Palm trees are easily recognized and characterized by their large, evergreen leaves arranged at the top of an un-branched stem. They are very versatile in their growth habits and habitat requirements. They are found in tropical places, rainforests, and even deserts.
They are a gardener's delight, and a dominating feature in most landscape designs. They look elegant when standing alone, grouped together, or even lined to give a pathway its shape. There are many varieties available, from those having large elongated leaved, to the ones having short leaves. They also vary in heights from very tall to medium.
Care for Palm Trees: Young Ones
To get the best palm tree, head to a local nursery, where you should be able to find a wide variety of palm tree types to choose from. Bear in mind that palm which can be grown as indoor plants, have a few different requirements as compared to the ones grown outside.
Choose a palm that has at least four healthy branches shooting from its base, and an axillary bud at a leaf node (this would be your new shoot), sprouting from the base. Check for any diseases or tiny mites that can hide themselves well under its green foliage. Always choose native plants as they will be more resistant to climatic and soil changes.
Plant the tree within a day of your purchase. It is always best to plant a palm tree during the monsoons, but for colder places, warm months will also do. Dig a hole wide and deep enough to fit the root ball.
Fill the hole back with prepared soil. Prepare the soil by mixing one part fine sand, one part mud, one part compost and one part Mycorrhizal fungi. Blend in some fertilizer too. The sand will help in water drainage, the mud will hold the moisture, and the Mycorrhizal fungi and compost will provide the palm tree with enough nutrients to accelerate its growth. One can use the same soil preparation while planting the tree in a pot. Water the palm well- fill it up with enough water; that will help it to settle the mud down.
Caring for Palm Trees: Established Ones
Established palms needs to be fed with a slow release palm fertilizer at least twice a year, and four times for indoor plants. If you use liquid fertilizers, add them once every two months.
The composition you add will depend upon the size of the tree. Make sure the fertilizer you choose contains part nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus, etc. in small percentages. Always spread the fertilizer one foot away from the trunk and onto the outer circle of the tree. For potted palms, add it all along the outer circle. Basically fertilizer should never be directly added close to the roots, as they damage (burn) them. Water the plant thoroughly after fertilizing it.
Pruning palm trees, including the tall ones, is essential to their healthy growth. Indoor palms require pruning to cut off the fronds that have gone yellow, or have blackened with diseases. Prune them from the base; some of the loose petioles can be pulled out by hand. If they don't come off, leave them on to dry a little longer.
For big palm trees, it is important to remove the flower and fruit stalks. Some prefer to let it fall off the tree naturally; in this case, make sure there is some netting to break their fall. Mulching and adding compost to the palm plant will also make it grow well.
Thus, the basics of outdoor as well as indoor palm tree care are similar. One just needs to pay attention to their size, and work using the tips above mentioned. Do keep in mind that different varieties need different care. Adhering to these tips will help ensure that your palms stay green and keep swaying happily in the wind.