Why is Your Pygmy Date Palm Dying? (Solved)

So, you’ve noticed your Pygmy Date Palm is dying?

Don’t worry, in this article, I will tell you what are the possible causes, and how you can rejuvenate the plant.

Why is Your Pygmy Date Palm Dying?

There are many reasons why a Pygmy Date Palm might be dying, however, the most popular ones are potassium deficiency, disease, or inadequate watering. In many cases, you can easily revive the palm.

Potassium is really important in palm growth. Without it, the plant will be showing signs of dying. Lack of potassium makes the Pygmy Palm Date susceptible to diseases like Pestalotiopsis Palmarum.

But there are also reasons like inadequate watering or not enough sunlight.

However, to get to know the exact reason why your Pygmy Date Palm is dying, and what to do about it, keep on reading this article.

Potassium Deficiency

When the tips of the fronds turn yellow, then brown, it might be because of potassium deficiency. As a result, it may cause fronds to fall off and the canopy to look sparse. That usually happens if you plant the palm in soil with a pH over 7.

If you don’t use any fertilizer, you should start doing so.

To fix potassium deficiency, you need to use a fertilizer with a 12% potassium content-not less, not more. This one on Amazon is highly recommended. It should green up your palm within one week.

To prevent potassium, and magnesium deficiency, the palm should be planted in sandy, and well-drained soil. It’s the best soil for the Pygmy Date Palm to thrive.


The most common disease of the Pygmy Date Palm is ganoderma butt rot. This disease presents itself as rotting of the lower portion of the trunk. It might happen when the soil isn’t drained duly, and you overwater your plant.

Unfortunately, you can’t cure this disease. Just be careful when you’re disposing your infected palm with this disease, as it is highly contagious and affects and large number of palm species.

Another common disease that attacks Pygmy Date Palm is Pestalotiopsis Palmarum. The disease is a wound parasite, attacking injured areas of plants. Wounds may originate from pests, nutrient deficiencies, and garden tools used in plant care. Pests that attack pygmy palms include red date scale that damages leaf tissue.

The disease begins as small, yellow, or dark spots that grow, merge and spread to every part of the leaf. The coalesced large spots look like dead pale or gray areas with a dark outline. The spots spread to the petioles, the stalks connecting the leaf blades to stems.

When the buds of plants get damaged, the plant stops growing, because new leaves do not form. The palm can eventually die.

To prevent, and stop the spread of this disease, limit overhead watering, give good air circulation, disinfect your garden tools, rune and destroy diseased leaves to limit the spread of spores, maintain healthy soil, and apply fungicides.

Inadequate Temperature and Humidity

The Pygmy Palm Date grows best in temperatures ranging from 50–75° Fahrenheit (10–24° C).

If the plant is wilting, crown flopping over due to internal trunk rot, soft lesions on outside of the trunk, new emerged leaves falling down around the trunk, it means that the temperature was too low, and it’s the effect of cold damage.

Indoor palm will not experience that. When it comes to outdoor Pygmy Date Palm it can happen, but it’s pretty unlikely, because this palm is able to survive as low temperatures as 20 °F (-6 °C).

It’s more often that Pygmy Date Palm might be dying because of sunburn. If the palm is taken outside to the full sun without acclimating, it can easily get a sunburn. Palm leaves will turn yellow and start to look colorless in some areas.

Another matter is humidity. The palm loves high humidity, and if the air is dry it might also experience some form of dying off. The ideal percentage is 50% humidity or more.

Inadequate Watering

A common reason behind a dying Pygmy Date Palm is overwatering. The signs that you’re overwatering your plant include yellow, or brown leaves.

If you don’t want to overwater your palm, you should water it regularly, but you shouldn’t let the soil sit in the puddle for a long period of time. If the palm is planted outside, make sure the drainage is proper. If it’s planted in a pot, the pot should have drainage holes to prevent water from standing in the soil.

In the winter, if the palm is outdoors, you should reduce the watering schedule.

To revive the Pygmy Date Palm, you should make sure that the yellowing or browning of leaves isn’t too advanced. If you saw the first yellow or brown leaves, just not watering the plant for a few days should rejuvenate it.

The leaves might also turn brown because of a lack of water. If you don’t want to underwater your palm, always make sure that the soil isn’t dry. The top 3 inches (7,5 cm) should be moist. If they’re dry, it’s the best time to water your Pygmy Date Palm.

Not Enough Light

Pygmy Date Palm thrives well in full sun, part shade, or filtered light. Hence, the lack of light shouldn’t cause the palm to die when it grows outdoors.

It’s more common in indoor palms. If you keep your palm indoor, and experience pale green, or yellow leaves that drop off, it might be because you move the plant to a place where it doesn’t get enough sunlight. You should move the palm as close to the windows as possible to revive it.

Other Reasons Why Pygmy Date Palm Might Die

If you exclude the previous reasons, you can take a look at less possible problems that can cause your Pygmy Date Palm to die.

  • Planting too deep: When planting, make sure the palm is at the same depth level as it was grown before. Planting it too deep causes nutrients and water deprivation.
  • Over-pruning: Don’t cut leaves until they are completely dry. Pruning tips on some of the palms will stop the new growth on that frond.
  • Herbicide use: Using different kinds of weed killers around the palm might cause burning and deformation. These injuries take months to become apparent. 
  • Repotting: The Pygmy Date Palm might be dying because of repotting shock. Ensure proper care, and the plant should revive itself over time.

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