How to Care for Growing Palm Trees

Healthy palm trees can grow for centuries image by Kelsey Shipman


Palm trees are common in the lush landscapes of tropical regions. Traditionally, they provided food, water and shelter to people. These days, palm trees are increasingly popular in household landscaping projects. Planting a palm tree is only the first step. It takes great care and attention to keep your palms healthy throughout their lives. At full height, a coconut palm can reach 100 feet, producing coconuts for up to a hundred years. With the proper care, your palms can reach their full potential.

Step 1

Plant your palm in an area with full sun. If the growth of your palm tree seems stunted, notice the amount of sunlight it gets per day. If it is not receiving 8 or more hours per day, it may be beneficial to move the tree to a brighter location.

Step 2

Water your palm regularly. Palms do best in areas with heavy rainfall and need lots of water to grow. In periods of drought, soak the base of your palm with an open hose at least twice a month.

Step 3

Use a slow-release palm fertilizer four times a year for best results. "Palm Special," labeled as 12-4-12 or 13-13-13, is commercially available throughout the United States. It usually comes in the form of pellets that are buried around the base of the tree.

Step 4

Do not prune. Palm trees recycle nutrients from old fronds back into the core of the plant. Fronds fall off naturally and usually do not need removal. Excessive pruning is even against city code in some areas. If you feel you must prune, only remove those fronds hanging below a parallel line to the ground.

Step 5

Apply mulch around the base of the tree. Palms benefit from a 6-inch layer of mulch applied a foot or so around the base of the tree. This keeps the soil moist and roots protected from direct sunlight.

Tips and Warnings

  • Protect your palms from frost by insulating the roots and branches and wrapping it in plastic. Puncture wounds in palm trees never heal. Do not nail signs or lights to the trunks of palms.

Things You'll Need

  • Water
  • Fertilizer
  • Mulch


  • Broward
  • Floridia Palm Trees
Keywords: care for palms, palm tree, tropical landscaping

About this Author

Kelsey Erin Shipman has worked as a travel writer, poet, journalist and award-winning photographer since 2004. Her work has appeared in various newspapers, magazines and journals. Shipman has also authored three collections of poetry: "Cold Days," "Bastante" and "Short Poems." She earned a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy from Southwestern University.

Photo by: Kelsey Shipman