How to Water Palm Trees The Right Way

watering palm tree How to Water Palm Trees The Right Way

Watering Palm Trees the right way is very important. Most of the Palm Trees like moist and well drained soil. But, it is easier said than done. A lot of palm tree enthusiasts over water their palms or don’t provide enough water, because they don’t know how to check for soil moist level. They have no idea how much water their palm needs and how often to water it.

1. How much water does my palm tree need?

Here is a rule you should use when watering your Palm Trees. If it’s a 10 gallon container palm tree, then use 10 gallons of water. If it’s a 25 gallon container, then use 25 gallons of water. During hot weather use a little bit more, during cold weather a little less. You should understand, that it depends on the palm tree type and on the type of soil. Always check the soil to make sure it’s moist and adjust your water amount if needed.

2. How often should I water my new planted palm tree?

You should water your new planted palm tree every day for the first week, every other day for the second week and then switch to 3 times a week. Palm tree soil should be always moist.

Established Palm Tree needs watering 2-3 times a week. Adjust your watering depending on the season. Palm Trees grow more during warm months and slow down during cold months. Watering once a week in the winter should be enough.

3. What it the best time for watering my Palm Tree?

j0429815 How to Water Palm Trees The Right WayYou should water your Palm tree early in the morning or late in the evening when it’s not too hot. Why? Because if you water your palm tree in the middle of the hot summer day, when the temperature is around 100F, and get the water on the palm tree frond it will fry the leaves.

When you going tanning, you put oil all over your body to maximize the result. The water on the leaves works the same way oil works on your skin. That’s why, watering your palm in the middle on the hot day can result in leaf burn.

Mist or hose your palm to clean up all the dust on the leaves, but do it in the cooler time of the day. After you figure out how long to water and how much water your Palm tree needs, it’s is a great idea to get a sprinkler system with a timer. Timer is a very useful thing that will prevent a flooding around the house in case you forget to turn off the sprinkler system.

4. How to check the moist level of the soil?

soil moister meter2 How to Water Palm Trees The Right Way

I like to use electronic soil moister meter How to Water Palm Trees The Right Way.  It provides accurate, easy to read results. Since soil probe is separate from meter, you can even monitor hanging plants. It also got great reviews on

Moisture meters start at about $6 and run up to well over $100. I think this one made by Luster Leaf, is priced very reasonably.

Another thing you can use is a soil probe How to Water Palm Trees The Right Way.  Take a soil probe and push into the ground as far as it can go, twist it and pull it out. If the soil is too dry, the probe will stop. Feel the soil.

If it’s moist, you don’t need to water more. Check to see how far the root extends. You don’t need to water deeper than that, because roots can not get to the water below the root depth.

Check to see how long the soil stays moist after you water. If the soil is wet do NOT water your palm. It is very easy to over water. For the best result DEEP water your palms.

probe2 web How to Water Palm Trees The Right Way

5. What is deep watering?

Let’s say you have 20 gallon Palm tree that needs 20 gallons of water. You can water your palm two ways. One way is to take all 20 gallons of water and dump it around your palm tree in 2 minutes. The water will simply runoff and palm tree roots will not get enough.

j0361508 How to Water Palm Trees The Right WayIt takes time for the soil to absorb water. Another way to water your palm tree is to slow drip 20 gallons of water over the course of 1 hour. If you have a sprinkler system with a timer, that is what I would highly recommend, water your palm tree for 30 min, turn the water off, let it soak into the ground for 30 min, then resume watering for the remaining 30 min.

This should not only water the top of the soil but also get few inches deep into the ground. It all depends on the soil type. Check with the soil probe.

Note: You don’t need to water your palm when it’s raining, in case you didn’t know. Turn off your sprinkler system when it’s raining.

I hope you find this palm tree watering article useful. If you have comments or questions let me know by using a comment box below.


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41 Responses to “How to Water Palm Trees The Right Way”

  1. We live in a Condo with eight units. In front of our building we planted five 20- ft. Palm trees. My neghbors said that Palm trees should be watered from the top. They ran hoses to the top of the trees and are letting the water trickle down to the bottom!
    I have lived in Florida for twenty years, never have I seen this done! We are in SC! The trees are getting water logged. !
    Needless to say, we do not agree with their method!
    Please send me a reply, so I can explain to them. I only water the tree in front of my unit from the bottom and use spikes to fertilize. Please email me back soon! Thanks,

  2. Hi Bob! You are absolutely right, there is no need to water palm trees from the top. Palm trees like moist well drained soil. Don’t let it sit in the water. Also, it is better to slow water your palm tree so that soil has more time to absorb the water. Palm trees like to be mist but that can’t be replace by watering trees from the top. Hope that helps. Susan

  3. I currently have 2 queen palms (6 yrs old) in my front yard. Both planted at the same time. Both doing very well up until now.
    The 1st queen palm located on the grass area seems to have problems. Bottom trunk of palm looks like it has dry root issues. If you pound on the bottom of the truck or take a little kick to the trunk, sections of the trunk break away. Now that particular palm has direct water hitting it each time the sprinkler systems goes off to water the grass. Not sure if that is the cause.
    The 2nd palm is located in the dirt area with no direct water hitting it from the sprinkler system. That palm is nice and bushy.
    Please let me know what your thoughts are on this issue.


  4. Yikes..according to this I’ve done everything wrong! The “store” told be to fertilize when I planted my 12′ Mexican Palm 0n 5/52010. Also to water every day for 2 MONTHS! (It’s been 80-90′s and hot.) The top is growing great..but today I noticed the trunk is a bit spongy and flaking some old grow, about 2 feet above the ground. AND i just cut of three branches that were brown..and now I read not to cut, because the tree feeds off of them…Is my tree doomed???

  5. Hi Greg! Your tree will be fine. The most important is to keep the bud (where the new leaves are growing from) well protected. Palm trees do get their nutrients from dying leaves, so don’t cut them until they are completely dead. Palm Trees like moist but well drained soil. Make sure you are not over watering them. Hope this helps. Susan.

  6. I live in the high desert in California the soil is very hard and dry we planted two date palms in our front yard I am wattering the plants twice a day, the leaves are turning a little brown on the ends I am not sure if I am wattering to much or not enough.

  7. I see in Los Angeles palm trees that are very very tall and have a few green branches on top.
    Would you please tell me: how does the water can go up so much defying gravity? Does the trunk have some special anatomy or system to pipe the water up?
    Thank you, George.

  8. Hi I just moved into my house and I have 8 queen palms, 6 sabal palms and two other palms notsure what type they are.
    The palms were neglected for some time so I removed the old dead husks and the flowering and acorn branches.
    My palms leafs are starting to get thin and withered looking. Is there something I am doing wrong? I recently bought palm tree food spikes and it doesn’t seem to be working. I really need someones opinion on what I should do or am doing wrong, I don’t want these palms to die.

  9. We just purchased a Washingtonian palm and a Sylvester palm installed in our front yard. The installers told us to keep the branches tied with rope above the trunk for 30 days to help with transplant shock. Do you recommend this technique?

  10. Hi Judy. Tying up branches only needed for transplanting and transporting palms. Research showed that leaf tie up and/or removal did not affect establishment and survival of the palm. So it is up to you if you want to keep it. Susan Brian.

  11. I have been away from our home for close to 6 months and the watering system was not on correctly. I have had this beautiful bismark and its grown to 35 feet but the new fronds are coming out brown at the top and theexistingones are drooping and have holes in the fans am I dying ? Its a magnificant tree and I was in a bad accident can I save it ? PLEASE???

  12. Hi there. I am very sorry to hear about your Bismark Palm. The only thing I can recommend is to continue watering it like you usually would. Do not over water it and do not cut dying leaves until they are completely dry. Palms take nutrients from dying leaves for new growth. It might take few months for the palm to recover but I think it will be fine. I hope this helps. ~Susan Brian

  13. I have wo Mexican Palm trees that underwent seb-zero temperatures for two days. They are completely brown. How can I tell if they are still alive?

  14. I recently transplanted a 15′ windmill palm. We dug the hole (2 1/2 ft deep) 4-6 inches deeper than the top of the root ball. Will 4 -6 inches of dirt up the tree trunk, above the rool ball, hurt the palm?. If so, can I put a deep layer of mulch/ pinestraw on top for appearance sake (to make it level with surrounding flower bed). It was difficult for us to handle, we really don’t want to take it back out of the ground. Thank you! Nancy

  15. Hi Susan,

    Thank you for putting together all of this great advice. I just have one question: I ended up overfertilizing three of my juvenile potted palms, and noticed residue build-up and accelerated browning only a matter of days later. Because there was so much fertilizer throughout the soil, I decided the best way to save the tree was to re-pot them using a fresh soil mixture. I did so using about 2/3rds regular potted soil and 1/3rd cactus mix.

    Does your watering advice about apply to repotted plants, too? Should I be watering them daily for the first week, etc?

    I greatly value your help.

  16. May I water my young palms on the beach with semi-salty water? Problems with “sweat” water.

  17. how do you know if you’re overwatering or underwatering a palm tree? The fronds on our newly planted sylvester palm are turning brown(dried out) from the bottom rung. I’m noticing the upper fronds are starting to yellow on the tips! help! Did we plant it too deep? are we overwatering? How can we tell? thanks!!!

  18. What is wrong with palm fonts that turn brown at the tips. I think they are fan palms. I live in So. Sarasota Co.

  19. Hi Mary. Could be a lot of different things. It could be watering problem, too much sun, insects, diseases, or nutrient deficiency. ~Susan Brian

  20. Hi Liz. Palms like moist but well drained soil. If you overwater it, the leaves will turn brown or yellow and fall off without drying first. If you provide not enough water the tips of the leaves will start turning brown. If you just planted the palm it might be in shock and will recover after few weeks. ~Susan Brian

  21. Hello Susan! I have two problem palms. One I think, from your very useful article, is from not enough water. The tree randomly allows a green frond with dead brown leave-tips to drop hanging paralelle with the trunk. I have cut off 3 or 4 of these droped fronds already. I hope to remedy this with more water unless you suspect otherwise.

    Second, I have a robellini palm that attracted weevils, which I know because I saw them. It was a duel trunk robelini, one trunk has died from the weevils. Before that trunk died I noticed the tree produced very small fronds. The ordinary fronds were up to 3 feet long, then all the sudden after the weevils the fronds are 1 foot, no more, in length. It died completely soon after. The second trunk of this tree is displaying the same behavior with the shortened trunk. Is it too late to save the second trunk do you think?

    My plants and I Thank you for your wisdom! [And a really good website too]

  22. I recently purchased 2 Pigmy Date Palms for my covered patio’s. I live in drought stricken west texas and it has been averaging 100-104 degrees here. The first date palm I bought sits on a totally covered patio on the south side of my house and seemed to be doing okay so I purchased another that gets some direct early morning sunlight on a covered east side patio. I water approximately once a week because I am scared of overwatering. The problem is (they are both in planters) the ends of the leaves are turning brown and they seem to be weeping or limp. Is this a product of over or underwatering or is our climate simply not suitable for these beautiful plants. They were “perky” when I bought them from our local home improvement store.

  23. Hi, Susan,

    I live in Southern California, and I planted a new 25 gallon King Palm on December 1st. After planted, we had a three days of strong Santa Ana Wind. Very very strong. I don’t know how to take care of my new Kong Palm. I feel so upset!! The temperature is cold (only 40f), and the wind is strong, and I don’t know how to watering it everyday. Please Help!!!!


  24. Hi Susan,

    My family planted a Windmill Palm back in September. It’s about 4 feet tall. We live in Massachusetts where it gets really cold in the winter. We haven’t really had a winter season this year so I’m curious if my Palm is getting enough moisture? We wrapped burlap around the truck to keep it warm on the cold nights. However some of the fronds are brown, and 2 are completely dry. I don’t want to prune till the spring just because of the burlap. Do you have any tips on making the palm green again? I know spring is right around the corner, and we have temps this week in the 70s. I will see what happens.

  25. Hi Ben. I think you would have to wait till the temperatures are a little higher to remove the burlap and to do the pruning. Fertilizing your palm will definitely help your palm to grow new fronds faster. ~Susan Brian

  26. Hi Susan,

    I had 4 foxtail palms planted in my yard that are about 20+ feet tall, about 4 weeks ago. Two of them are doing great, look like they never were moved. The other two have lost about 4 fronds each and are starting to look very thin on top. I live in south east florida. Also, these palms all have about 2 new fronds sticking up but arent opening. Do you know what might be going on with these palms? I planted them slightly elevated to the adjacent soil becuase other palms I replaced with these were a little too deep and the rootball had rotted on them. So I had these installed slightly elevated and built the soil up a little to cover the rootball. Are these palms just in shock and the other two arent? I bought a moisture meter to check the moisture content of the soil and it was reading between 8-9 on a scale of 10 about 6-8″ down around the base of the palms. This was consistent on all 4 of them. The temps here are starting to get into the 80′s during the day and were seeing high 60′s at night. Should I fertilize or wait a little longer to see if these fronds will start opening.

  27. Susan,
    What do you think of the product called Superthrive? It may or may not help some of these people. Many people swear by it and others say they see no diff. I just started using it and think it is helping my windmill seedlings that were showing signs of transplant shock. It is available at along with reviews, but the cheapest i found it was on eBay. Just a thought, cause trying something is better then just watching my plants/trees die. Feel free to research it, but following directions is a must, cause to much can and will kill or deform the plant. (It is not a fert.-it’s a non-chemical vitamans and rooting hormones).

  28. Have 4 trees 6 yrs old, approx. 10 ft tall. Noticed leaves on the branches turning yellow. Also one tree has an upper limb totally brown. Is the tree dying. Should I use an insecticide and a palm nutritional spray? Please advise. Thank you. What about a copper treatment? Where would I find it?

  29. Thank you for sharing this wonderful tips. I had recently planted a fresh coconut plant. However it got dried up due to irregular watering. Its stem completely got dried and broke off from the root. Now only its root is left. Is there any possible way to save my coconut plant.

  30. I recently bought a beautiful sylvester palm from home depot, and the lower leaves are dying. It’s been in the ground for 2 weeks now and more leaves are turning brown. Am I stil supposed to water my palm every day, I can’t figure out if I’m watering too little or too much. I was told that I would loose some leaves due to transplant shock but it is continuing. Please any advise would be greatly appreciated.

  31. Hi Susan,
    I live in Ontario, Canada and I just bought a coconut palm. I am going to keep it outside for the summer and am about to transplant from the pot I purchase it in. It is about 7 feet tall and looks pretty healthy but one leave has yellow spots which I read is from potassium deficiency. Should I fertilize it or wait 2 months like it says on the website?? But then our summer is almost over! I plan to store it in a greenhouse over the winter and have ordere that jobes palm spikes for palms??? Also it will be in a pot. If you can just give me tips on keeping it healthy on my patio I would greatly appreciate it! Also should I put sand throughout my soil or in the bottom of my pot with drainage hole??? I really want this plant to stay healthy!!! Thanks :)

  32. Hi Susan,
    I live in southeast Florida (zone 9b) and found a 12′ Royal Palm on the side of the road which appeared recently dug up (approx. 4 fronds still green). After carefully taking the palm home, I treated the roots with a combination of Superthrive and water as recommended daily for 9 days wrapped in a dropcloth and kept it moist, but when I saturated the root , the sandy soil washed off the roots leaving them bare. I did the same procedure for a Foxtail palm last year that was in bad shape,but it had a good amount of soil around the rootball and it bounced back very well. I just planted the Royal Palm in full sun in sandy soil mixed with a little Miraclegrow soil for palms and cycads. I watered the tree in well to remove air pockets and noticed that the older fronds turned brown overnight (approx. 3). After a few days I cut the 2 worst looking fronds off leaving 2 and an unopened frond. The soil drains ok, but not real fast so I’m not sure if I overwatered the tree. What can I do at this point to increase it’s chances for survival.

  33. Hi Susan,
    This is in regard to my just written e-mail above: I forgot to mention that the Royal palm that I found on the road was not diseased, but according to the homeowner who dug it up, it just didn’t lineup well with his other Royals in a straight line so he replaced it with a new one. He was hoping someone would take it and plant it because it was a healthy tree when he removed it.

  34. Hi Susan, I live in Southern California in the Temecula area by San Diego
    I just moved into my house and I noticed the 25 foot high queen palm is starting to look sick..
    The palms were neglected for some time so I removed the old dead husks and the flowering and acorn branches.
    My palms leafs are starting to get thin and withered looking. Also, the roots are showing about 2 or 3 inches on the bottom.. Please help if you can! As soon as you can before I lose them.

    Thanks in advance!

  35. Hi Susan:
    My in house palm tree’s branches are curling into spirals. I find this very unappealing. It never did this before when I lived in my apartment. It’s only started doing it in the past few years of living in my home. It isn’t as close to a window as it used to be. Is this the possible reason for doing that? Is there a way to keep new branches from spiraling? The other question is my husband repotted the palm a few months ago and it’s looking shabby. I read your tips on how to repot and he did everything wrong and used fertilized soil. Should I repot ASAP with new organic soil or will that stress the palm out more now? Please advise. Thank you. -Katie

  36. Hi-
    I have recently moved to Las Vegas and am trying to grow a Mediteranean palm in a container on my deck. It gets morning sun, but it has been very warm this summer. Can I leave it in the black 15″ plastic planter that it can in? I’m not sure if I am watering it correctly, because the fronds are now dropping and have started to turn brown at the tips. Does that mean too much water, or not enough? Thanks for your help!!

  37. Hi, I have just bought a mixture of 5 date and dwarf palms and have re-potted into large pots. I plan to move these to my grarden hut (with window) in winter to protect them as I live in Scotland and frost can be a problem over winter. Can anyone tell me if/how much water I should be giving them over winter? Many thanks

  38. I’m in southern Arizona, having moved two weeks ago from Montana. Caring for palm trees is a new experience. I have three 45-foot Mexican palms (Need I say they are not in pots?) and I would like to know what the water requirements are for these giants. Thank you!

  39. Hi, I live in Barbados and I have two foxtail palms planted in the ground. One is doing okay but the other doesnt look so good. The leaves are turning brown and stem in the middle is also brown. What is wrong? Can it be saved?

  40. Hello-
    Thanks for this website.

    I recently moved into a San Diego home which has a central palm tree in the yard, I wish I knew exactly what type by it looks most like a coconut variety (albeit I have never seen a coconut…the floawers it produces near the trunk are very similar). the tree is about 15- 20 feet tall, the trunk is straight, and fronds appear healthy, however I have noted over 6 months all the new fronds are clumped very closely together, and are severely bent over to one side, much so I am not sure the fronds will be able to straighten (greater than 90 degree bend…with apex almost directing towards ground). Again, it is green, and new shoots look lush and healthy… Maybe growing ‘too fast’?? is that possible. It gets regular water via sprinkler.

    Thanks for any thoughts regarding allowing this beautiful tree to straighten.

  41. I have a 30 ft coconut palm tree top leaves are green and lower leaves turning yellow and brown toward outer edges. doe it need more or less water or did my husband give it too much food. Sharon tate

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