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How to care for palm trees in Florida

Who can imagine Florida without seeing tall palm trees on a beach coast blowing in the beautiful blue skies?

Fourteen species of palms belonging to 9 genera are native to the United States. Only one species lives in the West, while most find their homes from North Carolina down through Florida and into the Gulf Coast of Texas.

In Florida, we are home to the most significant number of species.

A list of Florida Native Palms:

  • Coccothrinax argentata (Jacq.) Bailey (Florida silver palm)
  • Paurotis wrightii (Griseb. & Wendl.) Britton (Paurotis palm)
  • Pseudophoenix sargentii Wendl (Florida cherry palm)
  • Rhapidophyllum hystrix (Pursh) H.Wendl. & Drude
  • Roystonea elata (Bartr.) F. Harper (Needle palm)
  • Sabal etonia Swingle (Scrub palmetto)
  • Sabal louisiana (Darby) Bomhard (Louisiana palmetto )
  • Sabal minor (Jacq.) Pers (Dwarf palmetto)
  • Sabal palmetto (Walt.) Lodd (Cabbage-palm)
  • Sabal texana (O. F. Cook) Becc (Rio Grande palmetto)
  • Serenoa repens (Bartr.) Small (Saw palmetto)
  • Thrinax microcarpa Sargent (Silvertop palmetto)
  • Thrinax parviflora Swartz (Broom palm)
  • Washingtonia filifera (Linden) Wendl (Fan palm)

How to plant a palm tree

Ensure you buy your tree from a trusted source like Plantopia, which services the South West Coast of Florida in Bradenton, Sarasota, Charlotte, and Lee County.  I really like to recommend Foxtail Palms, Christmas Palms, Bismarck Palms, Pygmy Palms, Areca Palms, and Cabbage Palms due to their low-maintenance nature.

You want someone knowledgeable to ensure a healthy start for the best chances of survival of your new Palm Tree. You can also go with the same nursery to have it installed correctly as well.

Keep the root ball moist but not saturated until you are able to plant.

You dig a hole that’s twice as wide as your root ball and deep enough that the top of the root ball sits one inch above the soil. Many Palm Fertilizers are on the market; one stands out to me as a leader because they precisely formulated for Florida Palms.

How to water palm tree

Florida is dry and humid, so keep it well-watered for the first 2-3 weeks after planting your new palm. Using a soaker hose around the root area will keep it moist and save water. After the plant becomes established, you can cut back on the watering schedule to about 15 minutes twice a month. Also, reduce watering during the winter when soil holds more moisture.

What to put around palm trees

  • Palms are obviously beautiful on their own, but several popular complementing plants for Palm trees are. Vine plants like Jasmine. It can be grown as ground cover or trained to climb.
  • Birds of Paradise offer pollination boosts and ground cover for the palms to maintain moisture. These plants can grow a large root ball, so ensure to plant with enough room for it to spread out.
  • Bougainvillea is a drought-tolerant choice, a vibrant, colorful plant that also helps with water retention.
  • Aloe is a useful plant that grows beautifully and feels great on sunburns.

How fast do palm trees grow in Florida?

I wish I could give you a straight answer, but it varies like anything with plants. On average most palm trees will grow from one to two feet yearly. However, some palms, like Lady Palm, only grow 3 inches a year, whereas Carpentaria can grow exceptionally quickly at a rate upwards of 6 feet per year.

How to trim a palm tree

I love Palm Trees because they are relatively low-maintenance. Unlike other plants, you do not cut back green fronds; only cut dead fronds unless a healthy one comes too close to a road, sidewalk, or home. You do not want to prune the tree for purely cosmetic purposes, as the tree’s healthy fronds will minimize food production and ultimately weaken the tree. If you’re uncomfortable or the tree is too tall, please get in touch with a licensed tree specialist.

How much do palm trees cost?

Depending on the size of your requirements, they can start in the range of $200-$300, but Plantopia often has special deals and special installed prices. So, always feel free to reach out to us to see what we have in stock and what we can order for your project.

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