With their look exoticpalm trees or arecaceae are more and more frequently grown in regions where they were not expected, and thus bring a somewhat unusual note to certain gardens. There are nearly 200 genera of palms, accumulating just under 3,000 species, all evergreen. Some of them are hardy enough to thrive in our regions with harsh winters, while others, on the contrary, can only support indoor life outside of summer. Each fan of the genre can therefore afford the Palm that best suits the chosen environment. Let’s focus on the needs of palm trees in general, their planting and maintenance.
Plant a palm tree
The palm is appreciated for the beauty of its evergreen, that it is composed of fans, pinnate leaves, or even petioles bearing spines. It’s a matter of taste… It’s also their stem that brings an original touch to our gardens, that is to say this pseudo-trunk that takes shape little by little, over the sizes. As for the flowering of the palm trees, it represents in a way the icing on the cake… Indeed, we have to wait between 20 and 40 years old to see a palm tree blossom…
Planting the palm tree in the ground
This is from april to may when is the best time to plant the palm tree. He likes them sunny exposures sheltered from strong winds. In terms of land, the preference is for soils in which water does not stagnate, so well drained. It can however be noted that certain species of palm trees are even able to acclimatize to dry, calcareous ground, but in order not to slow down their growth, these are not the ideal conditions.
In any case, when buying a palm tree, in a garden center near your home or through an online horticulture site, it is essential to be well informed on its specificities in order to offer it the best growing conditions.
The planting a palm tree in the ground should be done as follows:
- Prepare the garden soil so that it is perfectly loosened: it is rid of stones, debris of all kinds, and weed roots.
- Dig a hole 60 cm deep and at least 50 cm in diameter.
- Prepare a mixture composed of 60% topsoil or that extracted from the planting hole if it is suitable, 30% planting compost and three large shovels of organic manure.
- Place the pebbles collected during the preparation, pieces of terracotta or gravel at the bottom of the hole, which are mixed with pozzolana to ensure good drainage.
- Put the palm purchased in a container in a basin of water to properly rehydrate the root ball.
- Place some soil on the drainage layer.
- Take the palm tree out of its container, and gently untangle its roots so as not to damage them.
- Place the palm tree in the center of the hole so that the surface of the root ball is level with the ground.
- Cover with the rest of the soil/compost/manure mixture.
- Pack well.
- Water copiously.
It is recommended mulch the foot of the palm tree grown in the ground to limit the development of weeds and maintain sufficient humidity. The mulch can be mineral, made up of pozzolan, pebbles or even colored gravel for example, or vegetable as is the case with cocoa pods, bark and flax flakes.
Planting the palm tree in a container
This type of culture is chosen for tropical species poorly adapted to outdoor life in most of our regions, knowing however that any palm can be grown in pots. For those most sensitive to the cold, it is recommended because it allows you to shelter your tropical tree in winter. Thus, one can opt for a bin on wheels in order to facilitate movement, from a bright room or from the house to the terrace, an ideal place to spend the summer season outside without difficulty.
Here’s how to plant a palm tree in a pot.
- Prepare a ssubstrat made up of :
- 40% special planting soil or soil for Mediterranean plants,
- 30% good garden soil or topsoil,
- 15% compost,
- 15% pozzolan or clay pebbles (or half/half).
- Choose a bottom pot perforated and sufficiently large, 50 cm in depth and in diameter,
- Place a layer of the mixture at the bottom of the tank,
- Place the palm tree in the center of the container after soaking the root ball in a bucket of water to rehydrate it,
- Fill the pot with the rest of the substrate and ensure that it infiltrates well within the root block,
- Pack all around the foot without hurting the roots,
- Water copiously.
One or two dripping plants can be stuck into the ground to maintain sufficient coolness if the weather is very dry, which will help the palm tree take root.
Grow a palm tree
In France, the cultivation of a palm tree in the ground is only recommended for hardy species when you live outside the Mediterranean regions or certain areas of the Atlantic coast protected from prevailing winds and frost. It is therefore better to choose a palm tree capable of withstanding negative temperatures. Small special mention for the species Rhapidophyllum hystrix, one of the hardiest once adult since it resists to -20°C in perfectly drained soil. But this is not the case with palms grown in pots because their roots are not well protected from severe frosts.
You should also know that it is quite possible to install an Arecaceae close to home or the surrounding wall, its roots not risking damaging a construction. On the other hand, we recommend keeping it within reasonable distance of a swimming pool in which chlorine is used, in order to protect it from splashes which may harm it.
maintain a palm tree
The palm tree is easy to grow and undemanding.
The adult palm tolerates drought. On the other hand, we plan to water it moderately but regularly. during the first 3 years during the driest periods of the year. Under no circumstances should watering be excessive.
Throughout his growth period, a young Areca needs fertile soil. If it is grown in the ground, care has therefore been taken to amend the soil with manure at the time of planting. But the palm in a jar deserves regular fertilizer applications. Also, from the end of March until October, a liquid fertilizer for green plants or shrubs in a container is added to the irrigation water, scrupulously respecting the dosages clearly indicated on the bottle.
After a few years in its container, the palm tree may need to be repotted if it seems too cramped. But for larger specimens, when repotting proves to be a little too complicated, it is better to scrape the soil on the surface without hurting the roots, then eliminate it in order to replace it with soil enriched with organic manure or compost. You can also simply add liquid palm fertilizer to enrich the devitalized substrate with essential nutrients.
You have to wait a few years before you have to proceed with the size of a palm tree, whether planted in the ground or in a pot. Only the very dry palms or leaves are concerned. They should be pruned in the spring, between April and June, using a lopper or, if the petioles are particularly tough, with a pruning saw. We cut as close as possible to the stipe, that is to say the robust stem which forms the false trunk of the palm tree. You have to wear thick protective gloves to cut the spiny specimens.
Diseases and Parasites
The palm tree is very resistant, even if it unfortunately happens that it can seriously suffer from an epidemic of charançons which we call the palm killer because it leads to the death of the subject in less than 24 months, as was the case in Occitania, in the PACA region or in the Toulouse area where hundreds of Arecaceae were decimated. This parasite is more precisely Rhynchophorus ferrugineusred palm weevil.
And excess humidity can cause bud rot, as the palm under such conditions can also suffer from a fungal disease. If this is the case, it is advisable to remove all the affected leaves and then burn them. Prevention involves limited watering and, above all, planting in draining soil. the sulfur and the Bordeaux mixture sprayed are good preventive solutions against all fungi that can affect the health of these plants.
Finally, they can fall prey to scale insects, especially when plants planted in pots are kept indoors all year round in a warm, dry atmosphere. Therefore, it is strongly recommended to take out your potted palms for them to take advantage of summer rains.
In the event of scale insect attacks, they can be sprayed with:
- A commercial scale insect control product,
- Nettle manure, very effective,
- A mixture composed of 2 spoonfuls of black soap, 2 spoonfuls of alcohol (at 70 or 90°) and 2 spoonfuls of vegetable oil which is diluted in 2 liters of water.
At the same time, we can try to remove as many mealybugs as possible manually with a cotton ball soaked in 90° alcohol or even beer. It is then necessary to rinse with water in fairly strong rain then to pass the infested parts with a brush soaked in vegetable oil.
But be careful, you have to react as quickly as possible because if it is too infested (and this takes little time), all the leaves of the palm eventually dry up. In the most desperate cases, subjects infested with mealybugs are condemned. In addition, multiple plants can be contaminated, in the house as in the garden or on the terrace.