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Tropical Plants/Pygmy Date Palm - exposed roots


Pygmy Date Palm
Pygmy Date Palm  
Pygmy Date Palm #2
Pygmy Date Palm #2  

I think I emailed you before about my palm.  I bought it at Home Depot in January.  I initially had it in a filtered shade area on my front porch in Chula Vista, CA.  It did ok for about a month and then the new leaves coming in had a white substance on them and the plant began to look saggy.  I moved the plant to an area on my balcony in February, where it gets at least a couple hours a day of sun.  I transplanted it, began using a fertilizer especially for palms and a nutritional spray every two weeks for the fronds.  The leaves are looking better now(some in the back are not as full of strands as the ones in the front), but what really concerns me, is the plant leans quite a bit and seems to be pushing itself out of the pot.  It also has a lot of exposed roots on the top of the soil.  It had a few exposed roots when I bought it, but there are quite a bit more now. Any suggestions about what could be causing the palm to lean so much and seemingly push itself out of the pot?  I appreciate your response.  Pictures attached.

ANSWER: Hi Ceil,,first of all I just now received your question,,for some reason I don't receive my questions sometimes, and have to log into "Allexpers" to see I have pending questions; that said, the container your Palm is in is far too small for the root ball, it seems like its pushing out because it is also transplanted a little too high, albeit its good to have it a little high, this one is too high. My suggestion is to get a larger container, and place the Palm in it so that the junction of the first roots are right at the soil surface, then water it well and then top off with more soil to eliminate any air pockets. Finally, mulch it over with about 2 inches of mulch to keep the soil base from drying out too quickly. It should be located where it gets Morning Sun and then eases into a shadier area around 1-2 in the afternoon.  Palms only require 3 administrations of fertilizer a year, so don't over fertilize or you risk burning the roots and building up salt in the soil. It is fine to use the nutritional spray as you are. Good luck and hopefully your little fella will do fine. Nick

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

QUESTION: Thanks for the response.  Quick question: so am I putting soil on top of the exposed roots? Just want to make sure I understand. The roots that are exposed are not part of the root ball.  Some of these exposed roots were there when I got the plant and they have become more plentiful over time. When I last transplanted the palm,I did not let the soil cover higher than the soil it was originally planted in.

I would repot it in a bigger container and free up the rootball so the roots are not compacted and then plant it so the first lateral roots are just under the soil surface, then water it well and put a stick beside it tied to the main trunk to keep it in place until the roots take hold. Again I apologize for just seeing this today,,,seems if I don't log in I will never see I have a question for they are supposed to automatically appear in my email....Nick

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Nick McCann


broad spectrum knowledge in the field of tropical plants;


I am a certified Master Gardner in Florida (8years)

Master Gardner Association of Charlotte County Florida

Master Gardner training....accredited each year with required seminars and educational training.

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