The pygmy date palm, also known as Phoenix roebelenii, is one of the most widely used landscape palms in the southern United States. It is a small feather palm native to Laos and southeast Asia. It grows as high as 10 feet in height and is hardy to approximately 24 degrees F. Like all other palms periodic maintenance is necessary to maintain a healthy specimen. They love lots of nitrogen and will grow either in shade or full sun. During the hot months they require lots of water to grow adequately.
Fertilize with a high quality palm fertilizer. The fertilizer should contain micronutrients like manganese, magnesium, boron and sulfur. Apply as directed at the beginning of the growing season, in the middle and toward the end.
Water your pygmy date palm during the hot summer months. Ensure the soil remains moist at all times. Use a soil moisture probe to test for soil moisture and adjust your watering as needed. This will vary depending on climate and soil conditions.
During cooler weather, allow the soil to dry out slightly between watering sessions. Extended periods of moist soil during cooler weather may lead to root rot.
Prune your pygmy date palm in the spring once growth resumes. Remove any yellowing or brown fronds with your pruning shears. Cut the fronds off 1 to 2 inches from the trunk to prevent injury to the palm.
You also may prune off green fronds below an imaginary line that is horizontal to the ground. Visualize this by picturing the crown of your palm as a clock. The fronds below a line running from the nine to the 3 can be pruned off. Green fronds above this line must be left on the tree to provide adequate leaf surface area for photosynthesis.