Growing Palm Trees in your Home, Garden, and Nursery
With their easily identifiable features and the instant suggestion of the tropics, Palms have become the undeniable shining star of the garden world. Palms add intrigue, variety, and contrast to almost any garden theme. Tall, small, wide or thin, with over 2500 Species of Palms, there are many available at your local plant nurseries or join the trend and buy palms online.
Without Palms, a garden can lack height and personality. Palm trees are the staple of every garden; they provide height for other garden plants, overhead cover to protect plants in the shade, they look stunning in pots, and they are sure to create that tropical lush garden look.
Palms are natives to almost every tropical region on the planet. Palms are used worldwide as a source of food, commercial profit and they are also very important to many tropical villages that use palms as building and roofing material. The palm is truly a gift from the earth.
How to Grow Palm Trees
Growing palm trees requires care and dedication. Knowing a palm’s particular species and characteristics will help ensure you provide the right amount of light, water, soil and nutrients. Even the hardiest of palms need attention and by a general inspection of the soil and foliage, you can determine what it needs to thrive. Palms are generally happier in a rich, moist, well-drained soil. Most palms desire, very warm climates, lots of sun and plenty of water. They need plentiful water but palms also benefit when the soil dries between watering.
Palms need a proper place to grow and if you are starting a palm nursery, most baby palms like a warm area with good sun exposure. Nurture these little palms with close attention to the particular species care instructions and the results are gorgeous, strong, and mature palms for many years of enjoyment.
Can I Grow Palms in Cool Climates? Many palms will survive in cool climates. The general rule is that palms like warm weather and lots of water but many palm species could withstand some frost. If your area is too frosty then there is a palm, like the parlour palm, that will grow in an indoor parlour pot or within a climate controlled nursery.
Hardy in many ways, palms must also be handled as sensitive plants. The advantage with palms is their necessities tend to be basic and if these needs are met then even the smallest palms are mighty survivors. In an ideal environment, the lifespan of a palm can range from 40-100 years depending on the species. There are few palms that will survive the zero range on the Celsius scale but there are a great variety of palms, to choose, that will survive a moderate frost. Frost, lack of moisture and not enough light are the main hindrances of a successful palm.
When choosing a palm, many people nurture smaller palms because a 30cm plant is much cheaper than having a 20m giant transplanted at full maturity into your yard. These baby palms need adequate spacing to develop and they will need protection from too much sunlight and heavy wind. Once they strengthen by design and become full grown specimens, they will withstand a wide diversity of harsh elements.
How to Grow Palm Trees Indoors as House Plants
Palm plants can easily be grown indoors, on the deck or in an enclosed patio. Indoor palms are easy to grow because they require the usual conditions: warmth, light and moisture. When potting your palm, make sure it has a large pot to prevent tangled roots and that there is space for good drainage. The pot should also be strong enough to support the palm. For more versatility indoors, select a palm that is light weight and has a short maximum height. Also search for a palm that grows well in shady areas.
An example of a perfect indoor palm is the Parlour Palm (Chamaedorea elegans)
, it is short and a great survivor in dimly lit interiors. This quaint palm grows at ground level beneath the lush canopy of Central American rainforests. Their maximum height is about 2m tall, giving them the perfect size to be enjoyed indoors. Since they don’t need much light, this is a benefit to growing them in your home; these palms are highly tolerant of dark rooms. They like a consistently moist soil but not drenched. Another added benefit for growing indoors is that the Parlour Palm is frost hardy and known to survive at -10 degrees Celsius, this means it will survive the temperature of most living spaces.
Palm Nurseries and Palm Selection
Caring for a home Palm Nursery is not much different than the care provided at commercial palm nurseries. Palm seeds vary in strength and some shells are thicker, making it hard for the seedling to puncture through. The rule of the true “green thumb” is to wait. If the seed is nurtured as the baby Palm seedling grows inside the shell then the eventual outcome could be a 20m marvel. This is very important, depending on the species or the random thickness of the seed-shell, the seed should be given the same conditions that are vital to mature palms. Some seeds may take a year to sprout so they will need a very warm surrounding with generous light and a rich, well moistened soil.
Not all species are available at your local nursery and the only option for some palms may be available as seed. Buying seeds or young palms online from a reputable plant nursery is a common way to get your exact palm and stay within your budget.
Selecting a Palm and Preparing the Nursery or Garden
Many people have a specific “vision” for their palms or an idea of the type of palm they’d like to include amongst their other garden plants. Other plants already living in the garden may benefit from the added shade of a larger palm or a smaller clustering palm, may be a good choice for in the shady areas near the house or deck. The conditions of the environment must be considered whether planting in the nursery or garden.
The landscape features are important for the future growth of the palm. So, if the plant starts at 1m and there is power lines overhead, it may be a hazard 25 years from now. Most palms will only need several feet of moist dirt and will be non invasive but consideration must be given to the species mature trunk width and the habits of the palms and roots. Choices should be made wisely to ensure the selected palm will have the best environment to flourish for decades.
Are palms invasive? The roots of a palm are strong and will grow down with less intrusion or apparently no intrusion compared to most trees. The design of the palm roots is to grow downward and this creates a deep hold into the soil.
Styles and Types of Palm
Large and small palms, alone or in clusters: the ideal selections are determined by what will give your garden contrast and “flowing” esthetics.
Palms have two general styles and they are commonly referred to as fan and feather. This describes the appearance of the actual palm layout. Fan palms “fan out” like a folding hand fan and a perfect example of this is the Chinese Fan Palm. Feather palms “feather” from a central rib like a bird’s feather and the description is obvious in reference to the Canary Island Date Palm.
Colourful Palm Trees
Redneck Palm (Dypsis leptocheilos) Red, hairy crown shaft. From Madagascar and grows 10m tall. Very easy to grow, grows well as far south as Sydney.
The Pink Crown Palm (Dypsis gracilis/Pink Crown)
Dypsis Pink Crown is a very dainty, graceful palm with a fine, attractive stem. Leaves are short & curly and new growth is an attractive purplish pink. The Pink Crown Palm is a very popular collector’s palm from Madagascar, and grows in the undergrowth of rain forests in its native habitat.
It grows to around 4m tall and is best grown in part shade, in a protected, moist spot. Usually grown in subtropical to tropical areas, but will grow as far south as Sydney in a protected spot as long as temperatures do not get below 1C. Usually a solitary palm, but best grown in groups of at least 3 to provide maximum impact in the garden with its stunning, colourful new growth.
Self Cleaning Palm Trees
Some Palm trees are 'self cleaning' which means that they drop their old palm fronds. These types have a low maintenance advantage in the home garden.
Self cleaning palms include the popular Bangalow Palm (Archontophoenix cunninghamiana) and Alexander Palm (Archontophoenix alexandrae)
Fast Growing Palms
The excitement of growing palms often has gardeners looking for fast growing trees that give frequent gratification. Fast means that in comparison to the other 2600 species, “fast growing” species grow much quicker.
Bangalow Palm (Archontophoenix cunninghamiana) is a very graceful native palm growing up to 25m tall. It has a beautiful smooth trunk with spaced rings up to 30cm in diameter. Leaves grow up to 2m long and are bright green with pale stalks. Best suited to a sheltered position and protected from strong winds, the Bangalow Palm grows best in full sun to part shade. This palm is a fast grower and can grow up to 1m a year.
Clustering Fishtail Palm (Caryota mitis) is a beautiful clustering palm from tropical rainforests in South East Asia. It forms a clump up to 8m high and around 4m wide. The Clustering Fishtail Palm is a vigorous and fast growing palm, with light green trunks and small, light green leaves resembling a fish’ tail in shape. Fishtail palms are very hardy and can tolerate slight frost. It prefers a shady position with well draining soil and regular watering. This palm also makes an excellent indoor plant.
Buying Palms Online
Palms have widespread availability online. Palms are a treasure and sometimes you must use the widest market available to find exactly what you desire. Even in the colder regions, you could order palms online from climate controlled nurseries nurturing baby palms in their greenhouses. Buying tropical plants and palms online has never been easier.