Transplanting Palm Trees

by Norm
(V.I., United States)



Our palm tree is cracking the walls of its concrete cement block planter. Do you have any suggestions for what to do to prevent this from happening further Just repairing the crack by itself doesn't seem to make sense as it will continue to happen.

Thanks for your help.


Hi Norm,

Yes, you are correct; repairing the cement planter will not fix the problem. The palm tree needs to be repotted into a larger container. After you have transplanted the palm, you can repair the cement planter.

A palm tree can grow in the same container for one to two years before transplanting is necessary. Signs that it is time to transplant your palm into a larger container include:

  • Palm roots coming out of the bottom of the container.

  • Organic components in the soil show signs of breaking down. When this happens, the soil becomes sticky and dense.

  • The palm grows too large for the container. It might become top-heavy or root-bound, causing cracks in the plant container.

Steps for Transplanting Palm Trees to Larger Containers

  1. Start with a larger container with holes in the bottom. This will ensure adequate drainage.

  2. Lay the palm tree on its side and gently slide it out of the planter. If necessary, tap the container on the sides to loosen the soil. Handle the roots with care. To minimize transplant shock, keep as much of the potting soil around the root ball as possible.

  3. To ensure proper drainage, use an organic potting soil mixed with sand (3 parts soil to 1 part sand). To avoid burning the palm tree roots, do not use soil with fertilizer added into the mix.

  4. Place approximately 4 inches (10 cm) of soil into the bottom of the container. Water the soil thoroughly.

  5. Place the palm tree into the planter. It should be planted at approximately the same height as it was growing in the previous container. Fill in the remaining space with soil. Shake the pot to make sure the new soil enters into the root crevices. Gently pat down the soil. Add additional soil to make up for lost space through soil compression and settling.

  6. Thoroughly water the repotted palm. When the soil is adequately saturated, water will trickle out the bottom of the plant container.

  7. Avoid moving the palm tree to a new location right away. Make sure
    it is thriving in its new container before making a change.

  8. Wait at least two months before fertilizing your repotted palm tree. Give the palm time to recover from the shock caused by transplanting it into a larger container.

How to Repair a Concrete Planter


  • Mortar Repair in Caulking Tube (use for small cracks)

  • Bag of Concrete Patch (use for large cracks)

  • Bowl for Mixing

  • Small Stainless Steel Brush

  • Flat Edge Plaster Trowel

Use a hose to remove any dirt and clean off the planter. Before repairing the crack, you need to remove loose debris from around and inside the crack. A steel brush is ideal for this task. Scrub around the edge and inside the crack. The planter needs to be completely dry before moving on to the next step.

For a small crack, use the mortar repair caulking tube to completely fill in the crack. If the crack runs all the way through the planter, inject enough caulking to fill it in completely. Use your finger to smooth the edges of the repaired crack.

For a large crack, follow directions to mix up the bag of concrete patch. Using a trowel, completely fill in the large crack with the concrete patch. Using the pointed edge of the trowel, make sure you get the patch into all the nooks and crannies of the crack. If the crack is large, it is important to fill it in completely. After the repaired crack has dried, fill in any remaining spaces to be sure there are no cracks remaining. Smooth the lines where you have repaired the crack using the edge of the trowel.

Wrap one inch strips of damp cloth around the cracked planter, positioning the cloth directly over the crack. Tie the ends of the cloth firmly. These strips hold the planter together, allowing the mortar bind. Instead of cloth strips, you can wind several layers of duct tape around the cracked planter. The mortar needs to cure for 24 hours.

Remove the strips of cloth or tape from around the planter. The crack should now be sealed and the planter should appear as one single piece again. Allow the repaired concrete planter to dry for at least three days.

Before use, fill the planter with water to test the seal.

Good luck with transplanting your palm tree and repairing your planter!

Warmest Regards,


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