palm tree seedlings - let soil dry out or keep it moist?

squidy(8a)June 9, 2011

I don't know where to post this, but they're in my house, so I guess I'll ask here.;;;

I live in WA where palm trees only grow where landscapers put them, and there still are not many around, and not all the kinds you see in warmer places. I know NOTHING about them. But some time last winter I was in some mall parking lot and there were these sort of short (as in short for a tree, but still taller than me) fat palm trees with small black seeds hanging from them like bunches of little grapes. I took some home and planted them in a pot on a bright windowsill and kept the soil moist, and a couple of them are now starting to come up! I am super excited, and these are one of the first things I've ever really grown from seed, so I really don't want to kill them.

Should I keep the soil moist like I've been doing? Or now that they've sprouted, should I let it get dry between watering? Will they rot if I keep it damp? Will they die if I let them dry out?

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squidy(8a)

PS I don't have a place to plant them outside so I think they will be staying houseplants (for the foreseeable future anyway) so that's how I'm treating them, and that's the state in which I want to know how to care for them. (ffff, weird sentence, sorry.) I have never had indoor trees so I reeaally don't know what I'm doing, on several levels.
I don't want to put them on the porch until they are bigger, either. I think the tallest one is only about an inch.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2011 at 11:13PM
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birdsnblooms

Hi Squidy. Too bad you don't know the type of palm. There are desert and tropical palms. Many have swollen trunks.

Is the pot in or surrounded with plastic and is seed/seedling container on a heating pad?

Since you've been successful germinating, it'd probably be best watering like you've been...the soil shouldn't be soggy or completely dry out. Keep moderately moist. Well-draining, but not to the point soil dries right after watering.
It's not a good idea allowing water to settle in the saucer for prolonged periods either. Discard, 15 minutes or so if excess water drips in the saucer.

If your seeds are on a heating pad, soil will dry faster. A pro using heat is speedier germination.
If inside/under plastic, slit for ventilation. When seedlings have 3-5 leaves, remove the plastic.

Do you remember anything about the mother palm other than height? For example, were leaves firm or soft/flexible?
Long or short? Distinguishable shapes?

Well, congrats, squidy...Toni

    Bookmark   June 10, 2011 at 2:17AM
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