Houseplant Care Tips

Various Houseplant Care Tips Including Watering and Lighting Requirements.

Houseplant Care Tips

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Phoenix Palm Plant Care

Common Name: Phoenix Palm
Scientific Name: Pigmy Date Palm
Lighting: Moderate
Water: Moderate to Low

The Phoenix Palm is characterized by light arching feather-like fronds in dark green color. The Phoenix Palm looks similar to the Kentia Palm except the Phoenix foliage is smaller in width and daintier in appearance. This palm is usually a very good indoor houseplant which requires little care.

Phoenix Palms grow best in bright, indirect sunlight, so place within 3 to 5 feet of a window, preferably an east window. If plant begins to show yellow or black spot on the foliage, try moving it further away from the window. It may be receiving too much direct sunlight and actually be burning the plant.

The Phoenix Palm prefers to stay moist, however do not let the plant stand in water. Usually a good thorough watering once a week is sufficient. If your plant begins to droop, chances are you are under watering it. If you continue to under water you plant, the plant may never return to its normal shape and appearance. If the tips of the foliage begin to turn black or yellow, you are probably over watering your palm. Reduce how often you water. Usually wait until soil is dry to touch 2 inches deep. Like most palms, this plant prefers higher humidity levels, therefore a misting a couple times a week is good.

If new growth is damaged, sometimes it can be very difficult to get your palm back to its original healthy appearance. You may prune off the tips if they have turned yellow or black to help the plants appearance along.

Please share your experiences and tips by commenting below!!!


 AddThis Social Bookmark Button AddThis Feed ButtonAdd to Technorati Favorites


Anonymous debbie said...

Help! My plant is suffering! I bought my pygmy date palm a few months ago, and tried my best to follow the instructions on the label attached to one of the branches. Right now, it's grayish, droopy, and extremely thorny. Of the four "trunks", there only one that appears to be semi-flourishing.

a) should i prune off all of the gray fronds? where do I cut, or do i just tear them off of the base?

b) is it because the pot is too small? the pot was approx. the same size as what it came in, but irregularly shaped, so one friend massaged (and actually tore some roots) to get it to form to the pot and get it in.

c) another brilliant friend said that her mom drowns her plants, and the plants all seem to do well, so before i could stop her, she dumped about 1/2 a gallon of water until water seeped out the bottom. is there no turning back at this point???

8:17 PM  
Blogger drayas said...


Unfortunately once the fronds become discolored they usually don't re-grow or gain their color back. Since this plant is a slow grower it takes a long time for it to adapt to new surroundings.

A) Go ahead and prune the discolored fronds off at the base.

B) I don't think the post size is the problem. The act of repotting it may be. It roots were torn, that could set the plant back.

C) Don't over water it like your "brilliant friend" said. Over watering can make the plant droopy, cause root rot among other things.

I wouldn't say it's over yet. Since it is a slow adapting palm, I would give it more time. Try and prune it up so it looks a little better and wait it out for awhile. Plants are surprising at how they can snap back into beautiful form when you're ready to give up on them.

Please let me know how things turn out.


7:06 AM  
Anonymous debbie said...

thank you! i'll try your suggestions... and will hopefully have some good news in a month or so...! i might come back with more questions, though. :)

12:45 AM  
Anonymous debbie said...

Hello again,
What about if the new growth is growing out grayish as well? i.e. from the top/middle of each of the "trunks", these leaves are shooting out, but these also are grayish, dry, "hairy/grainy"... I pruned these as low as I could, also (not sure if i was supposed to do that, but was getting over-zealous) but will they block healthy new growth from coming out? They seem to be filling the area.

Also, what kind of plant food do you recommend for palms? I've read that foods high in nitrogen are good for plants, but a lady at a floral shop told me that the graying of the pygmy palm probably means a lack of magnesium (and I haven't read anything like that in websites). Is it a one-kind-feeds-all-palms mixture? (I also own a majesty palm, so want to get some plant food for both)

Thanks so much for your help... I really hope there's hope for my plant...!

9:34 AM  
Blogger drayas said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

12:11 PM  
Blogger drayas said...


I use Miracle Gro's All Purpose Houseplant Food.

I haven't read anything about the magnesium, but I would give it a try. Check the Miracle Gro Houseplant Food first. It probably has Magnesium in it. You only need to mix a small amount into the water.

I'll do some looking to and try to find why the foliage is gray and hairy. I haven't found anything yet though.


11:39 AM  
Blogger Rebecca said...

I need help! I recently, (less than two weeks ago) planted two phoenix roebelenii palms in a raised bed in my back yard. I prepared the soil as directed by my nursery, added a mychorrizal starter fertilizer and srpinkled palm fertilizer about a foot out from the root ball on top of the soil. I also sprayed the leaves with an antidessicant to help with moisture retention. I live in southern arizona and our climate is warm, but windy right now because it's spring. The leaves have progressively browned on the tips, frizzled at the tops of new growth and are now very wilted and pitiful looking. I accidentally overwatered them pretty badly because i forgot to turn of the soaker hose. It ran for two hours. That was about a week ago. I haven't watered them since. I know you are shaking your head at me right now, but I really need help! Can I revive my palms or did I kill them?

11:36 AM  
Blogger drayas said...


I'm sorry to say that outdoor palms are something I do not have any experience with. There are many other environmental factors that get involved outdoors, that aren't indoors.

Can any of my readers help Rebecca out? Anyone have experience with Phoenix Palms outside?

Thank you,

10:24 PM  
Anonymous Plant & Gardening Tips said...

Thanks for the info. I will try to apply your tips and I'll be back if it is successful. And I will try to update you.

9:23 PM  
Anonymous Matthew Pearce said...

I just bought a phoenix Roebelenii plant and I was just wondering if someone could help me out on the basics of taking care of it. It has yellowish tips, but the rest of the plant looks good. What could I do to get the yellow off of the tips, or can I do anything. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

1:53 AM  
Blogger drayas said...


Follow the care advice at the top of the page and you should be well on your way with a healthy new palm.

Keep us posted.

11:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I bought a Pigmy Date palm for the sole purpose of transplanting it into a 15" pot, and then I want to bury the plant into the ground for the summer months. I want to dig it up for the winter months and store it in a green house. I live in a northern climate and the winter will kill the palm. Was this palm a good choice.


6:18 PM  
Blogger Ryan said...

I recently purchased three Phoenix palms and have transplanted them to larger pots etc. and seems to be going well. My question is, how do I remove stalks safely after they have become broken and will another replace it if done right?

8:07 AM  
Blogger Ella said...

I purchased the Phoenix palm from Lowes. They sold it as an outdoor plant in direct sunlight. I planted them outside. Will they die?

Also, how tall will these plants grow?

1:40 PM  
Blogger nellebutter said...

Hello I bought a Phoenix palm about 2 weeks ago and I left it outside for 3 days. I didn't know that it shouldn't be in direct sunlight. Now my plant has yellow spots and the ends are brown and yellow. I cut the ends off but can my palm recover from this? What do I do?

4:30 PM  
Blogger Brenda said...

We just bought our Pheonix Rrobellini today, it will be an indoor plant. Can we take it out of the black pot it was bought in and replant it in a decorative pot? Should I wait a few weeks so it gets used to it's surrounding first? please help!!


7:21 PM  
Anonymous michelle m said...

I just found out that my palm is one of these. I currently have it wintered in my house and take it outside after last frost. I live in AL but we do have cold winters like today of 20ยบ. Is it cold hardy for this or not. Is it also bad to trim those thorns on the base of leaves ? I have but its because they hurt when I'm trying to move the plant around. Thanks

12:53 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I have a shefflera amate that is still in the black plastic "pot". I want to repot it. What kind of soil works best and what type of 14" pot would be best?
Thanks, John

2:52 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home