How to Divide a Traveler's Palm

Hunker may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story.

Things You'll Need

  • Loppers

  • Shovel

Traveler's Palm trees, which are also called Ravenala madagascariensis, look similar to the Bird-of-Paradise palm and the two are often confused. It is a tropical plant that grows only in zone 10A in the United States and, if left unpruned, can grow 30 feet tall and 15 feet wide. To propagate the tree, wait until it has multiple shoots growing out of the base near the ground. Each of the shoots can safely be divided off the main plant.


Step 1

Cut off all but four or five of the frond leaves at the base of the palm tree using loppers. Make the cuts approximately 1 inch above the surface of the ground.

Video of the Day

Step 2

Insert a shovel into the ground approximately 1 to 2 feet away from the base of the Traveler's Palm and lean back on the handle to loosen the soil. Remove the shovel and reinsert it next to the first location to loosen the soil there. Continue loosening the soil all the way around the Traveler's Palm.

Step 3

Grasp the base of the tree trunk and pull it gently out of the soil. If you feel resistance, use your hand to loosen any remaining roots from the soil.


Step 4

Lay the palm tree down on the ground and use your hands to separate out each of the stems from the root system. The stems will separate easily, although some roots may be tangled.

Step 5

Choose planting locations for the new Traveler's Palm trees that are in full sun, have well-drained soil and have clearance directly above them.

Step 6

Dig holes in the new locations using the shovel. The holes should be deep enough to accommodate the roots but allow the green sections to remain completely above ground. Place the new divisions in the holes and fill in the holes with soil.

Step 7

Replant the original Traveler's Palm in its original location. Water the soil around the original and all of the divided palm trees until the soil is completely moist.



Kimberly Johnson

Kimberly Johnson is a freelance writer whose articles have appeared in various online publications including eHow, Suite101 and Examiner. She has a degree in journalism from the University of Georgia and began writing professionally in 2001.