How to Propagate a Palm Plant

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Palm plants are beautiful additions to a landscape or houseplant collection, with the areca palm (​Dypsis lutescens​, U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 10 and 11) as one of the most popular palms for indoor growth. If you wish to add more palms to your surroundings, you can propagate them by dividing a mature plant or using seeds. Knowing how to propagate a palm plant and then care for it will ensure it's as healthy as possible and will always look its best.

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Propagating From Seed

You can grow some palm plants from seed, although it's worth noting that this can be a long process. Seeds can take up to a month to germinate, two to three months for the plant to reach 4 to 6 inches in height and several years before it truly resembles a majestic palm plant.

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Palm plant seeds can be green or orange in color. Green seeds are younger and take longer to germinate, so bear this in mind when waiting for results.

Once you've acquired your seeds, you should sow them in a seed-starting mix to stimulate germination. A small nursery pot with good drainage is ideal. You'll want to keep the soil fairly moist for the first two months with regular watering, but you don't want the soil to become soggy. Keep your pot in bright, indirect light at a temperature between 70 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Once your seed has sprouted, you can transfer the seedlings to a bigger pot until the plants have well-established root systems and can be planted in the landscape or into larger pots.

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Propagating by Division

A much quicker way to propagate a palm plant is by dividing your original plant and potting the sections into individual pots. Unlike some other plants, you cannot propagate a palm plant by simply taking a cutting and applying rooting hormone. You must select a cutting that has already established roots and separate it from the original plant's root system.

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Select a plant that is mature and well-established with multiple strong stems. It's best to divide your palm plant during the spring or summer growing season. Water your plant thoroughly to loosen the soil from the root system. Gently dig your plant from the ground or remove it from its pot, shaking it carefully to remove excess soil. You can wash the roots to further expose them, which makes dividing them easier.

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Select a group of at least four or five stems from your main plant. Then, use a sharp knife to cut away these stems at the roots, preserving as much of the smaller root growth as possible. Plant your newly removed stems in a 2-1 mixture of potting soil and sand, which will help with root drainage. Select a pot with bottom drainage holes. You should water your newly propagated plant immediately to help the soil and roots settle into the new environment.

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Palm Plant Aftercare

Whether you've propagated by seed or by division, your new palm plant will require care and attention to help it succeed. Choose a bright, warm area but don't place it in direct sunlight. You should water your palm plant whenever the top 2 inches of soil feel dried out.

Palm plants benefit from high humidity, so running a humidifier or misting your plant can be helpful. Make sure to leave your propagated plant for at least three months before fertilizing and likely longer if you're growing from seed.

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