Palm trees are grown all over the world, and they aren't just for tropical gardens. Nearly anyone can grow them, but you need to provide the proper growing requirements if you want to be successful. Below are some tips on growing healthy palm trees:
- Research suitable trees. Perform some research to determine the most appropriate palm trees for your needs as well as your region. There are many types of palm trees. Some are more suited to tropical-like conditions while others grow well in cooler regions, even withstanding mild bouts of frost. Some palm trees prefer sun; others can thrive in partial shade. Some palm trees are fast growers and some slow. There are tall, stately palm trees and small, ornamental types.
- Consider placement and purpose. Consider where you will place the palm trees in your landscape and their overall purpose. Is the location in sun or shade? How much space will the palm trees require? Not only should the palm trees be located in areas compatible with their growing needs but also their height at maturity is just as important. How will the palm trees be used in the landscape? This also helps determine the type of palm trees you will need.
- Purchase your trees. Seek out reputable nurseries or garden centers for the palm trees of your choice. Most palm trees are sold as potted plants but may also be found in burlap sacks, which are wrapped around the root ball. You should plant palm trees as soon as possible once acquiring them; otherwise, keep their roots moist until ready to plant (no more than two or three days). Generally, spring is the optimal time for planting palm trees; however, if you live in a warm climate, they can be planted in fall as well.
- Prepare the soil for planting. Healthy soil is important for nearly any plant and is no different for palm trees. Make sure the soil is suitable to the growing needs of your palm trees, and if necessary, amend the soil with compost. Compost enables better drainage and enriches the soil with much needed nutrients for healthier growth.
- Plant your trees. Dig a hole both wide and deep enough to accommodate the root ball. In general, the hole should be twice as wide as the root ball and as deep as the pot with which grown. If your palm trees did not come in pots, ensure that the entire root ball is covered. Once the palm trees are situated, backfill in and around each using the excavated soil and lightly tamp the area to secure the soil in place. You can use any additional soil for creating small berms around the outer edge to help hold water, if desired.
- Water, mulch and fertilize. Frequent watering is crucial as palm trees establish themselves. Be careful not to overwater palm trees. Overwatering not only encourages root diseases, but it also discourages the establishment of new roots in the surrounding soil. In order to make sure your palm trees receive adequate watering, consider placing soaker hoses around them, which can be easily concealed with a generous layer of organic mulch. Mulch will also help retain moisture and prevent rain from washing away the newly dug soil (not to mention improve appearance). Most palm trees also require fertilization once or twice during the growing season.
Growing palm trees may take a bit of effort, but in the end, it's well worth the trouble, adding tropical appeal no matter where you live.