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drooping Pygmy date palm


By Boeing

United Kingdom Gb

I have newly acquired a six-foot Phoenix Roebelenii (Pygmy Date Palm) and have it situated in a brightly lit warm room with underfloor heating although I've raised it a few inches off the floor on a little trolley to stop the base of the pot getting over-warm. However, it's started to droop badly although the leaves are still predominantly green. I have given it a little water to no effect, so thinking that lacking water was the problem I gave it more in order to make the compost reasonably damp. The plant is now looking even more droopy! Has anyone a solution for me please? Would it survive being allowed to dry out for a period? It was not a cheap plant. Many thanks in anticipation.

On plant Phoenix roebelenii



Hi Boeing, welcome to GOY.

I can't be specific on the P. roebelenii because it is one that I have never grown but I have 17 different palms including the ubiquitous P. canariensis and, on the sparse evidence will make a few suggestions.

1) How big is the pot? The immediate thing that springs to mind is 'pot bound'. The Phoenix (of any strain) is not a house plant. I had (still have) a canariensis that I kept in a very large pot as a house plant for about 5 years. It suddenly started to look sick so I decided it was time for the garden (actually the canariensis in particular is fairly hardy) so I moved it out. I am ashamed to admit that I did that in early May before the ground had time to warm and the shock knocked it right back. I still have it (even after our recent spell of weather) but it is now 2 feet tall instead of 7 feet. The point of my ramble is, though, that at 6 feet Phoenix palms are not very happy in pots. You could try moving it to a larger pot or, although it is less hardy than the canariensis, you could try it in the garden with fleece in winter for a couple of years. You may just get away with it in south Dorset. I don't think I would, even in a mild part of Yorkshire. But do not plant it out until late summer when the ground is warm.

2) You could well be over watering. It won't hurt to let it go dry before watering.

3) Are you feeding it? The odd shot of Growmore or even Tomato food may help in the summer months. Also try taking off the top inch or two of potting medium and replacing it with fresh.

Sorry I can't be more help but without seeing it and its environment I'm afraid I can't be more exact. But I hope this gives you something to work on.


21 Feb, 2009


Reference: drooping Pygmy date palm

Hi John
Thanks for your advice. I've now repotted the palm into a larger pot and moved it into my cool conservatory. Let's hope that works.
Once again many thanks for your prompt reply.

24 Feb, 2009

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