Care of Phoenix Roebelini Palm - Knowledgebase Question

Scottsdale, Ar
Question by doeste
March 20, 2009
2 potted Phoenix Roebelini Palms purchased 3 weeks ago for patio now have brown droopy fronds. My research came up with 2 solutions for care: 1) full sun and dry soil 2) light but no sun and moist soil. What to do?

Answer from NGA
March 20, 2009


Plants growing in containers are at your mercy when it comes to moisture and nutrients so general growing guidelines won't always apply. In youth, your Phoenix Roebelini will appreciate ample moisture; in adulthood they can tolerate drought. Since yours are in containers, in well draining potting soil I hope, you can water as frequently as necessary to keep the potting soil moist but not soggy wet. The soil in containers will dry out quickly so watch on a daily basis as the weather warms this spring and summer. If the pots are exposed to direct sunshine the roots can cook. So if possible, shade the containers from hot sun but give the tops of your plants a few hours of morning sun. If you cannot block the sun from directly hitting the containers, consider setting them into larger decorative pots in which you pour some styrofoam peanuts for insulation. If you can do this to insulate the roots you can place the palms in full sunshine.

As for the browning fronds, it could be that the plants are trying to adjust to their new homes and are getting more or less sunshine or more or less water than they have experienced in the past. They will adjust but in the meantime they may look pathetic. I would prune off the brown fronds and wait for healthy new growth to appear.

Best wishes with your new plants!

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