Transplanting Palm Tree to a Bigger Container

Fishtail Palm (Caryota mitis) in a container
Fishtail Palm (Caryota mitis). Photo by Flickr.

This is probably the easiest transplanting project out of all of them because you don’t need to dig out the palm or transport it somewhere. Also, if you moving a palm from one container to another, that means your palm is small. Remember, palm trees can’t grow in the container forever. Eventually, you will have to transplant it into the ground or it will die.

1. Get a Bigger Container

Start by getting a bigger container with holes at the bottom to ensure a good drainage.

2. Remove The Palm

Next, lay the palm on its side and slide it out of the container. You might need to tap it on the sides. Container grown palms often have roots that wrap around the inside of the container.

Those roots don’t need to be cut like in broadleaf trees. Also, try to keep the old soil around the rootball. That will help minimizing the transplant shock. Be careful not to damage the roots when transplanting.

3. Prepare Soil Mix

I recommend using getting some organic soil and mixing it with sand to provide good drainage. Recently, stores have been selling a lot of soil mixes with added fertilizer. Those are the worst. It is guaranteed to burn the roots of the palm. Just use an organic soil mix. I like to mix three parts of soil and one part of sand.

4. Plant The Palm

Palms should be planted on the same level as it was grown before unless it was planted to high from the beginning. Planting it too deep might result in nutrients deficiencies. Place some soil at the bottom on the bigger pot. Drench it with water. Next, place the palm into the new container and fill the rest of the space with soil mix.

5. Watering

Water your palm making sure the soil around the root ball is moist. First two weeks after transplanting, water your palm every 2 days. Then you can go back to the regular watering schedule.

6. Fertilizing

Do not fertilize the palm for the first two months or until you see the new growth. Since your palm will be experiencing a transplant shock, it doesn’t need to be stressed out even more.

Keep your palm in the same location it was growing before. You can move it after you see that it is doing well in its new container.

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3 thoughts on “Transplanting Palm Tree to a Bigger Container”

  1. I have had a pony tail palm for many years. ‘Have kept it in a decorative container in the loft of my house where it gets adequate sun and natural light. The base finally out-grew the container and became root bound. Today I transplanted it in to a much larger container and replaced the soil with “organic” material containing NO added fertilizers.
    Your directions for doing this were most helpful. Thank you.

  2. I bought three Queen Palms. I replanted them in wine barrels. I have had them for two weeks now. I am wondering if I did not plant them deep enough because I can see the little roots on top. Is this bad? Should I replant them…maybe plant them deeper? Thank you for your time, Stephanie

  3. I have three sabal palmettos (cabbage palmettos) in a gray plastic container that have been growing together. They’re young, so they’re trunkless, and I have been raising them for over a year in my hometown of Greenville, South Carolina. I want to separate them and place each palmetto into a bigger container of their own. However, I don’t know if I should do this process during the Winter season and I don’t want to hurt any of them. Should I wait until Spring to separate and transplant them? How do I separate each one properly without harming them?

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