Soil and Water
Regardless of where your palm is planted, they need to have well drained soil.
Make sure if it’s in a pot that there’s a drain hole in it and some rocks, gravel or something similar in the bottom.
The roots should never be sitting in water.
If you are like most, the water from the house is probably treated and has chlorine in it.
It’s best if you have a container of water sitting out for at least 24 hrs before using to water any plants.
That way the chlorine will have evaporated and your plants won’t have any adverse effects.
The absolute best water you can use is rain water accumulated in an outdoor bath tub or rain barrel.
Not as many chemicals and no extra charge on your water bill.
You can even place the barrel under a roof gutter down spout and collect quicker.
Quick Info: Scientific name-Hyophorbelagenicaulis
- 12-15 ft tall, 6-8 ft wide if planted in soil- easily potted
- minimum temp 34°F zone 10-11 outdoors
- prefers full sun- can do part sun
- any soil and slow growing
- drought and mildly salt tolerant
In important part of bottle palm tree care or for any plants growing in containers is the possible salt and mineral build up that can occur.
Your city water supply may also have other added things to it like fluoride. You may even add salt by using it as a water softener.
After awhile you could notice a whitish discoloring of the soil, mulch or decorative stone you have on top.
This is an indication that you may need to flush out the over accumulation of salts and minerals.
This will make a bit of a mess so is best done outside or for small palms- in the bath tub or shower.
Let lots of water run constantly thru the soil for about 15 minutes or so. Let it run from the top of the soil to right out the bottom of your container.
Don’t run the water too fast, you want the flushing effect and not to spray dirt everywhere.
Once finished give your palm some time to drain any excess water before putting him back in his place.
The only way to prevent this build up, is to water your plants with distilled water. But this can be a bit expensive.
Mineral or salt build-up is not a concern if planted in outdoors in soil. The rain will flush the soil for you naturally.
If you plan on doing any flushing during the warm summer months once a year for the ones you bring inside during the winter. Then you won’t have to worry about making a mess.
Fertilizer- Bottle Palm Tree Care
Next in bottle palm tree care is to fertilize is with a water soluble plant food.
Use a palm fertilizer with minerals, specifically for them. These are the minerals that they really need, not the ones from the city,ground or rain water.
If your palm has premature yellowing on the tips of the leaves, he’s probably lacking a specific mineral.
The most common one is magnesium and can be solved really easy by dissolving a teaspoon of Epson salts in his water every so often.
The experts say the best remedy to this is to use a complete palm fertilizer with the proper micro/macro nutrients in it. Less likely to have any type of mineral deficiency .
A common misconception is that the swollen trunk holds water. This is not the case.
They are very drought tolerant, and they originate of the coast of South Africa-the Mascarene Islands to be exact.
To thrive they do require watering at regular intervals.
If Mother Nature hasn’t helped out some, then plan on watering every other day in extreme heat.
Best practice is to water early morning or late afternoon. That way he’ll get the most benefit.
If you water during the heat of the day believe it or not most of the moisture will evaporate before you tree gets a chance to use it.
Your bottle palm will love you even more if you give him a weekly shower.
Indoors? How about a mist bath?
Climate / Pruning / Sun
You may think pruning is part of bottle palm tree care.
Really it’s something you will probably never do.
These guys generally don’t have any more than 4-6 leaves at one time.
If you must remove a leaf then wait for it to go entirely brown before doing so.
Now for the sun!! The bottle will grow in sun, part sun or part shade.
This makes it an easy one to place.
If there isn’t enough sun you will see them, over time, trying to reach for it by leaning their leaves that way.
You will end up with a very weird looking, misshapen, not very attractive tree. If you see this starting to happen it’s best to move it to a more sunny location.
Make sure they have enough sun to stay happy and good looking.
If you just bought one and aren’t sure about the amount of light in your planned location, leave him in the container. Place in the spot you have picked out and wait up to a couple of months to see how it grows.
If all is good then plant away. If not then pick a brighter area.
This palm tree is used to a tropical, warm climate. They are not cold hardy and don’t do well outdoors if the temp even gets close to freezing.
So if you are farther north than the middle of the state of Florida, you’ll have to consider bringing them indoors over the winter or colder months.
Place him in a space with a lot of direct sunlight. The more the better.
If you don’t think there’s enough you can always add some artificial lighting to keep him happy while he’s indoors.
I hope this helps answer some of your questions about bottle palm tree care
Bottle Palm Care
Bottle palm (Hyophorbelagenicaulis), an attractive palm tree, has a stout, bottle-shaped trunk and feathery leaves. Although the tree reaches heights of only 10 to 12 feet, the dramatic, arching leaves extend to lengths of up to 10 feet. Bottle palm, which does not tolerate frosty weather, is suitable for growing in the warm climates of U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 10 through 11.
Bottle palms need regular watering, especially while the tree is actively growing in summer. For a newly planted bottle palm, keep the soil lightly, evenly moist until the roots are established — generally six to eight months. After that, water the plant weekly, providing about 1 inch of water every week if it hasn’t rained that much. Keep the roots moist and cool by applying 2 to 3 inches of mulch, such as pine needles or bark chips, on the soil around the plant. Keep the mulch several inches away from the base of the trunk.
Bottle palm benefits from regular feeding, which promotes an attractive plant and increases resistance to pests and disease. Use a special palm fertilizer, which contains the correct ratio of nutrients for the tree. For an average size bottle palm of 10 to 12 feet, apply about 3 pounds of fertilizer, and slightly less for a smaller tree. Sprinkle the fertilizer evenly on the soil, from near the base of the trunk to below the dripline, which is where water drips from the outermost leaves. Always apply fertilizer to moist soil, and then water deeply immediately after fertilizing. Fertilize the tree four times every year — in spring, midsummer, early fall and late fall. Refer to the fertilizer container for specific instructions.
A small, slow-growing palm, bottle palm grows well in containers. You can also grow it indoors if you have a spot with plenty of bright light. Use a mid-size pot filled with a commercial potting mixture or a mixture for cacti and succulents. Poke your finger into the potting mixture to determine when the palm needs water, and then provide water when the mixture feels dry to your second knuckle. Water deeply until water trickles through the drainage hole. Let the pot drain thoroughly to prevent rot and other diseases.
A bottle palm requires little pruning. Remove old leaves when they turn dry and brown. Cut the leaves close to the trunk, but leave the base of the leaves intact. Be careful not to cut into the trunk. Bottle palm is often infested by spider mites and small pests that hide in the stems of the fronds, especially during the summer when weather is dry and dusty. To prevent invasion by spider mites and other pests, hose the tree occasionally to keep the plant as dust-free as possible. Hosing the plant is especially beneficial in coastal climates, as it prevents salt from building up on the leaves. Otherwise, healthy bottle palms are relatively disease- and insect-free.