Palm trees are delicate, beautiful, and easy to maintain. But despite their straightforward requirements, gardeners still fail to maintain them. While some tend to overwater the tree thereby leading up to fungal infections, others don’t water the plant as frequently. The result? The palm tree dries out and eventually wilts.
So, how much water does a palm tree need? Do they need a lot of water? Let’s find out.
Do Palms Require a Lot of Water?
Water is key to the growth and development of most plants and this is regardless of their potting situation. Whether the plant is indoors or outdoors, you would need to water it frequently to keep it thriving. The same applies to palm trees.
Palm trees thrive best in moist soil with plenty of water. Unlike other plants, their water requirements tend to be on the higher side. Whether your palm tree is potted indoors or outdoors, it wouldn’t look good unless you water it frequently. The supplemental water will also help the plant thrive.
With that said, there is no one-size-for-all approach when it comes to the watering requirements of palm trees. The amount of water it would need entirely depends on its variant, size, and location. Regardless, in the majority of the cases, your palm trees will thrive well in fully moist soil.
To achieve this, you would want to water the plant a couple of times every week. Once you pot the plant and position it in your garden or indoor space, you would want to water it daily for the first seven days.
On the second week, you can water the plant on alternate days, and in the subsequent weeks, you can follow your regular watering schedule which is ideally once to thrice every week.
Because these trees do not have any universally confirmed watering requirements, it is best to research your specific palm tree species to understand its exact watering requirements. If you plant the tree in your garden, it will also receive some natural water during rainy months.
Keep these factors in mind while watering the plant. After all, you don’t want to overwater or underwater it because both can lead up to debilitating consequences.
How to Tell if Palm Trees Need More Water?
If you are caring for a palm tree for the first time, you might want to know the best ways to care for the plant. One of the factors to consider is timing. If you can identify the first signs of drying up, you can immediately treat the plant by adding the required water.
But how exactly do you understand if your palm trees need more water? Here are some pointers to consider.
1. Leverage moisture meters
One of the easiest ways to check if your palm tree needs more water is by using a digital moisture meter. The moment you introduce this device to the soil, you get a clear insight into the amount of humidity in that specific spot.
To ensure that your reading is fully reliable, you would want to test it in other parts of the spot where the plant is potted. Once you have the readings, you will understand whether the plant needs more water.
2. Watch the weight
This is yet another intelligent way to deduce the watering needs of your plant. To do this, first, water your potted palm and then weigh it. Next, leave it for a couple of days and weigh it again. If the soil is dry enough, you will find a noticeable difference in the two weights.
This is an excellent way to understand whether your plant indeed needs water. Ideally, you should only water the palm when the difference in weights is remarkable. The leaves of the palm can wilt or get infected owing to overwatering, so this is one of the things you would want to avoid.
3. Use a wooden stick
In addition to the mentioned practices, you might also want to use a third and more effective trick. For this, you would need a moderately thin wooden stick. After procuring the item, stick it in the soil of your palm.
Leave it for 10 to 20 seconds and then get the stick out. If you find plenty of soil attached to the stick, it is indicative that the plant doesn’t need more water and vice versa.
The ideal amount of water for palm trees
At this point, you’re probably wondering about the ideal water requirements of your palm. As a best practice, you would want to match the water with the size of your potted container.
If your palm is potted in a 10-gallon container, you should only add 10 gallons of water to the pot. The number may vary depending on the type and variant of the palm, but the watering guideline continues to be the same.
If your palm tree is planted directly to the ground, try to keep its soil moist. Observe the tree regularly and look out for the first indicators of water issues. Common signs include severe slowness in the development of the plant and browned tips along with the leaves.
In other species, the leaves are likely to wilt or even fold along the central part. In the same plants, the trunk will appear to be hollow, almost on the verge of collapsing.
If you are unsure about the exact water requirements of your palm tree, you would need an electronic device to measure the soil moisture. Likewise, you might want to perform soil probe tests as mentioned earlier.
How to Water Your Palms?
As already mentioned, you would want the water to reach the deepest crevices of your plant. The key is to allow the water to do its task as it slowly passes through the soil and travels to the root of the plant.
The procedure might appear slow, and it may even take a couple of hours to activate. You need to be patient and allow your palm to soak in the required water.
Another thing you would want to check is the season or time of the year. During the summer months, you should water your palms at the break of dawn or during the later part of the afternoon. Eventually, with winter around the corner, limit watering the plant only once in the morning.
When you irrigate the plant early morning, it keeps the soil soaked up and fully moist during hotter times of the day. Avoid watering your palm when it’s scorching outside as it may potentially burn your plant’s fronds.
Finally, the amount of water your palm trees would need entirely depends on the weather of your location, the specific time of the year, the spot where your palm is planted, and the type of substrate you are using.
Because your palm trees require frequent watering and cannot thrive until you meet their water requirements, it is best to lock your soil’s humidity.
This way, you can identify the watering needs of the plant more easily.
How Long Can a Palm Tree Survive Without Water?
Most palm trees can go without water for at least two weeks. This can vary depending on the type of tree. Your palm tree can also last longer without water if you’ve used some advanced system like capillary matting or a bunch of wicks.
For best results, you can keep your indoor palm in a terrarium. This way, the plant will thrive for years without requiring water frequently.
Do Palm Trees Have Deep Roots?
The roots of palm trees are shallow and fibrous. Most roots have an average depth of 36 inches. The overall growth is horizontal, and the plant continues to be narrow, even while it continues to get higher.
The many roots of a palm tree collectively form a type of root ball. You may notice a part of this ball exposed on the potting soil.
Why Do Palm Trees Turn Yellow?
When palm trees start aging, a bunch of their fronds takes a yellowish hue before eventually wilting. You will find these parts along the tree’s bottom part. However, this isn’t a matter of concern because it’s part of the natural growing process of palm trees. If the plant is consistently green, only to weed out yellow occasionally, it’s fully normal.
You may, however, be concerned, if the yellowing continues to last. If that is the case, it’s probably because the potting soil doesn’t have the required nutrients like nitrogen and manganese, among others. These are crucial nutrients that help the plant thrive.
So, if you find this to be the situation, repot the plant immediately or change the entire soil.
Do Palm Trees Need a Lot of Sunlight?
Palm trees are tropical and thus need full sunlight. But certain variants of indoor palm require indirect sunlight and thrive in shade. That is why, you should first check the plant type, understand the sunlight requirements, and then proceed to pot or plant it.
Now that you understand the watering requirements of palm trees, follow our guidelines to keep your tree healthy and thriving. The key is to understand the exact watering needs of your plant depending on the species.
Do not overwater as it may cause fungal infections and do not underwater as it may cause the plant to dry out. Once you keep these key factors in mind, caring for your palm will be even easier!