How To Grow Queen Palm Tree (Syagrus romanzoffiana)

Queen Palm Tree (Syagrus romanzoffiana)
Queen Palm Tree (Syagrus romanzoffiana). Photo by Flickr.

The Queen Palm Tree, scientific name Syagrus romanzoffiana, is one of the most popular palms in tropical and subtropical climates because of its beautiful appearance and low maintenance. This palm is very inexpensive.

Groupings of three or more Queen Palms provide soft filtered sunlight perfect for shade gardens. It is also worth mentioning, that Queen Palm tree has a shallow root-base and is known for falling during high winds and hurricanes.

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Quick Facts:

Scientific name:Syagrus romanzoffiana
Common names:Queen Palm, Cocos Plumosa, Jeriva Syagrus romanzoffiana.
Origin:Native to the South American woodlands of Brazil and Argentina.
Growth Rate:Fast. Up to 30 – 40 ft and 5 -10 ft wide.
Cold Tolerance:USDA Zones 9b (25 to 30 F) to 11 (above 40 F).
Light Req:Partial shade to Full sun.
Water Req:Moderate.
Soil Req:Slightly acid best, but fairly adaptable.
Fruit:Yes. Yellow to orange
Propagation:By seeds, germinating in 3-6 months.

Queen Palm Identifying Characteristics

Queen Palm Tree (Syagrus romanzoffiana)
Queen Palm Tree (Syagrus romanzoffiana). Photo by Flickr.

Syagrus romanzoffiana has smooth single trunk ringed with leaf scars and topped with dark green feathery fronds. Pinnate leaves grow upward more so than outward.

The stem of the leaf is about 5 – 15ft long and has double rows of leaflets. Each leaflet blade approximately 18 to 36 inches long.

Queen Palm Flowers and Fruits

Queen Palm Tree (Syagrus romanzoffiana) flowers
Queen Palm Tree (Syagrus romanzoffiana). Photo by Flickr.

During summer months Queen Palm will surprise you with beautiful clusters of creamy flowers on a green stalk that grows underneath its leaves. In the early winter a green fruit will appear that will turn orange as it matures.

This fruits, also called “dates”, have round shape and are about 1 inch long with one single seed inside. The Queen Palm fruit smells nice but is not edible. When dates fall to the ground they create sticky piles of rotting fruit that attract disagreeable insects.

How To Care For Queen Palm

With regular fertilization Queen Palm can grow to a maximum height of about 30 – 40 ft and 5 -10 ft wide. It grows around 6 feet per year after establishing.

Generally Syagrus romanzoffiana can tolerate cold down to 25F when mature enough, however some palm enthusiasts have found it could survive cold down to 18F without permanent damage. It is great for growing in USDA Zones 9b (25 to 30 F) to 11 (above 40 F). Queen Palm grows very well in full sun although full sun with some shade is preferred.

Along with proper feeding, correct watering is critical for healthy Queen Palm. Newly planted palms should be watered every day for the first week, every other day for the second week and about 3 times a week afterwards. Watering palm 3 times a week should be enough during the first summer, and a minimum of twice a week in the winter.

Queen Palm Fertilization

Queen Palms should be fertilized with a fertilizer that contains the most important minerals including magnesium, iron, copper, manganese and nitrogen. To prevent nutritional deficiency, apply good quality palm fertilizer that has continuous release formula twice a year during growing season.

Queen Palm requires a lot of manganese for a healthy grow, not to be confused with magnesium. So, even after applying the usual fertilizer that contains manganese, it’s a good idea to add more manganese to the soil.

Manganese deficiency is responsible for the “frizzy top” that you can witness on many Florida Queen Palms. That’s because most of the homeowners don’t know how to fertilize Queen Palm Trees properly.

If you don’t treat the “frizzy top” condition, your palm tree will get weaker and eventually die. Once you noticed that some of the frizzy symptoms are developing, add more manganese to the soil.

Queen Palm Pruning

The Queen Palm needs very little pruning, mainly to develop a strong structure. The best time to prune Queen Palm tree is from September to beginning of November. You can remove old fronds that got damaged during the summer with a saw. Get rid of only minimum amount of fronds that are yellow or brown.

Excessive pruning can weaken the palm and slow its growth. If you have a tall Queen Palm, you might need a ladder to reach dry fronds. If you live in Florida, it’s easy to find a company that can do it for you.

Queen Palm Problems

Queen Palm Tree (Syagrus romanzoffiana)
Queen Palm Tree (Syagrus romanzoffiana). Photo by Flickr.

Insects and Diseases: The only pests that cause problems for Queen Palms are Palm leaf skeletonizer and scale. For more details on pests and prevention read – Palm Tree Insects.

Queen Palm has problem with Ganoderma butt rot that can kill the palm. There is no cure for it. The only thing you can do, is to use prevention treatments.

Queen Palm Propagation

Propagated by seeds. Seeds of Queen Palm germinate better if collected from the green fruit that didn’t ripe yet. Try to plant as soon as possible, as dried seed is much more difficult to propagate.

If you can’t plant the seed right away, you can store them. Before storing clean the seeds from the dust, air dry them and seal them in a plastic bag. The best storage temperature is around 65F-75F. It’s not recommended to store Queen Palm seeds for more than 4 months.

When you are ready to plant your seeds, soak them first in water for 1-7 days. Change water daily. Plant a seed into a small container filled with soil (you can get it from you local supermarket).

Soil should cover your seed not more than 2 cm. Put the container outside if you live in a warm climate. The temperature should be around 85F-90F. Water them 1-2 times a week. It should take around 2-3 months to sprout. Wait until at least one leaf has appeared before transplanting. Click here to read more about Planting Palm Trees. I got few pictures of the process for you:

Queen Palm seeds

Queen Palm seeds 30 days of germination

Queen Palm seeds 150 days of germination

Queen Palm 23 months after germination

Queen Palm Tree Pictures

Queen Palm Tree (Syagrus romanzoffiana)
Queen Palm Tree (Syagrus romanzoffiana). Photo by Flickr.
Queen Palm Tree (Syagrus romanzoffiana)
Queen Palm Tree (Syagrus romanzoffiana). Photo by Flickr.
Queen Palm Tree (Syagrus romanzoffiana)
Queen Palm Tree (Syagrus romanzoffiana). Photo by Flickr.
Queen Palm Tree (Syagrus romanzoffiana)
Queen Palm Tree (Syagrus romanzoffiana). Photo by Flickr.

More information can be found on EDIS and Floridata sites.

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4 thoughts on “How To Grow Queen Palm Tree (Syagrus romanzoffiana)”

  1. I tried to pull my queen palm or my friend did and it broke off! It was my mother’s tree and I wanted to move it to my house, she passed away and she planted it. It has lots of the small roots on the outside bottom, will it live if I go ahead and plant it? Ty I can’t find any answers

  2. My tree trimming service suggests 2 trimmings/year; spring and fall.
    I see your fall recommendation and was wondering if a spring trimming, just before the hurricane season, is also needed.

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