Pygmy Date Palm

The Dwarf Pygmy Date palm, Phoenix roebelenii, originated underneath the canopy of dense tropical forests in Africa and Asia. This helps explain why this plant does so well in the indirect light found in homes and offices. The Pygmy Date palm grows very slowly, reaching a maximum height indoors of  4-5 ft. (1-2 meters). This palm produces arching, graceful fronds about 3ft. or .9 meters in length with delicate leaflets on them. These fronds develop off of a stately central trunk. Like most palms, the Dwarf Date palm is an excellent clean air plant.

Plant Care


An indoor date palm does well in bright indirect light, but can survive in medium filtered light; be careful not to over-water in lower light. Place a Phoenix roebelenii near an east or south facing window.


Keep the soil of a Pygmy Date Palm moist but never soggy during most of the year. In winter, allow the soil to dry out before watering. The fronds of a Dwarf Date Palm turn brown from too much water or from hard water.


Fertilize a Phoenix Roebelenii once in spring and again in summer with a time-release fertilizer. Rose fertilizers work well because they provide important micronutrients that a Phoenix Roebelenii needs. Not enough magnesium in the plant food causes yellow spots on the fronds. If you use a regular, rather than a time release plant food, fertilize monthly when the palm is actively growing. Always dilute the plant food to 1/2 the recommended strength.


The ideal temperature for Pygmy Date Palms is 50-75°F (16-24°C). A Phoenix Roebelenii does not do well when temperature go below 50°F (10°C).


A Phoenix Roebelenii needs moderate to high humidity.


Look out for Scale and Spider Mites on a Pygmy Date palm.


Root rot occurs when a Phoenix Roebelenii is over- watered.


Use a basic indoor potting soil that drains well. Add a little perlite or hard sand to potting soil to improve drainage.

Pot Size

Repot an immature Phoenix Roebelenii every few years in the Spring. A mature plant has very delicate roots that don’t like to be disturbed. As the Palm gets older, keep it in the same pot and replace the top few inches of soil each year. A Phoenix Roebelenii is a spreading plant that gets very top heavy so plant it in a heavy container so that won’t tip over.


There are sharp spines at the base of the leaflets on the fronds of a Phoenix Roebelenii, be sure to wear gloves when pruning off old fronds.


A Dwarf Palm is propagated using the suckers that develop around the base of the plant. Cut off the suckers, including their roots, and plant them in a small pot to start a new plant.

Clean Air Plant

The Phoenix Roebelenii Palm remove benzene, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide, and especially xylene from the air.

Poisonous Plant Info

Phoenix Roebelenii are non-poisonous houseplants.


Why Are There Yellow Spots on the Leaves of My Date Palm?

Yellow spots on Date Palm leaves appear when the plant is not getting enough magnesium from the plant food.

Why Are the Fronds of My Date Palm Turning Brown?

The fronds of a date palm turn brown when the plant is being over watered or if you are using hard water.

Can I Leave My Potted Date Palm on the Porch for the Winter?

You have to bring your palm indoors if the temperature goes below 50 degrees.