PHOENIX ROEBELENII PALM (Pygmy Date Palm)
ORIGIN : Southeastern Asia
LIGHT : Full sun (bright sun to partial shade)
WATER : Moderate (let soil dry out between watering)
GROWTH RATE : Slow
HEIGHT : 6-10 feet
Phoenix Roebelenii Palm is a slow growing slender tree native to the tropical forest of Southeastern Asia that can grow to about 10 feet in height. This plant has one trunk, but it has the ability to develop a sapling from the base of the roots that can grow as an individual palm tree. An easier way to form “multiples” is by putting several single trunk plants into one pot. Trunks have a lot of fiber, matting and hair and they require pruning in order to develop clean and strong structure.
The stem is covered with old leaf bases and is topped with a dense head of bright green pinnate leaves that grow to about 4 feet in length. The leaflets are arranged along the upper length of the arched leaf stem while its lower part is covered with 2-3 inch long sharp spines.
Flowers, which appear throughout the year, are small, yellow- white, held on one foot long drooping inflorescences. They are dioecious (male and female flowers occur on separate plants). Fruit are elliptical, about ½ inch long, and their color ranges from dark purple to brown/ black when fully ripe. Propagation by seeds can take about 3 months.
Phoenix Roebelenii Palms are very adaptable and tolerant to most soil conditions. For their best look, moist, well-drained soil should be used and fertilized 3 times a year. If planted in a soil lacking nutrients it will turn yellow. For a short period of time, this palm will take temperatures in the low 20s with only minor leaf damage.
Phoenix Roebelenii Palms are resistant to pests and diseases.
ADONIDIA PALM (Veitchia Merrilli)
ORIGIN : Philippines
LIGHT : Full sun (tolerates partial shade)
WATER : Moderate (water sparingly in winter)
GROWTH RATE : Moderate to fast
HEIGHT : 15-20 feet
Adonidia Palm (Christmas Palm) has a single slender gray trunk that is smooth, sectioned by leaf scar rings and is swollen at the base. Native to the Philippines (this palm is also called “Manila Palm”) it is small version of the tall, smooth-trunked Royal Palm (another name for this palm is Dwarf Royal Palm).
More attractive clump (double or even triple trunk) is formed by adding more seedlings in the same pot. Because of their neat appearance (older leaves drop off without the need for pruning) and heights of more than 20 feet, these palms have become very popular in large buildings and malls.
A short green crown shaft supports a neatly compact crown of about a dozen pinnate (“feather”) leaves. These are arched and about 5 feet long with 40-60 strap-shaped leaflets that are about 2 feet long and 2 inches wide. Two feet long inflorescence, born where crown shaft attaches to the trunk, will sprout small cream colored flowers. By autumn these are replaced by one inch long green fruit. By late fall most of the green fruits are beginning to ripen and by late December (around Christmas) are bright and brilliant red.
Adonidia Palm can grow in almost any soil that is well drained and fed with palm fertilizer several times a year.
PONYTAIL PALM (Beaucarnea Recurvate)
ORIGIN : Mexico
LIGHT : Bright light, tolerates some shade
WATER : Moderate
GROWTH RATE : Very slow
HEIGHT : 10 feet
Ponytail Palm (Elephant Foot, Bottle Palm) is a full size tree native to the desert of Mexico with a unique enlarged base and a head of pendulous, smooth edged, dark green leaves that are about one inch wide and can be up to 6 feet long. The foliage makes a distinctively unique canopy that looks like a fountain of leaves.
They are very slow growing plants with average height of 10 feet, rarely reaching the heights of 15-20 feet. The plant can have several branches towards the top. There are no two plants alike!
It’s an arid plant by nature so the periods of dryness are not deadly for an established plant. If you’re not sure whether or not to water the plant, skip it until the next week. It should be watered thoroughly once every 7-10 days; during the winter season water it monthly. It stores water in its bulbous base which resembles an elephant’s foot – gray and finely wrinkled. If you notice the lower foliage is starting to turn yellow or brown you may be under watering the plant. If you are overwatering the plant, light new growth, stem rot or root rot will appear. Sandy mixes soil generally minimizes the probability of root rot, especially compared to the peaty mixes soil normally used in most tropical plants.
It is normal for the older leaves to have brown tips. If you decide to trim these brown tips be sure you don’t cut into the green part of the leaf. Remove the lower browned leaves and discard them.
During the growing season this plant should be fed weekly with liquid fertilizer (slow release pellet fertilizer is fine, too). Reduce feeding during the winter.
MAJESTY PALM (Ravenea Rivularis)
ORIGIN : Madagascar
LIGHT : Moderate (do not keep it near a window)
WATER : Low to moderate
GROWTH RATE : Fast to 10 feet then slowing (10”-18” per year)
HEIGHT : 15 feet
Majesty Palm is an indoor and outdoor medium size palm with solitary, robust grey stems, swollen at the base and gradually tapering upward. This common palm is shade tolerant and can take many years to grow an actual trunk. The Majesty Palm loves any type of soil, as long it has good drainage, and can reach the average height of 15-25 feet (first 10 feet will be reached very quickly).
It doesn’t require a lot of watering but can be impacted with overwatering, so do not allow the roots to sit in water. If the foliage tips begin turning brown, you are probably under watering the plant. If the foliage tips begin turning yellow you may be overwatering it. The Majesty Palm requires very low and easy maintenance but in order to keep a healthy green color it has to be fertilized frequently. This palm also prefers a slightly higher humidity level.
The leaves (6-8 feet long, silver-green in color) are twisted near the apex with numerous crowded narrow ribbed leaflets. When mature, the crowns (where the fronds grow out from) resemble that of a king’s crown. The inflorescence is short, borne among the leaves; the fruit is a red dupe.
The Majesty Palm can resist temperatures down to 25 degree with minor leaf damage. It is great for the pool area, patio or any indoor area where can act as a natural humidifier and detoxifier by removing Carbon Monoxide and replacing the air with fresh Oxygen.
ARECA PALM (Dypsis Lutescens)
ORIGIN : Madagascar
LIGHT : Moderate to high
WATER : High
GROWTH RATE : Fast (grow in clumps; spread of 5-7 feet)
HEIGHT : 20 feet
Areca Palm (Butterfly Palm, Golden Cane Palm) is native to Madagascar and easily identifiable by its long, feathery fronds fanning from the cluster of several reed-like stalks of the young plant or bamboo-like trunks of the mature tree. Each trunk leans away from the central clump and contains 6-8 green/ yellowish fronds approximately 4-8 feet long. The adult plant looks like a large bush that can reach 20 feet in height with a spread of 5-10 feet. Because of its low dense shape this palm is often used as screening.
The Areca Palm is a low maintenance plant and a fast grower adaptable to different environments. It grows best in well drained fertile soil; however, the plant can tolerate acidic, clay and sandsoils. Bright indirect light places are perfect for this tropical plant. Too much of direct sunlight can burn the leaves. Once Areca Palm start turning yellow, it can be difficult to bring the color back.
Young Areca Palm will be most likely killed by severe freeze (temperatures in low 20s) and most adults will recover over time. This palm is rated among the best plants for removing indoor air toxins.
The Areca Palm bears small yellow-gold flowers in spring and summer (very attractive to bees) and forms small yellowish fruit.
BAMBOO PALM (Chamaedorea Seifrtzii)
ORIGIN : Central America (from Costa Rica to southern Mexico)
LIGHT : Part sun/ shade
WATER : High
GROWTH RATE : Moderate (4-6 feet per year)
HEIGHT : 8-12 feet
The term “bamboo palm” refers to the group of palms that are contained in the genus of Chamaedore. Their thin stocks resemble the stock of a bamboo tree. They also sucker like bamboo (have rings on their trunks). They are shade loving palms that have multiple stems, thin trunks, green pinnate leaves and a smooth attachment at the base of each leaf (crown shaft). They grow in Central America, from Costa Rica to southern Mexico.
All Chamaedorea are pinnate (“feather”) leaf palms not a fan leaf (fan palm leaf has a solid circular type leaf coming from the end of its leaf stem). The classic Bamboo Palm is a suckering species (multi-stem palm) and naturally produces more than one vertical stem or trunk. Additional trunks are continually added over the years.
All Bamboo Palms are dioecious (plant is either a male or female). Brilliant yellowish colored flowers are formed on the trunks of the plants; they are attached to the trunk and near the lowest leaves. Its fruit are a deep red/ dark brown.
Bamboo Palms are easy to grow. They like filtered light or shade, good draining soil and adequate roots in their pot. Typically watering outdoors is 1-3 times a week when the weather is warm. Slow release fertilizer should be used about 3 times per year. Cold tolerance for most species is in the high 20s.
The most commonly grown Bamboo Palm species is Chamaedorea Seifrtzii from southern Mexico.