Are golden cane palms invasive? | 8 Ways to keep them contained

Golden Cane palms (Dypsis lutescens) grow tight fibrous roots and many suckers that can quickly take over a space. While not overly invasive, they will form a tight matting of roots near the surface of the soil that can disturb paving. They will make it difficult to plant underneath them due to their dense roots. If planted away from your house and pool they make a beautiful tropical plant that grows quick.

Golden cane palms are an easy care, great looking palm that looks good in many yards. If you live in a tropical climate they will thrive and grow quickly. In a subtropical climate they will still grow well and form a beautiful screen if you leave them untrimmed.

This article explores how to grow golden cane palms so they don’t invade your pavers, pool or garden beds.

Keeping golden cane palms contained

Here are my top tips to grow golden cane palms to avoid their invasive nature and protect your plants and avoid their invasive nature destroying your yard.

1. Plant them away from your house and pavers

Small golden cane palms look beautiful and it can be tempting to squish them in a small space. For the best results keep them away from your house or pool area. Their tight matted roots can lift pavers or head towards the pool.

Keep the plant contained by trimming off excess stems or suckers as they grow. This will limit the growth of the palm but may not necessarily stop the roots heading for water. An open area of your yard away from hard landscaping makes the best spot for them.

2. Plant them in pots indoors or outdoors

Placing a golden cane palm in its own pot will stop it from invading your yard. While the roots can head out in all directions in the soil a pot will help to keep them contained.

As golden cane palms get bigger their tight roots can matt at the top of the pot. You will need to make sure you water them regularly and deeply to keep the soil underneath moist. A half wine barrel will look great with a golden cane palm in the middle.

3. Keep them away from swimming pool paving

The tight knitted roots of a golden cane palm should be kept away from your swimming pool paving or near any filter areas. The roots can form a tight mat under the soil and slowly lift up pavers by your pool. Plant them in an open so area and allow plenty of space before the edge of your pool.

4. They will grow quicker in tropical climates

Golden cane palms will grow quickly in warm humid climates and this will give you a quick growing palm that looks great. The cooler your climate, the slower the palm will grow.

I had planted two small palms in Fall and they have not grow very much at all over the winter. When the weather warms these palms will spring into life. The humidity will help to encourage them to grow.

In subtropical climates they are less likely to get out of hand or grow rapidly this will give you time to keep them under control and trim back any rapidly growing stems that are in your way.

5. Keep them small by trimming them back

The best way to stop the stems and leaves from inviting a space is with sharp secateurs. Trimming down the stems is an easy way to keep the top of the plant in a small area. Decide how many stems you want your plant to have and remove the extra ones.

The golden cane palm will keep sending up stems when they are young. This will happen when the weather warms and will stop over winter. Remove any dead stems or brown leaves.

For more on this, check out my previous article on why golden cane palms turn brown.

6. Find a large open space to grow it to full size

Golden cane palms can grow to 20 feet high but they can take many years to reach this height. If you want to grow them to full size, make sure you have a nice large space. Make sure their roots are away form paved areas and keep them well watered.

Choose how many stems you want the plant to have 6-8 is great and can form a screen.

You can even let it grow just a few stems to give you that tropical palm tree feel.

7. Growing underneath is hard

Because of the thick matting roots, it can be tricky to get plants to grow underneath. Take lots of nutrients and moisture. Plants that have a limited need for soil like bromeliads are a great choice as they gather moisture and nutrients from the air and rain.

I have some random begonias which keep appearing underneath my golden cane palms at the moment.

8. Mulch them well

The best way to keep your golden cane palm happy and keep the surface roots moist is to mulch it well. A 2-3 inch covering of bark mulch will help to keep the top of the soil moist it will hide the look of any matted roost on the top.

Palms originally came from tropical rainforests where dried leaves and plant matter will fall on top of the roots. They love a covering of plant matter, you can even use fall leaves that you collect from maples. A mix of both will work well or if you have straw mulch laying around this will work too.

Are golden cane palms invasive? | Summary

Golden cane palms have roots that have a tight knitting form and while they are not overly invasive they will take over the immediate space near the plant. They can lift pavers so keep them away from any hard landscaping. Plant them in pots if you are worried and they will grow into a beautiful sculptural palm.