How to Care for a Robellini Palm

Overview

Robellini palm (Phoenix roebelenii) is a dwarf palm tree that will reach heights of only 6 to 12 feet at maturity but, in spite of its diminutive size, will have a bushy crown of graceful 3-foot long palm leaves and a span of up to 10 feet across. The bushy leaves usually hide the small clusters of flowers. The flowers are replaced by small dates that are initially black before turning a deep red hue. The Robellini palm, also known as pygmy date palm or miniature date palm, is especially effective planted in small groups, or will do well in a container. Robellini palm isn't frost-tolerant, and will grow only in warm, humid environments.

Step 1

Plant Robellini palm in direct sunlight. Choose a location where the soil drains well, as Robellini palm won't thrive in soggy soil. Plant a container-grown Robellini palm in a large container with a drainage hole. Fill the container with a mixture of one part vermiculite, one part peat moss and one part commercial potting soil.

Step 2

Water the Robellini palm daily for the first two weeks by allowing a hose to run slowly at the base of the tree. After the first two weeks, gradually decrease watering to two to three times each week. Water the Robellini palm tree early in the morning or in the evening, and avoid watering during the hottest part of the day. Check container-grown Robellini palm trees daily, as containers dry out quickly.

Step 3

Begin fertilizing Robellini palm two to three months after planting. Don't apply fertilizer within 2 feet of the tree because fertilizer can burn the trunk. Choose a timed-release fertilizer formulated for palm trees, and follow the manufacturer's recommendations. Most timed-release fertilizers need to be re-applied every three months. Fertilizing container-grown palm trees is especially important because the tree has no opportunity to draw nutrients from the soil.

Step 4

Contact a palm tree professional when you think your Robellini palm tree needs to be pruned, as over-pruning can harm the tree and destroy its appearance. Palm trees need their foliage to protect them from extreme weather and high winds. In addition, palm trees draw nutrition from dying leaves, so leaves should never be removed prematurely.

Things You'll Need

  • Large container with drainage hole
  • Vermiculite
  • Peat moss
  • Commercial potting soil
  • Garden hose
  • Timed-release fertilizer for palm trees

References

  • USDA: Phoenix roebelenii Figure 1. Middle-aged Pygmy Date Palm. Pygmy Date Palm
  • Florida Palm Trees: Florida Palm Trees
  • Arizona State University: Palms for Arizona
Keywords: robellini palm, dwarf palm, pygmy palm

About this Author

M.H. Dyer is a long-time writer, editor and proofreader. She has been a contributor to the East-Oregonian Newspaper and See Jane Run magazine, and is author of a memoir, “The Tumbleweed Chronicles, a Sideways Look at Life." She holds an Master of Fine Arts from National University, San Diego.