Palm trees can be kept to a small size if they are carefully pruned and grown in the correct pot size. Deliberately removing excess leaves and limiting the plant to 2 healthy rows of leaves will help to keep it smaller. Plant the palm in a pot that is suited to its root size and this will help to slow its growth.
If you are looking for a compact indoor or outdoor palm look out for clumping varieties. Golden cane palms for example will grow multiple stems which can be pruned to stop them from growing taller. Leaving the healthy shorter stems to grow the plant will be happy.
Do not cut back single stemmed palms. Removing all of the leaves and the growth point at the top of the palm will kill the plant. Single stemmed palms need to have this growth point in tact and to have a good coverage of healthy leaves to survive.
This article will explore the easiest ways stop palms from growing taller. These methods can be used for indoor and outdoor palms and will help to keep their height limited.
How to stop palm trees from growing taller
Here are the top ways to stop palm trees from growing taller. These tips are easy to follow and won’t hurt your palm.
Limit palm pot size
To keep palms smaller choose a pot size that matches the root ball. Growing palms in the pot that they came in and only upgrading them to a larger pot that is 1 inch wider than its current space at any one time.
Limiting the growth of the roots can help to keep the palm smaller. While eventually they will need to be upgraded, they can live for 2-3 years in the same pot. Water and feed them well so they still get the nutrients and moisture they need.
Feed indoor palms with an indoor plant food or specific palm fertilizer. Outdoor palms can be fertilized once per year with pelleted chicken manure. Palms are easy care but like plenty of water during the summer months.
Remove excess palm leaves
Carefully pruning palms can help to keep them smaller. Selectively trimming excess leaves will help to limit the amount of light captured by the palm and turned into carbohydrates that it uses to grow taller.
Start by trimming off any lower level leaves that have turned brown or yellow. These will usually be the older leaves around the base of the palm stem. You can gently prune palms back to 2-3 rows of leaves. Make sure that there are at least 4-5 healthy leaves on the plant and avoid removing more than 1/3 of the canopy.
Removing too many leaves can cause the plant to struggle to grow efficiently and it can kill the palm altogether. Start slow and remove 1-2 leaves at a time. Prune 1 leaf every few weeks.
Avoid removing more leaves than the palm can produce in a year. Lots of indoor palms including parlor palms are slow growing so can take 6 months or more to replace their leaves.
Keep palms indoors
To keep palms smaller grow them indoors. Many palms are great for indoors. Their growth will naturally slow due to the fact that there is less light indoors. Place the in a bright position but avoid a spot that gets afternoon sun.
Trim clustering palm stems
Clustering palms can have excess stems remove. These palms can grow multiple stems from their root system and replace those that are pruned. Golden cane palms are one of my favorite. These palms will grow lots of stems from their base and can be kept smaller with regular pruning.
Remove the longer stems to keep the palm short. I have been removing tall leaves and stems from my golden cane palms to keep them around 4 feet tall. Once the stem reaches this height, I will prune it off at the base. I cut the stem around 1 inch from the soil to avoid soil getting on the stem and introducing disease.
Eventually the stem will die back and the plant will send up new growth. New leaves will appear quickly in spring and fall when these palms are growing at their fastest.
Separate clustering palm stems to make new plants
Tough clustering palms like golden cane can be separated into individual plants as they grow. Once the palm reaches the size you want you can remove the palm from its pot and cut it into pieces. Splitting the palm into 2 pieces to start with is a good idea.
You can remove long stems as long as there are still plenty of healthy stems and lots of roots.
Tough golden cane palms will slow their growth after they have been split. Once they recover from the move they will start to grow new stems and leaves.
How to avoid palms growing too tall
Here are the best ways to avoid palms growing too tall.
Choose a small variety
Pygmy date palm, dwarf Palmetto, lady palms and European fan palms are all smaller growing palms that will not grow as tall as some of the palm giants we all know.
Look out for palms labelled as dwarf varieties and these will naturally stay smaller.
Choose a clustering palm
The next option is to choose a clustering palm and prune it often. Golden cane palms are my favorite choice because they are hardy, can be grown indoors or outdoors and can handle being pruned.
How Do I Stop My Palm Tree from Growing Taller? | Summary
Palm trees are beautiful tropical plants that can grow tall in the right conditions. Choose a dwarf variety that will stay naturally smaller. Clustering palms are also a great choice because you can remove tall stems as they grow. Removing excess leaves can help to slow the palm tree growth. Make sure you leave enough green healthy leaves on to allow the plant to photosynthesize.