Palms in Containers

Everyone admires the exotic look of palms or yuccas that grow in pots on patio’s or the even larger ones that grow in pots on the bigger estates. Growing palms in containers long term means using the smaller palms. The dwarf fan palm (Chamaerops humilis) is a very slow growing palm that will do all you expect of it.

All palms need watering well during the growing season, but less over the winter they do not leave standing in water. Palms look stunning in conservatories, decks and patios. They are not real indoor plants, as they need a lot of light and fresh air but seem to manage reasonably well indoors in the right position. Certainly planting some of my palms outside they said thank you! They have gone on to grow extraordinarily well in the sheltered area that I planted them.

Palms grown inside will need their leaves sponged on a regular basis, as they are generally plants from warm or tropical places of the world and come from a humid atmosphere. Most of the palms that you see in homes today are most likely the junior forms of the palms. Their slow growth can be used to an advantage. Palms in pots can be a great addition to a small courtyard that is shaded for a good bit of the day. Give it the company of other pots and containers that have shade-loving plants like impatiens growing in them.

Palms grow from seed but some do have very hard outer shells that make them hard to germinate. It is probably easier just to buy the very small plants or seed that have just sprouted from nurserymen. This saves a lot of time and worry. The tiny palms are found in the clearance bins of nurseries and supermarkets. Do not expect to make huge profits quickly as their slow growth means you will be growing them on for 5-8 years until they are a suitable size to be rehomed!

Palms tolerate a certain amount of root restriction in their pots. When the roots are making their presence noticeable through the drainage holes of the container is the time to consider repotting. Repot into a pot that is between one and two inches bigger than the palms existing container. Leave the roots undisturbed as they come out of the old pot when repotting. Once you feel the palm is too big for its pot just plant out or sell on.
Palms can be attacked by scale insects; these are easily cleaned off by using soapy water, or if the plant is outside, sprayed with white oil or maldison.

Palms you may like for your containers include the kentia, fan palm, date palm or ponytail palm and Chamaedorea palm, date palm.

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