The Robellini Palm, also known as the Phoenix Roebelinii, is a date palm species in the Arecaceae family. Other names include dwarf, pygmy, and miniature date palm. These palms are tropical, which makes their recommended temperature warm and humid. I do not recommend planting a Robellini Palm in colder environments—especially below 30 degrees Fahrenheit.
A Robellini Palm has a maximum height of 12 feet with a slow to moderate growth rate. They tend to grow roughly 3 inches per year. An indoor Robellini Palm typically grows 6 feet tall. These palms can often be seen in groups of three trunks but can be grown alone or even in a group of five. Their trunks are thin as most will only be 4-5 inches thick, and the leaves are often a few feet long.
These palms are non-toxic. This makes them an excellent landscaping or indoor plant as they are safe for you and even your animals. The palm will grow drupes, an indehiscent fruit that is edible but offers a small amount of substance compared to other palms in the Arecaceae family. Not only are Robellini Palms versatile for your preference of indoors or outdoors, but they are also low maintenance for added ease.
Planting Your Palm
A Robellini is known for adapting well indoors, but you should keep in mind some key factors. Planting a Robellini in a container requires water drainage soil. Root rot will occur if your plant lives in soggy soil. Layering the bottom of the pot with stones can aid in proper drainage. You should keep in mind that the roots thrive in a compact setting.
Your indoor palm should be next to a window or in a spot in your home that receives moderate sunlight. Robellini’s like direct or indirect sunlight. This means constant light throughout the day or some minor shade is sufficient. But complete darkness can cause the plant to have trouble surviving.
Ideally, your home’s temperature should be between 50- and 85-degrees Fahrenheit throughout the year. You don’t want your palm to experience cold damage or too dry of heat.
Planting your Robellini Palm outdoors requires a hole dug as deep as your palm’s base and a few feet wider. Hose down the spot you dug periodically. Allow the water to drain and compact the soil. Be sure to remove your pot before planting it into the ground and plant the palm on a level ground where it is straight. You want the base of your palm to be just above the topsoil.
You also need to mix nutrient-rich soil and composted organic matter with your original outdoor soil. Moisten your soil after applying it to the hole. Then, use a mulch around your palm without touching the Robellini as it could burn the trunk.
Watering Your Plant
You must have a perfect balance when watering a Robellini. Too much or too little water can hurt its chance of survival. A good rule of thumb is to judge the amount of water based off dampness. You want damp, dark soil; however, you do not want to flood the soil. Too much water can cause any plant to drown. This is also the case for a Robellini Palm with root rot being an adverse effect.
Another golden rule for watering is based on light conditions. Less light equals less water. Your palm should be getting a good amount of sunlight per day, which means the soil should become dry every couple of days. You should water your plant roughly three times a week.
During the fall and winter seasons, you should water your Robellini every two weeks when an inch of soil is dry.
You can also buy a moisture meter to test the soil. These meters are very beneficial in removing any uncertainty on when to water your palm.
How to Prune
Trimming a Robellini Palm can be tricky as you do not want to harm the plant’s crown. You want to make sure the head is intact. Pruning the head can cause the palm to stop growing new leaves, resulting in the plant dying.
Be careful when you trim your palms because they have a needle-like spine that can easily prick! I highly recommend calling a landscape professional to prune your palms to ensure your plant is handled without injury. However, if you prune your Robellini Palm yourself, you need to use safety glasses to protect your eyes from sharp spines.
Trim the palm with pruners that effectively clip leaves and debris. The pruners should be sharp as dull pruners will have you pulling or tugging on leaves, which is not healthy for the plant. You want to rid of all the old leaves until you reach a crown of healthy, green leaves. Not pruning your palm can cause diseases to develop over time.
After the trimming process, you should have a nice, clean trim that shows the slim trunk. A lot of palm tree owners will leave the seed pods for their natural beauty. However, if you leave the seed pods, you should remove them before they drop so you aren’t left with other Robellini Palms being randomly planted.
How to Clean
Cleaning a Robellini Palm is different than trimming.
Begin cleaning by wearing gloves and ridding the excess fronds. You can do this by rubbing the plants base (above the trunk and below the crown). Make sure to only rid of the loose fibers. Forcefully pulling on firm stubs can cause the head of the palm to become injured.
Using a handheld saw and pruner, you can clean the trunk of your palm by sawing off any of the dead leaves as close to the bottom of the root as you can. Then, use your pruner tool to clip away extra leaves that are dried and closer to the head of the palm.
Remember, cleaning a Robellini Palm refers to the base below the head of the plant.
It is rare, but your Robellini can contract nasty pests if not cared for properly. Red spider mites and scaley insects are the most common pests you’ll face. These insects will feed off your palms’ nutrition and cause leaf deficiencies. Your leaves can begin turning yellow and gain unappealing spots.
If you find scaley brown bugs crawling on your plant and leaving a sticky substance, then clean your palm with soapy water and use plant-based insecticides.
There are moments when our plant is dying, and we are left scrambling to find different techniques to bring back good health. A palm tree obtains optimal health from fertilizers, but there are additives we can mix to give the plant an extra push. Here are some home remedies you can try adding to your fertilizer to supply your palm with more nutrients in times of need:
- Epsom Salt for magnesium and sulfate
- Baking Soda to treat fungal issues and diseases
- Eggshells for potassium and calcium
- Milk for protein
- Banana peels for potassium, nitrogen, phosphorus, and magnesium
With these simple tips and tricks, you can have a thriving Robellini Palm for several decades!