Palms and their care

Palms and their uses indoors and outdoors

Coconuts growing from coconut tree-palms-and-their-care
Coconut Palm

In this article, we will be looking at palms their care, and how to use them indoors and outdoors. While we will not be covering every aspect of palms in this article because of the vastness of the subject, however, we will be looking at some general information that pertains to palms.

There is said to be about two thousand six hundred species of palms (2,600) so you can imagine the extent we have to go to if we were to look at each one on an individual basis. But there are some basic rules that we can apply for just about any palm which will ensure that our palms stay nice and healthy.

Palm uses

I have worked with palms for many years. The beauty and touch of class that they bring into just about any plant design are amazing. Palms do not only give that touch of class but also that elegant look. Palms can bring total transformation to any environment.

Palms within interior plantscape

Green raphis garden palms-palm-and-their-care
Raphis Palm

One of my assignments as an interior plantscape technician was not only to install palms but to create breathtaking designs with them. When installing palms on the inside one thing to remain mindful of is the light requirements of that palm. Also be mindful of water requirements, fertilizer, common pests, and grooming procedures.

These basic things listed above are vital necessities in order for palms to be able to thrive.

Tools needed for interior plant care

Tools are so important because without them we will not be able to effectively carry out our job. So it is with interior plantscape in particular as we discuss palms. These are the tools that you would need.

1. Pruners.

2. Scissors.

3. Water jug.

4. Soil probe or moisture meter.

5. Duster.

6. Water tank (depends on job size)

7. 6 or 8ft ladder (depends on job layout)

Pest problems

The main pest problems that I have dealt with when dealing with interior plant scape palms were mealy bugs, scales, and spider mites.

To learn more about these garden insect pests check out this link pest control methods

Control methods

Controlling these insects is not that hard, as long as you have a weekly program in place where you inspect your plants on both sides of the leaves along with stems. Either buy insecticidal soaps from your garden center or by making a homemade mixture

of 1 tsp of dish liquid into a gallon of water. Once properly mixed, pour this mixture into a 32oz spray bottle and apply to the entire infected area of the palm on both sides of the leaves and even stem. Leave on for about 10-15 minutes and then wipe off with a clean soft cloth.

But if you prefer to purchase chemicals, read the label carefully and follow as directed.


Palms like any other plant come under attack by insects mainly when they are stressed from lack of water, a nutritional deficiency, insufficient lighting, or having non-infected and infected plants growing closely together.

When purchasing palms always remember to ask your nurseryman about the care of palms

This information will go a long way in the overall health of your palm. When fertilizing indoor or container-grown palms it is best to use a slow-release fertilizer ( slower release fertilizer ).  It is also good to rotate palms after several months.

Try to have several palms on hand to have a rotation program going on to ensure the longevity of your palms.

Palms within the landscape

Now that we have looked at palms within the interior, we will be looking at palms within the landscapes. Palms that are grown within the landscape require more attention because of being exposed to the environment and the elements. This alone can cause a major impact on their survival.

Again having some knowledge of palms and their care can go a long way in helping them grow healthy. When putting together a plant design always remember the proper placement of palms because this will affect the thriving of your palm.

Care of outdoor Palms

When caring for outdoor palms there are some practices that must be put in place to ensure the survival of your palm. First, know your palm requirements.

Some of these basic requirements include:

Watering needs

Know the watering need of your plants. Make sure to water as needed.

Fertilizer needs

Know your palm fertilizer requirements and follow fertilizer directions. Remember also that palms suffer mostly from potassium and magnesium deficiency. Make sure and get a soil ph test done before applying fertilizers.

Follow this link to learn more about soil ph.

Pest problems

There are many pest problems that palms face. So by knowing your palm, it will be easier to identify the host pest. Use control methods as directed. Your garden center or plant nurseryman is also a good source of information in helping you to know the needs of your palm type.

Follow this link to learn about some common garden pest problems.


Pathogens are disease-carrying organisms that spread disease.

To learn more about these pathogens follow this link to plant disease control.

Remember the label is law so follow direction.

More on palm care

When pruning palm foliage (leaves) make sure to prune or make the cut properly, Cut foliage as close to the trunk as possible. Also when caring for palms be careful not to damage the crown of your palm. The crown is located at the top of the palm, it is that center area where the young foliage grows from.

The final word

In upcoming articles, we will be looking more in-depth at palms. Palms are exotic plants and should be handled with tender loving care. So let us do our part in ensuring their growth and survival.


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About the author

+ posts

Norman loves being in the garden, both at home and for his job....
he is 'Natures Little helper' being outdoors, growing his vegetables and flowers from an early age.
Now having spent over 22 years in the profession he want to give some of his knowledge to others...
his vast array of hints and tips you will find scattered over this site will help you no end growing plants in your garden.

4 thoughts on “Palms and their care”

  1. Wow I never knew that there was so much to know about caring for palms. I always thought they were beautiful plants but didn’t know you could actually purchase them? I agree about the bit about the bugs and the spiders as I have several natural plants which are for the outdoors which can filled with insects and bugs.

    • Hey jazzy nice to meet you, palms are wonderful plants that can be purchase, there are so many species. I love palms because as stated in this article they gave that royal touch. Glad that i could help, have a good day.

  2. I enjoy palms too. Once I watched a crane lift very mature palms over a house to be planted in the backyard. It must of cost a fortune.

    It seems that palms grow very slowly. I’ve seen them stored in nurseries with nothing but black plastic on the roots.

    You answered many of my questions in your article Palms and Their Care, but do you know if it’s practical to grow date palms in South Carolina?

    • Hello Gary it’s good to meet you, One of things that i have notice with palms is that palms love warm climate. Now as to your question with date palms, date palms can grow in south Carolina because of the many warm areas. With it s hot summers and subtropical climate. Here where i live in the Bahamas we have warm weather year round. I have eaten dates of these palms and they are sweet and so good, the fruit itself must turn brow before they can be eaten. Hope this helps and please do share this website with others thanks again and have a good day.


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