Palms

Can palm tree cuttings be made?

The method of reproduction by cuttings almost always gives very good results: in just a few months, depending on the type of plant, we will obtain a new specimen identical to the »mother plant». In addition, it is easy and very fast to do, which is why it is the most widely used today. But… can palm tree cuttings be made?

The reality is that it is very difficult. Assuming that the cuttings are pieces of a plant that have emitted roots, thus becoming a new specimen, this cannot be done with palm trees. What can be done is to separate the suckers, but it is complicated, especially if you do not have much experience in their care, and many times it does not work out. But do not worry. Follow these tips and your chances of success will increase.

What are the palm trees from which you can take cuttings?

Image – Wikimedia/ Alejandro Bayer Tamayo from Armenia, Colombia

The first thing to keep in mind is that, to take a clone from a palm tree, it must be multicaule ; that is, it must have several trunks (which are really suckers). This is perhaps the most important thing, since if you cut one that only has one trunk, you will be left without a plant. Why? Because these types of plant beings do not sprout again like trees do: if they are left without their growth guide, which is nothing more than the bud (the part from which the leaves emerge, which is attached to the stipe or false trunk).

There are several multicaule species, but without a doubt the best known are:

  • Chamaerops humilis or palm heart
  • Dypsis lutescens or misnamed areca ( there is a botanical genus that bears that name, which is why they can be confused)
  • Phoenix dactylifera or date tree
  • Nannorhops ritchieana
  • Raphis excelsa

When do you have to get the palm tree cutting?

To obtain the aforementioned, you must wait until spring arrives, since our future new palm tree has a length of at least 20cm. Before, during winter, the plant is at rest, especially if the weather is cold, and later, in summer, it will be in full growth season.

That is why the cutting method is recommended to be done during the flower season, as it is when the plant is still resuming its growth, and during which not as much sap circulates through its vessels as it will circulate in the summer season.

What tools are needed?

In order to make the task easier and more comfortable, it is interesting to prepare everything that is going to be needed:

  • Gardening gloves
  • hand saw
  • Disinfectant
  • Healing paste
  • Flower pot
  • Porous substrate
  • Copper or sulfur powder
  • Watering can with water

You got it? Well now you can get down to work.

How to make palm tree cuttings step by step?

  1. Once the time has come, first put on your gardening gloves and separate the sucker from the adult trunk by cutting very close to it, with a small previously disinfected saw.
  2. Afterwards, sprinkle rooting hormones on the roots and plant it in a pot with a well-draining substrate (I recommend using equal parts black peat with perlite)
  3. Spread a little copper or sulfur over the substrate to avoid fungi.
  4. Then, place it in an area where it does not get direct sun and has high humidity. If you live in a very dry area, wrap the plant in plastic like a greenhouse, or spray its leaves with distilled or rain water daily.
  5. Lastly, always keep the soil slightly damp, but not puddled.

If all goes well, in a couple of months you will have obtained a new palm tree. You will notice it because you will see some ‘movement’, like a new leaf emerging for example. But yes, leave it in that pot for at least a year, at least. This way you will have enough time to recover from what happened, and get stronger.

And, by the way, don’t forget to seal the wound -of the mother plant- with healing paste as soon as you have made the cutting.

Good luck!

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