Is my Queen Palm healthy? (PICS)

kirkcyMay 26, 2010

Hello, i have moved to a new house 2 months ago and it came with a nice garden containing Olive trees, a Queen palm, Date palms, Callistemon, Pomgranades and Photinias. My experience and knowledge for plants was non-excistant before adopting this garden but i am learning fast.

My question is about my queen palm which has developed some burned/yellow tips since last month, so i thought i'd post some pics. The damage is only on the side/older leaves, the fresher, taller ones look healthy to me. So is this just the older leaves dying out or have i done something bad to it? My neighbours queen palms look much healthier, with a lighter green color and more 'sturdy' foliage.

It gets deeply watered once a week and i also give the soil some light moisture every 2-3 days to keep the flowers in the base alive. The weather here in Cyprus is hot and dry, similar to Arizona if i would compare, we are already in the high 30's and it's not even summer yet.

So am i just overreacting or so is something wrong with my palm?. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you in advance.


* The youngest leaves which look fine.

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Queens love nutrients. A lot of Queen Palms in Florida look sickly because of the poor soil conditions and lack of nutrients. Give them a good dose of some palm fertilizer (and every 3 months a sprinkle of Epsom salts for magnesium deficiency) and your Queen will look spectacular. Very nice yard BTW!

    Bookmark   May 26, 2010 at 4:11PM
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I agree that you may be seeing the first signs of a nutrient hungry palm and that you should also consider supplemental manganese in addition to the magnesium, here is a good link about that:

Also, I would recommend that you defer pruning any old fronds until there is absolutely no green left to be seen on them, let them die on the palm. They will provide nutrients to the healthy new fronds and pruning prematurely deprives the tree of nutrients that it needs, forcing it to draw from the soil.

Good luck !

    Bookmark   May 26, 2010 at 4:38PM
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They dont look too bad yet but have the potential to look really bad very soon if you dont give it some nutrients. Ive never seen a palm so hungry for nutrients so fertilizer is a must. Just remember that like all other plants dont over fertilize or else you will make it worse. The old leaves will not look any better with nutrients, but the new ones will stay a healthy, beautiful green.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   May 26, 2010 at 4:49PM
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joey_powell(8b (15.1F) USDA 2012)

I don't see any nutrient difficiency. What I see is cold damage. Around here you would start to see damage like that at around 20F.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2010 at 9:48AM
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Thanks for all your help!. I visited my local nursery and they only had 2 kinds of fertilizers, a 21-7-14 which was advertised as palm/conifer fertiliser and a 'generic' one with 12-11-18. From what i've dug up a milder 8-4-12 would be more suitable, so should i shop some more or will those do fine in smaller quantities?

I also got some extra manganese as suggested.
Also do you think the flowers in the base of the palm can suck up nutrients from the soil leaving not much for the palm?

@ Joey,
I meant high 30's in Celsious in my opening post, sorry about that :). Thats around 95F so i don't think cold has anything to do with it. In winter the lowest temps are at 40-50F so frost dmg is quite rare here.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2010 at 10:50AM
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My guess is that the palm's roots are so far beyond where those few flowers are that the flowers are not sucking nutrients.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2010 at 9:43PM
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garyfla_gw(10 Florida)

Noted on your ID. that you're located in Cyprus Bet you have a "true mediterranean climate??
Where is the planting area located appears that it might be a roof garden?? can't imagine all that white in a tropical clime lol. I had to wear sunglasses to look at the pix lol. What type of soil do you have and your average humidity??
Queens are incredibly hardy and yours looks healthy to me . Usually a nutrient def. shows up in the new fronds
I suspect yours is just casting off an old one..
Curious as to the choice of white as a ground cover you light levels on the underside must be as intense as on the topside in your climate. Ever go "snow "blind ??
Wouldn't worry to much about underplanting as palms get tremendous root systems but I'll bet the palm will crowd them out .
Would love to see some more pix of your grow area . This is probably as close as I'll ever get to the Mediterranean lol. gary

    Bookmark   May 28, 2010 at 5:34AM
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Hiello Gary,

This is indeed a true mediterranean climate and Cyprus is also the hottest/driest of the nations in the area. The typical soil is mostly red clay and sand with very little organic content, so we have to add fresh soil to anything we plant. Humidity in the soil is mostly non-excistant except in higher elevations.

This planting area is at the front of my apartment but its at base level. Now about the white gravel, the previous owner put it there but i agree with you, the reflected light can be intense. :D. Underneath the gravel there is a layer of naylon (dont know the actual name is) which prevents weeds from growing through. Here is a pic of the whole section.

We don't have many choices for ground cover, keeping a lawn is not a good idea due to serious water shortages and if you keep bare soil you'll have to pinch weeds all day because they grow insanely fast and they will overtake everything within a week. In fact everything grows insanely fast here, most plants grow 10 times faster than in countries like the UK, so planning ahead is important.

Succulents and cacti love the climate too as you can see.. these are planted in 100% heavy/moist-type topsoil believe it or not and i thought they would rot right away but they are doing great.. the hot weather keeps the moisture at check for these kind of plants.

You should definitely plan a trip to this part of the world sometime, a nice big dosage of Mediterranean sun will be as rejuvenating for you as it is for pants. :)

    Bookmark   May 28, 2010 at 11:21AM
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brooklyngreg(7a NYC coastal plain)

The plam looks well overall so far. You must give epsom salts immediately - sprinkle 3-4 table spoons around the base about a foot or so away from base. Water and let it wash into the siol and I would repeat that every month until she improves.

Also I would give them a good dose of some palm fertilizer every 3 months plus a sprinkle of Epsom salts for magnesium deficiency once she improves.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2010 at 11:52AM
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Very nice yard! The medditeranean sun definitely is very strong (especially when you consider the latitude), but desert plants absolutely love it. Queens love moisture when its warm so if your not watering it, that can also be a problem.

Good luck and enjoy the medditeranean sun!

    Bookmark   May 28, 2010 at 2:21PM
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I have to disagree that deficiencies show up in the new growth first, many show up in the old growth then progress to the new growth if left untreated. But don't take my word for it:

    Bookmark   May 28, 2010 at 5:01PM
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garyfla_gw(10 Florida)

Thanks for the tour . I live in s florida so already get plenty of sun AND a huge dose of humidity lol
I go to Costa Rica when I leave the country but being old and sickly sort of avoiding that also,
Had an invitation to go to Colombia in S. America with a guided tour of the highlands very tempted but may be a bit too old and sickly for mountain climbing lol
The flora and fauna list of the area is mind boggling!!
Anyway good luck with your palm . gary

    Bookmark   May 29, 2010 at 4:36AM
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If you're not providing supplemental watering, could it be a lack of water maybe??? Queen palms are a Brazilian palm, and love water and humidity, not best suited for desert type climates. Try providing more water for it. It does look relatively healthy though, so I would not worry too much.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2010 at 11:18AM
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Can you take more pics, and when did you plant it? I bet giving it that palm fertilizer will help out alot, as well as watering it. The heat and low humidity should not bother it at all, in california you will find many happy queen palms. I bet by the end of this year it will be a very happy palm.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2010 at 2:55PM
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This was planted about 15 months ago as far as i know, the previous owner planted it and had a professional come every month to groom the plants.

I tried all of your suggestions, i gave it a handful of 12-11-18 fertiliser which was the only one i could find with the extra substances needed. I also added epsom salts and extra manganese which am still trying to get off my shoes, so i think that should do the trick.

Also i will do deep waterings twice a week now instead of one and also some light watering in between and see how it goes.

@Zinepusher, i'll post some more pics for you tomorrow.


    Bookmark   May 30, 2010 at 4:15PM
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Here are some more pics of the damage, from what i gather up from the net the symptoms look like Potassium and Magnesium deficiency, so the fertiliser and extra epsom salts should take care of that. Am also getting some goat manure today so that should give it some long-term feeding.

Some more random pics, my 2 feet tall Date palms are making dates already and the Aloe plant i planted 3 weeks ago is already blooming!. So that gives me hope. :D.


    Bookmark   June 1, 2010 at 8:34AM
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I think your queen palm will be fine in a few months and look very very healthy.
What type of date palm do you have. I have never seen one flower at that height!

Good luck! I like your aloe too!

    Bookmark   June 1, 2010 at 10:07AM
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Hi Alex, they are the regular 'true date palms' as they call them. I have 3 of them which are of the same age and they are all flowering, so they must like the spot. :)

    Bookmark   June 1, 2010 at 4:03PM
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