Palm trees are a gorgeous tropical addition to your garden. They come in practically all shapes and sizes and can be grown in pots or right in the ground, depending on where you live.
They’re beautiful when cared for properly, but they’re also picky about their growing conditions, and they’re a bit of an investment. Not something you want to purchase just to inadvertently kill!
So, how do we help our palms grow healthy and happy? The first (and easiest) option is fertilizer!
Fertilizing your palm tree can make it feel more at home in your garden. Since palms are from tropical areas and a lot of us don’t live in their native environment, we have to do a little extra work to ensure their health. Fertilization is one of the easiest ways to do that.
A high-quality fertilizer can work wonders for your palm, preventing brown and/or dropped leaves. Keep reading to learn more about all the wonderful benefits of fertilizing your palm, and my top 5 picks of the best plant foods for your palm tree.
In this guide, you’ll learn:
- Why you should fertilize your palm tree
- How to choose the right plant food for your palm tree
- How a high-quality plant food will help to keep your palm tree healthy
- And much more!
Below is a quick list of my favorite plant foods for palm trees. Keep scrolling to learn more of my top tips to choose and use the best plant food for your palm tree oasis.
Espoma Organic Palm-Tone Plant Food
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Indoor Plant Food Liquid Fertilizer
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Jobe's Fern & Palm Fertilizer Spikes
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Miracle-Gro Shake 'n Feed Palm Plant Food
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Jobe's Organics Palm Tree Granular Plant Food
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My Overall Top #1 Pick: Espoma Organic Palm-Tone Plant Food
I love all of the amazing plant foods and fertilizers on this list, but if I had to choose a favorite, it would be the Espoma Organic Palm-Tone Plant Food. Let’s get into why.
Firstly, I love a good organic fertilizer. Although I don’t plan on eating my palm trees anytime soon (some of them do have edible fruits, just not mine), I still prefer organic products whenever possible. Since my palm trees are outdoors, I like using organic products for them so that less complications are possible. Don’t worry—I’ll get into the specifics of those complications in just a bit.
I also love how gentle this fertilizer is. If my palm trees hear me say this, they’ll drop fronds on the spot, so I have to say it very quietly: they can be a bit dramatic. One wrong look and they keel over, I swear, but this fertilizer is so gentle they can’t help but love it. The nutrient composition is 4-1-5, and I’ll talk about why that’s so important later. For right now, just know it’s gentle enough for even the most dramatic of palms.
You also get a really good deal with this fertilizer. Palm trees can be quite the investment, especially if you purchase a lot of them or simply some big ones (I’ve seen them go for over $100), and caring for them shouldn’t break the bank. This high-quality fertilizer costs about $3.50 per pound, which is a steal.
The packaging is really convenient, too. It comes in a resealable bag, so no more hunting for a rubber-band big enough to hold it together after ripping a huge hole in the side. It also makes it harder for any shed-dwelling critters to get into it and potentially make a nest (side note: mice like to make nests in fertilizer bags. Learned that the hard way).
Overall, this is simply a wonderful product for your palm tree. It gets rave reviews and is gentle enough for even young transplanted palms. The packaging is convenient and it’s not overpriced; you get all the benefits of a high-quality organic fertilizer without breaking the bank. Just in case this one isn’t for you, though, I have a whole list of great palm tree fertilizers down below.
Top 5 Best Plant Foods For Palm Trees
In a hurry? Check out our top 5 picks below! Keep reading to learn more about these wonderful plant foods for your palm trees.
- Espoma Organic Palm-Tone Plant Food (My Top Pick)
- Indoor Plant Food Liquid Fertilizer (Best Pick For Potted Palms)
- Jobe’s Fern & Palm Fertilizer Spikes (Easiest To Use)
- Miracle-Gro Shake ‘n Feed Palm Plant Food (Longest-Lasting Formula)
- Jobe’s Organics Palm Tree Granular Plant Food (Best Pick For Young Palms)
Why Should You Invest In A High-Quality Plant Food For Your Palm Tree?
Palm trees are an absolutely gorgeous addition to any garden, both indoor and outdoor. They add a tropical and exotic feel to your garden, and they definitely help to cheer me up in the winter when it seems to get dark around noon. Check out my article on fertilizing another tropical plant, the monstera deliciosa if you want to invest more in the tropicals.
But I’ll be honest with you: they’re expensive, especially the larger ones. If you’re going to purchase a couple of big palm trees for your backyard, you can expect to spend a few hundred dollars. Of course, for mini potted palms, this isn’t as much of an issue, but they’re still more expensive than a little succulent or cactus.
The last thing you want to do is spend a good chunk of your paycheck on your palms and then watch them all die. It’s just not a fun experience, and it can be really disheartening. I recommend learning how to transplant your palm before making an investment.
A high-quality fertilizer or plant food can prevent a lot of the problems that palms face in their not-so-natural environment. In fact, it can help your palm tree not only survive, but thrive.
A good portion of the continental U.S. lives in places where palm trees do not, so helping them feel more at home is essential to their health. There are only 13 species of palm trees that are native to the U.S. and the majority of them are from areas like Florida, Texas, and southern California (fun fact: there are over 2,500 species of palm trees worldwide).
If you live in those areas, this next tip doesn’t necessarily apply to you, but to my friends who live in colder climates, listen up. In the winter, you’ll need to bring potted palms inside or at least close to the house/under cover. I like to bring mine inside and stick them under a grow light, but that isn’t attainable for everyone. Putting them under a covered awning and placing straw, mulch, or moss on the soil should help.
If your palms are in the ground, you can also wrap them. This very kind British gentleman provides an excellent tutorial for how to do so:
Super simple, and you can just use burlap from any hardware store near you.
Because there are so many varieties of palms, I recommend reading up on different cold-hardy varieties and choosing one that’s right for your garden, especially if this is your first palm.
To make a long story short, fertilizer is another way to keep your palm happy and hardy for the winter. A lot of good plant foods and fertilizers are designed to toughen up your plant a bit, which means it’s better equipped to get through the colder months.
High-quality plant foods are designed specifically for your palm, which usually means they come with a higher nitrogen content. Nitrogen is important for leaf growth, which is why you can actually use fertilizer made for ferns on an indoor palm (life hack!) Again, specifics will be shared in just a bit, but just keep in mind that a higher nitrogen content is great for your palm.
All of the fertilizers on this list are great for your palm tree and are designed to help it thrive. You can buy specific fertilizer for just about anything these days—cacti, berries, fiddle leaf fig, you name it. I made sure that all the fertilizers on this list are high-quality and perfectly suited for your palm tree. Now let’s talk about how to pick the best one for your garden.
How to Pick the Best Plant Food For Your Palm Tree?
Knowing about fertilizer composition is important for gardening in general, but is absolutely essential for caring for a plant as specific as a palm tree.
Fertilizers and plant foods should always have a set of 3 numbers somewhere on the packaging. They look like this: 10-10-10. The first number represents the amount of nitrogen; the second represents phosphorus; the third, potassium.
As far as palm trees go, a higher nitrogen content is really beneficial. Nitrogen promotes green, leafy growth, which is exactly what we want for our palms. For example, my top pick has a nutrient composition of 4-1-5. Nice and gentle, but still with enough nitrogen to make a difference.
Stressing over the numbers on your fertilizer isn’t necessary, though. It’s not a make-or-break kind of thing—potassium and phosphorus are still very important for growth, so a little more of them won’t hurt. All of the fertilizers on this list have had their compositions scrutinized by yours truly, and they’ve passed my test!
Organic Versus Inorganic
While both organic and inorganic fertilizers are good for your garden, I prefer using organic fertilizers when I can. Let’s talk pros and cons.
Organic fertilizers are great because they’re all-natural and usually non-toxic to animals. If your palm isn’t fenced off, or if you have a lot of wildlife in the area, this is a safer option. Organic products are also less likely to burn your plant or crust on the soil.
Organic fertilizers are usually non-toxic, but can still be dangerous if your pet eats too much, which is why I always recommend fencing off your garden or any other areas you plan to fertilizer. It’s better safe than sorry!
It’s important to note that organic fertilizers can be expensive, however. If you’re a gardener on a budget like I am, I recommend learning make your own organic fertilizer right at home. It’s easy, eco-friendly, and good for your wallet.
Inorganic products are great because they often contain pesticides that help keep away annoying or harmful pests. They’re also usually less expensive than organic products, but they’re more likely to burn your plant or cause a delicate palm to drop fronds.
Just know that there’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to the organic versus inorganic debate. Anyone who shames you for choosing a particular fertilizer type should be ignored—it’s all about choosing what’s right for you and your garden.
That being said, there’s definitely a product on this list that’s perfect for your palm tree. Keep reading to learn more about all the wonderful options I’ve compiled for you!
My Reviews of the Best Plant Foods For Palm Trees
1. Espoma Organic Palm-Tone Plant Food (My Top Pick)
This fantastic fertilizer is one of my all-time favorites for tropical gardening! It’s easy to use, gentle for delicate plants, and it’s all-natural.
The packaging is super convenient since the bag is resealable. You won’t have to worry about making a mess of the shed anymore!
The nutrient composition is nice and gentle, at 4-1-5, but still packs a bit of a punch. That higher nitrogen content will promote strong fronds that seem to grow wider and taller by the day.
It’s even cost-effective, at roughly $3.50 per pound. Definitely a steal for such a high-quality organic product.
The only downside is that there’s no information about how frequently you need to use it. That info is probably on the packaging, but it isn’t displayed on Amazon, so I don’t know how frequently you need to use it.
|PROS (+)||CONS (-)|
|+ Made just for palm trees|
+ Resealable packaging
+ Won’t burn over overdose your palm
+ Gentle nutrient composition
|– Amazon doesn’t say how often you need to use it for best results |
– Nutrient composition might be too gentle for larger palms
2. Indoor Plant Food Liquid Fertilizer (Best Pick For Potted Palms)
I know what you’re thinking—why is there a houseplant fertilizer on this list? Well, I’ll tell you!
A lot of people have potted palms that should be treated more like a houseplant than a grand outdoor palm. This product is perfect for potted palms because it won’t run off into other soil.
The 3-1.5-1.5 NPK ratio is also gentle enough for a small palm, and you’ll notice that higher nitrogen content promotes bigger fronds. Having a gentle NPK ratio is really important for a potted plant, especially a more delicate palm tree.
The liquid formula is also designed to be absorbed into the roots faster, so this product can make a big difference very quickly.
The only downside is that you should use it every time you water—if you have a lot of houseplants or palm trees you plan to use this for, you could go through the bottle pretty quickly.
|PROS (+)||CONS (-)|
|+ Liquid formula for fast absorption|
+ Very gentle nutrient composition
+ Best formula for potted palms
+ Good for your other houseplants, too
|– Easy to use the bottle up pretty fast|
– Definitely too gentle for mature palms
3. Jobe’s Fern & Palm Fertilizer Spikes (Easiest To Use)
It’s very rare that I write about fertilizer without including a Jobe’s product, and this article is no exception. If you skip to product #5, you’ll see I’ve included not one, but two, of this company’s amazing products.
These fertilizer spikes are so easy to use that I bet my cat could do it. You just stick it in the soil near your plant’s roots, water as normal, and you’ll be seeing wonderful results.
It’s super budget-friendly, too. One pack of 30 spikes costs only $5.55. Since they’re slow-releasing as well, this package could last you a long, long time.
The only downside I could find with this product is the nutrient composition. It’s pretty strong, at 16-2-6, so you have to watch out for signs that it’s actually burning your palm. If you have a hardier palm tree, though, you shouldn’t have to worry.
|PROS (+)||CONS (-)|
|+ Steady stream of nutrients|
+ Easy to use
+ Produces bigger fronds
+ Very wallet-friendly
|– Strong nutrient composition |
– Too strong for potted or young palms
4. Miracle-Gro Shake ‘n Feed Palm Plant Food (Longest-Lasting Pick)
This granular plant food by Miracle-Gro is another great option for your palm tree.
You only need to apply it every 3 months since it’s formulated to release a steady stream of nutrients, and the convenient packaging means you don’t even have to touch the product. Since this is an inorganic product, not having to touch the fertilizer means no risk of chemical burns or irritation.
The 12-4-8 nutrient composition is a little stronger than some of the other products here, but not so strong it will hurt your palm.
The only downside to this product is that it’s easy to be heavy-handed since the bottle is so easy to use. Be careful not to use too much or you risk burning your plant!
|PROS (+)||CONS (-)|
|+ Easy to use|
+ Designed just for palm trees
+ Lasts up to 3 months
+ Convenient packaging
|– Being heavy-handed with it can lead to burning|
– NPK ratio is a bit too strong for young palms
5. Jobe’s Organics Palm Tree Granular Plant Food (Best Pick For Young Palms)
As promised, another Jobe’s product! This time, it’s a granular organic plant food instead of inorganic fertilizer spikes, though.
If you’re a strictly-organic gardener, I highly recommend this product. It’s not too expensive and it’s also designed just for your palm tree. It costs $1.77 per pound, which is practically nothing for a product of this quality.
It’s also designed to help improve the strength of your palm’s roots, which is especially good if you live in an area with a lot of storms (even though palms are pretty durable, it doesn’t hurt to help keep them firmly in the ground!) It’s also great for young palms, as it helps to get their roots established.
While the Miracle Gro Shake ‘n Feed Palm Plant Food is great for more established plants, this product is more suited for younger or freshly-tansplanted palms.
The only downside is the nutrient composition. It’s 3-5-5, which isn’t great for palms since the nitrogen content is lower. Absolutely not a deal-breaker, though, and I still highly recommend this product for overall plant health.
|PROS (+)||CONS (-)|
+ Resealable packaging
+ Designed to encourage healthy root growth
+ Great for young palm trees
|– Lower nitrogen content|
– Can cause white mold issues when mixed with too much water
My Top Pick: Espoma Organic Palm-Tone Plant Food
Even though all of these fertilizers are great for your palm, I recommend Espoma Organic Palm-Tone Plant Food the most!
It’s designed specifically for palms, of course, and since it’s organic, it’s less likely to harm even delicate plants. The 4-1-5 nutrient composition is nice and gentle, but that higher nitrogen content will still produce fronds that seem to grow before your eyes.
All in all, it’s gentle, organic, and even comes in a resealable bag. It’s a bargain, too. I really cannot recommend this product enough, but as I mentioned before, I would personally use any of the products on this list. But if I had to choose, my first pick would be Espoma Organic Palm-Tone Plant Food!
Final Thoughts On The Best Plant Foods For Palm Trees
Palm trees add a wonderfully tropical feel to any garden, either indoor or outdoor. I have mine set up near my plumerias so I feel like I’m on a tropical vacation. And when I fertilize my plumerias as well as my palm trees, it really feels like paradise!
Fertilizing your palm tree is the key to success, though. With the right product (aka any of the ones on this list) you’ll have a magnificent, majestic palm tree before you know it. I’m so excited for you to begin construction on your tropical oasis, starting with your palm tree!