One of the most popular indoor plants is the golden fruit palm. With its feathery evergreen leaves, it brings a touch of exotic flair to the living room. The palm tree grows relatively slowly, but with good care it can become very old and therefore very large. Then it is better off in a conservatory with its sweeping fronds. During the summer months, it looks extremely good on the balcony or terrace. The Chrysalidocarpus lutescens, as its botanical name is, is a bit tricky, but in winter. Read here what you can do to ensure that you can enjoy your golden fruit palm for a long time.
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The golden fruit palm is endemic. These are plants that are only native to a defined area and do not occur anywhere else. The palm tree is native to eastern Madagascar, where it grows over ten meters tall and the leaves can reach two meters. There they form yellow flowers and egg-shaped, about three centimeters large fruits in the colors yellow-orange, purple or black. In Madagascar, the golden fruit palm is considered to be almost extinct due to advancing agriculture. We keep it as a houseplant and, despite its old age, it does not come anywhere close to its original size. Flowers and fruits can also only be seen in botanical gardens.
In Madagascar, the golden palm grows on the sandy banks of rivers or in the clearings of humid forest areas. It tolerates a wide variety of soil types as long as they are well permeable to water. It feels very comfortable both in the sun and in partial shade. However, if it is inside the house, it should not be placed directly in front of the window.
- Light requirement: very high
- No direct sunlight (south-west window, south-west window).
- Windows facing east or north-west are better.
- Soil: sandy
- drainage necessary.
- Water requirement: high
- Temperature: 18-22 degrees
- Never let it cool below 13 degrees.
- Requires high humidity.
If the plant is in the back of a room, a plant lamp should be used to provide more light.
The palm tolerates a lot of humidity. Occasional dips in the pot are also good for her. Her penchant for high humidity also makes her an ideal plant for hydroponics. The plant does not like very calcareous water, so you should water it with rainwater or previously decalcified drinking water. As a houseplant, it tends to collect dust. There are several ways to free them from this.
- Very large plants: Wipe leaves with a damp cloth.
- Smaller (handy) plants: shower with a shower head or place outside on warm days in rainy weather.
The golden fruit palm reacts to strong sunlight with yellow leaves. This process is irreversible, so the frond must be cut off. In summer it can be placed outdoors. But also in a sheltered location where it is not exposed to direct sunlight or cold nights.
care in winter
In winter, the palm suffers greatly from the low humidity that quickly sets in during the heating period. If it is positioned next to a radiator, it must be moved to another location. The best rooms are those that are bright, but the temperatures are a little lower. Plants that are at home in the living room can possibly find their winter quarters in the bedroom. Anyone who has a conservatory usually has nothing to fear. Winter temperatures should be between 16 and 18 degrees, and watering is done more sparingly during this rest period. Various measures can be taken to increase the humidity:
- Frequent spraying of the palm with low-lime water.
- Setting up a humidifier.
- Place bowls or pots of water on the heater.
The higher the humidity, the more comfortable the palm tree feels and the less susceptible it is to pests. Because only weakened plants are attacked by pests.
watering and fertilizing
In order for the palm trees to thrive, they need a little liquid fertilizer in the irrigation water every two weeks during spring and summer. Special palm fertilizer is also available in specialist shops.
The golden fruit palm needs a lot of water. It is watered so often that the soil ball is always slightly moist. The plant pot should always stand on a saucer into which excess water can drain. However, this must then be removed from the coaster. In principle, the higher the temperatures, the more you have to water.
The right water
Water is the basis of life for plants. Apart from the fact that plants also consist of a large part of water and this constantly evaporates through the leaves, the irrigation water also serves as a solvent for nutrients. Can be watered with normal tap water. However, this should definitely be left for a few hours before watering – if only for this reason, so that it can reach room temperature, because ice-cold water does not like plants. Tempered rainwater is best.
The pH of the water is also important. Most plants thrive best in a substrate that is slightly acidic – that is, with a pH between 5.5-6.5. If you constantly water with very calcareous water, the pH value in the soil will also increase after a while. If the pH of the substrate has become too high, certain nutrients, especially iron, can no longer be absorbed by the golden leaf palm. It is useless to add iron with a fertiliser, this is also converted into an insoluble compound by the high pH value, which the plant cannot absorb. A simple way to bring the pH of the substrate back to normal is to repot. All other methods are somewhat tricky and not necessarily to be carried out by laypeople.
So if you have very hard water at home, you should treat it before watering. This is very easy and requires neither specialist knowledge nor complex measuring devices:
- A little peat is placed in a small cloth bag.
- Amount: about half a liter of peat for five liters of irrigation water.
- Leave for at least a day.
- The peat can only be used once.
- It reacts slightly acidic with the water and thus lowers the pH value.
- Overdosing is not that easy.
If that is too cumbersome for you, you can also water with hard water, but you should then repot your plant every year.
Young plants constantly develop a lot of new roots, so they should be transplanted into a slightly larger pot every year. For older plants, it is sufficient if they are repotted every three to four years. The best indication that the pot has become too small for the palm tree: the roots are growing through the hole in the pot. Now it is urgently time that the plant gets a bigger pot and fresh soil.
- Time: spring
- Carefully remove the plant from the old pot.
- Remove the top layer of soil (salt deposits are often found here)
- Older plants: Be sure to choose a tall and stable pot.
- Lay a drainage layer of expanded clay in the lower area.
- Soil: Mix all-purpose soil with compost and sand.
- Insert palm carefully.
- do not damage roots.
- Fill the pot with soil.
- Press the soil down well, there must be no gaps in the lower area.
- Water a little less at first.
Dry or dead shoots are cut off until just before the leaf base. The first signs of low humidity are brown leaf tips. These can easily be cut off with clean scissors. However, you should not cut into the healthy green of the leaf.
Buy palm trees and seeds
Most nurseries stock a variety of palm trees. The quality here is often significantly higher than with cheaper container goods, which have suffered from cool temperatures during transport in the winter months or have also suffered from a lack of water. Anyone who buys a golden fruit palm should keep in mind that the plant has very large, overhanging leaves that need space. There is also a large selection of palm seeds, and their quality is usually good.
Propagation by ground shoots
Older gold leaf palms form numerous fresh shoots (bottom shoots) at their feet, which can be carefully separated when repotting. In order for the little plants to come into their own, several sprouts should always be planted together in one pot. This creates more abundance. The golden fruit palm is one of the slow-growing palm species. If it finds good culture conditions, its growth is about 15-25 centimeters per year.
- Soil: Compost-based mixture (2:1 soil/sand)
- Create drainage in the lower part made of expanded clay.
- Ground shoots should be about 30 centimeters tall.
- Must have already formed their own roots.
- Plant in small pots.
- Cover with a clear plastic bag.
- Poke some small holes for ventilation.
- Location: bright, without direct sunlight.
- Keep slightly moist for 4-6 weeks and air regularly.
- Remove plastic bag.
- Water regularly, allow the top layer of soil to dry slightly.
As soon as the young plants have formed new roots, new leaf fronds will form. From now on, the golden fruit palm can be cared for like an adult plant.
Propagation from seeds
The rearing of the golden fruit palm is possible in the apartment all year round. However, since germination takes a long time and the palm tree also grows very slowly, a lot of patience is required until it reaches a stately size.
- Soaking: soak seeds in lukewarm water for a day.
- Place in moist potting soil or cactus soil.
- Depth: Cover about half a centimeter with soil.
- Germination temperature: 22-25 degrees.
- Germination time: between four and ten weeks.
diseases and pests
In the open air, the palm trees are only very rarely attacked by diseases or pests. However, if they stand in the room, the dry air in winter makes them difficult and vulnerable
- spider mites
- white flies
- Red Spider
It is not recommended to work with chemical insecticides in the home, as these are often not entirely safe for people and pets. It is therefore better to first give the plant a thorough shower with lukewarm water. In any case, it should be isolated so that the other indoor plants are not affected. In addition to various sticks that you stick into the ground and then slowly release an effective poison against the pests, you can also get environmentally friendly oil-based preparations in specialist shops. If small children or pets are in the household, it is essential to avoid all toxic substances.
The golden fruit palm has become one of the most popular indoor plants. In summer it is usually very easy to care for. Apart from a bright location and plenty of water, it requires little care. In winter, however, it quickly develops into a true mimosa: if the humidity drops drastically during the heating period, the otherwise lush green palm tree also becomes ailing and becomes susceptible to sucking pests. There are a number of things you can do in advance to prevent this from happening in the first place: regularly spraying with low-lime water and setting up an air humidifier.