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Last updated: April 20, 2022
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Palm trees require a lot of care to grow into the beautiful, tall plants that we know and love. To choose the best fertilizer for palm trees, you need to make sure that you use a formula designed specifically for your type of tree. Keep in mind that not all fertilizers work perfectly well for any tree, and that there are many types to choose from.
We tested and reviewed 32 types of fertilizers for palm trees and came to the conclusion that the Palm Food 12-4-12 is the best one on the market, and this is the reason it made it straight to the top as our editor’s choice. This fertilizer is specifically designed for most palm tree varieties and contains excellent levels of manganese and magnesium, which are essential nutrients for the health and well-being of a palm tree. We also included for more high-quality fertilizers for palm trees, each with its own benefits.
To decide which fertilizers for palm trees to include in our guide, we spent days reading reviews from specialists and regular users who tested the products on their trees, and considered multiple features such as nutrients included, which is one of the most important elements to consider when shopping for the best fertilizer for palm trees, the types of trees they are suitable for, and their weight. We condensed all the information into a comparison table that sums up the best features of the fertilizers we reviewed, and you will also find detailed reviews of each of the items included in the table. The buying guide in the end can help you make the best choice of fertilizer for your palm trees.
"This versatile fertilizer boasts extra levels of magnesium and manganese, and comes packed with three different sources of nitrogen, offering long term support for the palm while also promoting fast growth."
Nutrients: extra levels of magnesium and manganese, three different sources of nitrogen
Tree types: all palm varieties, landscape plants, potted plants, or even as a broadcast application
Weight: 4.2 lbs
More features: Granusol sucrates
The Palm Food 12-4-12 from Carl Pool made it to the top because it is a versatile fertilizer that you can use with the vast majority of palms. It also boasts extra levels of magnesium and manganese, and comes packed with three different sources of nitrogen. This nutritional cocktail offers long term support for the palm while also promoting fast growth.
The nitrogen included in the Carl Pool Palm Food 12-4-12 makes it resistant to leaching, and you shouldn’t worry about groundwater contamination, too. A single application of this fertilizer covers three to four months, so it’s also good value for money. You’re bound to see results after using this fertilizer a couple of times.
We especially liked that the Carl Pool Palm Food 12-4-12 works well for a variety of other types of plants as well. Examples include potted plants and landscape plants. Many of the users who tested this particular fertilizer on their palms noticed that it works well even on trees that have been badly neglected. The fertilizer comes in a 4.2 lbs. container and it should last a long time, according to the notes of many users. Even though it is a bit more expensive than other of the palm tree fertilizers we reviewed, the Carl Pool Palm Food 12-4-12 still offers good value for money, while also providing excellent results.
More features: continuous release of plant food for up to 3 months
Created by MiracleGro, a well-known brand in the world of plant care, the Miracle-Gro 3003010 is a granulated formula of palm tree fertilizer that is suitable for multiple tree types. You can use it on lush palms, tropical plants and cyads, and according to many reviewers, the product does an excellent job at preventing yellowing and curling of fronds.
One of the things we liked best about the MiracleGro 3003010 is the fact that it is guaranteed not to burn when used as directed, which is not something that can be said about all the palm tree fertilizers on the market. Most of the users who tested and reviewed this product noticed results on their yellowing palm trees in as little as three days, and they praised MiracleGro 3003010 for the quick action it has on plants.
This is our choice for best granulated fertilizer for palm trees not only because of its action, but also because it offers continuous release of plant food for up to three months. This means that your plants will continue to thrive long after the application, without any extra effort from your part. The MiracleGro 3003010 is easy to use and us formulated with compost, iron, magnesium, and manganese to provide extra nutrition in order for your palm tree to thrive.
Nutrients: slow-release nitrogen for extended feeding, potassium, magnesium, iron, sulfur, and other micronutrients
Tree types: palms, ferns, cycads, ixora, and ornamental plants
Weight: 50 lbs
More features: recommended by the University of Florida IFAS Extension
A product made by Bougainvillea Growers International (BGI) out of Florida, Palmgain has been a customer favorite for years, mostly because it is an easy-to-use granulated formula. It is a suitable fertilizer for a wide variety of plants, including palm trees, cycads, ferns, ixora, and a wide variety of ornamental plants. Because it is formulated with complete nutrients, this fertilizer for palm trees promotes healthy growth and vibrant colors.
We liked that the Palmgain fertilizer is formulated with slow-release nitrogen for extended feeding. It is also a fertilizer recommended by the University of Florida IFAS Extension for use on a wide variety of palm trees. The quality of the ingredients is extremely important in palm tree fertilizers, and inexpensive ones are cheap for a reason. This is not the case with the Palmgain fertilizer, because it contains ingredients sourced from quality sources, which are bound to work even on palms that have been in need of some love for quite some time. Many users mentioned that this fertilizer for palm trees has a strong smell right when you open the bag, but that is completely normal and it actually comes from the higher iron and sulphur concentrations. If you’re worried about the smell, don’t be, as it will be gone after one or two waterings.
Tree types: established palms, newly planted palms and potted palms
Weight: not specified
More features: last for up to 12 months, case of 50
A high-quality fertilizer for palm trees that comes in the shape of spikes, the
TreeHelp Complete Palm Fertilizer Spikes is specially formulated to offer your palm all the nutrients it needs to thrive. You can use this fertilizer for both fully grown palms or newly planted ones, and it also works well for potted palms. Some of the main benefits that users who tested this fertilizer mentioned include the ease of use and the high quality of the materials and manufacturing.
The TreeHelp Complete Palm Fertilizer Spikes contains all the essential macro and micronutrients your tree needs, including magnesium, manganese, and potassium. This is a long-lasting solution that provides a constant supply of nutrients for your palm tree and can last for up to 12 months. We like that this fertilizer is very easy to use, is all you need to do is to hammer it into the ground somewhere around the tree and then water it. You can also create holes in the soil where you then insert spikes, which comes with the added benefit of increasing soil aeration. You may want to apply more spikes if the tree has been neglected for a while, but keep in mind that the majority of potted palms only require one or two spikes. All the materials used in manufacturing the TreeHelp Complete Palm Fertilizer Spikes have been specifically developed for use on palm trees.
For those who prefer liquid fertilizers, the Palm Fertilizer by E Z-GRO comes very highly recommended. The branding makes it clear that this fertilizer is best used for palm trees, and it has a few tricks up its sleeve to ensure the best results. One example is the high nitrate content. This is especially handy where cool and dark conditions are prevalent.
Also, we liked the urea-free formulation, which means that nitrogen in the fertilizer is about 4x more readily available than it would be in some competitors. This might also explain why it needs to be fed to the palms as often as it is. After all, you should feed your plants this fertilizer every 7-14 days for the best results.
However, you should take the use instructions very seriously. If you use more fertilizer than you’re supposed to, you could end up damaging the plant instead of helping it grow.
Notably, nitrogen and nitrates aren’t the only nutrients incorporated in this liquid fertilizer. There is magnesium, sulfur, iron, and a few others as well. While they may seem redundant, they can help reduce the need for Epsom salts, reducing the overall cost of growing your palms.
Also, the fertilizer comes in a 2.2 lbs. container with a small measuring cup to ensure you get the portions right. Unfortunately, we noticed the measuring cups tend to disintegrate over time. As such, it would serve you well to get an extra cup early enough so you can always add the right amount of liquid fertilizer to your palms.
Why did it make our list?
Features multiple nutrients
Reduces need to buy Epsom salts
What is not ideal about it?
Unsuitable for other plants
The included measuring cup doesn’t last long
Things to Consider
Choosing a high-quality fertilizer for your palm tree is important not only because it provides your palm with all the essential nutrients it requires to thrive, but also because premium fertilizers are easy to use as well. You want the best for your palm trees, so it’s important to pick the right fertilizer for them. This buying guide will provide you with all the information you need to make the correct choice.
Why and when you need to start using fertilizers for palm trees?
Not all palm trees require fertilizing, but there are multiple ways to tell whether a particular plant could do with a boost of nutrition. When you initially plant your tree, you shouldn’t add any fertilizer at all. All you need to do is add a thick layer of organic mulch after planting the tree and water it every day. When three or four months have passed, you can provide your palm tree with a specially formulated fertilizer, preferably one with a slow-release formula. Your location is one of the main factors to take into account when it comes to fertilizing your palm trees. For example, if you live in states that have a lot of rain and send the soil, such as Florida, for example, the optimal amount is four times a year. However, a couple of times of using fertilizing a year is enough for those who live in regions with less rain and more substantial soil.
How to pick the best fertilizer for palm trees?
There are multiple things you need to know before choosing the correct type of fertilizer for your particular type of palm tree. The most important of them includes the type of fertilizer, the nutrients it contains, and the types of trees that it is a good fit for. You should also look at things such as size of the container and prices in order to be able to get the best value product for your money.
There are multiple types of fertilizers for palm trees, but the most popular of them are granulated formula, liquid, and spikes fertilizers. Each of these types of fertilizer has its benefits for various types of palm trees, and even if you notice that many of them contain similar ingredients and nutrients to make your tree thrive, you should also keep in mind that not all of them are suitable for all palm trees. As a rule of thumb, granulated formulas work well on different types of tropical plants, as it is with Miracle-Gro 3003010, whereas some types such as the spikes, are especially formulated for use on palm trees, as you can see that by TreeHelp Complete Palm Fertilizer Spikes. Liquid fertilizers, such as Palm Fertilizer by E Z-GRO, are generally suitable for multiple types of tropical and subtropical trees, but you need to make sure that you get the dosage correctly in order to avoid harming your plant tree.
Most palm trees require a consistent supply of multiple nutrients and micronutrients, with the most important of them being magnesium, manganese, nitrogen, potassium, and iron. All of these nutrients are vital for the health of your palm tree, as many of them can suffer from various conditions according to the nutrients deficient in the soil.
Potassium is one of the most common nutrient deficiency that you might expect to see in palm trees, and the most common sign of it will be the yellowing of leaves. In order for the palm trees to remain green, they also need iron and magnesium. Nitrogen is also very important for the overall green in your palm trees leaves.
Some fertilizers are only suitable for particular types of palm trees, whereas others work well on the vast majority of palm trees and other tropical and subtropical plants as well, as it is in the case with Palm Food 12-4-12 or PALMGAIN. Read the instructions provided by the manufacturer to make sure that you are a specific type of palm tree would benefit from the fertilizer you choose.
You can find fertilizers for palm trees in quantities as little as 0.5 lbs. and as much as 50 lbs. Buying in bulk might usually save you money, but keep in mind that the fertilizer might come with an expiration date, so if you don’t need to fertilize your palm tree on a regular basis, opt for a small container to get the best value for your money.
The price of boundary fertilizers depends on the manufacturer, quantity, and nutrients it includes. You can get a good fertilizer from $15-$20, but you might expect to pay double or even triple that for premium fertilizer that comes with the best selection of nutrients from responsible sources.
How and when to use fertilizers for palm trees?
Depending on the type of soil in the region you live in, you might need to fertilize your palm tree up to four times a year. It is rather difficult to give an exact number of times a palm tree might require, because it all depends on the climate, the type of soil, and the type of fertilizer you choose to use. Following the directions provided by the manufacturer on the package is the best bet is to make sure your palm trees are fertilized enough so they can thrive.
Besides using the right type of fertilizer and applying it at the right time, you should also make sure that you applied correctly. Try to follow the directions on the package carefully because using too much fertilizer, especially a liquid one that is too concentrated, can harm your palm tree irreparably.
Most of the time you will need to place the fertilizer at the drip line, which refers to the outer circumference of your tree’s branches. You can distribute liquid and granulated formulas along the drip line, where water drips to the ground, and drive spikes into the ground at the same point. Never apply fertilizer when the soil is dry, and make sure that the water thoroughly after fertilizing to help drive the nutrients down to the roots. If you fertilize dry soil, it might lead to permanent damage to the roots.
Each type of plant requires a fertilizer that works best for it – for example, there are special fertilizers for fruit trees, fertilizers for roses, fertilizers for lawn. Learn how to apply your fertilizer in our review of the best commercial fertilizer spreaders. Using the correct type of fertilizer is vital for the health of your palm tree. If you use a formula that is not suitable for your particular tree, you risk damaging its roots irreparably. A slow release formula that is especially designed for tropical trees generally works well for the majority of palms and it will provide you our tree with all the nutrients and nitrogen it needs to thrive.
Slow release fertilizers can work for up to 10 weeks, providing continuous nutrition for your palm tree over a longer period of time. They also reduce the risk of leaching. If you choose to use quick release fertilizers, you might expect them to wash away after a couple of rains, particularly if your soil is sandy. Make sure you read the instructions on the package because some types of fertilizer should not be applied to often in order to protect the roots of the palm tree.
When the fertilizer does its job properly, you will quickly notice an improvement in the overall appearance of your palm tree, especially when it comes to the aspect of the leaves. For example, if the leaves of your tree were yellow, a fertilizer that works will quickly turn them green and lush. The best fertilizers only take a couple of days to work, but keep in mind that other types might require multiple days or even weeks, so don’t panic if you don’t notice results straight away.
After thorough research and the reading hundreds of reviews, while we concluded that the Carl Pool Palm Food 12-4-12 is the best fertilizer for palm trees currently available on the market. This fertilizer offers a complete nutrition formula suitable for multiple types of palm trees and potted plants and a single application covers up to four months. The MiracleGro granulated formula fertilizer is a close second, and we like that it promises and delivers results in just a couple of days. The granulated formula is also a magic cocktail of magnesium, compost, iron, and manganese that will keep your palm tree happy. Finally, the Palmgain granulated former takes the third place, as it offers complete nutrition with slow-release nitrogen and ingredients sourced from high quality and responsible sources. No matter what type of palm tree fertilizer you decide to go for, make sure that it is suitable for your particular type of tree.