Plan the perfect garden with our interactive tool →

How to Plant a King Palm Tree

King palms are a favorite in tropical landscaping for their elegant shape and low maintenance. They can reach 40 feet in height with feathery leaves stretching 15 feet in length. A single tree can produce several bunches of bright pink flowers in the height of summer that are followed by reddish-colored fruit. King palms often require additional trunk support in their first few years of growth. With the proper care, your king palm tree can last for many years.

Choose the right location in your yard. A king palm needs at least 8 hours of sun a day and plenty of room to grow. Find a fairly large area (at least twice the height and width of your young palm) with well-drained soil.

Dig a hole. It should be at least 6 inches larger than the width of the container and deep enough to cover the root ball with 2 to 3 inches of soil.

Fill the bottom of the hole with sand. About 2 to 4 inches of sand in the bottom of the hole will ensure proper drainage. If planting multiple trees, leave at least 20 feet between each.

Plant your king palm. Place your young palm in the center of the hole and fill it with a mixture of 50 percent sand and 50 percent original soil. The root ball should be 2 to 4 inches below the surface.

Firmly stamp on the soil. Use your foot to flatten the soil and eliminate any air pockets.

Spread mulch around the base of the plant the same width as the canopy. This will keep the soil moist and prevent an onslaught of weeds.

Water your palm immediately after planting. During hot summers, water your palm three times per week to keep its leaves green. In times of drought, fully soak the base of your plant with an open hose at least twice each month.

Fertilize the soil. Use a balanced, slow-release fertilizer specially formatted for palms four times a year for best results.

Notice signs of instability or leaning. As your king palm grows, you may need to provide extra support at the base of the trunk. You can place several 2-by-4 inch wooden boards at the base of the palm and wrap bungee cords around the tree trunk to hold them steady. These can be removed as the tree grows stronger.


Protect your king palm from below-freezing temperatures by insulating the roots and branches with blankets and wrapping it in plastic.


Puncture wounds in palm trees never heal. Do not nail signs or lights to the trunks of palms.

Garden Guides