Medjool vs. Sylvester Palm: Which Should You Plant?

Choosing the right palm tree to plant in your garden can be confusing. Medjool and Sylvester palm trees are two great options to choose from.

Here is a detailed guide to help you decide which one is best for you.

Medjool Palm: at a Glance

Medjool palm has upward-pointed, overlapping leaf base and feather-like leaves, and it produces edible fruit. The leaves on the upper part of the plant stand erect, while the leaves on the lower side are drooped.

The plant produces small fragrant white flowers, and the fruit is produced in clusters. If you take good care of it and fulfill all the requirements, it can live up to 150 years.

Sylvester Palm: at a Glance

Sylvester Palm is a great option if you are planting palm trees to give a tropical touch to your garden. They have large leaves with silvery leaflets. The leaflets are arranged opposite to each other, which makes them look so beautiful.

Sylvester plant has a hefty central trunk, and it produces oval fruit. The color of the fruit turns purple-black when it becomes fully ripe. It requires little maintenance, and the look adds to the beauty of your garden.

You can get an idea of its beauty by the fact that the Sylvester plant is the first choice when looking for palm trees for the decoration of landscapes.


Sylvester palm can grow up to 50 ft (15 meters), while the Medjool plant can grow up to 100 ft (30 meters).

Sylvester plant has a slow growth rate. The plant can reach up to the height of 50 ft (15 meters) over the years. As far as gradual growth is concerned, the Sylvester plant grows 1 to 2 ft. (30 to 60 cm) per year.

Medjool plants can grow up to 20 ft (6 meters) tall in 15 to 20 years. However, they live long. So, if you provide the plant with all the necessary requirements, it can grow up to 100 ft. (30 meters) tall in 100 years.


Both plants require care. Make sure you prune them regularly and offer fertilizers in the growing season. Also, change the watering pattern as soon as the weather changes.

Medjool plants require intense care. Make sure you regularly remove dead parts of the plant and thorns. Also, keep in check the number of bunches per palm. If a specific palm has too many bunches, remove those immediately.

Thinning fruit is necessary, and if not done, it can negatively affect the plant. If you don’t limit the overproduction of bunches, it will affect the next year’s fruit production. Besides, thinning fruit also helps in maintaining fruit size.

If the bunches are too high, the wind can damage them. So, make sure you tie down the bunches to lower leaves and prevent damage caused by winds.

Also, the Medjool plant usually requires a large amount of irrigation of soil. Make sure you are fulfilling the irrigation needs of the plant; otherwise, it will suffer.

Now, let’s turn our attention towards Sylvester plant. The best part about the Sylvester plant is that it is drought-tolerant. Though it is naturally resistant to extreme water conditions, regular water application can significantly help in producing desired results. Also, regular watering is crucial if the plant is in the initial stages of growth.

You need to prune the plant carefully. Rather than removing the fronds that have developed a slightly dull color, prune only those fronds which are completely dead.

The Sylvester plant has sharp thorns. So, make sure you have taken preventive measures such as wearing safety gloves before pruning the plant.

Keep in mind that the Sylvester plant is susceptible to yellowing disease. The worst part is if the plants develop this diseases, it cannot be cured. So, make sure you choose a location that is not prone to such conditions.

Keeping check of nutrient availability is also important. Fertilize the plant during the growing season. Also, choosing the right blend of fertilizer is crucial. Jobe’s Fertilizer Spikes is a great option for palm trees. You can buy this pre-measured palm tree fertilizer by clicking on this link.


When pruning the Medjool plant, prune all the branches drooping lower than 9 to 3 arch on a clock face. Slightly trim the branches drooping around 4 or 8 arches on the clock so that they can get in shape.

The right time to prune the Sylvester plant is in spring. Use sharp and clean shears for pruning and carefully remove dead parts. Make sure you cut close to the trunk, as it will help the tree redirect its nutrients to the healthy parts of the plant.

Regular pruning also improves the appearance of Sylvester trees. Also, if the pruned parts are infected, make sure you burn them so the infection doesn’t spread.


Both Medjool and Sylvester plants need extra care in winter. Transfer the plants indoors if you have planted them in a container. Otherwise, use a fabric to cover the plants.

Medjool plants might need extra care if the area gets colder in winter. You can warp the plant with fabric to prevent it from extreme weather. On the other hand, you can also transfer the tree indoors if you have grown the plant in a container.

The watering pattern is the first thing about the Sylvester plant that needs your attention in winter. Don’t overwater the plant. Make sure the soil has dried before you water again.

Also, if the weather is too cold, mulch with a layer of chopped leaves. Protect the plant by adding a layer of box or blanket over the leaf mulch, as it will keep the temperature in check.


Sylvester Palm needs both male and female plants to produce fruit. The male plants produce flowers with pollen, whereas the female trees produce fruits.

They can pollinate naturally both by wind and insects. Make sure you plant the male and female plants close enough that they can pollinate effortlessly.

As far as the Medjool plant is concerned, male flowers are produced before female flowers. Usually, artificial methods are used for pollination. For successful results, you can pollinate by hand or with machinery.

Common Problems

Medjool is susceptible to diseases like Bayoud, black scorch, Graphiola leaf spot, and pest infestations. On the other hand, the Sylvester plant can get affected by leaf spots, Ganoderma root, and nutrient deficiency.

Let’s see the problems faced by Medjool Palm in detail:

Bayoud Disease

In this disease, the leaflets of mature leaves start getting affected. The infection gradually spreads to the whole leaf, and the leaves start dying.

Brown or white lesions are also formed on the lower side of the leaves. The disease is mainly caused by fungus and is soil-borne. The only way out is to uproot and burn the plant.

Black Scorch Disease

The characteristic trait of this disease is the dark brown lesion on leaves. The foliage is also affected and appears scorched.

It is usually caused by a fungus, and the plant recovers in most cases. However, pruning wounds (which can easily happen if you are not careful) can spread the disease. The treatment is to carefully prune the affected parts and burn them so the disease doesn’t spread.

Graphiola Leaf Spot

This disease produces small spots on both sides of the leaves and yellow spore masses on the affected area. It is caused by fungus and is usually facilitated by humid conditions. Your first step in curing it should be separating the infected areas and destroying them.

Use a broad-spectrum fungicide if the disease has spread too much and the symptoms are severe. Bonide Copper Fungicide is a great option. Other than fighting bacteria and fungi, it also helps develop cold tolerance, thus defying the main cause of infections. You can buy this spray by clicking on this link.

Pests and Insects

Coconut rhinoceros beetle and Parlatoria date scale are the two most common insects affecting Medjool plants’ growth. Your preference should be avoiding them in the first place, as their infestation can cause too much damage. You can keep a population of enemy insects to prevent the attack of these pests.

As for the Sylvester Palm, it is susceptible to the following diseases and problems.

Leaf Spot

Leaf spotting fungi is one of the most common diseases of Sylvester plants. The spots can be circular or elongated. Also, they are usually brown and have an oily texture.

Usually, you can identify the disease at earlier stages, and the plant is not severely affected. However, you should use a fungicide if there is too much damage.

Ganoderma Root

This disease is caused by fungus; the characteristic symptom is withering and drooping fronds. The fungus usually grows within the dead parts of the plant. So, make sure you regularly remove the dead palms to avoid this disease.

No chemical treatment is available for this disease. Also, once a tree develops this disease, you can neither treat it nor use that soil for planting any other tree as the disease propagates in the soil.

Nutrient Deficiency

The Sylvester plant is also prone to nitrogen, potassium, magnesium, and manganese deficiency. It can happen for many reasons, such as insufficient nutrients in the soil, poor soil aeration, or high soil pH. Nutrient deficiency can also be a result of excessive planting depth

Medjool Palm: Pros and Cons


Long life

Fragrant flowers

Not picky about soil conditions


Requires regular pruning and care

Requires artificial pollination

Sylvester Palm: Pros and Cons


Naturally pollinates

Used in landscaping



Prone to yellowing diseases

Require extra care in winter

Medjool vs. Sylvester Palm: Which Should You Plant?

Keeping all the factors in consideration, Sylvester Palm is a great option. It adds to the beauty of your garden and produces tasty fruit while it requires little to no maintenance.

However, you have to make sure you provide it with all the optimum conditions, as the Sylvester plant is prone to nutrient deficiency and leaf yellowing diseases.

References,,,,,,,, plantvillage.psu