With palm trees, you can bring the holiday flair into your own garden. With us, you can find out how, when, and with what is the best way to fertilize palms. The umbrella terms “palm trees” or “palm trees” (Arecaceae, Palmae) combine a large number of species, some of which differ greatly in their requirements for light and water conditions as well as in the comfort temperature.
The availability of nutrients also varies greatly from habitat to habitat, and so do the plants’ need for nutrients in the form of additional fertilizers. In general, palms are considered to be rather frugal, they rarely need a lot of additional nutrients. But especially fast-growing species are happy about the support in the construction of new palm fronds in the course of fertilization.
Not only for heavy eaters, but professional fertilization is also the alpha and omega of an appealing and healthy growing plant. Even frugal plants like palm trees need an adequate supply of nutrients as a basis for their green life. It is precisely here that the right fertilizer and, in particular, the right dosage are important. In the case of palms, over-fertilization usually ends fatally, i.e. with the death of the plant. In order to avoid a bad ending, we clarify the most important questions regarding the fertilization of palm trees for you below.
When to fertilize palm trees
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When planting or repotting your palm, you should mix in compost with the potting soil. This supplies the plant with nutrients and provides the slightly acidic soil environment that palms need in order to feel good. The additional mixing of quartz sand ensures a loose soil structure. In this way, the risk of waterlogging is minimized. The contained silicates are an additional plus because these are needed for cell structure.
Once they are in the bed or pot, you fertilize palms from the beginning of the growth phase, i.e. from April / May until October every two weeks. Additional fertilization in the winter months is only necessary if the plant is warm and in a light spot. The time interval between fertilization is then increased to four weeks. When using a long-term fertilizer, however, a single dose in spring is sufficient, which is why such fertilizers are clearly recommended.
Palm fertilizer: how and with what fertilizes palm trees?
In general, palms do not have any particular requirements when it comes to the composition of their nutrients. The purchase of a special palm fertilizer is therefore not necessary. Many of these specialty fertilizers are not only overpriced but also have the wrong nutrient ratio. On the other hand, commercially available NPK fertilizers are perfectly suitable for green plants. Make sure you have a balanced ratio of nitrogen to potassium and slightly lower phosphate content. Slow-growing palm species also need half the amount of fertilizer specified by the manufacturer. An additional supply of trace elements is usually unnecessary, as they are available in sufficient quantities in the soil.
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An organic slow-release fertilizer not only saves you from having to resort to fertilizer but also minimizes the risk of over-fertilization thanks to the slow release of active ingredients. Organic universal fertilizer offers the long-term effect of organic fertilizer in high organic quality. In this way, you not only protect the plant and soil but also support a sustainable production method with your purchase.
If you want to send your palm tree strengthened into winter, it is best to switch to a potassium-based fertilizer from August. Potassium supports the hardening of the shoots and thus protects against frost damage. This is particularly important for outdoor palms. In the case of potted palms that are overwintered frost-free, on the other hand, you can dispense with a potassium-based fertilizer change.
Organically fertilize palm trees: procedure and application recommendation
Compost in particular is ideal as an organic nutrient supplier for your palm. This is worked into the upper layer of the earth every spring and covered with a fresh layer of earth. The nutrients are then released over a long period of time when they decompose and also ensure a slightly acidic soil pH value. In the case of potted palm trees in the interior, however, the smell of these natural remedies is usually annoying and it is also difficult to fold them under the ground.
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Organic fertilizers from the trade are therefore a good and sometimes just as an environmentally conscious alternative. These also gently release their nutrients to the root environment and ensure a long-lasting supply of nutrients and a healthy microbiome in the soil without unpleasant smells.
Organic universal fertilizer offers an NPK ratio (6 – 3 – 4) from mainly organic sources, i.e. a ratio of nitrogen (N) to phosphate (P) to potassium (K), giving palms and other plants an optimal basic supply of nutrients. But so that not only the ingredients are correct, but also the correct dosage, we have put together brief instructions for you to apply organic universal fertilizer:
- Before planting, work 100 – 150 g / m² (well-filled 0.2-liter jar) of organic universal fertilizer into the upper soil layer
- Pour the soil and freshly inserted palm well so that the granules can dissolve well
- With maintenance fertilization in spring, you should fertilize another 80 – 120 g / m² (0.2-liter jar) per plant
For palm trees that have been kept in the tub for a long time without being repotted, an annual addition of rock flour can be useful. In this way, the limited storage capacities of the soil are replenished with important trace elements. Particularly interesting for the palm are the silicates it contains, which are needed for rapid cell growth. However, be careful when adding rock flour, as it contains lime and thus increases the pH of the soil. Most palm trees, however, require slightly acidic soil.
Mineral fertilize palm trees
Mineral fertilizers are highly concentrated nutrients that usually contain their minerals in salt form. These are water-soluble and therefore available for the plants immediately after application. This can be of great advantage in the case of deficiency symptoms and potted palms because the soil volume and thus the nutrient stores in the pot are very limited. However, with mineral fertilizers, the risk of over-fertilization is very high if the dosage is incorrect. As mentioned earlier, over-fertilization of palm trees often leads to the death of the plants.
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Blue corn and should therefore only be dosed in small amounts. In this way, the plants also get calcium, which occurs in the form of lime in blue grain and is important for the membrane system of the plant cells. However, the lime increases the pH of the soil. To counteract this, Epsom salt can also be given. This in turn lowers the soil pH value and supplies magnesium for particularly green palm fronds and a high level of resistance for your plants.
However, there are also organic fertilizers that offer the same nutrients. Here you have the advantage of easier handling because it is difficult to overfertilize the plants. In addition, the ingredients come from natural sources. This saves valuable resources during production and you can provide your plants with more sustainable care. If you want to make your exotic species fit for wintering, you can use Patentkali at the end of August. Autumn fertilization with this potassium fertilizer makes your palm less susceptible to frost damage.
Fertilize palm trees with home remedies
Palms prefer a slightly acidic soil pH. This makes them ideal candidates for coffee grounds fertilization. Because the dried compound, incorporated into the upper soil layer or as an addition to the irrigation water, provides an excellent source of nitrogen and, over time, drives the soil pH value down. You can also try your hand at recycling other kitchen waste such as banana peels or tea grounds. Even some weeds from the garden don’t have to land directly on the compost. An alternative to composting is to make a brew or liquid manure from the unpleasant plant residues of nettle, comfrey, field horsetail, or the like.