Do I Fertilize a Parlor Palm

grammahony(ECentral NEz5)January 22, 2011

I havent yet, but wonder if it would like some. Full strength or 1/2 strength?


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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Yes, you do fertilize a parlor palm, but no one can tell you whether it's appropriate to fertilize it now, unless they're familiar with your soil and watering habits, and a fair idea of what the level of salt accumulation in your soil is would be helpful.

If you're using a soil that retains moisture to the degree that you can't flush it each time you water w/o risking harm (rot) to the roots, it's probably best to withhold fertilizer for now. If you ARE using a soil that you flush regularly each time you water, it's likely that salt/fertility levels are very low (if you haven't fertilized recently) so it probably would be appropriate to apply a half strength dose now.

The other option is to flush the soil thoroughly and repeatedly the next time the plant needs water. This flushes (nearly all) the fertilizer AND accumulating salts from the soil. You would then be safe in applying a half recommended dose of fertilizer to tide you over until cultural conditions improve.

Some growers use very fast (draining) soils and have excellent results fertilizing at low doses all year long. Their watering practice includes flushing the soil at every watering and adding a fresh, low dose of fertilizer. This actually keeps salt levels lower than if you simply don't use fertilizers in the winter, but are using a soil that is so water retentive that you must water in sips. The reason salts build up in these soils in because there are minerals dissolved in tap water that remain in the soil when water evaporates, so unless you regularly flush the soil, salt levels are assured to climb, and rising pH levels usually accompany the increase in salt (dissolved solids) levels - which brings its own set of issues.

There are several options and considerations, but there isn't enough information to offer specific advice. The right decision can't be made by repeating something someone read in a how to grow houseplants book; it should be based on the specifics of your individual case, and there is just not yet enough information.

Take care.


    Bookmark   January 22, 2011 at 2:19PM
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Leslie. As soon as you see new growth, your PP is ready for its first feeding of the year.
My palms get Palm fertilizer and Fish Emulsion.
The palm fertilizer is slow-release, said to last up to three months.
Fish Emulsion does wonders on palms, but I have to warn you, the smell, which lasts 2-3 days, is pretty fishy, lol.
However, it's organic, and doesn't burn roots. Toni

    Bookmark   January 23, 2011 at 4:19PM
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Leslie, I forgot to add. Your Parlor Palm might be on hold...I should have been more specific. It might take a wk or month before growth resumes. Toni

    Bookmark   January 23, 2011 at 4:26PM
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