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QUESTION: Im not dumb enough not to water, i am keeping a majestic palm alive just fine and i fertilize it every month with a 25-10-15 fert. and i plan to plant it out in my garden in May. I am only a beginner and i hate slow growth thats why i love bananays. They are constantly pushing a new leaf every week and i have a basjoo and a mekong giant. I just returned my 2nd majestic which had bugs living in it. I can give it up to 3 humidifiers, and mist 3 times daily with every one and i am very good on watering my plants. In fact, i think i overwater them. I also want to try areca macrocarpa and areca betel nut.

ANSWER: Jack,

I was going by what you said. I am sorry I misinterpreted it. The best way not to overwater any plant is never to leave any water in the drain tray. Always empty it an hour after you water your plants. If you cannot pick it up to empty it use a turkey baster to suction the excess water out. If you do not leave the plant sitting in water in the drain tray and you do not water it before the top half of the soil is dry you cannot overwater the plant. Give a bamboo palm a try and I think you will be happy with the results.

You might consider other large plants besides palms that aren't as picky about humidity such as yucca plants. dracaena marginatas, hibiscus trees that bloom or even ficus trees.  Just a suggestion. Good luck!

Darlene

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: I always empty all water from the drain trays, my gramps who is actually 60 know lots about tulips, roses,  dutch elm disease resistant elms, and other plants but not palms?! I always water until i see that the soil is or has drained. Then i empty the water. God maybe i should raise a capybara instead of a palm tree (off topic). I like the bamboo palm, but i tried ordering bare root with a heliconia, and it died of shock a month later and the bamboo ships in a 10 inch pot but costs $75 with $50 fedex. Im 16 and i have only budgeted $250 for this. I like the chamaedorea tepejilote because of the growth rate and it only grows to i think 10 feet, the height of my ceiling, and its lighting requirementos are flexible. A minimal order from hawaiian tropical plant nursery cost $30 for 4 palms and $20 for shipping. I hear some zone 5,6,7 and 8ers are having success with calyptrocalyx, that why im going to try it. There are 2 listings on ebay thay have them for $10 with $10 shipping each and that would cost my $40, and dypsis cabadae is similar in its requirements to lutescens, so i want to give thata one a go. I would probably or maybe save Areca macrocarpa for summer 2013 along with the verschaffeltia and bentinckia. I dont know yet though. I definately want to try chamaedorea tepejilote and calyptrocalyx forbesii because it stays under 5 feet and grows fast,And for a challenge after planting out the raveneas, ill get the betel nut.

Answer
Jack,

Well, I guess your grandfather is a couple of years younger than me because I am 62. It sounds like you are doing the right things, the only other things you could possibly be doing wrong would be putting your palms in too large of pots. A large pot will not make them grow faster, it will just make it harder for them to dry out between waterings, most plants do better if they are somewhat snug in their pots, not quite rootbound but nearly so.

It sounds to me like you have already made up your mind and you have a good plan. I do suggest that you wait until March or April. If they ship them to you now in Minnesota they are likely to be frozen on the way to you. Be patient and wait until April and you may find some better deals and shipping will be much safer. You have more experience with palms than I do. I am a Master Gardener, not a Horticulturist. Unfortunately horticulturists do not volunteer their time. The University of Minnesota has a Junior Master Gardener program that you could get involved with. You can check it out here: http://www1.extension.umn.edu/master-gardener/   I also suggest that you consider becoming a horticulturist in the future. Perhaps there could be a future for you in running a greenhouse for NASA on the moon or on Mars. Good luck!

Darlene

PS: I was working all day so could not get back with you till now.

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Darlene K. Kittle

Expertise

I have been an Advanced Master Gardener for 24 years and I raise around 300 houseplants and bonsai trees a year including tropicals, succulents, and cacti. I have also been a professional plant care person for businesses in the Fort Wayne, IN area and currently professionally care for bonsai trees for my customers.

Experience

I am also studying the Japanese art of bonsai with tropical plants and is President of the Fort Wayne, IN Bonsai Club.

Organizations
Fort Wayne, iN Master Gardeners. President of the Fort Wayne Bonsai Club. Allen County Master Gardeners

Education/Credentials
I am not a hortculturist. I am a Purdue University Advanced Master Gardener for 24 years. I have studied plants on a personal level by growing hundreds of plants annually for the last 35 years. I have also studied under several nationally known American Bonsai experts.

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