Phoenix Species, Pygmy Date Palm, Robellini Palm

Phoenix roebelenii

Family: Arecaceae (ar-ek-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Phoenix (FEE-niks) (Info)
Species: roebelenii (roh-bel-EN-ee-eye) (Info)
Synonym:Phoenix roebelinii
View this plant in a garden


Tropicals and Tender Perennials


Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade


Grown for foliage


Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)


12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)


USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


Plant has spines or sharp edges; use extreme caution when handling

Bloom Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Mid Spring

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From seed; germinate in vitro in gelatin, agar or other medium

Seed Collecting:

Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:



Orange Beach, Alabama

Bullhead City, Arizona

Goodyear, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona (3 reports)

Queen Creek, Arizona

Surprise, Arizona

Tucson, Arizona

Alameda, California

Chula Vista, California

Clayton, California

Encino, California

Fairfield, California

Fontana, California

Foothill Farms, California

Fresno, California

Granite Bay, California

Hayward, California

Huntington Beach, California

Lake Elsinore, California (2 reports)

Martinez, California

Merced, California

Oceanside, California

Perris, California

Rancho Cucamonga, California

Rancho Mirage, California

Reseda, California

Rialto, California

Roseville, California

San Anselmo, California

San Diego, California

San Francisco, California

San Leandro, California

San Pedro, California

Santa Barbara, California (2 reports)

Santee, California

Simi Valley, California

Sun City, California

Temecula, California

Torrance, California

Upland, California

Ventura, California

Wildomar, California

Woodland Hills, California

Bartow, Florida

Big Pine Key, Florida

Boca Raton, Florida

Bokeelia, Florida

Boynton Beach, Florida

Bradenton, Florida (2 reports)

Bradenton Beach, Florida

Brandon, Florida

Brooksville, Florida

Cape Coral, Florida (3 reports)

Daytona Beach, Florida

Debary, Florida

Fort Lauderdale, Florida (3 reports)

Fort Mc Coy, Florida

Hollywood, Florida

Keystone Heights, Florida

Kissimmee, Florida (2 reports)

Lake Worth, Florida

Lakeland, Florida (2 reports)

Lecanto, Florida

Navarre, Florida

Niceville, Florida

North Fort Myers, Florida

North Port, Florida

Orange Park, Florida

Orlando, Florida

Palm Coast, Florida

Pompano Beach, Florida

Port Saint Lucie, Florida

Ruskin, Florida

Saint Petersburg, Florida

Sebring, Florida

Stuart, Florida

Tallahassee, Florida

Tampa, Florida

Tavares, Florida

Valrico, Florida

Vero Beach, Florida (3 reports)

West Palm Beach, Florida

Weston, Florida

Winter Haven, Florida

Winter Springs, Florida

Zephyrhills, Florida

Winterville, Georgia

Hawaiian Paradise Park, Hawaii

Plainfield, Indiana

Marrero, Louisiana

Metairie, Louisiana

New Orleans, Louisiana (2 reports)

Zachary, Louisiana

Las Vegas, Nevada (2 reports)

Beaufort, South Carolina (2 reports)

Bluffton, South Carolina

Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Saint Helena Island, South Carolina

Swansea, South Carolina

Alvin, Texas

Austin, Texas

Brownsville, Texas

Corpus Christi, Texas

Dallas, Texas

Edinburg, Texas

Frisco, Texas

Galveston, Texas

Houston, Texas

La Vernia, Texas

Liberty Hill, Texas

Missouri City, Texas

Port Isabel, Texas

Port O Connor, Texas

San Marcos, Texas

Schertz, Texas

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Mar 6, 2016, stephenp from Wirral, UK, Zone 9a,
United Kingdom (Zone 9a) wrote:

Absolutely hilarious post by DaveTorquay 2 below... RIP my friend.

This plant was actually planted in town 2 years ago, and certainly didn't expect it to overwinter in the centre of town but it has done, much to my surprise. I have a attached a photo to prove that this palm does well in this part of western UK.. it's in shelter and perhaps it will be good until the next real cold spell. That said it is not a long term prospect, and outside Torquay, it is not hardy ;-) There is also a specimen in Liverpool and a few in central London.


On Mar 13, 2014, stewdog from Brooksville, FL wrote:

Weeki Wachee, Fl. 3/12/2013

I have been growing this speices of palm for over 40 yrs. It does not like temps below 50*. Here in Weeki Wachee the winters are cold. This year alone we've had three hard freezes. What I do is wrap them in insulated moving blankets. I also use king size bed comforters but that can be expensive. I will apply the wraps during the day (trap warmth) and depending on the length of the cold snap is how long I keep them covered. But I have 7 large groups and they are dark green and healthy and have survied three cold winters.. Our soil is very sandy but with the proper fertilizer and water they can be beautiful.

I also have 4 palms at my home on the Pamlico River in NC. Located in the upper NE section it gets cold but I have never done an... read more


On Feb 20, 2014, DaveTorquay from Torquay,
United Kingdom (Zone 10b) wrote:

Phoenix roebelenii is as tough as old boots down here on the 'English Riviera'. It is fast overcoming the popularity of its bigger cousin Phoenix canariensis, which are already a dominant plant all across Torquay. I have grown Phoenix roebelenii outside for countless years, they grow in ground, in pots and even in hanging baskets (some particularly nice specimens can be seen hanging outside Sadies Fish Bar on Torre Abbey Road). At home in a shady border or in dappled shade, they love the sub-tropical climate here in Torquay, they wont however grow here in full sun, they scorch and shrivel up in our long hot dry summers (summers are particularly Mediterranean like here) so they need ample water from March until November, even in full shade. I had a solitary specimen that was planted out in ... read more


On Nov 11, 2013, OK580 from Ada, OK wrote:

Not sure if this is typical of Pygmy Dates, but I left mine in a 5 gallon pot outside for a few nights around 30* here in Southern Oklahoma last winter, only to find 0 cold damage. After seeing this, I decided to test it a little, and see if it could handle our winters. It did beautifully, even trying to grow some in dec and jan (weeks in the 60s and 70s aren't uncommon here), until we got a cold front which dropped the temp in the 15* range left it with heavy leaf burn, but it came right back by spring and put on a couple inches of trunk this summer! Definitely not cold hardy here, but a very tough little tropical! Highly recommend it!


On Dec 10, 2012, carolstropicals from Bellaire, TX wrote:

Great Palm !! I always split up the 3 palms that are sold. One in an area is enough.
I had 2 established Phoenix palms freeze in Houston at 26 degrees never to come back.
I also had a nice size Phoenix in the back yard. When the gardener installed a watering system in the garden, he set the nozzles and spray hit the Phoenix whenever I watered. All at once the leaves began dying. At this point I found out that these palms are susceptible to some type of fungus. It wasn't helpful to spray with fungicide. I ended up losing this 20 year old palm to this problem. Best keep the watering nozzles well away from this palm. It was so sad.


On May 19, 2011, dogdays from Sebring, FL wrote:

So far my experience is positive! I have 2 that I grew from seed I got from a neighbor's trees. Planted them in sand/potting soil mix and made sure to not let them dry out. They came up easily. That was about 3 years ago. They are about a foot tall now. One is still in a pot, other I planted out last fall. Took no precautions for freeze at all. Despite my front yard being fully open, it's sloped downhill towards a lake and I think that made the difference.


On Mar 28, 2011, Wombat1969 from Brussels,
Belgium wrote:

I have a seven foot Roebilinii that I keep in a large pot planted in the ground in my city garden here in Brussels.

Though Belgium is classified as Zone 8, my garden has high walls and is facing south, creating a mico zone, pushing the actual zone to 9 at least.

This past winter, I left it in the ground as usual, wrapping the fronds and trunk, putting down a layer of leaves, and covering the whole plant in plastic.

We had a mild winter, with the coldest night going down to 28 F.

The tree has survived intact, and nary a bit of browning of the leaf tips. can indeed push the limit with this tree (and many other palms) if precautions are undertaken and the weather is closely watched! I imagine I would have be... read more


On Jan 28, 2011, sunkissed from Winter Springs, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

This is a beautiful landscape palm, but I wish now I never planted it. For the last two winters all the fronds turned brown from temperatures dipping to the upper twenties. It came back last year, but got it again this year. Mine is right up by the house which I know helps it stay warm, so it keeps some green on it and rebounds quickly. I've seen some under the canopy of large trees do well in the cold snaps, but some out in the open never did come back after last winter, or they did and just looked half dead.
If you live where the temperatures are going below thirty it will freeze and if it does rebound it takes almost until the very end of the summer to really look full and good again. All the covering did no good either, they are hard to cover really well with the sharp thorns ... read more


On Sep 21, 2010, JonthanJ from Logansport, IN wrote:

I have grown several of these since I first got one growing in a tin can when an aunt returned from Florida c. 1960. Spider mites can be a serious problem, but what I want to add to this discussion is that my current one proved to be astonishingly enduring. Stored in the somewhat heated garage in the Fall of 2009, it languished pretty seriously. Growth stopped and all the visible leaves died. When I set it out for the summer with other houseplants anyway, the 3' trunk looked pretty dead. By mid summer, growth had resumed. Green leaf bases pushed out past the brown fuzz at the top of the stalk and then a growth bud popped out. The fronds are not yet full sized, but development is pretty aggressive. I would not have thought this possible in a plant that likes regular watering so much... read more


On Aug 8, 2009, sune from Kissimmee, FL wrote:

We have a three trunker (if that is the correct terminology) in our yard here in Central Florida. It has been in the ground for 6 years and is a lovely addition to our landscaping. Could someone please tell me what the white "cherry tomatoe" size clusters that appear are? Are they seeds? Can they be used to propogate more Robellini's? Thanks.


On Mar 16, 2009, ArchAngeL01 from Myrtle Beach, SC (Zone 8b) wrote:

this palm will not survive here, ive seen many planted and they all fry:( but i keep mine on screened porch w/overhang and it does wonderfull out their ,keep it moist and allow brite lite for best results:)


On Nov 11, 2008, agentdonny007 from Las Vegas, NV (Zone 8b) wrote:

This plant will grow in the Las Vegas area, however it's not as adaptable to our drier, hotter, low humidity climate. It doesn't seem to like our alkaline soil well and can suffer from deficiencies. Plants I have seen in the ground tend to have browning leaf edges. Best culture for Las Vegas would be in a container grown with some afternoon shade. My neighbor's yard is a great example of this. He has a pygmy date palm that looks good in a container near his driveway, and another one planted in the ground ten feet away that is showing significant distress and die back. Personally I have killed two of these plants unfortunately:( Alternate plants for Las Vegas to consider: Sago Palm, Mediterranean Fan Palm, and Pindo Palm. Canary Island Palm and True Date Palms are beautiful but will... read more


On May 31, 2008, damienma from Cape Coral, FL wrote:

Grows well even though we're going through a drought right now. It was in my yard when I bought the house and it is a little too close to the driveway. I am very allergic to the spikes and I will swell up in a localized area when I get poked by the spikes. No matter how much protective clothing I wear when handling this plant, I always seemed to get spiked. I wouldn't put it near a walkway or where children might play.


On Apr 23, 2008, paulforbes from Fresno, CA wrote:

leaves burn at around 30F, but survives. Mine are around 2' tall and were planted from 5 gal. 2 years ago. Very slow growing here.


On May 20, 2007, nick89 from Tallahassee, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

Pygmy Date Palm grows in Tallahassee, but very slowly and gets not as large as farther south. Here it survives winters best when it grows under the protection of tall evergreen trees, such as camphortrees or pines.


On May 17, 2007, jturner67 from Harold, FL wrote:

I have had a triple for just over 2 years that is about 3 1/2 feet tall. I live in Northwest Florida(Gulf Breeze/Navarre) and that means zone 8b. I love the look of this palm.

Pro's: aggresive root system(mine made it through the worst part of Hurricane Dennis with no damage), likes acidic soil, loves full sun.

Con's: cold hardy to 25F(I wrapped the trunks with burlap, as instructed, but it was not enough. The temp dropped to 24F for 4 hours and most of the fronds got frost damaged. I was lucky that the trees survived. Some of my neighbors weren't so fortunate. Next time, I will wrap the fronds and cover them and the trunks. I just was able to prune the dead fronds since there are enough new fronds now.

Recommendations: If you live in a place... read more


On Mar 15, 2007, davelodi from Stockton, CA wrote:

I had two planted in ground and did quite well in Northern California (zone 9a-b) But this winter we had a hard freeze, down to low twenties/ high teens. They died. Dug them up today and returned to Lowe's and got two more. I like them and I hope we don't have a freeze like this one for another 10-15 years(or until I move to Hawaii). LOL


On Jul 17, 2005, prsup59 from Bullhead City, AZ wrote:

I love this palm. It is having quite a struggle staying green here in Az. This is a particularly hot period for us. The average temp. for the last 3weeks has been 114. Some days it is up to 125. I have been watering it and it seems to be okay but the leaves are turning yellow on the fringes. I hope it survives its first summer!


On Jun 23, 2005, bobchang from Huntington Beach, CA wrote:

This palm can easily be container-grown successfully indoors. Give it plenty of light (such as placement close to a south facing window or near/underneath a skylight) and it should thrive - the more light it receives, the faster it'll grow, and the taller and wider it'll get. Under optimal lighting, its growth rate can be quite spectacular; at lower levels of light growth becomes modest. It's root system is neither deep nor spread out - so you'll have the benefit of using a smaller pot. Light fertilization during the warm months should be sufficient to keep it happy. A healthy, young P. roebelenii does tend to get wide (especially if you buy 'em already planted in groups), so here's a tip: buy it as a single plant (directly from a nursery/grower) and grow it as such. Its thin, gr... read more


On Aug 4, 2004, Scarlete from Tampa, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

I really love this palm. It's gorgeous in my Tampa front yard. Doesn't seem to require *too* much pruning, which is nice because the thorns will get ya! The thorns are sharp and abundant.

It survives in a fairly shaded area. (I have two oaks in the front yard) I feed it about twice a year with a '9-4-9' 6 month fertilizer. I prune with leaves are turning more yellow than green. (it seems the practice in my neighborhood that pruning should be harsh, but they look so barren that way!)

Mine is about 5 feet tall, and I'm not sure how much bigger it will get considering the shade, but I'm happy with it's size.

The flowers are creamy white and if you mess with them you'll have much pollen on you and the surrounding plant.

I've not seen ... read more


On Jul 11, 2003, BrownZone8 from Statesboro, GA wrote:

I bought a couple of these nice looking palms this year and planted them in my yard, which is on the zone 8a-8b border. So far I have not heard of anyone having sucess with this one this far north, but the guy in Central Florida I bought them from said he had seen them survive a mild frost, so I'm optimistic. I'll most likely try to wrap them when it gets cold.


On Jul 7, 2003, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

This is one of the most commonly grown palms in malls and public plantings in Southern California. It is hardy, despite its origins in tropical Asia, and is one of the more 'user friendly' Phoenix palms, having soft, feathery leaves. However, it still has some sharp, 1-2" spines at the base of each leaf, so careful when pruning. It is actually, for a palm, one of the faster growing palms in Southern California. Though it is the pigmy of the Phoenix, it can grow up to 15' tall (may take 20-30 years to get that tall, though). It is usually not a clumper, but sold in clumps, making it look that way.


On Aug 31, 2002, ADKSpirit from Lake Placid, NY (Zone 4a) wrote:

This is a small, very slow growning palm. When I bought mine about 4 years ago it was about 15 inches tall. Now it's about 24-25 inches tall. Tolerates most watering conditions, but if it doesn't get enough the fronds will start to turn yellow. A little epsom salt will help feed it during the growing season. Makes a nice container-grown palm, but beware, it has long, sharp thorns along the fronds. Be careful when working around it and wear gloves when trimming off the dead fronds.