How to Care for & Feed Palm Trees


Many varieties of palm trees exist and each has a specific care and feeding requirement. However, general guidelines can be applied to most palm species to encourage healthy trees and good growth. Soil nutrients and moisture are two key factors when caring for palm trees, especially in the first couple of months after planting. In addition to the general rules of palm tree care and feeding, it is important to investigate any care needs particular to your palm species.

Things You'll Need

  • Mycorrhizal fungi
  • Organic compost
  • Slow-release fertilizer
  • Water
  • Add mycorrhizal fungi to the soil of your palm. Palms have developed a symbiotic relationship with the fungi, which helps them uptake nutrients from the soil even in very dry and barren soils. You will need to find a strain of mycorrhizal fungi specific to your palm tree species.

  • Plant your palm in well-draining, organically rich soil. If the soil in your area is overly sandy, extra care needs to be paid as fertilizers and water may drain out too rapidly. Loamy soil is best and organic compost, such as manure or blood meal, can be added to the soil as a conditioner a month before planting.

  • Add a slow-release fertilizer to the soil around the palm three times a year. Choose fertilizers with micro-elements as well as with a 3:1:3 NPK (nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium) ratio. It is especially important for palms to have adequate access to calcium and magnesium, so look for those micro-elements in the ingredients list.

  • Water the palm tree daily after planting for at least two weeks, then decrease to weekly watering for a couple of months. Water regularly when palms are established, every couple of weeks or more, in hot, dry weather. While palm trees may be associated with desert environments, remember that they always grow at an oasis in the desert. They need lots of water.

Tips & Warnings

  • Resist the urge to over-fertilize. While palms need lots of nutrients, over-fertilization can cause serious maladies and even plant death. Wait to fertilize for at least six weeks after planting a new palm and fertilize in a radius around the tree trunk, not directly on the trunk or the crown of the plant as this can cause burns.

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  • Photo Credit palm trees image by john barber from
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