How to Plant Palm Trees - Best Practices

Knowing how to plant palm trees will surely help get the tropical aesthetic to your landscape. But where do you start? If you're thinking about planting a palm tree, you're in the right place! Let's see best practices for planting palm trees, for a successful life in your garden.

Here at Mission: Palm Trees

Palm lovers can get the info needed to ease their palm-related search tasks & worries. For enjoying our informative articles, while having fun finding things you want or need. Without unneeded shoptalk lingo & tiring endless research.

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Preparation for Planting A Palm Tree

When you want to see how to plant palm trees, first think about how this plant will enhance your landscape. Have you thought about your planting arrangement?

It's wise to think about the future growth of your palm tree. Palms can grow quite large, up & out! That's why palms need space from pathways, buildings, fences, etc. 

Palm tree growing too closely to buildingsNot the Best Planning When This Palm Was Placed

Have you planned enough space for your palm to grow?  Plan Your Palm Planting ahead so the future doesn't bring hard-to-solve surprises!

The Right Palm in the Right Place

You've likely thought about the type of palm tree to choose. You may love the way it looks, the unique flowers it produces, or maybe even the Palm Tree Fruit it gives.

There are many species, each with different needs. Characteristics for some might make it a little unpleasant for you. For future growing success, be sure to know your chosen palm's requirements. Its water, sun, soil, Nutritional Needs, etc. 

We have lots of research for particular needs of the palm variety you choose. To help search these details for best success, see our Site Map Index for help.

Vintage postcard from 1800s of a river with a boatPalms Along the Ocklawaha River Need a Soggy Environment - Vintage Florida Postcard
Grove of date palm treesVersus Dryer Needs of these Medjool Date Palms
Growing in Yuma Arizona, in the Desert

Palm Life in Cool Temperate or Cold Climates

Wondering how to plant palm trees when you don't live in tropic-like climates? It's possible for you. With needed info & precautions on hand. Cold-Hardy Palms are the best choices because they can take those frosty dips.

If a palm is borderline for freezing days, your winter protection for young palms is key. Meaning a little more work for you, until it's established.

Be sure to Know Your USDA Planting Zone to decide if the cold tolerance of the palm you want is a realistic choice.

When & Where to Plant Your Palm Tree

Timing for Planting a New Palm

When is the best time to plant palm trees? Timing is vital for your palm's successful establishment.

For Truly Tropical Climate Zones, about any time of the year is fine to plant palm trees. Just watch weather forecasts to avoid weeks with seasonally unexpected cold spells.

For other climates Where Palms Can Grow, avoid winter. Cold weather stalls root growth, which is needed for successful planting.

  • Your ideal timing for planting palms in non-tropical zones is during warmer months to get new root growth flowing. Think of late spring, summer & early autumn.
  1. Your local weather conditions play a role. There are large variations from semi-tropical areas to warmer temperate areas.
  2. Always be mindful that your palm needs plenty of time to establish its roots before colder weather comes along.

Palm Requirements for Your Landscape Placement

Review your palm's needs to judge the right spot for your palm tree.

Sunlight Requirements for Palm Trees

Nearly all palms love full sun. They need sunlight's daily exposure to prosper. Knowing your own palm's sun needs helps to decide the planting place.

  • Full sun preferences palms should be located where they receive at least six hours of direct sunlight every day.
  • Some palms get by with less. Those Types of Palms are often native to rainforests, growing beneath taller plants.
  • With immature palms who haven't yet begun upward growth, shade cloth protection is wise in sun-strong climates.
Drawing of the Sun with a little cloud

Is Your Soil Right for Planting a Palm Tree?

Your type of soil is a major key for the health of your palm tree.

Palms prefer well-draining, slightly acidic to neutral soil. That's a pH Level between 6.0 (acidic) and 7.0 (neutral). Soil more acidic than 6.0 can decrease essential nutrient access.

Before planting, it's best to Get Your Soil Tested. You'll want to know which type of soil is in your intended planting spot: sandy, loamy or clay. And how fast it drains.

  • Most palms have ideal drainage requirements of 1-4in/hour (2.54-10.16cm).
  • Waterlogged conditions around a newly planted root ball largely decreases a palm's survival chances.

Have you checked the drainage where you plan to plant?

Some Landscape Design Tips When Planting Palms

Landscaping points to evaluate for how to plant palm trees:

Cycad planting in a landscape cornerCycads are a popular choice to use in palm landscaping.

Preparing Your Palm Planting Hole

When you're planting the palm tree, how deep should you dig? A common question. Doing this correctly is important.

Planting too deeply will almost guarantee problems later. Which can kill current roots & prevent new roots from growing.

  • The root ball's bottom should extend to the hole's bottom. The hole's width should be twice as wide as the original container.
  • Look at the point where soil begins at the stem/trunk, in the container of the palm awaiting transplant. Your landscape's backfill soil should be at that same point.
  1. But, have new root shoots started above the main root ball & above the container soil? You can place the soil line just above these short adventitious root shoots. Covering those roots.

How to Plant Palm Trees into the Hole

Now here's the alternate problem: be sure this immature container palm you're transplanting isn't planted too shallowly. Be sure there's soil to about one inch above the top of the V-shaped stem of juvenile palms.

Place your palm gently into the hole. Fill with soil you'd dug from that hole. Tamping down as you go, removing air pockets.

  • Because if air cavities remain throughout the backfill, roots won't grow as well.
  • Roots need to get started growing, but won't grow into air-filled gaps.

Now Water your newly planted palm

The next step is watering.

The best first to-do is creating a berm embankment around the palm's trunk. Wide enough to allow water being directed throughout the area below the crown.

Then begin watering deeply & thoroughly. It may take several berm-area fills to fully wet the soil, as well as settle out any leftover air pockets.

Initially afterwards, begin giving your palm regular watering to maintain a moist (not saturated or waterlogged, though) soil environment. This jump-starts its much needed root growth. Success with how to plant palm trees now depends on root development.

Post Palm Tree Planting - Basics for Care

What about post-planting care? Here are the most important tasks.

Watering Schedule for Newly Transplanted Palms

Continue watering the soil regularly to keep it moist. Be careful, though, that it's not drenched.

Stick with that schedule for its first 4-6 months post planting. As your palm grows, it starts establishing its essential root system. That's where all the energy is directed.

Because it needs to get those roots going, don't expect much, if any, new above-ground action. Fronds will be secondary to roots during this beginning of establishment.

Miscellaneous dos & don'ts for your Transplanted Palm

No leaf water spray is needed & could even be harmful.

  • By encouraging fungi attack.

Supporting the new palm trunk may be needed if it already has some height. Helping to stabilize it during its first year.

  • Protect the trunk from the support straps around the circumference. Burlap is ideal.

Studies have shown mulching of the soil atop the watering berm area is undesirable.

  • Water evaporative loss from soil is minimal. 
  • Mulching doesn't help new growth.
  • Why? Mulch grabs the moisture itself, soaking it up. Rather than conserve it for the soil. The soil underneath mulch is typically drier compared to those not mulched.

Takeaways for How to Plant Palm Trees

Planting a palm tree is just the beginning of your journey. With the right care and attention, your palm can grow to become a beautiful and enduring part of your landscape.

By following these best practices on how to plant palm trees, you're well on your way to giving your new palm tree the environment it needs for success. But if you're unsure about something or have questions, Feel Free to Ask Us. We'll always see what we can do to help!

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