Palm Horticulture




Did I miss some articles? This is a work in progress and all suggestions are welcomed. To suggest articles or website links, send an email to or click here.

There are a tremendous number of very informative websites on palm care. I've tried to select the ones that are focused on palms in South Florida. Some of the more exotic palms can be challenging at times. Having a small shade house might help until your wife hangs a "no palms allowed" sign on the entrance.

Florida has no "average" weather. It can be cold, wet and windy some days or hot, dry and windless other days. Many of the more uncommon small palms are from the understorey of rainforests or surrounding area and are accustomed to year round humid and mild temperatures with acidic soil and drainage. With a combination of luck and skill, rare palms may be coaxed into the unwelcomed environment of South Florida. Certainly, through our local garden tours, we've seen good evidence of "Florida friendly" palms co-existing with palms less adaptable to our environment.

Many links concern pests and diseases, the not-so-nice stuff that comes with growing palms, or anything else in South Florida. Never hurts to occasionally weed, mulch and fertilize your palms before going nuts on insecticides or fungal treatments. I'm learning this the hard way!

I've included some sage advice from some of our local experts on some of the more uncommon palms.

Licuala peltata var. sumawongii


Palm Advice - Specific to certain palms

- Selected Videos:

Rare Palms! Licuala Sallehanna and Licuala 'Mapu' by Jeff Searle, of Searle Brothers Nursery in SW Ranches, FL

Rare Palms! Hybrid Sealing Wax Palms, by Jeff Searle

Phoenicophorium borsigianum, by Jeff Searle

Tahina Spectabilis by Jeff Searle

Pseudophoenix ekmanii by Christian Faulkner, rare palm grower in Florida.

Germinating Sabinaria magnifica seeds, by Christian Faulkner

Licuala cordata by Christian Faulkner

Other Youtube videos by Jeff Searles include Copernicia rigida and Chambeyronia macrocarpa. Christian has a dozen or more videos on Youtube, including Aiphanes horrida, Dypsis pusilla and tips on planting palms and many others. It is great to get such excellent advice from these experts.

SFPS Member and/or Local Growers Contributions:

Growing Balaka palm by Kenneth Heinrich.

Sealing Wax Palms by Steve Stern, Exotic Palms

Licuala mattanensis 'Mapu' by Ellis Brown, Nature's Tapestry

Sabinaria magnifica by Ellis Brown, Nature's Tapestry

Germination of palm seeds

Palm Tree Seed Germination by Phil Bergman, Jungle Music Nursery

General Palm Care

Why o why did my little palm die? "A little learning might be a dangerous thing, but for most of us, it's the best we can do." (apologies to Alexander Pope).

Video: Potting up palms properly by Christian Faulkner

An excellent, free source of information on the care, production, selection and varieties of palms, can be found on the University of Florida, IFAS website:

University of Florida, IFAS EDIS Horticulture Information

Transplanting Palms in the Landscape

Nutrient Deficiencies of Landscape and Field-Grown Palms in Florida

Palm Nutrition and Fertilization

Cold Damage to Palms

Storm Damaged Landscapes

Hurricane-Damaged Palms in the Landscape: Care after the Storm

A searchable database of Florida friendly plants including palms and "palm-like" plants (aka cycads) can be found at:

Florida Friendly Landscaping

(Note: Many palm enthusiasts have gone far beyond this slim list of 33 palms easy to grow palms for South Florida)

Palm Pests and Diseases

These links are focused on Florida's pests and diseases. Very often, the best advice comes from the University of Florida/ Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS). They have posted numerous publications on the internet for homeowners, landscapers and nurseries.

*** Lethal Bronzing Articles

Lethal Bronzingpreviously called Texas Phoenix Palm Decline, is a relatively new bacterial disease (called a phytoplasma) that is causing significant palm losses in Palm Beach County.  Symptoms are similar to lethal yellowing, but affect a much smaller number of palm species.  The damaged vascular system of the palm leads to wilting, and eventually death.  University of Florida research is determining which sap feeding insect(s) may spread it.  Affected species include Sabal (Cabbage), Queen, Pygmy Date and other Phoenix species, Christmas, Bismarck, Chinese Fan and Carpentaria palms.

At present, there are no satisfactory treatments, so experts recommend removal as soon as the disease is confirm.

IFAS PP243/PP163 Lethal Bronzing Disease (LBD)

Dr. Badher helps in Saving Florida's Sabal Palms

I particularly like this: "Once it becomes so much more profitable to build than to farm, there’s no going back. I don’t know of a single mall that’s been converted into a strawberry field or a pine plantation. The sabal palm represents another part of our past worth preserving. If agricultural science doesn’t keep up with the disease that’s killing it, we’ll notice a slow die-off of iconic scenery. Until, one day, it’s gone in a blink."

FDACS Publication, Pest Alert, Lethal Bronzing

*** Bleeding Stem Disease (Trunk Rot)

A Florida resident recently sent us images of a coconut tree on the beach, oozing a brown liquid. Unfortunately, it was clear that his tree had bleeding stem disease. It was recommended that infected palms be removed and pruning equipment sanitized.

Thielaviopsis Trunk Rot of Palm

Bud Rot of Coconut Palms


Other Articles:

Palm Pest Insects and Mites

Google search of all EDIS publications:

EDIS Publications on Palms per Google Search

Horticulture advice can be found on UF extension sites:

Palm Leaf Skeltonizer

Storm damage recovery has suddenly become of great interest to our neighbors to the north.

This sage advice works well for the palms in our landscape in South Florida, with the additional suggestion of disease prevention for the recovering palms.

Palm Societies

International Palm Society - Discussion Page

Other societies in Florida include:

Palm Beach County Palm and Cycad Society

Central Florida Palm and Cycad Society

See RESOURCES page for full listing of Societies.