Queen palm trees are native to South America and resemble coconut trees in appearance. Here are some guidelines about queen palm tree care.
One of the most popular landscaping trees, palm trees are highly valued for their commercial uses too. There are around 2500 species of palm trees with different features.
Most of them are easy to grow, and actually require pretty little maintenance. One among them is queen palm tree that is native to South America.
This palm tree is really very popular, and is widely grown for ornamental purposes. As it looks quite similar to the coconut palm, the queen palm tree (Syagrus romanzoffiana) was earlier classified under the genus Cocos as Cocos plumosa, but was then later moved to the genus Syagrus. This genus (Syagrus) consists of palms that are native to the area of South America.
Some Queen Palm Tree Facts
The queen palm trees can grow up to a height of 50 feet and have dark green fronds with double row of leaflets.The arching fronds of the queen palm may grow to a length of more than twelve feet and an average tree may have more than 15 fronds. These drooping leaves of this palm form a round and full crown. The smooth gray trunk sports rings of evenly spaced leaf scars.
Queen palm tree is very popular for the colorful display of flowers and fruits. During summers, large clusters of cream-colored flowers emerge from large pods and transform to bunches of green fruits during winters. Fruits are spherical in shape and each fruit is about an inch long, housing a single seed with three spots. As they get ripe, the fruits turn bright orange. Such clusters of fruits are around six feet in length. Though these fruits smell very good, they are not consumed by humans.
How to Care for a Queen Palm Tree
Queen palm trees are fast-growing and if the conditions are favorable, they can grow up to an average height of around six feet, every year (once it gets established). When fully grown, these palm trees can be almost 50 feet tall and have a width of around 20 feet.
The palms love direct sunlight and can tolerate cold to a temperature of around 25° F. Acidic and well-drained soil is perfect for planting a queen palm tree, whereas alkaline soil may lead to mineral deficiencies, which can stunt the growth of the tree and eventually cause its death.
If queen palm are planted in alkaline soil, regular preventive applications should be done, in order to prevent mineral deficiency and eventual death. Such preventive measures include regular application of iron, manganese and potassium.
Queen palm tree care starts with its planting and includes proper watering, fertilizing, pruning and pest control. This palm tree grows well, if planted in the right location and taken care of properly.
Where to Plant
The soil must be suitable for this palm tree and the location, where you intend to plant it, must get enough sunlight. In areas with extreme hot weather, filtered light is preferred, till the seedlings are established.
Though, queen palm tree may thrive in different types of soils, it is always better to plant it in well-drained, acidic soil that is rich in nutrients. The soil must be moist, but not soggy. There must be enough space for the palm to grow properly. Make sure that there is no underground structures like pipelines, before you plant the palm. As they have a shallow root system, these palms are prone to get destroyed during high winds. So, choose a location, where they are protected from winds.
Once you plant the palm, water it thoroughly. Make sure you water it daily for at least two to three weeks, from the day of planting. After this period, watering can be done three times weekly. During summers, you should water the plant at least three times a week, which can be reduced to twice a week in winters.
Every time you water this palm, make sure that the soil around and beneath the root ball is moist. This can be done with a soil probe. Though this palm tree is resistant to drought to some extent, proper watering is good for its healthy growth.
Proper feeding is one of the important aspects of queen palm tree care. This palm tree requires fertilizers with minerals like magnesium, potassium, zinc, iron, copper and manganese. Feeding must be done twice a year, during spring and summer. Care must be taken not to apply fertilizer near the trunk of the tree. It must be applied at a distance of around two feet from the tree trunk, in a ring-like fashion.
Make sure to thoroughly water the palm, after applying fertilizer. In general, a queen palm tree requires manganese the most. So, you can even add some manganese to the soil in which the palm tree is planted, because manganese deficiency leads to the ‘frizzy top’ condition, which can lead to their death. It will be better to go through the manufacturer’s instructions about application of fertilizer. You can also use a homemade palm tree fertilizer.
Pruning can be done during September, till the onset of November. In case of queen palm trees, pruning is mainly aimed at improving the looks and to make the tree strong. So, instead of pruning, we may also describe the task as periodic trimming, as it involves removal of dead leaves only. Get a pruning saw and remove the brown and yellow leaves.
Make sure to wear heavy gloves while doing this task. Prune the leaves carefully, so as to avoid any damage to the trunk. Excessive pruning is not advisable as it can prove detrimental to the palm tree. Once done, remove the debris, which can attract pests and insects. It will be better to use sterilized tools for pruning.
Pests and Diseases
Though, pests and diseases are not common in queen palm trees, sick and unhealthy trees may develop such problems. Poor maintenance is one of the prime reasons for pests and diseases in these palm trees.
The most commonly found disease in these queen palm trees is Ganoderma butt rot. This is caused by a fungus that enters the tree through the wounds and cuts on the lower trunk and roots. Even the infected pruning tools can spread this condition. So, it is better to sterilize these tools, after pruning each palm. There is no cure for this disease, but you can resort to preventive measures.
The common pests that attack this tree are queen palm leaf skeletonizer and scale, which can also be controlled with the right pest control measures. Sometimes, aphids and mealybugs may also attack these palm trees.
If you are really interested in knowing more about growing queen palm trees, you may also consult the local nursery authorities or horticulturists. These trees can be a beautiful addition to your landscape, with their unique appearance and you can easily grow them, if you have a basic idea about queen palm tree care.