Q. I planted areca palms and they seem to have grown only about one foot in the past 15 months. I fertilized them with palm fertilizer and they still do not seem to be growing.
M.D., via e-mail
Arecas are fairly slow growing compared to non-palm plants. After plants are transplanted, they spend a fair amount of time establishing a root system. While this is occurring, little top growth takes place. Transplanted plants may need daily soakings for the first couple of weeks and fewer soakings thereafter (depending on the size of the plant).
Since your palms are now established, make sure that they aren’t getting too much water. In fact, they shouldn’t need any supplemental irrigation.
Keep in mind that if the plants weren’t watered after transplanting and the rootball was allowed to dry out, this will slow growth since the roots were damaged from lack of water. Overwatering after the damage was done causes even more damage.
Make sure that they weren’t planted too deeply, since this is a frequent cause of slow growth and plant death. The top of the rootball should be a couple inches higher than the surrounding soil.