How to Breed Palm Trees With Offshoots

Palm trees represent soft tropical breezes and lazy warm days. They are an easy way to bring the exotic into your home garden and the wide variety and widening cold tolerances of some cultivars means there is a palm for almost every space. Most palm trees can be propagated through seed, but there is a huge variance in germination rates, which are often erratic. A more sure method of propagation is through the pups or offshoots that palm trees produce. These are smaller green shoots at the base of the crown of the palm. These offsets can be harvested and planted to start separate plants.

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Palm trees need to be fully mature before you harvest pups or offshoots.

Step 1

Detach offshoots in early spring when soils are warm. The offshoot needs to be a year old and healthy. Each palm tree can provide two to three offshoots per year of life. Offshoots will fruit and flower three years earlier than seedling palms.

Step 2

Use a shovel to excavate around the plant a little and expose the connection to the parent plant. Be careful of the new roots. An offshoot or pup is the only way to get a genetic clone of the parent plant. Cut off the lower exterior leaves on the pup and tie the remaining leaves at the top so you can get at the base easily.

Step 3

Saw away the portion of rhizome that connects the pup to the parent palm tree. Cut carefully so you do not cut away any parent or damage the offshoot. Removing the offshoots improves the growth and development of the parent palm tree. Cut off the remaining lose foliage, and leave a tight cone of unopened leaves at the top of the offshoot.

Step 4

Fill a pot with equal parts of sand and peat moss. Moisten it thoroughly and plant the offshoot at the level it was harvested relative to the soil. Place the pot in a sunny location with temperatures at least 60 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit. In summer, bring the pot outside, but move it back in when temperatures drop.

Step 5

Provide consistent water to the offshoot. Allow it to dry out almost completely between irrigation, and then soak the pot until water leaches out of the drainage holes. Care for the plant in a pot for two years, and then you can transplant or re-pot it.