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How to Grow Canary Island Date Palm Trees

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How to Grow Canary Island Date Palm Trees

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Overview

Canary Island date palms (Phoenix canariensis) belong in the family Arecaceae and native to the Canary Islands. This slow-growing stately palm reaches up to 60 feet in height at maturity with a spreading habit of 20 to 25 feet. Canary Island date palms are well suited for growing outdoors in the ground in the warm regions of the United States in USDA planting zones 9 and 10. Fronds grow 8 to 15 feet in length with 4- to 5-inch sharp spines at the base. Trimmed fronds leave a diamond-like pattern on the trunk with the palm resembling a pineapple, thus the nickname Canary Island pineapple palm.

Step 1

Select a location in your landscape that is large enough to house the Canary Island date palm without it interfering with buildings or power lines.

Step 2

Choose a location that receives full sunlight throughout the day. Canary Island date palms require sunlight for the majority of the day for proper growth, as they do not tolerate growing in full shade.

Step 3

Remove all weeds, grasses and other vegetation from the planting site. Clear an area approximately 3 feet in diameter and keep the area free of vegetation as long as the palm grows there. Canary Island date palm trunks injured by lawn equipment are susceptible to Ganoderma rot, which will eventually kill them.

Step 4

Dig a hole that is two to three times larger than the Canary Island date palm's root ball. Loosen the surrounding soil so the palm's roots will easily spread throughout it. Canary Island date palms grow fine in native sandy or clay loam soils that are not amended with organic matter.

Step 5

Remove the palm from its container and place into the planting hole at the same height it was growing inside the container.

Step 6

Backfill the planting hole half full of soil and pack down with your foot. Fill the area with water and allow the water to soak into the soil before filling up the remainder of the hole with soil.

Step 7

Create a water ring 3 feet in diameter around the Canary Island date palm by piling up approximately 3 to 4 inches of soil. This will allow the water to leach to the palm's roots instead of running off.

Step 8

Water the palm thoroughly once planted, fully saturating its roots. Continue watering every day for the first two weeks and then gradually taper off to watering once per week, depending on your local weather conditions. Do not water the palm where the trunk remains constantly wet or the palm can contract butt rot.

Step 9

Fertilize Canary Date palms twice each year in spring and summer with a well-balanced palm fertilizer. Spread the fertilizer under the palms canopy, not allowing it to butt up against the palm's trunk.

Step 10

Prune only to remove any fronds that are hanging down. Leave uprights fronds in place as cutting them impedes the palm's growth and vigor.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not mulch around the Canary Island date palm's trunk as it can cause disease.

Things You'll Need

  • Rake
  • Shovel
  • Water
  • Fertilizer
  • Loppers

References

  • University of Florida: Phoenix canariensis
  • University of Florida: Phoenix canariensis-Canary Island Date Palm
  • Canary Island Date Palm Trees: Canary Island Date Palms
  • United States National Arboretum: USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map
Keywords: canary island palms, growing canary palms, growing date palms

About this Author

Joyce Starr is a freelance writer from Florida and owns a landscaping company and garden center. She has published articles about camping in Florida, lawncare, gardening and writes for a local gardening newsletter. She shares her love and knowledge of the outdoors and nature through her writing.