Can I split golden cane palms? Easy tips for success

Golden cane palms can be split if they are small or large if they are grown in pots. Large, golden cane palms in the ground should not be lifted and split if they are established. They are unlikely to recover from damage to their root systems.

For the best chance of successfully splitting golden cane palms, grow them in pots and you can split them off with a sharp spade or secateurs. Smaller stems can even be pulled apart by hand but make sure you leave plenty of roots and strong stems so they can recover.

Why you can split smaller golden cane palms

Golden cane palms are a hardy palm that will grow multiple stems from a central root system. The plant will send up new suckers which will continue to grow, similar to bamboo. A potted golden cane palm bought from a nursery can have 10 or more stems in a single pot.

You can split this palm up to create more plants or to grow a screen. Smaller plants in pots will be easier to split as their roots will have not matted together and it will be easier to remove them without damaging them

Splitting large golden cane palms

Large golden cane palms grown in a garden bed will be difficult to split with success. You are more likely to cause damage to an established root system and you could kill the palm.

Large palms in pots can be tricky to divide as they get larger and heavier. The stems can grow thick and it can be difficult to split the roots between the stems.

For the best chance of success, choose a smaller healthy plant in a pot that is younger. This will make it easier to split the pieces apart, to avoid root damage and to choose healthy stems that are more likely to succeed.

How to successfully split golden cane palms

Here are some tips for successfully splitting golden cane palms including the size of the plant, how to prepare the soil and the best watering regime.

Choose a small plant

Smaller golden cane palms will successfully recover from being split compared to larger, more established palms. There will be more chance that you can split the stems apart without damaging the roots.

Tip the plant out of the pot and use secateurs to cut and split the palm apart through the center. This will give you two plants from one and give both sides the best chance of living. If both sides have 3-5 stems, they will have plenty of healthy roots and multiple stems to recover from the split.

While you can technically split the palm into smaller plants, even down to a single stem, they will be more likely to survive the split if they are left with more roots and stems.

Use sharp secateurs or a spade

For small plants it can be easy to split them in half by using a sharp spade or secateurs. While you can pull them apart by hand, more stubborn, entangled roots will need the helping hand of some sharp secateurs.

Prepare the hole or pot first

The best way to be ready to transplant your newly split golden cane palm is to have the hole in your garden or pot ready. The less time the plant stays out of soil the quicker it will recover. Dig the hole in your yard and have a new pot and potting soil ready to go to move the plant into straight away.

Prepare your garden bed with compost and aged cow manure. This will give the plant free draining soil so its roots won’t stay wet. Keep the plant well-watered for the first 2 weeks to recover and it will be happy.  

Split them early in the morning

Splitting golden cane palms early in the morning will reduce the stress on the plant. Splitting palms earlier in the morning before the harsh sun comes out will help to reduce water loss. This is the best way to help them to recover quickly and avoid browning leaves due to water loss.

If you are splitting the palms in summer, it is important to limit their time in the harsh sun. Move the newly potted palms into shade for the first few days and then move them out.

Best soil for golden cane palms

The best soil for newly split golden cane palms is well draining, full of compost and will drain well. A well established golden cane palm is hardy, will grow around 1 foot per year and will grow bright green leaves and yellow stems.

Feed the golden cane palms with some pelleted chicken manure in Spring. You can give them a liquid feed of fish emulsion and seaweed mixed together.

If you have worm castings or worm juice add this to your golden cane palm to help them recover from the move. This will also help to feed the soil and the soil microbes which will break down nutrients making them available to the plant.

Can I split golden cane palms? | Easy tips for success

Golden cane palms can be split and they are more likely to successfully recover and grow the smaller they are. Try to keep a bunch of stems together to reduce the damage to the roots when you split them.

It might be tempting to split them into individual plants but it will take a long time to recover and it may not survive if it is too small. Choose larger healthy stems to group together.

For the best chance of success keep a small group of stems together and you will soon have another golden cane palm to grow at home.

Golden cane palms look great in pots and raised garden beds. This will keep their roots under control and will make them easier to lift and re-plant. Trim them back to keep them small and cut off any brown or dry leaves.

Happy planting.