Palm Nutrition

Picture Florida, and you’re likely to think of palm trees. But palms take a little more care than most people think; because of our sandy soils, they may suffer from nutritional deficiencies. These problems are much more easily prevented than corrected, so your best bet is to keep up a regular maintenance schedule.

Fertilize established plants with a palm special fertilizer four times per year. Make sure all the nitrogen, potassium, and magnesium in your fertilizer are in a slow-release form. If your plant isn’t looking healthy, it could be that it’s lacking in one or more of the essential nutrients, or it could have an insect or disease problem. To figure out the specific problem, bring a sample into your county Extension office. They can help diagnose what your palm needs.

Magnesium Deficiency in Palms

Here in Florida, it’s fairly common for palm trees to develop magnesium deficiencies.

A palm tree that’s suffering from this deficiency typically has leaves that turn lemon yellow or orange along the outer edges of the oldest leaves, while the center of the leaves remains green. While any palm can suffer from magnesium deficiency, Canary Island date palms are most prone.

Preventing deficiencies is much easier than treating them. Follow a regular fertilization schedule using a palm special fertilizer that includes magnesium in a controlled-release form, and always read and follow all label instructions.


UF/IFAS Publications