I bought a strelitzia nicolai and it came with a surprise stowaway palm growing in the pot. I'm not one to complain, but I think I should tease them apart before they grow to suffocate each other. I tried unearthing the stem of the palm but it seems to go very deep, maybe into the other plant's root ball.

Is there an easy way to separate them? I don't mind damaging the palm if it's unavoidable, but I want to be sure I won't hurt the other plant.

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  • If it is not a plant you want/know, cut it off. Dec 1, 2021 at 10:54

1 Answer 1


Make sure the soil in the pot is good and wet - turn the whole plant and its rootball out and pull out the possible palm plus root - if its grown into the roots of the other plant, you will have to wiggle it a bit as you go. It may disrupt the rootball a bit, but it should be fine so long as you replace the main plant back in the pot immediately afterwards, adding some potting soil if necessary.

  • This is so much better than my usual "using a tiny shovel cut a volume of soil that contains the major roots(many small roots will be severed); move to a new pot without breaking it up; add soil and hope both plants survive". Works surprisingly well - say 80% of the time. I imagine your approach is close to 100% then!
    – Vorac
    Dec 7, 2021 at 9:14
  • 1
    Haven't had to do it too often, but I have had one failure - trying to separate allium christophii bulbs out of a large, potted shrub in a large container when transferred to the ground. Had to give up or I'd have lost the bulbs and the shrubs!
    – Bamboo
    Dec 7, 2021 at 20:36

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