The queen palm (Syagrus romanzoffiana) is an attractive tree with a tall, slender trunk topped with long, graceful, bright-green fronds. Native to parts of Argentina and Brazil, this fast-growing, tropical plant can be grown in U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zones 9b through 11. These trees are more tolerant of cold temperatures than many other species of palms. The queen palm reaches heights of between 25 to 50 feet at maturity with a canopy spread of 15 to 25 feet. Once established, the queen palm needs very little care as long as it is planted in the correct location.
Test the pH level of your soil. Soil pH testing kits are available at any home or garden center. This is important because queen palms do not grow well in soil that is heavily alkaline, according to horticulturists with the University of Florida. The soil pH should be acidic--lower than 7.0--in order for the tree to thrive. If the pH is too high, amend the soil around your tree with aluminum sulfate.
Provide plenty of sunlight for your queen palm. These tropical plants thrive in full sun, which is defined as a minimum of six hours of sun exposure per day, and as many as 12 hours. In general, the more sunlight your palm receives, the better.
Keep the soil cool and moist. Water young trees three times per week during the summer, and twice a week in the winter. Older, more established trees will need less water. In general, water when the top 2 or 3 inches of soil has dried out. The queen palm can tolerate moderate drought conditions.
Fertilize your queen palm with a balanced fertilizer (10-10-10) made for palm trees. Choose one that contains secondary nutrients, particularly manganese, which will prevent the development of "frizzle top"--a mineral deficiency that causes new foliage growth to look tattered. Fertilize in early spring, in the middle of the summer and again in early fall according to the instructions on the packaging.
Monitor your queen palm for common pests, including moths that may feed on the fronds and cause them to become skeletonized. Prune off infected fronds, and hit the tree with a strong blast of water to knock any remaining moths and their larvae.