New to Indoor Palms (have a Pygmy Date Palm)

lonegreywolf20May 21, 2010

My first excursion to a big box store after my wife telling me that she would like to have a palm tree in our apartment didn't turn out to well. I was told to go with a majestic palm and it will do well indoors and will only get about 8 foot. After some research I found out that they are very hard to keep indoors and will attain a size over 20 foot or more. Also, this majestic palm has a millipede infestation.

So back to Lowes it goes last night. I get my refund and after doing some more research we had picked out a Pygmy Date Tree. Read that they do well indoors, don't get too large/slow grower and it's pretty much what my wife wants. An indoor palm that looks like an outdoor palm.

Get to Home Depot and they have a huge selection of the dwarf pygmy palm in a couple sizes. The first ones we look at have about 7-8 trees all bunched up in I guess a 8 inch pot or so. That's a guess as they were so bunched it was hard to really see them all. So I get some help and the lady seems very knowledgeable. She brings me back to where most of their palms are kept outside in direct sunlight. These pygmy palms are nearly as bunched, at most only 4 total in a pot. So I ask her to pick me out a decent looking one, as most of what I'm seeing have some brown ends, or the leaves of the fronds look as though they are turning reddish-brown. She picks me out what looks to be the best out of the bunch (less of what I just mentioned) and told me that it really just needs some fertilizer.

I buy it, a 12 inch pot, all purpose potting soil and palm fertilizer. I haven't repotted it yet as I will do that tomorrow. It has some thicker looking roots at the top of teh soil, whiteish in color, so I figure it needs to be repotted.

Now to my questions... the pot that I have has 4 trees in it. Can I seperate them into single trees or should I just leave them as is?

Was the lady correct about the coloration of the leaves? If not, what can I do?

Any other hints you can give me on this palm?

I'm from the north and I never kept a palm tree before. So this really is all new to me with palm trees. Since we live in an apartment, we're not able to plant one outside in a yard to enjoy, so this was my alternative.

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lzrddr(91360)

Well, that species can work as an indoor palm IF you give it tons of light. I personally would not separate them as you might lose some of them by injuring the roots (I am sure they are thoroughly mixed up in that pot). I sure wouldn't have picked this species, though... still a somewhat tough palm indoors (due to low light levels) and also has very spiny leaves near the trunk. If you ever have to pick again, choose a Rhapis or a Howea (Kentia Palm).. .those always look great indoors and can live forever there.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2010 at 1:44AM
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protempsfish

Pygmy date is a great choice. I have kept one indoors for well over 5 years and I live in Canada. You do need to keep it by a window. As with any indoor plant/tree they do need as much light as you can give them. They are SLOW growers (although they are moderate when planted outdoors). I give them a dose of epson salts every 3 months or so to keep them nice and green. Keep them well watered; especially in the growing season in a very light soil. In the summer time I even give them a MILD dose of Miracle Grow. I use potting soil and add in some extra vermeculite. It needs good drainange (as do most indoor plants). Beautiful palm IMO. I also keep MANY other palms indoors but the pygmy date is the showcase palm in my living room.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2010 at 10:01AM
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va_canuck(8A)

My pygmy date palm has been in my living room for 2 years. I DO notice it has a nasty habit of collecting dust and being difficult to keep clean - the best way for me was to give it a day outside once in a while and hit it with the hose on a light spray. It has grown VERY slowly but leaves turning brown has been a continuing problem.

I have had a wonderful experience with my spindle palm as an indoor palm - even in relatively low light areas. It continues to grow indoors, although very slowly - and is beautiful, majestic-looking, and the leaves stay nicely green for a long time. I find they aren't easy to find, but if you find one, a spindle palm has worked out great for me.

btw good call on the majesty palm. They don't really like being indoors - although there is no way one would grow very fast indoors. Good part about majesty palms is they are disposably-priced :)

    Bookmark   May 22, 2010 at 5:09PM
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