A pygmy palm can actually grow fairly high if the gardener knows how to plant it properly. The common name pygmy palm, which is also known as a pygmy date palm or by its Latin name Phoenix Roebelenii, is misleading as these Southeast Asia natives can grow to 10-12 feet high. Due to their tropical look and hardiness, they are popular with landscapers and are a great addition to a yard whether planted in the ground or grown in a container. However, pygmy palms are very sensitive to the cold and should not be planted where there is a likelihood of frost unless precautions are taken to protect it.
When deciding how to plant a pygmy palm, the first real decision to be made is where it should be located. Pygmy palms do well in either shade or full sun, but need some protection from the wind. The fact that the tree can also have a width of five feet should be taken into account as well.
Pygmy palms are usually purchased when they are partially grown. When preparing the location, all weeds and grass should be cleared from the area to a distance of two feet from each edge of the hole. The hole itself should be twice as big and twice as deep as the container holding the plant. As the soil is removed from the hole it should be placed into a wheelbarrow or other container where it can be mixed with manure. Do not mix a fertilizer, other than the manure, with the soil. If the soil does not drain well place 4 inches of sand in the bottom of the hole and mix some in with the soil/manure mixture before filling the hole.
The gardener should remove the pygmy palm from the container and place it in the ground no deeper than the original container depth. The mixture of soil and manure can be placed into the hole to bring the level up, the plant placed on top, then the remainder of the soil mixture used to fill in around the plant until ground level is reached. The gardener should use their foot to carefully mash the dirt down around the plant to ensure there are no air pockets, then fill again, continuing the process until the dirt is compact and level. Use a good quality mulch to cover the surface area and reduce the weeds while still keeping the soil moist. The mulch should be spread to a depth of two to three feet.
Immediately following planting, water the palm adequately. While pygmy palms do not like being left in standing water, which can lead to root rot and other problems, they do thrive with regular watering and the owner should make it a point to water the palm at least three times a week during the hotter season, reducing this to once to twice a week as the weather cools. If the pygmy palm is planted in full shade, the amount of watering can be cut by 50%.
Once the palm has taken root, palm specific fertilizer can be given quarterly.