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Care of Canary Island Palm Trees

By Barbara Fahs ; Updated September 21, 2017

The Canary Island palm tree (Phoenix canariensis) is a large, date-producing palm that can grow to over 60 feet tall. It is a tropical plant hardy to 20 degrees F that does well in USDA climate zone 9 . The date that this tree produces is an orange fruit that is said to be inferior in taste to that of its cousin, the traditional date palm, or Phoenix dactylifera. This palm is recommended for areas where it will have lots of room to spread because the canopy can reach 35 feet in width.

Plant your Canary Island palm tree in an area that receives full sun and where it will have lots of room to spread as it reaches maturity. Dig compost into well-drained soil and then set your young tree into your planting hole. Water it well after you plant it.

Water your Canary Island palm tree deeply about once a month after it is established. Because it is drought tolerant and thrives during prolonged dry spells, do not over-water this tree.

Prevent the giant palm weevil from attacking your tree by spraying a preventive insecticide on the tree after you transplant it and until it is well established. Consult with a landscape specialist to learn what product is best to use and how to apply it.

Fertilize twice a year with a plant food designed for palms. This tree can suffer from a deficiency of magnesium or potassium; if your palm develops yellow leaves fertilize it with a plant food high in these two nutrients.

Trim your Canary Island palm tree to keep dead fronds and thorns from detracting from its appearance and to make the tree safer to be near. Using a tree saw or large loppers, cut all lower fronds off at their base. Snip off thorns, being very careful not to allow them to puncture your skin. After you prune all but the highest fronds, skin the stumps of the fronds back to the trunk, leaving a “pineapple,” or bulbous clump, about 2-feet high just below the remaining fronds.

 

Things You Will Need

  • Compost
  • Well-drained soil
  • Shovel
  • Palm fertilizer
  • Insecticide
  • Tree saw
  • Large loppers

Tips

  • Nurseries in UDSA climate zones 9 through 11 often carry small Canary Island palms. In other areas, order your tree from Internet sources or plant catalogs.
  • Although you can attempt to grow the Canary Island palm in a pot, it grows more vigorously in the ground in suitable climates.

Warning

  • This palm has sharp leaf spines that can cause puncture wounds, so take care when trimming dead fronds and do not plant it near sidewalks and other walkways.

About the Author

 

Barbara Fahs lives on Hawaii island, where she has created Hi'iaka's Healing Herb Garden. Fahs wrote "Super Simple Guide to Creating Hawaiian Gardens" and has been a professional writer since 1984. She contributes to "Big Island Weekly," "Ke Ola" magazine and various websites. She earned her Bachelor of Arts at University of California, Santa Barbara and her Master of Arts from San Jose State University.