Miniature Date Palm Help

pennywise708December 2, 2010

Hello. I am new at the hobby of houseplants and plan to continue this exciting craft! About two months ago I purchased a Miniature Date Palm at a Home Depot. Initially it was pretty strong looking but recently it has begun to droop heavily and has several brown spots at the end of the leaves. After I first noticed when the plant started to degrade, I varied the watering schedule to every other day. This didn't help (and may have worsened the problem) The plant currently faces the south window. The humidity in the house is around 30-40% (single humidifier) and the plant has been getting overcast days. Saving this plant would save a small part of my soul :) Please help!

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Something is wrong with you soil moisture. It may be excessive or inadequate watering. Sometimes the palms from the big box stores are planted in soil soooo porous that it holds NO water--the water will just run through the pot and the soil is actually DRY. As a general rule of thumb, when you do water a plant, make sure to water thoroughly. Bring it to the sink or tub if you have to. Then wait until it dries some before watering again. Something is wrong if you have to water every other day at this time of the year and with your cloudy weather. At room temperature, at this time of year and assuming the container size is optimal (neither too BIG or too SMALL), the plant should be good to go for a week or so in cloudy weather. Obviously, if your exposure is southern and it's SUNNY, it may be more frequent. Southern exposures can be notorious hot for unprotected plants that are close to the windows (though they will thrive in full, outdoor sun if acclimated properly). This species of Phoenix (it's a roebellini), is more tropical than others in its family so higher humidity is helpful but the problem most likely begins and ends with soil moisture. Good luck!

    Bookmark   December 3, 2010 at 1:43PM
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Here's a picture of a larger "Pygmy" Date in bloom.--This is a male specimen (yes, these have separate genders).

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   December 3, 2010 at 1:50PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

The amount of sunlight doesn't matter much if the quality of the potting medium is poor and the plant has been over or under watered. You'll need to come to terms with soil moisture, drainage, porosity, and other characteristics.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2010 at 3:19PM
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NJ, I've had this palm several years, but don't know its type. Is it a Date Palm? Thanks, Toni

    Bookmark   December 4, 2010 at 6:48PM
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No, definitely NOT any species of Phoenix (date palm). Sorry, I don't know what it is. But it's obviously very healthy and you've done a good job keeping it happy.--Maybe a Chamaedorea but we need a closer pic.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2010 at 2:44PM
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Thank you for the follow ups! I will try to water the plant less than usual. I believe the soil is acceptable for holding water. When I first got the plant I also added some of my father's ancient compost compound to give it some nutrition. Also since posting the original we have had some sunny days here and the plant's condition has degraded. Compared to the picture given my plant looks like infinite amounts of sadness.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2010 at 10:55PM
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Nj. When you guys first mentioned Date Palm, I assumed you meant Phoenix Roebilini, sp, since Mini Date Palm is PR's common name.
I know my palm isn't a PR..when I opened your palm pic, it looked similar to mine. I bought a PR on its death bed, trying to bring back to health. It looks nothing like my palm.
I took a couple closeup pics, but they might not be adequate.
As for description, the fronds are thick and very firm, unlike, say Parlor Palm, Chamaedorea, Fish Tail and Triangle.

There used to be a nursery, 'the name MIGHT have been Botanical Treasures, unsure,' that sold palms in paper cones and larger. I bought a few palms (cones) from this nursery, but either labels weren't included or lost over the years.

Pennywise, did you post a pic of your palm? I didn't see it. lol
I reread your thread. You said you watered every other day?
That's way too much, especially since it's been so gray.

I could have sworn replying to you the other night, but my post isn't here. lol.
Palms love humidity, 'most' but not wet soil..especially during winter months.
Spray/shower your palm leaves..daily, if possible. Withhold water and fertilizer.
The brown spots are probably due to dry air. When soil gets too dry, tips brown, but I'd bet your brown is due to dry air. Especially since air is extremely dry this time of year. Spray, buy a humidifer, set humidity-loving plants on pebbles w/a little water.

Can you post a pic? Toni

Palm closeup.

Thanks all. Pennywise, by chance, do you like Steven King? lol.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2010 at 4:56PM
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Oh, sorry for reposting. Found two pics taken last year. Maybe a better closeup. Also, although the flower looked nothing like Nj's, I was so happy when it bloomed. lol.

Palm isn't tall, it's on a shelf. lol. Toni

    Bookmark   December 6, 2010 at 5:06PM
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