How to grow and care for Dwarf Coconut Palm Indoors

Houseplant, Dwarf Coconut Palm

Botanical name: Syagrus weddelliana
Synonym: Cocos weddelliana
Family: Arecaceae
Tribe: Cocoseae

Dwarf Coconut Palm also called Queen Palm or Weddell's Palm is one of the most attractive of all the Indoor Palms which is closely related the Coconut Palm. It is much smaller and more tolerant to cold. It requires high humidity and constantly moist free-draining soil. This palm does not have the hardiness of the popular types and it is difficult to grow under room conditions. The palm has a single trunk stem and has a small stature, only growing to a height of 6 ft. It produces small edible fruits that resemble and taste like coconuts. Dwarf Coconut Palm is native to the State of Rio de Janeiro in southeastern Brazil where it thrives in the humid shade of the rainforests, growing to a height of up to 10 ft with a trunk diameter of about 3.5 ft.

How to Grow Dwarf Coconut Palm

Light

Dwarf Coconut Palm prefers very bright light with as much sunshine as possible. Learn how to ensure your plant receives the correct light in this guide on understanding light for houseplants.

Water

Keep the soil moist at all times for Dwarf Coconut Palm during the growing season. Reduce watering in the cold season and allow the soil to slightly dry out between waterings. Use chlorine-free water for watering; like all palms this Palm is sensitive to chlorine and other chemicsl dissolved in water. Do not allow the palm to sit in soggy soil as it may lead to root-rot and eventual death of the palm. Learn more on how to water houseplants.

Temperature

Dwarf Coconut Palm prefers warm to cold conditions (up to a minimum of -40C). Find out more on temperature for houseplants.

Humidity

Dwarf Coconut Palm requires high humidity. Mist leaves frequently or set pot on a wet pebble tray to raise humidity. Regularly clean the mature leaves by damp-wiping with a soft cloth to get rid of dust.

Feeding

Feed Dwarf Coconut Palm with a water-soluble fertilizer monthly during the growing period. Water thoroughly until the solution comes out through the drainage holes. Withhold feeding in the cold season as growth is minimal at this time. Find out more on feeding houseplants.

Repotting

Dwarf Coconut Palm requires to be repotted once every year at the beginning of the growing season. Repotting in the first one year after germination is not be necessary as the plant obtains its nutrients from the nut. Use a pot 1-2 sizes larger that has a drainage hole(s). The soil should be free-draining and rich in organic matter.

Pruning

Pruning Dwarf Coconut Plam is easy. Cut away the old brown and dry fronds near the soil surface to maintain your plant neat and tidy. Do not cut any frond with green as it continues to provide food (nutrients) to the plant. Where the seeds are required for propagation, allow the fruits to mature and drop then cut away the spent flower stalk. Where the seeds are not required, cut away the flower stalk immediately to prevent the plant from wasting energy on developing the flowers and seeds. Learn more on how to prune houseplants.

How to Propagate Dwarf Coconut Palm

Propagation of Dwarf Coconut Palm is from the nut and it is not easy. Bury the nut halfway in moist free-draining soil. Place in a warm place. and keep the soil moist through out. Germination may take upto 6 months. For the first one year, the Dwarf Coconut Palm gets its nutrients from the nut therefore there is no need to repot it. It is advisable to start germination in a slightly larger pot.

Common Problems in Dwarf Coconut Palm

  • Leaves with brown tips
  • Reasons for brown leaf tips in Dwarf Coconut Palm are dry air, underwatering, cold draughts and damage by touching. Trim off the brown tips with sterilized scissors. Correct the faults by raising air the humidity, watering correctly, protecting the palm from draughts and placing the palm away from traffic respectively.

  • Yellowing of leaves
  • Underwatering Dwarf Coconut Palm will result in yellow leaves. Keep the soil moist at all times during the growing season. Do not allow the soil to dry out at any time.

  • Leaves with brown spots
  • Overwatering or sudden decrease of temperature are the causes of brown leaf spots in Dwarf Coconut Palm. Remove the affected parts and improve the growing conditions by correct watering and maintaining the right temperature by protecting the palm from cold draughts.

  • Brown leaves
  • The lower leaves may turn brown and droop due to age; remove by cutting and not pulling. If browning is general and accompanied by rotting the reason is root-rot disease due to waterlogging.

  • Totally discolored or spotted leaves
  • Magnesium, Manganese and Iron deficiency is the cause of these in Dwarf Coconut Palm. Feed regularly with a good fertilizer and provide ocassional pinches of Magnesium and chelated Iron. Find out more on feeding houseplants.

  • Plant growth decline
  • The cause plant decline in Dwarf Coconut Palm is low light but not inadequate nutrition. Ensure the palm receives bright light with as much sunshine as possible.

  • Diseases
  • Dwarf Coconut Palm is prone to Pseudomonas Disease which is characterized by brown and wet lesions that run parallel to the leaf vein. Isolate and destroy the affected plant to prevent spread to other houseplants. Another common disease in Dwarf Coconut Palm is Leaf Spot Disease.

  • Pests
  • Common pests in Dwarf Coconut Palm are Red Spider Mites, Scales and Mealy Bugs. Regularly check underneath the leaves for these pests. Isolate the plant to prevent spread to other houseplants.

Toxicity

Dwarf Coconut Palm is non-toxic to both humans and pets. It is safe to grow indoors.

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