Golden cane palms will grow well outdoors in tropical and subtropical climates. If you live in a cooler climate, moving them indoors in the cooler months is a great idea to avoid frost or cold weather damage. Golden cane palms can be grown outdoors in pots or in garden beds. Give them space so their roots are not in competition with other plants.
Tips on how to grow golden cane palms successfully outdoors
Here are my top 8 tips to successfully grow golden cane palms outdoors.
1. Choose a sunny spot
Golden cane palms love plenty of sun and will thrive in a full sun part shade or even full shade position. For homes that get hot dry summers, a part shade position will work well to protect the leaves from sunburn.
A bright sunny spot will bring out the naturally yellow stems of the golden cane palm, creating a beautiful contrast between the stem and the bright green leaves.
A sunny position will also help the soil to dry out quicker which can help to avoid root rot. Golden cane palms don’t like wet roots so a sunny spot will help the excess water to clear out quicker.
2. Remove any old mulch
Before planting in an outdoor space clear the area of old mulch. A rake is an easy way to pull back any old bark chips, rotting leaves or pine needle mulch that might be sitting on the surface of the soil. This will make it easier to dig through soil improvers without accidentally mixing the mulch through the soil.
Mulch that is dug through the soil can slow down your palm’s growth as there will be a short term uptake of nitrogen from the soil as the mulch breaks down. The mulch can also cause the soil to lose water too quickly and drain away from the roots.
3. Improve the soil
An important step before planting your golden cane palm outdoors is to improve the soil. If you are planting your palm into the ground or raised garden bed they will grow much better if there is added organic matter and nutrients.
Starting off with adding a bag of compost or some that is homemade will be the perfect start for your palm. This will improve the balance of soil bacteria, help the soil to hold and drain water evenly and encourage worms.
The addition of organic matter like compost also helps with oxygen circulation allowing the roots to ‘breathe’ and grow to stabilize the plant.
Aged cow manure is also my other favorite soil improve before planting out a new palm. This is a mild fertilizer, high in carbon and will feed the worms.
4. Give it space
When planting out a new golden cane palm into a space outdoors it is important to think about how big you want to allow it to grow. These palms can grow to huge 20 foot specimens with many stems or be kept small and trimmed to almost a hedge.
They grow multiple stems similar to bamboo but can be trimmed back to 2-3 stems for the traditional tropical palm look.
Think about the space you are planting this tiny palm in when you get it home. Something that starts out as 20 inches, can grow to 20 feet. This will take many years but it is worth thinking about. The palm can grow around 1 foot per year, so think about 5 foot increase in 5 years.
Allowing the space under the palm for it to spread its roots is also important. For me, I will be trimming my golden cane palms back hard which will reduce their root spread as I limit the palms growth. For large trees, they will have a large root system so give them plenty of space.
5. Use it as a screen
Golden cane palms work fantastically well as screening plants and can be planted close together to form a barrier to neighbors looking into your yard. Planting them a few feet apart will form a very tight screen similar to bamboo but with a tropical leafy top.
6. Water it regularly
For outdoor golden cane palms, regular water is one of the main keys to success. These tropical palms are used to tropical downpours but can withstand periods of dry weather too. The combination of humid summers that have high rainfall is how the palm can thrive at your home.
To recreate this if you don’t live in a tropical region is to water them deeply around 2 times per week in summer. This will give their roots a soaking but allow them to dry out in between like a tropical rainforest.
Keep an eye on the soil around your palm and give it a drink when the top 2 inches are dry. That way you will have a happy, healthy palm over the warmer months.
Over the winter, you can slow down the watering, particularly if you are getting winter rain. Watering once per week is likely to be enough in most areas.
7. Feed it with organics
Golden cane palms are an easy care palm when it comes to fertilizing and feeding. I like to give mine a feed of pelted chicken manure in the spring and again in the summer months. A light watering with some liquid fish emulsion works well for an extra boost in between.
I water all of my soil, including my palms with seaweed solution every 4 weeks or so to boost the soil microbe population. This helps to break down organic matter in my soil and feed the worms.
8. Mulch with tree bark
Mulch is a great way to keep your palm happy over the warmer months and to protect the worms in the soil. A 3 inch layer of tree or bark mulch is all you need to protect the feeder roots of the palm that sit close to the surface. This will help to prevent them from drying out and reduce weed competition.
Can golden cane palms grow outdoors? | Summary
Golden cane palms will grow well outdoor in tropical and subtropical areas. For those with warm, humid summers and lots of rainfall they can bring a tropical feel to your yard. I love the yellow stems and it adds a bright splash of color to the green of the shrubs in my yard.
Golden cane palms are a hardy palm but a bit of care can allow them to thrive in your garden.
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I am an accredited practicing dietitian, experienced gardener and a dedicated cook. I love writing and sharing my experience so you can learn from my successes and mistakes.