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Pygmy date palm, a true indoor palm tree

Pygmy date palm

Pygmy date palm or Phoenix roebelenii is a palm tree often grown indoors.

Key Pygmy date palm facts

NamePhoenix roebelenii
Type – indoor plant

Exposure – well-lit, part sun
Soil – soil mix
Foliage – evergreen

The Phoenix is said to be the palm tree that best adapts to growing inside houses and apartments. It bears thin, elegant green leaves.

Planting and repotting a pygmy date palm

Indoor Pygmy date palm in a pot or container

The pygmy date palm requires good soil mix that can be amended with ⅓ compost, if you’ve got any.

Pygmy palm indoor potIn order to enhance drainage, pour clay pebbles or small stones into the pot to form a layer at the bottom.
This will help ensure that its roots won’t wallow in water, which could be fatal.

  • Set it up in a fair-sized pot filled with leaf plant soil mix.
  • Although it may be necessary to repot it in spring every 2 or 3 years, when not repotting then go for regular topdressing which should also perfectly answer the growth medium needs of the plant.

Growing pygmy date palm trees outdoors

Just as might be done in pots, feel free to place a bed of gravel, small stones or clay pebbles to ensure proper drainage.

  • Atop this layer, you’ll be using a blend of soil mix, garden soil and sand.
  • Growing outdoors is only possible wherever temperatures never drop below 25°F (-4°C) in winter.

It’s easy to propagate your pygmy date palm. Simply separate the shoots that sprout from the base, and plant them in nursery pots filled with soil mix.

Placing a pygmy date palm at the right spot

Under our climates, pygmy date palm adapts well to living indoors in our homes and apartments.

  • It grows best when surrounding temperatures hold at around 70 to 72°F (20 to 22°C) and requires very good light, even direct sunlight.

Choose for it a place near a window facing to the South or West so that it would bathe in a good deal of both indirect light and sunlight.

If you live in a house that is quite dark, avoid purchasing a pygmy date palm because it won’t cope well with the lack of luminosity.

Pygmy date palm winter care

Pygmy date palm or Phoenix roebelenii can withstand the dry heat of a house or apartment in winter, but it will feel better if the room is a bit cooler in winter, ideally between 50 and 60°F (10 and 15°C).

Watering and fertilizer for pygmy date palm

The watering of your pygmy date palm is important because it should neither be too much nor too little. Finding the right balance is the key…

In spring and summer

This is usually the time of the year when the Phoenix roebelenii pygmy date palm grows most.
Water regularly while letting the soil mix dry in the surface before watering again.

Watering must be regular but limited, in order to not suffocate the plant’s roots.

  • You might say that watering every 2 or 3 days is often needed.
  • Spray mist on the leaves every day to recreate the moisture from its natural habitat.
  • Every two weeks, you can offer it some liquid fertilizer, taking great care to moisten the soil mix beforehand.

Starting in fall and then over winter

Start reducing the watering because the plant’s water needs begin to decrease.
Only when the soil is dry down to the first inch or so (a couple centimeters), water to moisten the soil mix again.

  • One could say that watering once every 15 days should be enough.
  • This season is also when to stop adding fertilizer, from October all the way to March and April.

Diseases and parasites on pygmy date palm

The most common pygmy date palm parasites are red spider mites and mealy bugs. In the first case, tiny webs appear at the junction point of leaves, whereas in the second case a feathery whitish mass appears along leaves and stems.

Learn more about pygmy date palm

Of course very aesthetic, this palm tree native to Mauritius is resilient and very easy to grow and is one of the most appreciated and often-purchased indoor plants.

Its foliage is particularly elegant and unique, and its thick trunk brings a touch of exotic life to a living room, dining area, or any other room of the house that is well-lit.

Smart tip about the pygmy date palm

Indoors, absolutely avoid direct sun because this would dry the plant out.

Images: CC BY-SA 2.0: Carol VanHook; dreamstime: Wirestock
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