Correct Care for a Phoenix roebelinii Palm.

Good afternoon.
I bought a splendid Palm. The dealer told me it’s a Phoenix but doesn’t know the species. After searching on the Internet I believe it’s a Roebelinii. Am I correct? It is about 2.5 m. tall. It is indoors, between two large windows, orientated north-east. House temperature in the winter is between 18°C and 23°C. The plant looks to be in perfect health, but, it seems to be a very old tree: maybe 20 to 30 years. What do you think? Have been told to water ONLY twice a month. Is this enough? I have the impression the pot is small, plenty of roots with almost no soil on top. Should I carefully re-pot it, maybe in the spring?
I live in Milano, North Italy.
Many thanks, kind regards and happy Xmas and new year.

Hi Riccardo,


Large draping green fronds on Phoenix roebelinii
Phoenix roebelinii
Pygmy Date Palm

Your plant is a Phoenix roebelinii often called a Pgymy Date Palm. This Palm originated underneath the canopy of dense tropical forests in Africa and Asia. This helps explain why it does so well in the indirect light found in homes.

It’s recommended to re-pot a young, immature Phoenix Roebelenii every few years in the Spring. However, a mature Phoenix Roebelenii (like yours)  has very delicate roots that do not like to be disturbed. So as the Palm gets older, you can keep it in the same pot and just replace the top few inches of soil. Right now, add enough soil to cover the roots that are showing. Roots usually appear on top of the soil when the plant isn’t being watered thoroughly. When you water be sure the water goes all the way through the soil and comes out the bottom drip holes in the pot. In the spring, if your Palm is not growing well, you can try to very gently re-pot it. If it is dong well, I’d leave it alone.

Keep the soil of a Pygmy Date Palm moist but never soggy most of the year. During the winter months, allow the soil to dry out before watering. The fronds of a Phoenix roebelini turn brown from too much water or from hard water. You’ll have to keep checking the soil until you can determine how long it takes to dry out.

You can read more about a Phoenix roebelini in the Popular HousePlant section of the website.

Happy Holidays to you also!