Use your fertilizer knowledge from your queen and fan palms on your foxtail palms. They may need more frequent fertilizing — two or even three times a year. You can play with different fertilizers; using ones with extra micronutrients, different release rates and maybe different ratios. There is always ongoing research on palm fertilizer ratios and you can experiment if you are adventurous. Keep in mind that deficiencies take years to fix. Your fertilization regime may be working but big changes in the leaves may take a while to show.
It is important to stay consistent with your fertilization. Stick with a regime for at least one full year, preferably two to three years, before trying something new.
Other intermediate recommendations to advance your fertilizing skills: American oil palms, Licualas and Paurotis palms. Also try getting a deeper blue hue on the leaves of Bismark palms.
• Advanced: You have gorgeous foxtails growing in your palm garden and fellow gardeners are starting to ask you for help. Congratulations, you have a green thumb. But, just because you have mastered the art of fertilization and watering doesn’t mean you should stop advancing.
The red lipstick palm ( Cyrtostachys renda) is one of the most highly coveted palms. Growing a healthy red lipstick palm outside in southern Florida is like finding the Holy Grail for palm enthusiasts. In order to keep these palms happy outside, you must have the right habitat (warm, sheltered, and wet year round) and precisely the right fertilizer regimen.
These palms are extremely cold-sensitive. The biggest problem most palm enthusiasts have is keeping them warm year round. Palm growers have the most luck cultivating these in green houses. You can also try growing them in sheltered, shallow ponds in southern Florida. Sheltered areas protect them from cold winds and water stays warmer than soil, keeping their roots warmer. With a bit of finesse, it is possible to trick this finicky palm into believing it is in its native Asian peat swamp. With your green thumb and a bit of luck (such as warm winters) you may be able to master growing these tricky palms.
No matter your level of expertise, you too can grow a beautiful and healthy palm garden. Even though I address only palms here, similar techniques can be used for all garden plants. By beginning with plants easy to cultivate, you can slowly increase your own knowledge, propagate more difficult plants and eventually grow a green thumb of your own!
Sara Edelman is palm and cycad manager at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden