Pygmy Date Palms are dwarf palms with an upright form and cascading green fronds.
Pygmy Date Palms have graceful, arching fronds with an upright form. They are very sturdy palms, and are more forgiving than other tropical palms. They do best with some humidity and plenty of bright direct light. Pygmy Date Palms prefer to dry out some, but not completely, between waterings. These beautiful palms perform well inside as a houseplant or outside in the summer in containers or planted in the landscape if hardy. Outdoors, they can handle part sun but prefer full sun, and well draining soil that isn’t allowed to dry out completely between watering.
Growing Zone: 9-11
Mature Height: 5′ – 6′
Mature Width: 3′ – 4′
Classification: Green Foliage
Sunlight: Bright, direct to full sun
Flower Color: Does not flower indoors, white
Foliage: Green fronds
Soil Condition: Well draining, cactus or succulent mix (part sand)
Water Require: Likes to dry out occasionally
Uses: Performs well indoors or outside with lots of light
Does Not Ship To: AK, CA, HI, OR, WA, AZ
More tolerant of conditions than other palms, Pygmy Date Palms do well in bright, direct light to full sun and can stand to dry out occasionally. They are considered the most graceful and beautiful of the palms, and are frequently used in tropical containers for the summer months. Plants are either male or female, and both are needed to produce flowers and seeds. These palms are very unlikely to flower indoors. Size of the palm varies based on the size of the container. They look magnificent paired with Kimberlee Queen Ferns, petunias and hibiscus.
Indoors, Pygmy Date Palms do best with at least a few hours of bright, direct light from western or southern exposure. They will tolerate lower light levels, but care needs to be taken that they are not overwatered. Pygmy Date Palms grow very slowly, usually about 6 inches a year of trunk space. Palm fronds appear from the center of the palm and expand as they age. Lower fronds will need to be removed as they age, contributing to the naturally upright habit of the Pygmy Date Palms.
Light Requirement of Pygmy Date Palms:
Pygmy Date Palms perform best in bright, direct light for several hours. Southern or western exposure indoors works best; they would be very happy in a sunroom with plenty of direct light. Outdoors, they perform well in part to full sun, but can handle shadier spots.
Watering Pygmy Date Palms:
Pygmy Date Palms like to dry out somewhat between watering. It does not like to stay or sit in water. Plants that are watered too often will not do well.
Fertilizing Pygmy Date Palms:
Any all purpose, foliage fertilizer will work for Pygmy Date Palms. Indoor houseplant fertilizers fall into two groups: water soluble, liquid quick release, and granular, slow release fertilizers. Jack’s Classic Indoor plant food works well as a powder, quick release fertilizer that is mixed with water to quickly provide nutrients to a plant that has been in a container for an extended time. On the other hand, there is a granular, slow release fertilizer called Palm-Tone designed specifically for use with all palm trees that provides specific macro and micronutrients to palms in the quantities that they require. Either type of fertilizer offers nutrients that help plants with the transition to a new environment.
Best Growing Soil for Pygmy Date Palms:
Pygmy Date Palms prefer regular potting mix with sand mixed in for plants potted in containers, otherwise a cactus potting mix would work. The cactus potting mix already has sand and other ingredients to encourage drainage. Outdoors, Pygmy Date Palms like a well draining soil, as they will not tolerate sitting in water. It is a good idea to mix in some Palm Tone when you plant.
History and introduction of Pygmy Date Palms:
Pygmy Date Palms are originally from southern China, Laos, and Vietnam. In its native habitat, Pygmy Date Palms have the ability to sucker, or produce small plants from the same base as the parent plant that will grow to become large trunks and palms. In cultivation, however, these palms have lost the ability to sucker, and instead are planted usually 3 to a container in 14″ diameter pots or larger. Specimens in gardens can be found as a single trunk, triple trunk or multistem as they have suckered. Seeds from wild plants will have the ability to sucker, and are viable.
Phoenix roebelenii is the Latin name for Pygmy Date Palm. Phoenix comes from the Greek word for Date Palm, while roebelenii is named for Carl Roebelin who discovered the species.