Growing and caring for Phoenix roebelenii

Its scientific name is  Phoenix roebelenii , or colloquially called common palm, dwarf palm, date palm, phoenix palm or tamara palm among other names.

Phoenix roebelenii is native to Southeast Asia , Southwest China, Northern Laos, and Vietnam. This genus of plants is made up of about 11 to 15 species of palm trees, some of the species are Phoenix dactylifera, Phoenix canariensis, Phoenix sylvestris.

The dwarf palm, as it is commonly known, is a very remarkable species of palm trees distributed from the Canary Islands and Africa , all the way to the Far East. The best known or most popular is the date palm, so surely if you live in a city ​​near the sea you have found a plant of this type walking around.

Its trunk is thin and its height does not exceed five meters, although it generally does not reach more than one meter in height, its leaves will give it a more voluminous appearance, it can be grown in gardens outdoors or in large pots for indoors.


Phoenix roebelenii is a decorative looking palm tree. In fact, the most striking thing is the low height it reaches, something interesting if we want to grow it in a small garden or even in pots. These types of palm trees are the most popular in gardens and interior decoration.

Its growth is slow , so transplantation in pots is carried out many years after its planting. Its leaves can measure up to a meter and a half, they are bright green in color and are very flexible, but the closer they get to the trunk, they are more sharp with a width of 20 centimeters more or less.

It has very tiny yellow flowers with little ornamental value. Phoenix roebelenii blooms in spring in the months of April or May, but if we have the plant indoors, they do not usually flower. A curiosity is that it bears fruit and is edible. They have a rounded shape and dark hue, known as dates.

Its cultivation adapts very well both indoors and outdoors. If we do it in pots, we must consider using a large pot to reduce transplants to a minimum, since they are species not very adapted to changes.



The climate most adapted to the dwarf palm is the Mediterranean, with warm temperatures during spring and summer and mild winters.

Phoenix roebelenii is an ideal plant for coastal areas where the winter temperature is milder and remains more constant. For example, in the south of Spain.

Solar exposition

It needs total exposure to the Sun, not having any problem even in the summer season. Likewise, it can be adapted to semi-shaded areas in warmer environments.


We have to water the soil where we plant our Phoenix roebelenii with moderate frequency. Palm trees are drought-resistant species, but they thrive in an environment with constant light humidity.

A frequency of irrigation is 2 times a week in summer and 1 every 10/15 days (depending on temperatures) during the cold.


Phoenix roebelenii can be grown both in large volume pots and directly in garden soil. It supports any soil texture, but has as a condition that it offers good drainage and is minimally fertile.

To solve these two conditions, the contribution of organic matter well mixed with the soil, both in the transplant and the annual contribution is advisable. On the one hand we will improve the hydration of the wet bulb and, on the other, we will improve the drainage.

As for the substrate, we can make a mixture of equal parts of universal substrate and coconut fiber . This universal substrate, which can also be substituted for peat, provides nutrients and good moisture conservation, while the coconut fiber improves oxygenation and gives it a very favorable spongy texture for the development of new roots.


The contribution of mineral fertilizers is recommended after the winter outing, in early spring. We can use liquid fertilizers or solid granulated fertilizers . An appropriate universal formula for Phoenix roebelenii is NPK 12-8-16 with magnesium and micronutrients. We will contribute around 30-50 grams per pot, repeating the operation every 30 days throughout the summer.


The easiest way to multiply our dwarf palm is through seeds . However, it is a slow process that will require patience and maintaining good humidity conditions throughout the germination period.

Germination time:  50 days.

It is advisable to germinate in pots during spring or early autumn, where we will control the temperature and keep it away from direct Sun. To prepare the substrate, the mixture of equal parts of universal peat + coconut fiber is ideal, since it reduces dependence on irrigation.

Ideal time for transplanting:  in early spring, directly in the garden, mixing the soil with organic matter (2 to 3 kg).


Palm trees are weather- and drought-resistant species, but there are some pests that tend to affect almost all species. We are talking about mealybugs, drills or donuts that usually settle on the head of the palm tree and feed on the suction of sap from the youngest leaves. Other pests also create galleries that end up drying entire leaves.


Although it is common for palm trees to be pruned to clean the head and reduce the number of leaves that fall due to gravity, Phoenix roebelenii  does not need as many clipping. The usual thing is to remove the affected or drying leaves, which usually coincide with the oldest ones. For its elimination, we will simply make a cut from the base with a handsaw.

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