Bottle Palm South Florida


Old 07-08-06, 02:19 PM
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Bottle Palm South Florida

Hello. I planted a bottle palm (not a Ponytail, but regular Bottle Palm) a few years ago. I dug a hole into the topsoil and through limestone fill to plant. Hole was three feet deep by three feet wide, put a layer of soil on the bottom, filled hole with water, planted, and filled with soil all around as the Nurserry had told me to do for this size plant (5 feet tall in a plastic 2'x2' pot). I fertilize with Palm fertilizer per label. The grass around the Palm is green and lush (benefit from the fertilizer) and I believe it gets sufficient water.

I've noticed in the past several months or more that the palm branches are not sprouting as they used to. They now come out very short and not looking too healthy. Almost as if the growth is stunted. Some of the new branch sprouts look as if they don't even want to fully bloom to allow the leaves to come out. Some brown discoloration on new sprouts as well. My friend thinks bugs are in the crown area and suggested I spray some soapy water in. Any suggestions on how to revive this guy and prevent it from re-occurring?

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Old 07-08-06, 04:35 PM
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If you have been fertilizing with palm fertilizer per label and phosophorus is high enough and not excess nitrogen, then we can rule out fertilizer problems. Only a soil test can accurately report. The bottle palm requires normal watering for outside plants. This means at least 1" of water once per week. Deep water, not multiple light waterings. Mulch helps conserve moisture. If plant is over watered or experienced a period of excess rain, then new sprouts and leaves could turn brown.

Hole preparation requires not amending with more than one-half of the original soil. Bottle palm tends to prefer sandy, well-drained soil. Prefers to be out of direct breeze and planted in more sheltered area.

I once had a gardening teacher through the Dept. of Agriculture who was not a fan of amending soil when planting trees and shrubs. He claimed that once the roots reach beyond the amended area and encounter poor soil that the plant will begin to suffer.

Palms generally are not targets of insects, diseases, or pests. Check undersides of leaves for mealy bugs, spider mites, or scale insects. If infestation is small, dip a cotton swab in alcohol to remove mealy bugs and scale insects. You can also spray with insecticide. Dormant oil sprays are great for smothering scale insects and to spray to prevent over wintering insects.
Old 07-09-06, 10:51 AM
Join Date: May 2002
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Hi Treble,

I'm wondering if what you are seeing is an inflorescence spike. Take a look at the second pic down here.

Generally these palms have 5 fronds on them at a time. It that's not it I would recommend a soil test.

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