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How to Fertilize Potted Palms

Potted palm trees are a convenient way to grow and protect this tropical species. Containers allow easy transport and slower growth of palms which keeps large varieties a manageable size. With less light, cramped roots and low humidity, they grow much slower than their outdoor counterparts and as such require less fertilizer. It takes the perfect balance of fertilizer to feed a potted palm without burning the roots from over application. Slow-release pellets buried below the soil’s surface are the safest way to feed your palm.

Select appropriate fertilizer. For potted palms, control-release pellets are ideal as they are designed to shed layers of food over a three to four month period. Look for pellets specially formulated for palms that contain minor elements such as magnesium, iron and zinc.

Bury one to two tbsp. of pellets beneath soil. Spread evenly throughout the entire soil of your potted palm.

Add pellets to soil twice a year--once in the spring and once in the summer is sufficient for most potted palms. Little to no fertilizer is needed in the winter months as the plant is not actively growing.

Care for your palm as normal. Water your palm regularly and prune as needed. Pellets are activated by warmth and moisture and will release food with repeated watering.


Add a scoop of fish blood or bone meal to the water jug with every other watering. This will give your palm a low dose of natural fertilizer.


Bring your potted palm indoors during freezing temperatures. Liquid based fertilizers can burn the roots of a palm tree if applied too heavily. Use control-release pellets to ensure the health of your palm.

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