Date palm — the special container plant for the garden, balcony and terrace

Date palms are impressive and easy-care tub plants. They are sometimes also referred to as Canary palms, which is due to their origin. One finds Phoenix canariensis in all Mediterranean and subtropical areas of the world. The phoenix palms are often planted in parks and green spaces in the ground and reach a stately height of 10 to 15 meters. In our climatic conditions, date palms as a container plant provide a holiday atmosphere on the balcony and terrace from mid-May. From October onwards, however, the ornamental palms need sheltered overwintering. The phoenix palm is not hardy, but very suitable for beginners. It is robust and forgives some care mistakes. A sunny spot in summer with an adequate water supply is important.

Worth knowing Location Care Watering Fertilizing Repotting Overwintering Pests & Diseases FAQ

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Interesting facts about the date palm

Botanical name: Phoenix canariensis
Other names: Date palm, Canary date palm, Phoenix palm, Canary palm
Use: container plant, conservatory, indoor plant, interior greenery
Origin: Canary Islands
Flower: male and female flowers on each plant, flower panicles are up to 1.5 meters long
Fruits: brown, in panicles, inedible
Special features: The date palm brings a holiday mood to the balcony or patio. Hibernation must take place indoors.

In which location does the date palm feel most comfortable?

A light and warm location is important for the Canary Palm. From mid-May, the ornamental palm can be outdoors. Be sure to gradually acclimate to field conditions to avoid burns. The outdoor location should be sunny to semi-shady after the acclimatization period. Hibernation takes place in a bright location with temperatures of 10 to 15 °C. Phoenix canariensis can be in the conservatory all year round.

Our gardening tip: Make sure you gradually get used to the outdoor conditions. The UV radiation outdoors can lead to unsightly burns if you switch too quickly. You should therefore move the phoenix palm outdoors on an overcast day in May and provide shade when the sun is intense. After a few days, the container plant will have gotten used to the sunlight.

How do I properly care for my date palm?

Canary date palms are very robust and easy to care for. Need -based watering and regular fertilizing are important during the main growth phase from May to August. You can regularly rinse off small specimens with lukewarm water in the shower. In this way, the fronds are freed from dust and you support the development of the phoenix palms. Furthermore, old and dried-up fronds are regularly removed. Cut the dried leaf about 2 centimeters from the stem. Brown leaf tips are often a result of dry phases or insufficient humidity. If these brown leaf tips on the phoenix palm bother you, you can shorten these leaves slightly. Make sure you don’t cut into the green area, but leave about an inch of the dried structure.

Our gardening tip: Spraying the palm fronds helps against brown leaf tips.

How do I water my date palm properly?

The phoenix palm requires even soil moisture and needs to be watered regularly. The high water requirement in summer is due to the large foliage. On hot days, the date palm evaporates so much that daily watering may be necessary. Basically, you should water depending on the plant size, the radiation and temperature, the volume of soil and the type of soil. With large buckets and containers and soil with a good proportion of humus, the watering effort is reduced somewhat. You can occasionally ‘dive’ small specimens. The advantage of this method is that the root ball of the palm tree is completely moistened. The use of coasters is helpful for date palms, so the ornamental plant always has a certain amount of water storage. However, it is important that the excess water does not stand in the saucer for days. If the palm is cooler in winter, the interval between watering increases to 10 to 14 days.

Our gardening tip: Use your finger to check whether the surface is damp and decide whether watering is necessary. If available, rainwater is ideal for watering the Phoenix. You should avoid waterlogging as this can result in root rot.

How do I fertilize my date palm properly?

Phoenix palms need regular fertilizer for good development and growth. A special green plant fertilizer that contains important growth and vital substances is ideal for fertilization. Fertilize the plant weekly from May to September, no fertilization is necessary in winter. Fertilizing with fertilizer sticks is easy to handle. This convenient long-term fertilization is particularly useful for small plants. The palm trees are thus supplied with all the necessary nutrients, minerals and trace elements for 3 months.

Fruits of the date palm Buds of the date palm

How do I repot my date palm?

Date palms are almost exclusively kept as container plants. Planting in the ground carries a risk. Phoenix palms in tubs are repotted every 2 to 3 years. When choosing the planter, make sure that it is sufficiently high and deep and that it is stable. Furthermore, the pot for date palms must have a water drainage hole and the shape should not taper upwards (this shape makes repotting almost impossible). The best time for repotting is spring. Use a special green plant and palm soil for repotting. The composition of this substrate is tailored to the needs of palm trees. It isPeat-reduced, loose and has a pH of 5.3. The special soil has excellent water holding power and a high nutrient storage capacity. This makes maintenance easier and the depot fertilizer included provides the palm trees with all the nutrients they need for the first 6 weeks after repotting.

Our gardening tip: Be sure to put a drainage layer on the bottom of the pot. This will prevent waterlogging and the resulting root rot.

How do I overwinter my date palm?

Date palms should be overwintered frost-free. Temperatures around 10 °C are optimal. A frost-free greenhouse, a temperate conservatory or a bright stairwell is ideal. During warm hibernation, the fronds dry out too much and unsightly brown spots appear on the large fans. It is important that the Phoenix also get enough light in the winter quarters. Basically, the colder the date palm is in winter, the less water is needed. The Phoenix palm is not fertilized in winter.

Our gardening tip: Tie the fronds together loosely for the winter. Thus, the hibernation of the date palm is space-saving possible.

What pests and diseases can the date palm get?

The popular palm trees are robust and with good care and are very rarely attacked by diseases and pests in the optimal location. The following pests can occur:

spider mites

The affected leaves have silvery spots on the upper side and webs are visible on the underside of the leaves. The infestation often occurs in winter when the indoor air is warm and dry. It is usually sufficient to rinse off the plants and treat them with plant strengtheners. These bio-active agents contain natural plant extracts that contribute to the vitalization of the plant. You can prevent an infestation by increasing the humidity.

Scale and Mealybugs

Date palms are attacked by scale insects or mealybugs, especially in the winter quarters. The pests with shield-like structures are located in the leaf axils and on the trunk. At the first infestation, try to remove the scale or mealybugs with tweezers and strengthen the plants with organic plant treatment. The use of beneficial insects (natural opponents) is also helpful.


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FAQ — Frequently asked questions about date palms

What can be the reason for brown leaf tips?

Brown leaf tips are often a sign of too much water. In addition, leaf damage can occur due to dry air in winter. Regular spraying with low-lime water can help to prevent brown leaf tips.

Are Canary Date Palms Hardy?

Phoenix canariensis can tolerate temperatures down to freezing point. With frost and winter moisture, palm trees suffer. It is therefore advisable to cultivate the date palm as a container plant and to overwinter it in a protected place. Occasionally, permanently planted Phoenix canariensis can be found in the wine-growing climate.

How are date palms propagated?

A common method in palm propagation is sowing. Seed germination takes a long time and sufficient warmth and moisture are required before a seedling becomes visible.

What can be the reason for yellow leaves on date palms?

In addition to a lack of fertilizer and a location that is too dark in winter, cold temperatures can also lead to lightening of the leaves. Check site conditions.

Are Phoenix canariensis poisonous?

The date palm is not poisonous. However, the sharp leaves and trunks can cause injury.

Does the date palm produce edible fruit?

The attractive phoenix quickly brings Mediterranean flair to balconies and terraces, and some fruits are also formed. In contrast to the real date palm (Phoenix dactylifera), the fruits of Phoenix canariensis are not edible.

How big can a date palm get?

Planted in the ground, the Canary Island date palm can grow up to 15 meters high. As a container plant, the phoenix palm reaches 3 to 5 meters.

What can be the cause of the date palm drooping the leaves?

Either lack of water is a cause, or the roots of the date palm are damaged by too much moisture. Check the conditions, if there is root damage, repotting and need-based watering can help.

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