How To Grow Pygmy Date Palm Tree (Phoenix roebelenii)

Pygmy Date Palm Tree (Phoenix roebelenii)
Pygmy Date Palm Tree (Phoenix roebelenii). Photo by Flickr.

The Pygmy Date Palm Tree, scientific name Phoenix roebelenii, is one of the most widely used palms in landscaping in America. Not only it can be used outdoors in variety of settings, but it also looks great in a container.

This slow growing palm grows only up to 10ft tall making it perfect for small gardens. Many consider it to be a dwarf palm. It looks especially graceful when planted in group of 3 to 5 specimens.

Phoenix roebelenii can tolerate cold down to 15F and can be grown in states like Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, Oregon and Texas.

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Quick Facts:

Scientific name:Phoenix roebelenii
Common names:Pygmy Date Palm, Robellini Palm, Miniature Date Palm.
Origin:Native to Southern China.
Growth Rate:Slow. Up to 5 – 10 ft tall and 1-5 ft wide.
Cold Tolerance:USDA Zones 10a (30 – 35 F) to 11 (above 40 F).
Light Req:Partial shade to full sun.
Water Req:Moderate.
Soil Req:Widely adaptable.
Fruit:Yes. Black. Not edible.
Propagation:By seeds, germinating in 2-3 months.

Pygmy Date Palm Identifying Characteristics

In its natural environment Pygmy Date Palm has a single-trunk, but in cultivation it is usually planted with 3-5 specimens. When planted in clumps, the trunks tend to curve gracefully away from the center of the clump creating an especially attractive arrangement.

The Pygmy Date Palm trunk is covered with old leaf scars and topped with pinnate, or feather like, leaves which grow to about 4ft in length. Leaves are bright green, droopy covered with 4-5 in leaflets that are modified into 2-3 in. sharp spines at the base of the petiole. Be careful while pruning it and keep kids away.

Pygmy Date Palm Flowers and Fruits

Pygmy Date Palm Tree (Phoenix roebelenii) fruits
Pygmy Date Palm Tree (Phoenix roebelenii). Photo by Flickr.
Pygmy Date Palm Tree (Phoenix roebelenii) flowers
Pygmy Date Palm Tree (Phoenix roebelenii). Photo by Flickr.

During spring, the Pygmy Date Palm produces beautiful creamy flowers that are held by 1ft long stalks. The Pygmy Date Palm is dioecious, male and female flowers grow on separate plants. Between september and october, flowers are followed by small dates.

It usually has about 10 -13 long fruit clusters hanging below the leaves. Fruits are elliptical, 1/2 inch long and turn red-brown to dark purple when ripe. The date is mostly seed with only a thin layer of fruit.

How To Care For Pygmy Date Palm

Phoenix roebelenii is a small palm that can grow up to 5 – 10 ft tall and 1-5 ft wide, but usually doesn’t grow more than 7ft.

It is very popular indoor palm tree because it does well in any kind of container. It is perfect for deck or entry ways.

Phoenix roebelenii is a cold hardy palm that can tolerate cold down to 15F when mature enough. It is great for USDA Zones 10a (30 – 35 F) to 11 (above 40 F).

It likes full sun but can also grow in partial shade. Adapts to all king of soil. It is not very drought tolerant and does well in moist well drained soil.

Phoenix roebelenii doesn’t have a self-cleaning trunk and requires old leaf removal to keep it beautiful appearance.  To prevent nutritional deficiency, apply good quality palm fertilizer that has continuous release formula twice a year during growing season.

Propagated by seed that takes around 3-4 months to germinate. The best conditions for germination would be warm moist soil with enough shade to protect young seedlings from direct sunlight.

Pygmy Date Palm Pictures

Pygmy Date Palm Trees (Phoenix roebelenii)
Pygmy Date Palm Tree (Phoenix roebelenii). Photo by Flickr.
Pygmy Date Palm Tree (Phoenix roebelenii)
Pygmy Date Palm Tree (Phoenix roebelenii). Photo by Flickr.
Pygmy Date Palm Tree (Phoenix roebelenii)
Pygmy Date Palm Tree (Phoenix roebelenii). Photo by Flickr.
Pygmy Date Palm Trees (Phoenix roebelenii)
Pygmy Date Palm Tree (Phoenix roebelenii). Photo by Flickr.
Pygmy Date Palm Tree (Phoenix roebelenii)
Pygmy Date Palm Tree (Phoenix roebelenii). Photo by Flickr.
Pygmy Date Palm Tree (Phoenix roebelenii) trunk
Pygmy Date Palm Tree (Phoenix roebelenii). Photo by Flickr.
Pygmy Date Palm Tree (Phoenix roebelenii)
Pygmy Date Palm Tree (Phoenix roebelenii). Photo by Flickr.
Pygmy Date Palm Tree (Phoenix roebelenii)
Pygmy Date Palm Tree (Phoenix roebelenii). Photo by Flickr.
Pygmy Date Palm Tree (Phoenix roebelenii)
Pygmy Date Palm Tree (Phoenix roebelenii). Photo by Flickr.
Pygmy Date Palm Tree (Phoenix roebelenii)
Pygmy Date Palm Tree (Phoenix roebelenii). Photo by Flickr.

More information can be found on EDIS and Floridata sites. Buy This Palm Tree »

7 thoughts on “How To Grow Pygmy Date Palm Tree (Phoenix roebelenii)”

  1. I live in California on the central coast and already have Roebelinii palms in my yard, some are in partial shade and some in another area under a giant Morton Bay Fig so that they get a little sunrise and sunset sun at times. I have a new spot that I would like to place them, It is an area enclosed by building on three sides and very sheltered. They would not have direct sun, only some bouncing off the side of the building for part of the day. Could they live there ? thank you

  2. Help in Savannah Ga.. My palm may have been damaged. We had 6 nights with lows in the 20s.. Low to mid was and snow. I covered the pigmy but it looks burned. Any suggestions?

  3. My question is, I have healthy pygmy Date palms, . Am I hurting them by pruning the pods before they open..When and how much should I prune.. I like to keep them neat and not quite too full on top. Am I over trimming or hurting them?

  4. My question is, I have healthy pygmy Date palms, . Am I hurting them by pruning the pods before they open..When and how much should I prune.. I like to keep them neat and not quite too full on top.

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