Frequently Asked Questions
Yes giving your palms and cycads regular fertilizer is the key to healthy and robust palm and cycad growth. We recommend using a fertiliser high in nitrogen a 5 - 6 month slow release fertiliser Applied at the beginning of spring. Also using a liquid seaweed fertiliser also has added benefits.
Planting palm trees is similar to planting any other tree in your garden. If possible try to plant your palm/s shortly after purchase. If there is going to be any time lag between purchasing and planting, make sure that the palm/s root ball is kept moist but not soaking.
First of all you want to choose where you want your palm situated dig a hole wide enough to fit the root ball with plenty of room to spare. Twice as wide is a good rule of thumb. The hole should be just deep enough so that the tree is planted at the depth at which it was grown in its pot/bag planting it to deep may deprive the roots of nutrients and water. When situated the palm in the hole, backfill with freshly dug topsoil and compost if your palm requires extra drainage add about 25% of pumice or bark to the soil when backfilling the hole.
When the palm tree has been planted, build a soil barrier around the circumference of the hole to form a dam that will hold water. Then lay down a layer of organic mulch around the tree. About three inches deep should do.
Choosing the right palm for your garden
In general, there are four factors that should be put into consideration when choosing the right Palm Tree for your property. The first factor is the size of the tree at maturity. Remember that cute little Palm might reach a height of 50 feet or more as an adult tree overpowering the rest of your property, blocking out views interfering with overhead power lines or . Make sure that the size of your Palm at maturity is in keeping with your needs and overall landscape design.
The second factor is temperature. Some types of Palm Tree will not tolerate freezing weather and even a short bout of frost may weaken a tree and leave it vulnerable to insects and disease.
The fourth factor is sunlight. Not all varieties of Palm Tree are equally sun tolerant. Some varieties, in fact, prefer shady conditions to full exposure. Keep this in mind when thinking of the kind of Palm Tree that would be best for you.
The final factor is water. While Palm Trees have long been associated with desert conditions, in the wild, they are only found near abundant and continuous supplies of water. So make sure to water your palm trees adequately as to much water can be as detrimental as no water
How often should I water my outdoor palms?
Frequent watering is crucial for newly-planted palm trees. It is a good idea to Water your palms every day in the growing months and easing off during the cooler months. Most newly planted palms like to have moist soil not soaking wet once established nature should take care of the more mature palms needs. However be aware of the soil condition and if the ground is particularly dry, you may want to look at installing irrigation system. Likewise if the ground is boggy, drainage will be necessary. These are important points to be aware of prior to planting; you can than create the best condition possible before planting.
Can I trim the leaves without causing damage?
As palms grow from the centre out, the lower leaves naturally die off as part of the growing process, remove these as you please. Trimming the leaflet edges is also okay, if purely for aesthetic reasons. However you may want to look at the cause, is the plant receiving enough water? Never cut or damage in any way the central growth spike (centre spear), removal of this will inevitably cause its demise.
My palm gets dusty inside, what do I use to clean the leaves?
Lukewarm water with no added solutions and a soft cloth - rainwater on a warm day is also a healthy and natural way to rinse the leaves.
My indoor palm has grown huge over the years can I plant it outside?
You can have success with doing this. The best way is to slowly acclimatise the plant by starting it off in a covered deck type position where it is still protected from most of the elements. Over several months move your palm one step at a time into more exposed situations (don't start doing this in the heat of summer or the depths of winter as the shock may cause too much immediate damage) once it is happily growing in a position that resembles that of the garden, said palm is ready to plant. You will see browning off of the leaves, some sunburn or windburn, this is all part of the acclimatisation process. For best results you should find a position in the garden that is relatively protected all year round.
You can also try a foliage protectant to help reduce shock and speed up the process.
I planted all of the same sized palms in my garden several years ago yet they are now all different sizes, why?
Plants are very much individuals and have their quirks just like us! However, causes may include;
The prevailing wind hits some but not others depending on the planting plan. This my stunt them where the others are protected
Access to natural water supply, some areas of the garden may have a more restricted / plentiful water supply
Soil condition - some parts of the garden may be free draining while others are clay fill for example
Underneath it all - the roots might be hitting a hard base inhibiting growth where others may be in a more suitable spot.
What is the best care for my cycad?
Most cycads grow best if they are watered and fed liberally during the summer months but kept quite dry during winter. They tend to put out 1 - 3 flushes of growth a year - often, though not invariably, in mid-summer. Trim any dead fronds off and check for any mealy bug infestations. Cycads are easy care and can be very rewarding as you watch them grow.