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How to Transplant Indoor Palm Trees

There comes a time in every houseplant's life when its pot is just getting to be too small. When a plant or tree begins to outgrow its pot, the roots can become cramped and bound. This leads to stress, and in a potted palm, stress manifests as browning leaves, leaf loss and general poor health. The difficulty in transplanting an indoor palm tree to a new, larger pot is dependent on the size of the palm; for larger trees, you might need a hand. Transplanting an indoor palm is an important part of caring for the plant, and your tree will be happy with the extra room to wiggle its roots in.

Take the potted palm outdoors or into a shop or work room where you don't have to worry about making a bit of a mess.

Turn the pot on its side. If it is a large, heavy pot that you do not want to break, lay the pot on a soft towel or pad before turning it onto its side.

Grasp the base of the trunk and gently wiggle it free from the pot. It the palm is reluctant, take a knife or other flat, long surface, and slide it between the root ball and the side of the pot. Run the knife around the diameter of the pot to loosen the root ball.

Pull the tree free of the pot. Have a plastic bag or tarp ready to catch the root ball when it comes loose.

Fill the new pot one-half full with a mixture of potting soil and perlite or coarse sand. This will create a well-draining environment for your palm tree's roots.

Hold the palm tree over the pot; when resting on the soil in the pot, the top of the root ball should be about 1 inch below the rim of the pot. Fill in or remove soil when necessary.

Using your potting soil and perlite mixture, fill in the space around the roots and cover the top of the root ball with 1/2 inch of soil.

Water the pot until water seeps out from the drainage holes in the bottom. Drainage holes are vitally important because they allow water to soak the soil and then seep out. This prevents a buildup of moisture around the roots, which can lead to root rot.


A difficulty arises when the palm tree has been planted in a pot that curves in at the top so that the root ball is larger then the mouth of the pot. In this case it is often necessary to break or cut the pot away from the root ball.

Keep palms in sunny windows where there is light air circulation. Mist the leaves daily with water to keep them free of dust, bugs and molds.

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