What Is Growing Out of My Palm Tree? (7 Possibilities)

Palm Trees can be grown outdoors in tropical climates, or indoors as houseplants in more temperate zones. They add a lush, beach vibe to your décor, but you may sometimes find that there’s something growing out of your palm tree. Don’t worry, it’s not always a sign of trouble!

Some of the possibilities of what is growing out of your palm tree include good stuff like flowers, berries, or even coconuts, depending on the species of palm tree you are growing. However, your palm tree may also be developing a fungus, be suffering through an insect infestation, or even become host to a wasp’s nest.

What Is Growing Out of My Palm Tree (Possibilities)

1. Flowers

What Types of Flowers Can Grow off a Palm Tree

If it’s early spring and your palm tree is sending out some new shoots with clusters of what appear to be small balls or narrow spikes, your palm tree is blooming! It’s not a terribly common occurrence on palm trees grown indoors, as the conditions are not usually ideal for flowering. However, it may happen every few years.

Can Flowers Grow from a Palm Tree?

Yes! Palm trees can produce beautiful flowers that vary in color and size depending on the species. These flowers typically grow at the top of the tree and can attract birds and insects.

Should I Cut the Flowers off my Palm Tree?

There’s no right or wrong answer to this question, Essentially, it’s a matter of personal preference. If you like the look of the rare palm flowers, go ahead and leave them alone. Trim them after they fade so that they won’t encourage disease or insects.

However, if you find that they look untidy, or they are dropping all over your floor and leaving a sticky mess of nectar, feel free to cut off the shoots at their base. This won’t impact the health of your palm tree, and may in fact help it thrive, as the plant will be able to focus its energies on growing foliage.

What Types of Flowers Can Grow off a Palm Tree?

Not all palm trees have the same types of flowers, so what you see on your palm tree will depend on the species that you are growing. And there are 2500 different species of palm trees from around the world, so it’s impossible to list them all.

  • The Australian King Palm produces long trailing strings of tiny pink and purple flowers.
  • The Parlour Palm has spikes with little pale yellow balls along their lengths.
  • The Cabbage Palm has long, panicles with thick clusters of tiny white flowers. 
  • The Date Palm has large, drooping panicles of creamy-white flowers.

You can see our list of palm plants here: 29 Types of Outdoor Palm Plants (With Pictures)

2. Cycads

What Are the Cones that Grow on Palm Trees

Cycads are a type of plant that can grow on or around palm trees. They have long, fern-like fronds and produce cones that contain seeds.

What Are the Cones that Grow on Palm Trees?

Some palm trees develop cones rather than flowers, notably the popular Sago Palm. It’s not actually a true palm tree, but it has very similar fronds to palms, hence its name. It’s actually a cycad, one of the most ancient of plants.

After several years, a Sago Palm may produce a large cone growing out of the central base. A male Sago Palm’s cone may be as high as 2 feet!

While the cones are a fascinating and rare event, they can be removed without harming the plant.

3. Berries

Can Berries Grow on Palm Trees

Can Berries Grow on Palm Trees?

Yes, certain palm trees, such as date palms, produce edible berries. These berries can range in size and color and are a popular food source in many cultures.

One of the trendiest of fruits is the Acai berry, which is in fact a palm fruit. There are many other palms that also produce berries , but not all of them are considered edible, and others, such as the Bamboo Palm and Sago Palm, are in fact highly poisonous.

Dates are the fruit of Date Palms and are berries as well, and are of course a frequently consumed fruit, usually eaten dried or used in baking.

4. Fungus and Diseases

ganoderma palm tree fungus diseaese
Bob Peterson from North Palm Beach, Florida, Planet Earth!, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Unfortunately, not all things growing out of your palm tree are desirable, and that includes fungus and other diseases.

There are various types of fungus and diseases that can affect palm trees, including:

  1. Ganoderma butt rot: This is a fungal disease that causes the trunk to decay and can eventually kill the tree.
  2. Fusarium wilt: This disease can cause yellowing and wilting of fronds and can eventually kill the tree.
  3. Phytophthora bud rot: This disease can cause the top of the palm tree to wilt and die, and can spread quickly to other trees.
  4. Diamond scale: This is a fungal disease that can cause black or brown spots on the fronds and trunk of the tree.
  5. Palm leaf spot: This is a fungal disease that can cause brown or black spots on the fronds of the tree.
  6. Thielaviopsis trunk rot: This disease can cause blackening and rotting of the trunk and can eventually kill the tree.

It’s important to keep an eye on your palm trees regularly for signs of these possible diseases and take appropriate action if any issues are found to prevent further damage.

What is the White Stuff growing on My Palm Tree?

Ganoderma, in the image above, is a common fungus on palm trees. While it will first cause fronds to droop, you may only really notice it once white conks, or solid white masses, appear on the trunk of the tree.

There is no treatment for Ganoderma, so your only option is remove the affected palm immediately. If you’re growing it as a potted plant, do not attempt to reuse the soil, but dispose of it as well.  If you are growing it in the ground in a tropical climate, it’s necessary to also remove all roots to prevent them from spreading the disease.

5. Insects

Can Palm Trees Get Insect Infestations

Palm trees are as susceptible to insect infestations as any other plant. Palm trees can attract a rather large variety of insects, including beetles, aphids, and mealybugs. These insects can cause damage to the tree and may cause growths to appear on the trunk or fronds.

Can Palm Trees Get Insect Infestations?

Spider mites are a common bane of indoor gardeners, and if you are growing your palm tree indoors they may well end up with a spider mite infestation. Mild attacks will be evident with small raised bumps on the underside of leaves, while severe infestations result in sticky webs over the plants. You can control spider mites with sprays such as neem oil or insecticidal soap.

Mealybugs are easy to see on the underside of palm fronds; they are white and resemble puffs of cotton. They can be controlled with insecticidal sprays, or wiped away with a cotton ball dipped in rubbing alcohol.

Palm aphids love to feast on the fruits of palm trees. They can be killed with pyrethrin sprays.

Scale insects look like scaly growths on the leaves, where they settle in and suck the sap from the tree, eventually killing it. However, you can use an insecticidal soap spray to eliminate them.

In tropical climates, where palm trees are grown outside, there are other possible insect pests, such as palmetto bugs, palm leaf skeletonizers, and saddleback caterpillars, all of which can be eliminated with the use of insecticidal sprays.

6. Coconuts

Do Coconuts Grow on Palm Trees

Coconut palms are known for producing coconuts, which can grow to be quite large. These coconuts can weigh up to several pounds and are used for food! These palm trees are very common and coconuts are nothing to be concerned about. Just make sure they do not fall off and damage your belongings or yourself!

Do Coconuts Grow on Palm Trees?

Coconuts grow on the Coconut Palm tree, which is native to the islands of the Western Pacific, but is now grown in the tropics around the world. It can even be grown as a houseplant, but it’s extremely difficult to produce any fruit under those conditions.

7. Nest

bird nest in palm tree

The canopies of palm trees are extremely popular nesting spots for a variety of creatures, including many birds, ranging from herons to hummingbirds. Cavity-nesting birds such as woodpeckers and owls will build their nests in the holes that develop in older trees.

Mammals such as monkeys and baboons, as well as marsupials like possums and koalas will roost in palm trees as well. Palm tree rats, as their name implies, often take up residence in hollow trunks.

Insects such as wasps are also known to build their nests in palm trees, probably attracted by the flowers, which are a good source of nectar. If the nest is growing far above ground level, the wasps are unlikely to ever be a nuisance or danger to you, and they are good pollinators.

However, if you want to get rid of the nest, you have a couple of options.

You can try spraying it with a high-pressure stream of water, staying far enough away to avoid getting stung by angry wasps. Alternatively, if you can get close enough, try using a wasp-killer spray aimed at the entrance to the nest. Do this at dusk when all the wasps will have settled in for the night. After a day or two, when you’ve seen no signs of activity, you can knock the nest down safely.

Palm Tree Growths Possibilities Chart:

Possibility Shape and color Texture Location Growth pattern
1. Fungus White or black, irregular shape Fuzzy or slimy Trunk or fronds Spreading rapidly
2. Scale insects Small, brown or yellow, round Hard and smooth Fronds or trunk Staying the same size
3. Mealybugs Small, white, round Fuzzy or powdery Fronds or trunk Spreading rapidly
4. Palm aphids Small, green or black, round Soft and squishy Fronds or trunk Spreading rapidly
5. Palm weevils Irregular shape, brown or black Hard and rough Trunk or roots Spreading rapidly
6. Squirrel damage Irregular shape, bark missing N/A Trunk Staying the same size
7. New growth Green, round or pointed Soft and smooth Fronds or trunk Spreading rapidly

Final Thoughts

Palms are one of the most iconic of the world’s trees, with their often towering height and distinctive canopies of fronds. It’s important to be able to identify whether things growing out of them are beneficial, harmful, or neutral, and how best to deal with these issues to ensure a healthy, long-lived tree.

Don’t forget to read our other palm plants guides: 

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