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Nothing says Queensland like swaying palm trees. There are a multitude of palm varieties available and each should be considered carefully before you plant.

The Golden Cane Palm or Dypsis lutescens originated in Madagascar and is perfectly suited to our sub-tropical climate and work wonders as a screen. This clumping palm is a versatile plant for landscaping; the golden colouring making a bold accent and providing much-needed shading around pools. Being an unarmed palm they have no spikes or spines to be concerned about.

The Golden Cane can grow up to 6 -12 metres in height (around 4 metres being the norm) with arched leaves that can be up to 2-3 metres long. The plant contains 40-60 pairs of leaflets and bears panicles of yellowy flowers during the summer months.

Click Here to read our latest 2017 blog on Golden Cane Palms and your lawn

Due to the non-invasive root system, the Golden Cane is appropriate for planting near swimming pools and home foundations. The thin and fibrous roots form big mats making them unlikely to invade pools or underground pipes unless a leak already exists despite their nature of being water suckers. If in doubt, plant the Golden Canes well clear of any underground pipes.

All palms will spread their roots superficially and could interfere with other shallow-rooted plants such as lawns. For this reason Golden Canes are best suited to garden beds rather than within the lawn it’s self. On the plus side, the growth of Golden Canes is fairly predictable unlike some trees whose roots will grow and cause interference with driveways and other structures.

Palms require a rich and moist soil. Initially water your palms once a week for the first few years and keep them well mulched and fed with either an all-purpose plant food or compost. Once they are fully established they won’t require any specific treatment other than ensuring that the roots don’t consistently sit in water.

The leaves will naturally shed every few months or simply die and hand down needing just a gentle pull to dislodge from the stem. Clean up may seem to be an ongoing process due to the sheer number of palm leaves within a single clump. To off-set this, and if full screening is not required, the Golden Cane Palms can be quite easily separated; clumps of 3-4 stems usually offering both adequate screening and shade.

If you are concerned about planting Golden Can Palms directly into the ground, or are renting and want to take your plants with you in the future, these plants do extremely well in containers; just plant in a large pot with free-draining potting mix. Due to the non-branching nature of the root system, Golden Cane Palms can be transplanted quite easily. For a larger palm we recommend staking and supporting the stem while the plant is re-established in its new home.

This Post Has 56 Comments

    1. Hi,

      I would use a root barrier for Golden cane palms as this controls them, one idea is to simply cut the bottom off the pot plant and plant it, this will slow down the roots, or even leave the pot intact and plant it, it will give you a small plant.

      Otherwise have plenty of space around your Golden cane, and don’t expect turf to grow under it.


      1. We have 2 golden canes planted in a single skin brick garden beside our pool. The palms have been in for about 3 years but are getting quite large. I am worried they will keep expanding and crack the brickwork. Should I be worried?

        1. Hi Greg,
          The Golden Canes palms will continue to grow until it has cracked your brick enclosure, so you are correct in being worried. The best thing i can suggest is to reduce the number of stems to only 4-5 at the most, take all the large ones away ASAP.

  1. i livein perth wa we have a two dy watering system, will the palms thrive on watering twice a week? Prth can get very hot during summer months.

  2. We would like to remove a number of golden palms (9) from a pool enclosure that have just got to big, approx 3mtr H can anyone tell me the easy way to remove these for relocation, do they have an extensive root system or should we just cut them down and start again … Thanks … Kevin

    1. Hi Kevin

      Are you planning on discarding your golden cane palms? I’m not sure where you live but I am looking to purchase some if you are getting rid of them?


  3. My husband has complketely cut back my golden palms to one solitary trunk will they recover and how long will it take

  4. Hi
    Yes they will recover, very hardy plant, should take 12 -18 months to fully recover, feed it organics regular to speed the process

  5. Recently purchased home, it has far too many clumps of GC Palm trees – have cut two adjoining clumps off to 30 cm above ground.How best to get rid of the huge stump “clumps” please?

  6. I have golden canes along my fence line that are at a perfect height now providing us with more privacy, however I don’t want them to get any taller. Is there any way I can prune them to keep them from growing taller? I don’t mind if they get bushier (sideway) just not taller. Thanks

  7. Hi,
    While I am not an expert in palms, from experience to keep the height to a minimum, you will need to take out the thicker trunks which will grow taller as they get older. By keeping the thinner, clumpy trunks this will create your privacy and thickness. It may be hard over a long period of time to keep the height down though.

  8. Hi, I have brought some golden canes from the nursery as they where cheap but they are only about a meter high and only have 2 thin stalks.
    My question is will they eventually thicken up and have lots of leaves or will they stay thin and non bushy?

  9. Hi Terry, I have a 30+ yr old golden cane, very green in a partly shaded position. Just magnificent! have planted 2 new ones, about 7′ high, in seperate positions in sunny position for half of the year. They are quite yellow now, with some black spots & stripes on trunks. What should I do? They haven’t had regular Seasol. I think sun is the issue. Suggestions?

    1. Hi, Golden Canes love organics, and therefore benefit greatly from Seasol, 100 ml per week in 9 litre watering can, and pour on root zone. Plus 10 handfuls of good quality organics pellets at base. Sun will not be a problem, they love full sun, maybe they are on poor soil.


  10. I have well stablished (10 yr) GCs. Few months ago had severe hail storm which damaged lots of fronds which mistakenly I cut. Now the new fronds keep breaking with the wind. Any ideas about how can I protect them until they grow stronger?

    1. Hi Jose,
      Hard to kill GC, I’m sure they will power through this, but small wall of hessian with a couple of pegs will aide them, also may need some Seasol to boost nutrients. 100 ml in 9 litre watering can poured over the roots.


  11. I have trunks at about 6-8m high in clumps of almost 20. There is about 5 clumps around my yard. I have smaller sprouts starting out in each of these. If I cut the larger trunks out at the base will the smaller ones push together to reduce the spread or stay spread apart while maturing. The larger trunks are just getting TOO big (tall). And they’ve gotten a bit out of control with their spread. It’s that or I’m cutting down the whole lot. Any advice?

    1. Hi Wally,
      I’m no expert on growing Golden Canes, just good at trying to grow lawn under and near them, however I do know that cutting out the middle will allow other stems to grow up there, and yes they do get too big and overpowering.
      Removing the whole plant is a option, as it can look untidy while the new centre stems grow. I have been told, Golden Canes grow better with limited number of stems, 6-10. So cut the thick ( tall) stems out, and limit the young suckers coming through, then fertilise with organics to aid recovery, so the plant still looks okay.

      1. Hi Max,
        We find the same thing in Eastern Aust. too, in Winter its hard to keep lawns green, So last year Lawn Solutions Aust. offered new product to help, ColourGuard,
        1.Instantly restores the natural green colour of grass – year round
        2.Substantially reduces watering needs
        3.Stays green during droughts and water restrictions
        4.UV fade resistant
        5.Won’t bleed, run, or stain once absorbed into the grass
        6.Safe for the environment, pets and people
        7.Works in extreme heat, cold and frost
        8.Organic and natural – no harmful chemicals
        9.Reduces the amount of fertiliser and water used on lawns
        So far from trials we did last year this product is showing great promise, and it’s not overly expensive, go to and click on lawnstore products

  12. HI

    My GC Palms have grown very tall. i have read above but wondering if I cut the main stem off, can I replant it or does it need the root ball. I know you can do this with some plants but not sure if I am wasting my time trying to recycle these. Thank you

    1. Hi Beverley,
      Best way is to cut a sucker off the side of the main plant stem, there should be quite a few suckers on the base, take a sharp knife our spade and slice it off, then plant it and it will grow. Make sure you only plant it in areas away from plumbing, fences, taps, and any other underground services as it can be invasive.

  13. Hi, I recently built a retaining wall and I want to plant golden cane at the edge of the wall, do you think that the roots will damaged this wall if too close of the edge or it will be ok – sorry I know its hard to know .. thanks in advance

    1. Hi
      Yep its hard to know, depends on your soil type, depends on how close to the retaining wall you plant, 2-3 metres would be good. If its a very strong wall then it should be okay.


      1. HI
        Do not plant GCP near retaining walls !!! I have had 2 magnificent GCP near retaining wall & they have cracked the whole length of the wall .It has been a huge job to remove palms & then ground out the roots . I have had to have the whole retaining wall repaired, & the ground is so root bound where the palms were, it will be difficult to plant anything else

        1. You will find the roots will rot away fairly quickly, which actually adds good organic matter to the ground. Any palm tree near retaining walls can be tricky

  14. What soil is best for golden palms and fertilisers and anything else thay can help. Going to buy a couple small ones from bunnings…

    1. Golden canes are very hardy, they will grow happily in a wide variety of soils, feed them organics to keep healthy

  15. Hi

    I have a ledge between concrete retaining walls (approx 45cms. I was thinking of planting Golden Palms on this ledge to provide a screen for the above retaining wall. As the majority of retaining walls are pebbles and I have 40cms depth of soil. Will this be sufficient to support the root system of a golden palm?

    Any help would be appreciated, or a suggestion of what palm type plant may do the job?


    1. Hi Shane,
      Golden palms are very aggressive plants, I’m not sure if this is a great idea, they have a ability to crack concrete planter boxes if not constructed correctly, talk to a nursery to check.

  16. I have bought a fairly large golden cane palm to have in a pot as a screen on our terrace in Canberra. It will have full sun in the mornings and some shade in the afternoons. I have been told they don’t like full sun and are really an indoor plant.
    Please advise
    Thanks Jane.

    1. Golden canes love fully sun, and also tolerate part shade, but that is in QLD, maybe they don’t like the cold, for your area, you would have to check with local nursery.

  17. Dear Sir,
    I live in Western Australia and i have planted Golden Cane Palm , three of them together .Do you think its ok or should i plant them apart.
    Thank you.Best regards,

    1. Hi,
      You will need to plant them apart as they are fast growers and will quickly fill in. At least 2-3 metres apart i would think.


  18. I have a row of cane palms (9) that are over 10 years old. They are in a garden bed with edging. The issue that I am having is that it appears to roots are going under the edging and the lawn that went up to the edging has disappeared. It appears that the roots of the palm are competing with the lawn. I am considering putting in a root system. Digging a 1/2 meter and filling with concrete. On top of the concrete I plan to erect a wall of decorative concrete blocks of up to 1 meter. Will the 1/2 metre below ground contain the roots or is it the canopy of the palm leaves that is causing the lawn closest to the edging to become dirt? The lawn in the front looks amazing, however the back needs attention.

  19. Hi just wondering how wide should I make a garden bed for palms so they can grow without damaging the garden beds or should I plant them in plastic pots place them in the garden bed and that will restrict their growth height.

  20. hi have planted lots of golden canes in my new house about 8 weeks ago they are already 6ft tall when i bought them . they looked really healthy when purchasing , from then its gotten alot colder and we ahve had high winds and a fair bit of rain . some of the leaves on only some of the plants are turning like a darker green with tinges of sort of blue through it . and some have burnt tips is this normal for the palnt coming into the winter season or is there something i can do to fix them thanks

  21. I have 2 clumps of gp,s. Have been told they attract termites?? Have also been told that if l cut any of the mature stems they will die back, creating a termite haven in the dead dyeing root sydtem. Help… l would like to thin out but not if it creates a termite problem. Please advise thank you

    1. Any dead material can attract termites, however GCP will decompose very quickly so it shouldn’t be a problem long term, termites also like dry areas so i wouldn’t expect them to be a problem, however you would have to talk to a termite expert.

  22. Hi. I want to grow some in my garden bed. Is there a way I can restrict their growth to no bigger than 4/5 metres tall ?

    1. Hi Natalie, There is no way of knowing the best way to limit the height of Golden canes as it depends on the elements where they are growing, like how much moisture, nutrients and sunlight. You could plant them in there original plastic pot straight into the ground but make sure you cut the bottom of the pot off, it may limit the growth somewhat. I have heard some people having success with this method.

  23. Hi Terry,
    I have just found your website and blog about cane palms and lots of good info too.
    My problem is that my 20yr old single palm, with many old cut stumps and about 1.5m from the house
    needs to be entirely removed and I’m not sure which is the best way to remove it without
    hiring any mechanical diggers to do the job.
    I am 80yrs old now and would like to have a go myself.
    Could you recommend a good way to do this please, without me breaking my old back!
    Many thanks for your help. John.

    1. Hi John,
      I had a Golden Cane palm completely wrapped around a maze of pipes, so i cut all the stems off, about 300 mm high, then painted Round up on each of the stems, using 2 parts water and 1 part Round up. Within 12 – 18 months it will start to rot away, at this point it will fall apart and will be easily removed.

  24. Hi Terry, I’m struggling to keep my golden canes alive. They were transplanted from another garden in Brisbane and may have become stressed. Some of the canes have just rotted and fallen down, and there seem to be aphids or some white scale at the base of the fronds. I’m not sure how to save then or whether I’m watering too much or too little. The tips of the fronds are turning brown. My soil is quite heavy and poorly draining.

    1. Hi Jane, Golden canes are very hardy plants, it sounds like you are over caring for them. Only water them for the first week after transplanting, apart from that leave them alone. Give a good dose of organics mixed into the soil as you plant and thats it. Remove any dead fronds and young stems to allow the plant more energy to grow.

  25. Hi,
    I have 8 or more very large, approximately 6 to 8 metre palms, Golden Cane, fox tail and I think Alex’s that I am looking to have removed, would you know of anyone that would want them for transplanting, it would be a shame to see them end up at the tip.

  26. Hi Terry

    I have some old golden cane palms with roots that have grown under a concrete slab. We removed the slab and want to add under turf and sir walter and are afraid the palm roots will invade. Is there a way to contain the palm roots? I was thinking if laying weed mat/shade cloth before adding the under turf soil. What do you think?

    1. Sorry, no way of controlling golden cane roots, unless you remove the palm tree all together. Weed matt idea won’t work, plus it will effect the turf as well.

    1. Hi Troy,
      Yes, I believe that will work fine, pots will contain the roots, you can cut the bottom off the pot as this will still contain the roots mostly.

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