Which palms are best for growing in pots?

Linda's Garden z6 UtahJune 6, 2008

Hi everyone! I'm fairly new to growing palms and would like to know which varities you northern growers have had the best luck with growing in pots. I live in northern Utah and will have to bring them indoors for the winter. I already have a Phoenix Roebellini, cat palm, and I just bought a mexican fan palm. I do have a good south facing window where they can spend the winter. I was also wondering if any varities could overwinter in the garage which is usually in the 40's during the coldest part of the winter. The window faces east, so I'm not sure how much light they would get. Thanks in advance!


Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Dave in NoVA • 7a • Northern VA

Probably any of the zone 7B-9a subtropical palms (Windmill, Pindo, Sabal palmetto, Sabal minor, Med fan, Washingtonia, Phoenix, etc) could winter over in the garage provided they get some light and it doesn't get much below 35 degrees. I'm wintering over Pindo, Canary Island Date, and Sago in my garage with no problems. Gets down to about 45 minimum with a small electric heater. Some light from windows. They go outside during mild spells in the winter.

As far as more tropical palms indoors, I've had good luck with Spindle, Rhapis, and Dypsis lutescens. I'm sure there are many more!

    Bookmark   June 6, 2008 at 12:04PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Dave pretty much hit all my suggestions. i would add sabal Palmetto. (State tree of Florida and S. Carolina). They are slow growers (especailly when in cool temps). I have two in one pot I got in April 2007. They did great next to a south facing window. It is cool hardy enough to move outside when lows are mid 30s. Here is a picture of my two (there are two seperate plants in there). They have picked up nicely since it's warmed up.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   June 6, 2008 at 4:32PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Linda's Garden z6 Utah

Hey thanks guys! Dave, that sago palm looks great! Its a lot bigger than mine. How old is it? Also what is the name of the big one next to the sago? Yesterday I went to the local nursery and I found a spindle palm thats about 3 1/2 tall for $17.00, so of course I bought it. Its looks really nice, hopefully I can keep it that way!

    Bookmark   June 7, 2008 at 8:41AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

just remember that Sago Palm is a misnomer, it is not a Palm at all, not even closely related. It is a Cycad. There are some important cultural requirements with Cycads so make sure you research that for yourself.

In my experience with true Palms, the following have done very well in pots:

Phoenix roebellini (Pygmy Date)
Phoenix canariensis (Canary Isle Date)
Hyophorbe lagenicaulis (Bottle)
Hyophorbe verschaffeltii (Spindle)
Dypsis decaryi (Triangle)

The main limiting factor is of course size. Eventually some of these will outgrow your ability to maintain them in containers.

My personal favorite is the Bottle Palm, FWIW


    Bookmark   June 8, 2008 at 8:32AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

These are my favorites for container cultivation in the north as indoor/outdoor palms (in no particular order):

Raphis palm
Phoenix roebellini
Chamaedorea (most any species here)
Livistona chinensis (a bit big and domineering for many interiors though)

    Bookmark   June 8, 2008 at 11:12AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Dave in NoVA • 7a • Northern VA

Linda, the Sago is about 25 years old -- started from seed I collected in Galveston. It's starting to send up a lot of pups now. Next to the basketball pole is my pindo (Butia capitata) -- also started from a seedling I pulled out of an old leaf petiole boot on a large palm down in Hilton Head many years ago. It's probably at least 15 years old. What I like about these subtropicals is that they can take some cold weather. I leave them out until early December, then drag them into the garage during cold spells. They would NOT fit in the house. Well, actually they would, but just one would fill up a room.

Outside -- permanently planted in the ground around the house -- are three Windmill palms, Sabal palmetto, Sabal 'Birmingham', Sabal 'Louisiana', Sabal minor 'McCurtan', two other generic Sabal minors, and two Needle palms. I have planted palms on all four sides of the house. Neighbors think I'm nuts, I suppose. I don't care.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2008 at 9:43PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Dave in NoVA • 7a • Northern VA

I forgot to add, that the neighbor kid (11 years old boy) really likes the palms and he asked his parents for one for his birthday! They got him a Majesty palm, which I'm afraid might not be a good long-term palm for him, but he's gotta learn somehow. Can't tell you how many plants I killed when I was just starting out!

    Bookmark   June 8, 2008 at 9:46PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
NoVaPlantGuy_Z7b_8a(Alexandria, VA 7B/8A)

WOW! I didnt know you could grow a Sable (cabbage) Palmetto in a pot! Where do you find pot sized specimines?

And yeah, Sago Palms are really not Palms at all. In fact, If I remember reading correctly, they are fairly closely related to what we know today as conifers (pine trees) They are cone bearing plants, just like conifers. Also in that same "family" of plants is the Ginko. Cycads (sago palms) are thought / known to be actually the eldest of, and beginning of the whole conifer family if I am not mistaken. They were extremely common during the paleolithic era, which I believe was dinosaur times.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2008 at 11:30PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My parents go down to St. Augustine every April. They brought those back for me in April 2007. They have done well so far. They are fairly slow growers but do pick up when it is hot. The average high here the past 5 days has been about 89. I've seen noticeable growth and one has pushed up a new spear. I keep debating whether or not to cut down the slower groing one and let the quicker one get the benefits of getting all fo the water, sun and fertilizer to itself.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2008 at 3:46PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Linda's Garden z6 Utah

Hey thanks guys for all the great suggestions. I just ordered a bottle palm off of ebay, don't have it yet. I think this obsession may get a little out of control...I do have to remember all of these palms will have to come in the house or the garage for the winter. I have to leave room for the car... LOL! I have traveled to a lot of tropical places and it has never occured to me to look for seeds that I could start. I am planning a trip to Daytona Beach for the race next February so I will have to keep that in mind. I have been considering planting a windmill palm outside in the ground next to the southside of my house which I am sure is warmer than the zone 6 they say I am. Maybe I will get brave and try it.

Dave, I think it is pretty cool the little neighbor boy is interested in plants. Maybe you could be his "palm tree mentor".

    Bookmark   June 9, 2008 at 7:25PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

tropic lover

keep in mind that the Bottle Palm is a true tropical plant and while it will survive temps below about 40, it really should not see temps lower than the 50's - and definitely higher for it to grow.

That being said, due to its relatively slow growth, it will remain smaller than most palms for a long time and will be happy in a pot.

In ideal conditions it can probably throw a new spear every 2 months or so, but realistically you'll get about 3-4 fronds a year.

When it's hot, they can take all the sun, water and fertilizer you can give them, as long as the substrate is well drained. This will help plump up their trunks.

DO NOT LET IT SIT IN A SAUCER! And when you water, it must be enough so that water flows out the bottom - EACH TIME! You can place a brick or something similar into a saucer and then the pot on top so drained water does not go back into the pots.

They are sensitive to high nutrient solute concentrations from drained water, which manifests as browning leaf tips.

Another amazing thing about this palm - for me it does not need to acclimate to the sun after being indoors all winter. Most of my other palms need to be slowly babied into sunshine, but the Bottles just go right into the sun.


    Bookmark   June 9, 2008 at 8:08PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Linda's Garden z6 Utah

X, thanks for all the great info on bottle palms! Its good to know they can take the sun more than some of the other palms. I also recently bought a spindle palm and was told they burn easily so I put it in mostly shady spot.

What kind of fertilizer do you use on your palms and how often do you use it? Also do you water them everyday in the hot summer? I usually have to water all my pots at least once a day, sometimes more, when it gets really hot. I don't want to overwater it though. It does get pretty hot here in the summer but not much humidity.

Thanks again!

    Bookmark   June 9, 2008 at 8:42PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

In the spring I add the 5-6 month formulation Osmocote Plus with micros, plus lots of gypsum for calcium and sulfur (helps decrease the pH), slow release magnesium sulfate and manganese. That's enough to cover all possible nutrient deficiencies. By the winter when growth is much slower, I assume most of the soluble fert has been used up, so I supplement with Algoflash.

Since I don't water as often in the winter, I add hydrogen peroxide to the watering, but whether or not there's any benefit is debatable.

I water them several times a day, but I use a porous mix that is impossible to overwater. The constant water ensures that minerals and salts are leached, the root zone is oxygenated and is nourished.

During the marginal months when days are warm and nights are still on the cool side (April-early May, mid Sept-October), I roll my Bottle indoors at night to take advantage of the warmer temps indoors. Growth occurs mainly in the evening.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2008 at 12:14AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Those mentioned are all nice palms but a few more you might try are Ptychosperma Sp

Areca vesteria red
Licuala peltata var. sumawongii

    Bookmark   June 10, 2008 at 12:55PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Linda's Garden z6 Utah

David, Those are some really nice palms you have!!! I really like the last one, I haven't seen one like that before. I will have to look and see if I can find one. You are so lucky to live in Florida where you can grow all these cool palms outside and not have to worry about bringing them in for the winter.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2008 at 10:02PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thank you. There are many you can grow indoors like kentia palms (howea forsteriana)that I cant grow outdoors that looks tropical and very easy to take care of. Good luck

    Bookmark   June 10, 2008 at 10:54PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
I transplanted Bismarkias yesterday. Any success stories?
Late last summer I pushed two old Bismakia nobilis...
Josue Diaz
Me little plants just atsrting out
If you look close you can see the Y.Rostrata,variegated...
Germinating Bismarckia nobilis in cool subtropical climate
Hi, I am on Pico island in the Azores and there is...
Mexican Fan Palm Tree - Fronds Turning Yellow/Brown
Hi everyone, I live north of Dallas, TX and have a...
Need Help With My Bamboo Plant
I needed to add some nature and greenery to my townhouse,...
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™