Royal Palm Care: Learn How To Grow A Royal Palm Tree
The most common question I get asked is “How do I grow a royal palm?”
People are curious about it. They want to know how they can grow one of these tropical plants. Here’s what you need to know about growing a royal palm tree.
What Are Royal Palms?
A royal palm (Palmium regia) is a type of palms native to Southeast Asia. These palms have long slender trunks with large leaves. They’re often used for ornamental purposes or as houseplants because their smooth bark makes them easy to clean and maintain. Their flowers are white and fragrant, but not very showy.
How Do You Grow A Royal Palm Tree?
Growing a royal palm tree takes time and patience. There are many varieties of royal palms, but the ones commonly grown for home use tend to be quite different from each other. The main difference between them is size and shape. Some are fairly small while others are larger than average. They grow slow and the oldest known royal palms are over 1,000 years old.
Royal palm trees are not as easy to grow as other houseplants. They need a lot of sunlight, so they’re not suitable for those living in apartments or houses without a southern or southwestern facing window. They also require special soil mixtures containing extra pumice and perlite to make them porous enough for their roots to breathe. A lack of drainage can kill them.
The pots they are planted in must have drainage holes and be extra deep to accommodate their long roots. The bigger the plant, the bigger the container it requires. A newly purchased royal palm may take up a small bucket-sized container, but when it grows larger you’ll have to transplant it into a proper clay pot. You cannot fertilize royal palms too much.
They respond well to liquid fertilizer and should be heavily fertilized on a weekly basis.
They also need a humid environment. Dry air is the number one cause of royal palm death. You can add a bit of water to your palm’s container every day so that the soil remains constantly damp. Don’t let your royal palm sit in its water dish though; it will rot.
A well-grown royal palm can produce up to seven leaves, but only two or three will be spread out on the ground at any given time. They’re also susceptible to pests and diseases. Mealy bugs and scales are a big problem for them.
Things get even more difficult when you try to grow a royal palm from seed. It’s very rare for seeds from commercially available palms to germinate. It takes practice and skill to perform the correct method of propagation (usually by grafting) to get a seedling to grow at all.
Even when all these factors are taken into consideration, growing a royal palm is not easy and success is far from guaranteed. It can take several years for a seed to grow into a plant big enough to move outside, and many never make it past this initial stage of development.
If you want to try your hand at growing a royal palm, make sure you have the time, money and commitment to see the project through.
Where Can I Buy One?
Royal palms are common in nurseries and garden stores, but not all of them carry all types. Call around to find the type(s) you’re looking for. If you can’t find one locally, search online. Also, remember to take your landscape situation (how much sun/shade you have, if you have a porch, etc) into account when picking out your plant.
A royal palm can cost anywhere between $20 and $200 depending on its size, age and rarity. The most common types can be found for around $20 while the rarer ones can reach $100 or more. Overall, they’re one of the more expensive houseplants to buy. They also make nice (if somewhat large) gifts for friends and relatives who enjoy plants.
Royal palms are a great choice if you have the right conditions to grow them. They can survive for years and grow quite large given enough time. Just remember to give them lots of TLC and they will reward you with years of growth and beauty.
Sources & references used in this article:
Performance traits of growing pigs fed on diets of royal palm nut meal by D Oliva, M Martínez, L Jiménez, J Ly – Cuban Journal of Agricultural …, 2018 – cjascience.com
The Royal Palm–Roystonea Regia by JK Small – 1928 – npshistory.com
May Mann Jennings and Royal Palm State Park by LD Vance – The Florida Historical Quarterly, 1976 – JSTOR