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Repotting palm trees


by Pippa Greenwood

Over the last couple of years the palm has become steadily more miserable looking; its leaves have lost their gorgeous green sheen and taken on more of a yellow hue instead.


Palm tree foliageMany years ago I planted a palm in a pot and popped it on the newly constructed steps by our outdoor seating area. It looked great, for a while. The palm was a good size, and so was the pot.

But the palm has grown and, sadly, the pot hasn't. Over the last couple of years the palm has become steadily more miserable looking; its leaves have lost their gorgeous green sheen and taken on more of a yellow hue instead. And it's practically stopped growing.

Finally I grasped the nettle (actually, the serrated leaf stalks were pretty hard to handle) and my son and I heaved the pot onto the lawn to repot the palm. The deal was that, in return for his muscle power, he would have the old pot to grow his banana palm in.

We only just managed to move it onto the grass. But then followed hours of turmoil. We pulled and squeezed at the plant, we even tried to loosen the compost with a bread knife. But the palm wouldn't budge. Eventually, we called in the bigger man of the house. Big toys for big boys; the answer according to Dad, was a tractor and a Land Rover.

We attached the potted palm to the forks of the tractor with a rope and secured the other end to the rear of the Land Rover. The result was one taught rope and one near-strangled palm still firmly in its pot.

When we finally removed the palm from its pot (with the aid of a hammer) we found that inside it there was a rim, about two inches from the base, that the roots had grown under. When I planted it all those years ago I had filled the section beneath the rim with stones and other crocks, but over time the roots had infiltrated it.



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Gardeners' World Web User 18/08/2008 at 14:00

I have a potted palm as posted by Pippa on the 14 Aug,and it`s looking very sad.Have repotted it,and have cut away some of the tangled roots from the bottom before doing so(hope I did right doing this).Now what do I feed it with to get the leaves green again, instead of the yellowing leaves I have now, HELP !!!.

Gardeners' World Web User 22/08/2008 at 19:27

I've got a small Mexican blue palm, a Brahea Armata (I think I've spelled it right) But it's most unhappy. Anyone know what conditions these palms prefer? My chamaerops and chusans are doing well enough. HELP

Gardeners' World Web User 10/09/2008 at 17:14

Been to caravan again, palms looking realy well small baby palms around big ones have on avarage 7 leaves, when can you take them off? what size and what time of year is best?does anyone know?

Gardeners' World Web User 12/10/2008 at 18:45

I live in the Cotentin peninsular in France and when I moved here 2 years ago after my husband's death his favourite palm came too. last winter we had a couple of very cold nights, later in the year the leaves went straw colour and I felt sad that I had lost his favourite plant. However I felt I had nothing to lose so cut it right back, loosened the soil, gave it a feed and it is now flourishing again I'm sure powers greater than I probably had a hand in it !!!

Gardeners' World Web User 28/02/2009 at 15:04

thanks Pippa that's a very interesting story.

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