release fertilizer, apply it twice a year.

In regions where temperatures drop below freezing, two applications of fertilizer are recommended. Make the first application in spring when all chances of frost have passed. Make the second application in early to mid-summer. Cease fertilization two months prior to the average first frost date in your area. 

How To Water a Palm Tree

Properly watering your palm trees is very important. As specific palms have different needs, you'll want to know the exact requirements of your specific palm. 

Here are some general tips:

First, watering your palm every day will usually do more harm that good. Deep soaking every day will often oversaturate the soil, which can cause root rot and other harmful diseases. Splashing just a little water on plants every day does little to provide the roots of plants the water they need. 

Deep soaking is a process where you'll slowly apply water so that it soaks deep down into the soil around the roots of the plant. When my palms need water, I use a drip hose for about 1 to 2 hours depending on the season. Drip irrigation gives this Georgia clay-based soil time to absorb the water. 

So, know that when your palm does need water, it's better to deep soak than to just splash a little water on or around the plant. But don't deep soak every day!  

How to know when a palm needs water?

Allow the soil to dry somewhat between waterings. In general, whether you're watering palms in garden beds or containers, if you use the finger-test to check the soil to a depth of at least a couple inches each time before you water, you'll soon develop a feel for when water is needed. If the soil is dry, provide water. If moist, no watering is needed. Err on the side of watering less, not too much, as it's much easier to kill a palm by overwatering than by underwatering.

How much water?

Newly planted palms

A new palm should be watered everyday on its first week, switch to every other day the following and then settle for 3 times a week on the third. Then water as normal for established plants.

Established plants

For more established palms, watering should be done only 2-3 times per week, and this is only in the absence of rainfall. Most palms will only require watering only if the top 2 inches or so of the soil has dried out.

Adjust watering levels based on the season

Palms do most of their growing during the summer's warm months so they will need a lot of moisture to keep up with the expelling of energy they require to grow. In the absence of rainfall, water frequently during this period to maintain moisture content just below the surface.

Palms grow very little during winter and won't need nearly as much water. Palms need all the warmth they can get during the winter and watering tends to cool the soil. So, water only on occasion during the cool season if there has been little rainfall.

Overwatering can kill

Oversaturated soil can cause root rot and other harmful and deadly plant diseases. There is little that can be done to remedy root rot, especially in its advanced stages and it is very difficult to detect. Be sure to know what your palms specific water requirements are in order to prevent this from happening.

Best time to water

The best time for watering is in the early mornings or late afternoons in summer and earlier in the day during winter.

Avoid splashing water on fronds during the afternoon hours as this can cause sunburn. Early mornings are ideal because it ensures that the soil will stay moist even as the sun is hottest.

Water in late afternoon will help to cool your palm down some after a hot summer day.

Related Articles from Our Experts

  • Planting a Palm Tree >
  • Pruning a Palm Tree >

How often to water a house palm tree in a pot at home?

Growing palm trees at home is a responsible procedure that requires certain knowledge and skills from the florist. You need to know the requirements for maintaining a tree, because despite its unpretentiousness, it can start to hurt and develop poorly if you do not follow it at all. When ordering a finished plant, you will partially save yourself from most of the difficulties in the first stages, since the indoor palm flower will already be planted in a pot equipped with automatic watering. This is very convenient for beginner florists who have no experience.

Contents:

1.How to water a palm tree immediately after purchase?

2. Watering an adult palm tree

3. What water to water?

4. Diseases due to excessive watering

The main thing in care is timely and correct watering. For him, you need to use only good water and do not skip the schedule of procedures. If the tree is properly cared for, it will be able to grow, develop, and soon even begin to bloom. In this article we will talk about care features and tell you how to water a palm tree at home.

How to water a palm tree immediately after purchase?

This is a very individual question, since right after the purchase the palm tree will need good care. You should ask the florist about how the plant was monitored and take the necessary measures in order to provide the tree with proper comfort. Here, much depends on watering, which should be timely and not particularly plentiful.

Here are some tips.

  • after purchase, inspect the soil, if it is very wet, postpone watering for 2-3 days;
  • in the summer, the “recruit” is watered immediately, as soon as they are brought home and then after 3-4 days;
  • in the warm season, the leaves are additionally sprayed with a spray gun;
  • in winter, the first moistening of the soil can be carried out after 5-7 days, then watered every 7-10 days;
  • in addition to water, specialized top dressings from the store are introduced into the soil in summer.

Immediately after purchase, it is better to quarantine the palm tree for 2 weeks, isolating it from other plants. This is a reasonable precaution so as not to infect other flora in case the tree is sick with something. Even with the worst outcome, you will have to treat one plant, not the entire home garden.

Watering an adult palm tree

Once the plant has adapted, you can proceed to further care for it, providing it with good moisture:

  • Water the palm tree in moderate dosages to moisten the topsoil. Water is added in small portions around the entire periphery of the pot.
  • In summer, the tree is moistened 2-3 times a week, in winter - once every 7-10 days. It is necessary to strictly maintain the intervals between these procedures.
  • If the room is stuffy, moisten the leaves. For adult trees, it is enough to use a cloth dipped in water, but for young ladies, a spray bottle is suitable. Spraying is carried out daily.
  • Be sure to use a planter with drainage holes, without them it is very difficult to control watering. At the bottom of the pot, you need to lay expanded clay, crushed stone or any other stones, then sprinkle with sand. The soil is already poured from above, so all excess moisture will merge from it.
  • For effective watering, create good conditions for the palm - choose a lighted place, but without direct sunlight. Avoid cold, drafts and maintain the optimum temperature: +25-30℃ in summer and +15-17℃ in winter.

According to these rules, the palm tree is constantly looked after, watching the tree. If watering is moderate and correct, then the plant will develop perfectly. Much depends on the temperature, it affects the evaporation of water. Since it is higher in summer, the soil is watered more often, and the leaves are additionally sprayed.

What water to use?

Samples from the tap should not be used, they can cause serious harm because they contain chorus and other harmful substances. Ideally, collect rainwater, which must additionally be settled. For irrigation, only clean liquid is used, the sediment is quite dangerous for the soil. You can purchase a small pitcher to provide metered watering.

If it is not possible to collect rainwater, you can use ordinary, but filtered water. It must also be defended, and then poured into a container, the sediment is also not used. We observe the multiplicity according to the recommendations that were described above.

It is forbidden to use melt water from snow collected on the street. It also contains many impurities that can harm the palm. Follow these rules and the tree will receive a sufficient amount of moisture that is useful for growth.

Diseases due to excessive watering

Excessive watering can seriously harm the palm tree, because it does not like excess moisture. Irrigation must be carried out on time, without missing the frequency of procedures, but at the same time without flooding the soil. Moisture is introduced moderately, the intervals recommended by florists are strictly observed.

The table shows signs of palm diseases due to excessive watering:

Mold growth Due to waterlogging of the soil, a white coating first appears on its surface, which can gradually spread to the entire surface of the soil. If nothing is done, the mold will damage the stem.
Root rot Due to damage to the roots, the stem begins to rot, which can lead to wilting and even death of the tree.
Attack brown The appearance of brown spots on the leaves, which may be small or large. Such symptoms also indicate waterlogging of the soil.
White Leprosy This is the spread of a soil-dwelling fungus onto the stem. In addition to moderate watering, treatment with fungicidal preparations is required.

In all these cases, the starting factor for the appearance of diseases is abundant watering. It is easy to recognize it - the soil is damp, literally "dirty", the soil is rather sour. If you draw a tool along it 1-2 cm deep, then the surface layer will be completely damp. Often this occurs if you do not use a pot with drain holes. Also, when transplanting, it is necessary to ensure proper drainage by laying crushed stone and sand on the bottom of the tank and only then sprinkling everything with soil.

Potted palm - home care

There are palm varieties that are unsuitable for indoor cultivation, mainly because these palms need maximum light throughout the daylight hours - direct sunlight.

These include: Brahea, Bismarkia nobilis, Archontophoenix cumminghaniana (King Palms), Syagrus romanofskiana (Queen Palms) and Ravenea rivularis, Verschefeltia species, most Licualas, Genomonas, Pinangas and Cyrtostachys.

The word “unsuitable” does not mean categorical, it is just difficult for these palm trees to provide the necessary conditions for development at home: lighting, temperature, humidity.

1) SOIL. Sufficient air and water permeability of the soil mixture must be maintained.

What does the permeability of the substrate mean? - after watering the palm tree, excess water should drain through the drain hole after a few minutes. If excess water lingers in the soil for a long time, then the palm roots will suffocate and the plant will die.

Palm is a plant that will stay in the same soil mixture for a long time, since almost all of them have a negative attitude towards the destruction of the earthen clod during transplantation. Therefore, in all cases, you need to carry out TRANSPPING, i.e. plant transplantation with preservation of an earthy coma. In the best case for the plant, you can replace the topsoil. Long-term watering the plant with hard water changes the acidity of the soil over time.

Conclusion. Choose the right mixture for planting palm trees, and try to water the plant with not hard water.

2) IRRIGATION Water for watering palm trees should be as soft as possible - rain or purified. When watering with tap water (as a rule, it is hard), starting from the top layer, the soil mixture will be saturated with salts, so in this case it is necessary to change the top layer of soil once a year. The temperature of the water used for irrigation should not be lower than the air temperature in the room. When using tap water, it must be defended for at least a day, since many palm trees are sensitive to the presence of chlorine.

The frequency of watering is:

  • without drying the earthen coma;
  • with slight drying of the earthen clod;
  • with strong drying of the earthen ball

Remember, the plant itself reduces or increases water intake. Your task, as a grower, is to correctly determine the frequency of watering. The frequency of watering for each type of palm is indicated individually.

Amount of water for watering palm trees. The amount of water during irrigation should be such that after irrigation, excess water flows out through the drainage hole. If there is not enough water during irrigation, then salts will quickly accumulate in the soil mixture, as a result of which the plant will suffer.

3) HUMIDITY b . Palm trees reach their maximum decorative effect at high air humidity. In room conditions, this state is difficult to achieve, if not impossible.

If desired and possible, the air humidity can be increased in the following ways:

  • place trays with water in the area next to the plant;
  • use a humidifier;
  • in the summer, in the heat, spray the plants with rainwater or distilled water.

Palm leaves should not be sprayed with hard tap water, otherwise they will soon develop a coating and the plant will lose its decorative effect.

Leaves should not be sprayed in autumn-winter and early spring, otherwise you will get problems with fungal diseases. It is not advisable to spray the leaves in cloudy weather, and also if the palm tree is located in a place with insufficient lighting (shade or partial shade).

4) CARE OF PALM LEAVES.

Periodic pruning required. The "CUTTING" section is in each article for each type of palm tree. Leaves should be periodically washed with warm water or wiped with a damp flannel.

Leaves should not be cleaned with chemical cleaners as palm trees are very sensitive to chemicals. If you use floral polishes, then after a short period of time the leaves will begin to turn yellow.

5) PALM FERTILIZER.

Palm is a tree that develops using very limited resources. If you have provided the plant with the recommended development conditions (lighting, watering, temperature, humidity), then most likely you may encounter only one problem - the loss of the plant's decorative effect (chlorosis, spots, growth retardation, leaf fall, etc.). All this is due to the lack of macro and micronutrients.

For each type of palm trees, detailed recommendations for top dressing are given.

There is one "but" most growers are accustomed to "feeding" the plant by applying fertilizer through the soil. The trouble is that soil mixtures in a pot are not always able to give the plant some nutrients. Therefore, I recommend once a month to carry out foliar feeding of palm trees. The technology of foliar feeding is described in detail in the relevant section of the site (see here).

6) PESTS.

In some articles I read - "if there is dry air, then the spider mite will attack the plant." Complete nonsense.

Pests either exist or they don't. Each pest has both optimal conditions for its development, and not quite. However, the pest develops in both cases - the task of all living things is to SURVIVE. Therefore:

  • carefully inspect the plant before bringing it into the apartment;
  • it is obligatory to create QUARANTINE for the plant. Everything is described in detail in the article "Plant Quarantine";
  • do not bring plants from tourist trips into the apartment - they are 100% pest free. Pest control is expensive and harmful to humans, requires a systematic approach, but if this does not scare you, then see the control methods in the Pests section.

7) DISEASES.

In all cases, I recommend treating diseases of physiological origin.

Diseases of fungal and bacterial origin are a big PROBLEM:

  • difficult to identify;
  • not all "sores" can be cured in room conditions;
  • not all sell effective drugs;
  • all preparations are harmful to humans;
  • the palm tree will lose its decorative effect for at least a few years;
  • there is a threat of the spread of diseases to other plants in the apartment.

If all of the above didn't scare you away, see the Diseases section of the site.

8) LIGHTING. For each type of palm, the optimal and permissible lighting is indicated.

9) PALM POT SELECTOR .

Before spending money on purchasing a pot, you should consider that with a probability close to 100% it will be disposable and will last a maximum of 2-3 years.

Palm tree is a fast growing plant, every 2-3 years it needs to be transferred or transplanted into a larger pot. Palm trees do not tolerate the exposure of the root system very well, that is, during transshipment or transplantation, it is desirable to keep the earthen clod intact. Partial replacement of the top layer of the soil mixture is allowed. Based on these features, the service life of the pot emerges - 2/3 of the year (from transplant to transplant). In order to keep the earth lump intact, ceramic pots are broken, plastic ones are cut.

Pot material and color.

Pot can be of any material (ceramic, plastic, wood, concrete, etc.). But, it is necessary to take into account the characteristics of each material:

  • ceramics (not glazed inside) - the material itself absorbs moisture, and therefore the earthen lump in the pot will dry out quickly. When keeping a palm tree outdoors in the summer, you will have to water the plant every day, and maybe even more than once.
  • color of the pot - the color of the pot should be light, because in spring / summer / autumn, solar radiation can heat up a dark surface to a temperature of over +65 0 C - first the pot is heated, and then the earth mixture and palm roots. And this is unacceptable, because at best, the palm tree will fall into a state of stagnation and get sick, at worst, it will die. If it is so important for you that the pot be dark, then the situation can be corrected by placing it in a pot of the required color: the air gap between the pot and the pot will not allow solar radiation to heat the pot and overheat the roots.

Pot size and shape.

Required proportions of the pot: the height must be greater than the diameter of the neck of the pot (bowls do not fit). There should be a hole in the bottom to drain the water.

When choosing the size (volume) of the pot, you should be guided by the following rules:

  • you can not plant a small plant in a large pot;
  • The next pot size should be 25-30% larger than the previous one.

If you are growing a palm tree from seed, the first pot will be 200ml, i.e. the container in which you plant the sprouted seedling when picking. The next pot size will be 0.4-0.5L, then 0.7-1L.

If you purchased a "teenage palm tree" in a retail chain, then after it becomes necessary to transplant / transship, select a new pot size 25-30% larger than the existing one (in which the palm tree grows).

The size of the pot significantly affects the development of the palm tree. If you plant a small plant (for example, a seedling) in a large pot (3-5l), then the plant will most likely die (the roots will rot).

If you delay in transferring a young plant to a larger pot, the palm tree will stop growing.

The photo below shows three Washingtonia thread palms grown under the same conditions.


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