The pygmy date palm is a very popular plant in landscape designing in the United States. Its scientific name is the Phoenix roebelenii. Native to southeastern Asia from southwestern China (Yunnan) to northern Laos and northern Vietnam, it is also called the miniature date palm. Considered to be among the best of the dwarf palms, it grows well in containers and usually reaches 6 to 12 feet in height. The upright or curving trunks bear crowns of dense, feather-like, three-foot long leaves. Insignificant flowers make an appearance periodically throughout the year, which yield small, deep red dates. This plant is used for its ornamental value and is frequently viewed beside swimming pools. Here are some instructions that will help your plant flourish.
Instructions for Proper Care
- The right kind of soil would be clay, loam, and sand.
- The soil should be slightly alkaline or acidic and must be well-drained. However, a good, general-purpose, potting soil will suffice.
- To create the right consistency, add sand or perlite and peat moss to the soil to make it well aerated.
- A combination of 1 part garden soil, 1 part coarse sand or perlite, 1 part moist peat or humus (leaf mold), and a light dusting of lime works well.
- The ideal spot for this graceful plant would be one that receives full sun to partial shade.
- You can keep the plant indoors too. Place it in front of a window so that it may receive maximum sunlight.
- While planting, dig the hole that is at least 4'' to 6'' larger than the container width.
- Line the hole with 2'' to 4'' of sand, and backfill with a 50-50 mix of sand and original soil.
- You can also add some bone meal or super phosphate (0-45-0) into the soil mix to encourage root growth.
- Tap down soil around the root ball so that no air pockets remain.
- Then, build a 2-3 inch berm with the remaining soil that will hold about 3 to 5 inches of water.
- Mulching is also advised to keep the roots cool and moist.
- It is important to keep the soil evenly moist at all times.
- One piece of advice is to use warm water.
- When a water retention basin is created around the plant, if the water stagnates for more than 15 to 20 minutes, it means that soil drainage is inadequate, and you should consider moving the plant.
- A weekly input of a water-soluble fertilizer during the spring and summer is beneficial.
- Palm trees are heavy feeders and usually need applications of fertilizer six times a year.
- Propagation of pygmy date plant is done through seeds and suckers in the spring.
- Seeds benefit most from a mixture of moist peat and perlite.
- As moisture is another requirement of the plant, one is advised to cover the pot and plant with a plastic sheet, and secure it with a rubber band.
- Place the container in indirect sunlight. After a while of growing, remove suckers with roots attached, and plant them in a potting mix used for the palm.
- The instructions from the care guide suggest that occasional misting with warm water benefits the plant.
- Another good idea is to keep pebbles or gravel in the drainage dish, which will hold water and increase humidity.
- Remember, these palms do not respond well to drafts or sitting in water.
- If you need to remove formaldehyde and xylene from the surrounding atmosphere, you can use an air purifier to do so.
Though hardy, the pygmy date palm is prone to spider mites. Before adding this plant to your home or greenhouse, thoroughly check it for pests. Care and protection of the plant from pests can be done by spraying the leaves with water once a week.