Pygmy date palms are native to Africa. They have been cultivated since ancient times. These trees grow up to 20 feet tall and produce fruit that is very tasty. There are many varieties of pygmy dates available, but they all look similar with their dark green leaves and bright red fruits.
The most common variety grown commercially today is the Pygmy Date Palm (Dendrops palmatum). Dendrobates palmatum is one of the oldest known palms and was used as a food source by early humans.
Today it’s still being eaten around the world.
In addition to its culinary value, pygmy dates are often used in traditional medicine. Some herbalists believe that consuming these fruits may help treat diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis, cancer and other diseases.
Another interesting fact about pygmy dates is that they’re resistant to rot! That means they can withstand long periods of storage without spoiling.
They’re also easy to grow and maintain.
Pygmy dates are considered a “tree” because they’ve got branches, but not much else. However, they do make excellent containers for herbs or other small plants.
You could even use them as hanging baskets if you wanted to go that route!
How To Grow Pygmy Date Palms
Here are a few tips on how to grow pygmy dates:
1. Know the difference between male and female trees.
The female tree has a wider trunk and produces more fruit, while the male tree grows taller. It’s up to you which kind you want to grow!
2. Planting pygmy date palms is pretty easy and they can tolerate poor soil quality.
If you’re in an urban area with compacted soil, dig out a hole big enough to fit the entire root system. If not, just dig out a hole big enough for the root system and place the rest of the root ball back in the original pot or another one.
3. After planting your palm tree, backfill the hole with soil and press it firmly around the root ball so there are no air pockets.
4. Water the palm thoroughly so that it soaks in and stays moist for the next few days.
5. Fertilize your pygmy date palm every couple of months from spring to fall using a slow-release 10-10-10 NPK fertilizer.
You can also apply bonemeal, bat guano or other organic source of nitrogen which will help grow stronger roots. Be careful using chemical fertilizers as they may damage the tender root system.
6. Pygmy date palms like full sun and a dry climate.
It’s best to plant them in a rockery or some other area that has good drainage.
7. You can trim the leaves of your pygmy date palm for a better appearance, but make sure to trim from the bottom part of the fronds upward to encourage more growth.
8. Take cutting in the spring and root them in damp soil to make new pygmy date palm trees.
9. Pygmy dates are very tolerant of cold weather, but be careful if you live in an area that gets frosts every year as they may still damage the tree.
10. These palms can easily grow to be 20 feet tall in the right conditions, so make sure you have room for one that size.
Thanks for reading and keep coming back for more free growing guides!
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Sources & references used in this article:
Contrasting seed biology of two ornamental palms: Pygmy Date Palm (Phoenix roebelenii O’Brien) and Fishtail Palm (Caryota urens L.) by K Prakash, R Chaudhury, MR Rohini… – Indian Journal of …, 2019 – 188.8.131.52
Date palm germplasm by RR Krueger – Date Palm Biotechnology, 2011 – Springer
Transplanting specimen palms: A review of common practices and research-based information by DR Pittenger, DR Hodel, AJ Downer – HortTechnology, 2005 – journals.ashs.org
A review of the issues and management of the red palm weevil Rhynchophorus ferrugineus (Coleoptera: Rhynchophoridae) in coconut and date palm during the last … by JR Faleiro – International journal of tropical Insect Science, 2006 – cambridge.org
Phoenix spp. and other ornamental palms in Turkey: The threat from red palm weevil and red palm scale insects by A Hazir, HD Buyukozturk – Emirates Journal of Food and Agriculture, 2013 – ejfa.me