Fertilizer for Palm Trees
What & How for Their Food

Fertilizer for palm trees provides essential nutrients to keep your palm plants looking luxuriant and robust. When your palm is well-fed, you'll breathe a sigh of happy contentment & relief!

A major secret is using the right kind of fertilizer. This applies whether you've just purchased a new palm, or want to understand if something seems wrong with your growing palm. The why & how for the best results are very important.

We're suggesting some important tips for you to click in the menu here! To ease your worries.

How Fortifying Palm Trees With Fertilizer is Healthy

For a healthy palm tree, the right fertilizer blend is the point. When we drive around our city, Tucson Arizona, we spot many, many palm trees. But some make a quite sad appearance. Possibly from lacking nutritional needs.

We hate when that happens, so we'd like to help all understand why fertilizer for palm trees is vital.

Sick looking palm tree with a rainbow nearbySad Palm in Our Neighborhood - Think it's a Boron Problem

What is The Urgency of Giving Palm Trees Fertilizer?

Have you been putting of thinking off palm fertilizer?

Thinking if this is really needed Palm Tree Care? We've done that, procrastinating the issue. Until our plants were showing some distress. So we had to figure out the urgency of giving the best type of fertilizer for palm trees!

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A few conditions come into play, related to the ground palms are planted in. Like the type of soil & the soil's pH. If the pH is off, palms can't get some essential nutrition. Symptoms will give a hint of common nutrient deficiencies. Often on older leaves.

Palms use 16 essential elements which support their growth. Sunlight & surrounding air deliver some. But even those need access to other Palm's Necessary Nutrients to complete their job.

Potassium deficiency is probably the most common palm nutrient shortage. Some deficiencies can even be fatal!!

What is the Best Fertilization Food for Palm Trees?

What is proper fertilization for palm trees?

Good fertilizer should contain appropriate quantities of Macronutrients, plus Micronutrients (trace elements).

Did you know that Indoor Palm Trees won't require the same fertilizing plan as outdoor palms? We've given you a separate section below for Details on Fertilizing Indoor Palms.

We discovered most research on the best palm fertilizer has been in Florida & Atlantic coast landscapes. Where sandy soil is the norm. But we're in Arizona, and many others with palms are wondering about our area!

Begin with (as mentioned above) knowing your type of soil & its pH. They greatly affect nutrient absorption. Best is acidic soil, between 6.5 & 7.0. We always recommend Soil pH testing to determine best choices in Your Landscape. The most accurate way is by contacting your local university extension.

pH scale with examples

Look at the fertilizer label to figure if it's good for palms. You'll find a weight ratio of three essentials:  nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) & potassium (K) - NPK. Plus details for added micronutrient & macronutrient quantities. 

  • Generally the best palm outcome is with 8N-2P-12K in sandier soils, like in Florida.
  • Clay Soils are packed with nutrients, if not much aeration. Phosphorus is its most common nutrient deficiency. Organic Fertilizers are best. Added spray applications may help.
  • With the ideal Loam Soil, containing some natural organic matter, 3N-2P-1K is best.

Keep an eye on fertilizer phosphorus content when looking for fertilizer for palm trees.

  • Too much isn't good. Phosphorus deficit is rare in palm tree species. Up to 4P is ample for any Palm Fertilizer. It's just that less is more!
  • Unused phosphorus contaminates ground water.
  • Overuse can decrease root growth.
small lake with large amount of algae pollutionSmall Lake With a Serious Case of Algae Pollution - Phosphorus the Likely Culprit!

Best Organic Fertilizers for Palm Trees

Studies show organic palm fertilizers are a superior choice.

  • An eco-friendly method for feeding your palms.
  • A great way to use recyclables in sustainable gardening.
  • Importantly, they're proven to improve health of palm trees for growth response.

We can recommend Espoma Organic Palm-Tone 4-1-5. It has the best nutrient proportions. The main drawback is the barnyard-type smell. But it fades after a few days. That's what organics do!!

When thinking of chemical fertilizers with harmful effects, you might cringe:

  • When applied in rainier seasons, excess nutrients are swept away into waterways.
  • Regional laws can limit amounts allowed for nitrogen & phosphorus.
  • Chemicals can have harmful effects on soil & groundwater.

Consider organic alternatives instead. Some additives could be appropriate for your soil type. Blood meal only adds lots of nitrogen. Fish Blends may help. Worm Castings add a tiny bit of Nitrogen, the advantage is the good bacteria & enzymes. Organic castor bean cake apparently has every required macronutrient.

Here at Mission: Palm Trees

Palm lovers can get the info needed to ease their searching tasks. While enjoying our articles & having fun, without unneeded shoptalk lingo & tiring research.

Best Methods for Giving Palm Trees Fertilizer

Palm fertilizers are available with varied techniques for application. That is...

  • Granular - Easy to spread.
  • Soluble liquids - Acceptable for indoor potted palms.
  • Time-release vs Fast-release - Time release is the choice here. Providing the needed steady diet of several nutrients.
  • Spike fertilizers - Not recommended.

GRANULAR FERTILIZERS - A Slow-Release Formula is the Best Palm Tree Fertilizer. It's efficient, since it's continuously delivered over time.

  • "Slow Release Fertilizer" should be on the label. If it's not, ask them.
  • Try to avoid Polymer-Coated Fertilizers. Resin-coating is better for desirable growth.

LIQUID FERTILIZERS - Concentrated Formulas for mixing with water, by following label directions.

  • Some spray it on landscape palm fronds. Not efficient as your regular fertilizer for palm trees.
  • Occasional supplemental use is fine, if really needed.
  • Be sure it's sulfate form, as chelates can be toxic.

FERTILIZER SPIKES - Another inefficient method.

  • Essential nutrients are only in one area.
  • Difficult to control the feed. No guarantee it will effectively reach the root zone.

How Do I Apply Palm Fertilizer to My Plant?

Coordinate with fertilizer packaging instructions, with these best methods:

  • The best time for applying fertilizer is after you watering your palm lightly. Then again after application. Most fertilizer applications last about three months. 
  • Scatter granules uniformly below the entire canopy of the palm. Extending out somewhat beyond that depending on the palm's age. Because roots of mature palms, especially, go wide but not deep.
  • Please keep it away from the trunk to avoid harmful burn. Where new roots grow from the root zone.
outlining the area below a palm crown for fertilizer placement

Timing for Application of Palm Tree Fertilizer

Fertilizer For Palm Trees should be given during growing season. Typically spring through very early autumn. But particular to your own climate conditions.

  • You live in a climate with a predominant rainy season? Bypass fertilizing during the rainiest months. 
  • In tropical climes & warmer subtropical climate areas, it's best to fertilize in late winter, late spring & early autumn. Avoid strong sun, late afternoon is a good time to fertilize.
  • With shorter growing seasons in temperate climates, palms don't need as much fertilizer. Early spring & late summer applications are generally good enough.

Fertilization for Indoor Potted Palm Trees

Indoor palm trees also need fertilizing during their growing season. Though their need is for less. Light affects amounts of Fertilizer Palms Need. The less light (typical of indoor palms) the less fertilizer requirement. The ideal nutrient combination is N-3 P-1 K-2.

SLOW-RELEASE FERTILIZER GRANULES scattered on soil surface is only needed once a year, in the springtime. If transplanting to a larger pot, stir the granules into your good potting mix. But remember quick-release fertilizers may cause root burn - too much at once.

FOR LIQUID FERTILIZERS, prepare by doubling water proportion added to the concentrate. During growing season, give it no more than monthly!

Potted palm in front of a window does not want fertilizer now

Safety With Fertilizer for Palm Trees

Safety priorities are important when using fertilizers for palm trees.

  • Gloves Are Needed when preparing & administering.
  • Hand-washing is a good idea after fertilizing.
  • Keep fertilizers away from children & pets.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Is your palm plant surrounded by a grassy lawn? The best fertilizer for lawn health isn't what you want for palms. Problem is grass fertilizer's nitrogen proportion is way too high. Best keep that turf fertilizer away from under the palm's crown.

Every palm species is unique & could have different fertilizing appetites. Knowing your particular Palm Tree Species is helpful. Palms are planted in varied soils, get different sunlight, & live in quite variable climates. So, reading fertilizer labels is important.

VERY IMPORTANT FACT - The most common mistake with fertilizing is giving too much. Over-fertilizing is typically more harmful than under-fertilizing.

  • Too much feed, or bad fertilizer placement can burn palm roots.
  • Palm leaves can be scorched from over-spraying liquid fertilizers.

We've given some overall principals. But it's always best to get with your palm regularly. See how it looks to figure out if your fertilizing plan should be adjusted.

Takeaways about Fertilizer for palm trees

The right proportion for your palm tree fertilizer plan is pretty simple. You want to get it right to make your palm (and yourself!) happy. Organic Palm Fertilizers are a good choice.

Fertilizing your palm trees correctly provides their needed nutrients. So they'll enjoy an inviting environment for good growth.

So, are you now confident in giving your palm trees the nutrients they need? If you're still somewhat unsure, You Can Always Contact Us. With your palm's details, we can try to help!

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