Keep the following things in mind when taking care of your queen palms. If you do these easy things, your queen palms are going to look fantastic.
- Prune the palm fronds only when they are yellow, brown, or broken. See below for the reason.
- Only prune the number of fronds that the palm produces yearly. See below for the reason.
- Remove petioles or boots by hand also known as skinning. If they don’t pull off then leave them on. See below for the reason.
- Remove Palm flowers and fruit stalks. They provide no benefit to the palm tree. See below for the reason.
- Palms will decline and ultimately die when they reach their maximum height.
- Water your queen palm enough to keep the soil moist. Usually 2 or 3 times a week for an established tree. See below for over watering.
- Make sure you fertilize your Queen Palm tree. See below for more info.
Queen Palm Tree Care
Queen Palms do best in full sun and acidic soil that drains well. If the Queen Palm is planted in a more alkaline soil, you may need to give it applications of manganese and or iron on a more regular basis to help keep the fronds green. Queen Palms will also benefit by the removal of flowers and seed pods. This will free up starch for developing fronds, roots, and other areas the tree needs it. It will also remove and or prevent the mess associated with the flowers and seeds. Removal of the fronds should only take place whe they are yellow, brown, or broken. They should appear to be dead or dying. Queen palms will only grow the number of fronds it needs to maintain perfect health. What this means is that as a new frond sprouts and grows an old one will die off. This is the reason it is very important not to leave a dying frond or prune too many fronds. We don’t want nourishment going to a dying frond that could be going to a new frond. If you prune too many fronds, the queen palm will not get what it needs from the remaining fronds to be healthy. Some people believe that if you trim too many fronds the queen palm will grow what it needs and therefore you can make it grow faster by trimming too many fronds. This is not true. This will compromise the health of the Queen Plam.
Remove petioles or boots by hand also known as skinning. If they don’t pull off then leave them on.
Fan palms can be skinned all the way to the heart. Queen palms should only be skinned to the point where the boots are dried and falling off. If you skin or remove boots too early you can and possibly will stress the tree to the point it will die. Rule of thumb is that if the boot is dried, starting to fall off, and you can pull it off easily by hand, then it is ready to be removed. Sometimes you will need to use a blade to cut a stubborn fiber or two. The outside skin of the tree should not really be skinned just the boots removed when they are ready. The boots add support, protection, and covering for the trunk of the tree while it is developing. If you remove the boots too early, it can prevent the trunk of the tree to properly develop. So don’t be in a hurry to remove the boots from the trunk. If you need another reason, go to a local nursery and you will see that Queen Palms with boots are more valuable.
Fertilize your Queen Palm!
The common recommendation is to use a 8-3-9 blend that is a slow release. The three numbers, nitrogen (N), phosphorous (P) and potassium (K) represent the percentage by weight of the N, P, K found in the fertilizer. A bag of 8-3-9 fertilizer will contain 8% of Nitrogen, 3% of Phosphorous, and 9% of potassium (potash). The slow release will help prevent root burn and will feed your palm over a longer period of time. While the 8-3-9 blend is the main focus in picking your fertilizer, there are still other micro nutrients that you should look for in a fertilizer. Here is a list of some micro elements found in some of the more popular palm fertilizers; Magnesium, Manganese, Sulphur, Boron, Copper, Iron, Molybdenum, Zinc. Manganese is such an important element that many people recommend applying additional amounts even if it is already in your fertilizer. Just an FYI.. Nitrogen is responsible for the dark green color of your palm fronds and development of the new leaves. Phosphorous helps the root system and blooming. Potassium helps cold hardiness of the palm and keeps tolerant to different diseases.
Important Note: It is recommended that you apply fertilizer at 2 foot away from the Queen Palm trunk.
Watering Queen Palms
When you first plant a Queen Palm you should water it daily for the first 30 days. Once it is established, twice a week during cooler months and three time a week during drier months. The goal is to maintain moist soil. If the soil stays too wet which equates to over watering, the queen palm could suffer from root rot. So here is some logic to follow. Queen Palms grow faster when it is warmer. So the faster they grow the more they need. Also, water during the cooler times in the day so the soil absorbs the water and not the sun.