Caring for Ornamental Palms in South Florida

Caring for Ornamental Palms in South Florida

Ornamental Palms are the predominate symbol of south Florida, providing a tropical image adored by Floridians and visitors alike. While there are more than 2,500 species of Palms worldwide, some growing in sub-freezing temperatures, most grow in tropical and subtropical climates like those in south Florida. The palms of Florida feature a great deal of diversity ranging from massive palms more than 100 feet tall with trunks three feet in diameter to the miniscule versions which rarely reach three feet in height with tiny stem-like trunks. Some palms have multiple clumping trunks while others have only single stems.  Palms also vary in leaf shapes and styles with feather-shaped leaves or fan-shaped leaves, some with fine textures and others with rigid, bold leaves.

Choosing the Right Palms for Your Landscaping

The proper selection will help you create the beautiful landscaping you desire for your home. Single-stemmed palms fit small spaces while broadleaved palms fill larger areas with ease and beauty. Palms with rigid leaves or feathery leaflets add visual interest. In addition to aesthetics, which palms grow best where is equally important. While most palms grow well in full sun, some only thrive in shady areas.  There are drought tolerant palms, salt-tolerant palms, water-loving palms, and palms that are strong enough to thrive in even the windiest conditions. Choosing the right palm will not only provide you with a beautiful landscape but with give your choices the best chance of flourishing for years to come.

Planting Your Selected Palms

Here in south Florida, you can plant your palms during any season of the year, though the warm and rainy summer months are the best times to help your palms thrive. When planting your palms, these tips will help you get your new palms started off right. Container grown palms can be transplanted with ease throughout the year.

  • Start with a hole that measures six inches larger than the diameter of the root ball. The hole needs to be dug at a depth so that the top of the root ball is even with the ground’s surface. Doing so allows the backfill soil to be in contact with the root ball on all sides. For a container grown palm, the stem’s base should be an inch below the soil’s surface.
  • Position your palm, with care, in an upright position, and then fill around the root ball with the soil. Follow up with watering thoroughly which will remove any air pockets created by the soil.
  • Now create a water basin with the remaining soil, surrounding the root ball perimeter, to retain water when irrigated.
  • For stability, large palms should be supported with braces for six to eight months. Do NOT drive nails into your palm tree’s trunk.
  • Watering daily is needed during the first weeks after planting and frequently until your palms are well-established.

Caring for Your Palms

Palms aren’t quite the low maintenance landscaping plants they are often believed to be. South Florida’s soils are often nutrient deficient and as such can cause your newly planted palms to fail without proper fertilization to prevent nutrient deficiencies. Palms with tightly clasped leaf bases above the trunk, known as a crownshaft, are self-cleaning palms meaning the old leaves fall off cleaning as the name implies. Other palms, without the crownshaft, are not self-cleaning and will need regular maintenance to cut off the old discolored leaves.

Xtreme Landscaping is here with the all the caring for palm tips you need to keep your landscaping lush and beautiful and to provide help when you need it with planning, irrigation, and fertilization of your ornamental palms.