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Africa and Asia are home to most of the plants that delight us in our homes, offices and greenhouses. The date palm was no exception.
The date palm, or the Phoenix, belongs to the arec (palm) family and is undoubtedly the “queen of oases”: it shares food and shelter with people and animals, and also protects water bodies from drying out. Of the 17 known types of date palms in Russian indoor floriculture, 3 types have proven themselves well and are often used:
- the date of Robelena has a beautiful dense crown, reaches up to 1.5-2 meters in height, is relatively shade-tolerant.
- the Canary date with feathery trunks, hard straight and narrow leaves has a maximum height of 2 meters.
- Finger or common date is distinguished by the most common not very beautiful form of palm, but rapidly growing. The trunk of a palm tree gradually becomes bare as it grows, which is a significant drawback of this plant. The fruits of this type of palm are sweet, tasty and nutritious dates familiar to everyone.
All types of date palms have long leaves with narrow feathers, are decorative, hardy and completely undemanding to conditions of keeping. Since the early 19th century, palm trees have been grown in greenhouses, as well as indoor plants. The date palm is the most hardy and pest resistant of all types of palm trees.
Currently, flower shops offer a large selection of different types of palm trees, but date is the most preferable for many flower growers: an exotic plant will perfectly fit into any interior. The date palm is not difficult to grow from the seeds of ordinary dates, therefore it is sometimes called a "fun plant". However, it is difficult to agree with the nickname "fun": any plant needs attention and care.
Growing and caring for a date palm
If desired, the date palm can be grown from seeds. Before planting, the bone for swelling is preliminarily placed in water for several days, periodically changing the water. It happens that the emergence of seedlings from seeds is "inhibited" if dates have been stored for a long time. To accelerate the germination of the date, the bones can be scalded with boiling water.
The flowerpot is filled with a mixture of peat (sawdust) and sand, the seed is placed vertically in the ground, covered with glass on top (and, if available, with wet moss). The optimum temperature for germination is 25-30 ° C. Palm shoots will appear in about 1.5 - 2 months.
For the first five years, the plant is very modest, the decorative value of the date tree will appear only after 5-7 years. It is curious, but true: a date palm of various shapes can grow from the same seeds: both a small fluffy tree and a tall slender one. It is impossible to cut off (break off) the top of the plant stem, such a procedure is fraught with the death of the palm tree.
In order for our house, office, greenhouse to be decorated with a beautiful date palm, a number of important points must be adhered to when caring for it.
Date palm lighting
The plant prefers bright sunlight, it is shaded only during the hottest hours. For uniform formation of leaves, the date palm must be turned towards the light so that the top of the leaf is directed towards the interior of the room.
During the growth period of the palm tree - in spring and summer - a moderate temperature (20-25 ° C) is recommended. In autumn and winter, the optimum temperature for many palm species is 15-18 ° C, while some species hibernate normally at 8-10 ° C. The plant has a negative attitude towards drafts. Date palm roots are also sensitive to cold: plant pots are not recommended to be placed on marble floors or a cold window sill.
Watering and fertilizing the date palm
In the summer season, abundant watering is preferable for the date palm; complete drying out of the soil is not permissible. As a result of the drying out of the earthen coma, date leaves may wilt; in the future they will not restore their former position. In addition, drying out of the earthy coma can cause yellowing of the leaves. With waterlogging (especially in combination with cold air), brown spots may appear on the leaves of the date palm. In winter, watering is significantly reduced - it directly depends on the air temperature in the room.
The date palm is irrigated with warm, soft, chlorine-free water with a temperature of about 20 ° C. Water mineralized with calcium (it is also called hard) does not work well on a palm tree, so it is better to exclude watering the plant with such water. A prerequisite for good plant growth is good drainage, it does not allow water to stagnate at the roots. Since humid air is desirable for the palm tree, a daily sprinkling of the leaves is recommended, and a real shower weekly. During the shower procedure, the plant must be carefully covered with a plastic wrap. To give the palm tree a well-groomed look, the leaves of the plant are periodically wiped with damp sponges.
Fertilizers are applied in a diluted form and always in wet soil. For feeding, complex preparations are used for palm trees or for decorative deciduous indoor plants. In spring and summer, palms are fertilized 2 times a month, in winter - 1 time per month.
Transfer, transshipment of date palm
The date palm does not tolerate transplanting well, so in the spring the plants are transshipped: a young palm tree (up to 4-5 years old) is transferred to another flower pot annually, and an adult one - after 2-3 years. Every six months, it is advisable to remove the top layer of the soil and fill the vacant space with fresh earth.
A transplant is required only when the roots are cramped in the flower pot and are already visible through the drainage holes. Each palm is transferred to a flower pot 3-4 cm larger than the previous one. It is advisable to use a flower pot for a date palm not wide, but high: the long roots of the plant will fit here. During the transfer, the plant is carefully rolled into a new flower pot, and the voids are filled with new soil.
For good growth, the date palm needs a soil mixture prepared in the following ratio: 2 parts of light clay-sod land, 2 parts of humus-leaf soil, 1 part of peat land, 1 part of rotted manure, 1 part of sand and a little charcoal. If it is not possible to prepare the necessary components for the soil mixture, then ready-made soil mixtures (specialized "For palms" or universal for indoor plants) can be purchased in the store for transshipment of palm trees.
Loose, soft, air and moisture permeable soil will provide good nutrition to the plant roots. To prevent stagnation of water, a good drainage layer is formed at the bottom of the flower pot.
Diseases of date palms
This exotic plant is sick mainly due to poor care.
A change in the color of the leaves of the palm tree indicates waterlogged soil: it becomes dark, almost brown, and the trunk is soft and a putrid smell is felt. When these signs are found, watering stops, it is necessary to dry the soil. It is necessary to remove the palm from the flower pot and check its root system. The plant cannot be saved if the roots have become dark, soft and watery (they have already died). If intact (living) roots have survived among the dead, then they are carefully separated from the dead and the cut sites are sprinkled with crushed coal.
As a result of insufficient watering of the palm, dry air, winter drafts and sudden changes in temperature, the tips of the leaves of the plant can turn brown. But the brown leaves growing at the bottom of the plant are safe - these are age-related changes in the palm tree. The darkened leaves of the date palm are dead, so they are removed. With insufficient watering, the leaves of the plant go down, and you can raise them only by tying them to a support. Watering palm trees with hard water, lack of moisture or nutrients can cause the plant to turn yellow.
A pale appearance in a date palm indicates excessively abundant lighting or a red spider mite attack. A slight shading of the plant protects from excessively bright sunlight.
It happens that the date palm dries up; leaves darken, curl and fall off; brown plaques appear on the leaf surface. Such signs indicate that the palm tree is dying from pests. Pest control (scale insect, mealybug or spider mite) is standard for all indoor plants: the leaves must be washed with a solution of laundry soap and sprayed with garlic extract. With a more severe damage to the plant, Actellik's solution is used in a ratio of 1-2 ml per liter of water.
In ancient times, the palm leaf was considered a symbol of triumph and victory. At present, the presence of a date palm house attests to the fact that the amateur florist has become the winner, who has turned his home into a small cozy oasis.
Growing exotic plants at home is a dream of many flower growers, which is quite feasible and you can definitely bring it to life!