Palm tree and flowers

Introduction

There are over 2,500 different palm tree species in the world. Palm trees can be separated into few major types depending on their trunk, leaf structure, growth rate, size, and cold tolerance. Aside from this basic segregation, palms also differ in salt and drought tolerance, leaf color, fruit and flower production. While most grow in tropical and subtropical climates, others can tolerate cold temperatures down to -20F.

Common Varieties

Common varieties include Royal Palm, Sabal Palm, Canary Island Date Palm..The list goes on with over 2,000 species. Others include:

  • Bismarck Palm
  • Cabbage Palm
  • Carpentaria Palm
  • Chinese Fan Palm
  • Christmas Palm
  • Fishtail Palm
  • Key Thatch Palm
  • Macarthur Palm
  • Pindo Palm
  • Paurotis Palm
  • Pygmy Date Palm
  • Queen Palm
  • Senegal Date Palm
  • Sentry Palm
  • Washington Palm
  • Windmill Palm
  • Yellow Butterfly Palm

General Information

With Palms it is important to take special care for their roots. Unlike a typical tree, a Palm does not have roots growing deep beneath the tree. Root balls branch very little and do not increase in size with the growth of the above ground tree.

Most palms have a single trunk (coconuts), though some species grow as clustering or clumping palms (fishtails)

A Palm has a single growing point at the top of its trunk. This point and its surrounding tissues are called the terminal bud. If the terminal bud is injured, the palm may die. The roots of a palm do not thicken like those of other trees so palms are less likely to damage sidewalks and utilities.

Most palms are container grown at nurseries, though some may be field specimens. Either way, choosing a healthy palm at the get-go will help for health down the road.

Soil

An important factor for the health of a palm tree is its soil. Compacted, nutrient-deficient soils found in most urban environments do not contain the components necessary for a palm to truly thrive. Palms receive a bulk of their nutrients from the top soil and the top of the nearby ground meaning proper fertilization is required.

Watering

For new palms, you will need to water at least twice a week for the first 6 months. Add enough water to ensure moisture is penetrating a foot and a half of the soil. If you soil is sandy, make sure to add extra water as sandy water doesn’t maintain moisture.

For established palms, watering will depend on the climate, season and rainfall frequency. In many areas, twice a month during the summer decreasing to once every six weeks during the colder season should be enough.

Fertilization

According the University of Florida’s agricultural research division, IFAS, 8-2-12 is the ideal mix for Palm trees and ornamentals alike. Palm nutritional requirements vary considerably from other plants, particularly turf. You may find the exact IFAS mix in PalmGain 8-2-12, available at Home Depot and our online store.

Pruning

Most trees shed their fronds naturally. Only yellowing/browning/old fronds should be removed as removing young fronds takes needed nutrients away from the tree. Remember to never trim too close to the trunk of your Palm. The bark is easily damaged and the resulting wounds are entry points for insects and disease.

Lastly, never prune or off more of the Palm’s leaves in one year than are produced during that time. Research done by E. J. H. Corner (1966) indicates that each species of Palm has a set number of green live fronds with the same number of developing fronds inside the bud area of the Palm Trees. As a new frond emerges, the oldest frond dies. The age that a frond may attain will be determined by many factors including size of mature Palm Trees, number of fronds produced, etc.

Pest and Diseases

Palms are susceptible to infections by viruses, bacteria, and fungi, as well as to infestation by insects and other pests. Infectious agents and pests vary widely by region and county. The most common are listed below,

Pests

Cabbage Palm Caterpillar

Cabbage palm caterpillars, found throughout Florida, target the cabbage palmetto almost exclusively. They rarely kill palm trees but the insects do destroy the trees’ blossoms. They are a nuisance to humans as well because they often enter homes looking for suitable places to pupate. Control by insecticides is possible under certain circumstance if carefully managed.

Giant Palm Borer

The borer is a large and quite ugly beetle whose larvae have a taste for the wood of the Washingtonia and Phoenix varieties. Borer grubs can live inside a palm trunk for up to nine years before exiting as beetles through quarter-sized holes.

Palm Budworm

The budworm is beetle whose larvae feed on the flowers of a range of fan palms. The caterpillars are about an inch long and a pink-green in color.

Palmetto Weevil

The Palmetto Weevil can be found throughout Florida, as far west as southern Texas and as far north as South Carolina. It is North America’s largest weevil. This pest has a taste primarily for the Cabbage Palm (sabal palmetto) although it will infest Saw Palmettos (serrenoa repens) and, occasionally, Canary Island Date Palms (phoenix canariensis), Washington Palms (washingtonia), Royal Palms (roystonea), and some coconut palms.

Royal Palm Bug

Royal Palm Bug feeds on only one plant, the royal palm, and the female lays one egg a day during the spring. The bugs rarely kill the host tree but the damage they do can be unsightly and they are difficult to control given the height of mature royal palms. These insects are the only North American members of the Thaumastocoridae family.

Thrips

North America’s thrips make up an extremely large family of insects. Of the plant feeders alone, there are 264 species. And some of these species have a taste for palm trees, feeding on flowers and leaves by puncturing the surfaces to suck out sap. Thrips are not lethal to palms but the feeding of the adults can discolor and wilt leaves. In addition, in intensive infestations their unsightly black droppings can become noticeable on leaf surfaces.

Diseases

Bud Rot

Bud rot is caused by a fungus which causes the heart fronds of a palm tree to wilt and die. Tree death can occur soon afterward. California and Mexican palms are the most vulnerable.

Fusarium Wilt

Fusarium wilt is another palm tree fungus. Signs of wilt are fronds wilting, losing their green luster and, finally, dying. Once a tree is infected, there is no cure and the diseased tree may have to be removed.

Ganoderma Butt Rot

Ganoderma butt rot is a relatively new and lethal disease of Florida palm trees. It is caused by a fungus, Ganoderma zonatum, which invades the base or butt of palm trees up to a height of three to four feet above the ground. The disease was first discovered in Florida in 1994 and in only a few years it has spread to infect palms throughout the state. At this time, it cannot be said with certainty that there are any palm trees resistant to ganoderma butt rot.

Lethal Yellowing

Lethal yellowing is a disease first noticed in the Caribbean region of North America about 100 years ago. However, it was not until the 1950s and a devastating outbreak in Jamaica and the Florida Keys that the economic consequences of lethal yellowing were recognized and intensive research begun.

Weather

Cold weather can affect plants in a variety of ways. First, frost or freezing temperatures can damage the actual tissue of the plant as well as limiting the conduction of water through the trunk. As well, cold weather will slow down the growth of your palm and reduce the activity of the roots. As this occurs, the palm is weakened and susceptible to the perils of disease.

Blankets wrapped around the trunk and top of the soil is an easy way for homeowners to protect their palm from a cold snap. Be sure to remove the blankets after a few days, when the weather has warmed up.

Flowering Ponytail Plants: Does Ponytail Palm Flower

Don’t invest too much in this plant’s name. Ponytail palm (Beaucarnea recurvata) is neither a real palm nor does it really have ponytails. Its swollen base looks like a palm and the long, thin leaves curve outward, then hang down like ponytails. But does ponytail palm flower? If you are hoping for flowers and fruit from this plant, there is good news and bad news. While you can get flowering on a ponytail palm, you may have to wait up to 30 years to see it.

Does Ponytail Palm Flower?

You can grow ponytail palm in the ground or in very large pots. In either case, given sufficient patience, you may be lucky enough to see it flower. Flowering on a ponytail palm does not occur the first year

you purchase a small plant, nor, likely during the next decade.

Before the plant flowers, it increases significantly in size and girth. The plant’s palm-like trunk sometimes grows to 18 feet high and widens t 6 feet in diameter. But size alone does not trigger first flowering on a ponytail palm. Experts believe that a combination of factors, including weather, can be instrumental in causing initial ponytail palm flowering. Once the plant blooms, it will flower every summer.

Ponytail Palm Flower Spike

You will know that ponytail palm flowering is near when the ponytail palm flower spike appears. The spike looks like a feather plume and it will produce myriad small branches holding hundreds of tiny flowers.

The ponytail palm is dioecious. This means that it produces male flowers on some plants and female flowers on others. You can tell whether your flowering ponytail plants are male or female by the flower colors. Females have pink flowers; male flowers are ivory. Bees and other insects flock to the blooms.

Flowering on a Ponytail Palm

If your flowering ponytail plants are female, they may bear fruit after flowering. However, they will only do so if there are male flowering ponytail plants nearby. The seed capsules on the ponytail palm flower spike are papery capsules. They contain tan seeds the size and shape of peppercorns.

Once flowering and fruiting is completed, each ponytail palm flower spike dries up and withers. Cut it off at this point to enhance the beauty of the plant.

The Ponytail Palm’s bloom in the Conservatory.

By Dr. Bill Barrick, Executive Director

Blooming in the Conservatory now is a mature specimen of Ponytail Palm, Beaucarnea recurvata. As best as we can tell, this is the first time we have observed flower spikes on our specimen. There are reports that it can take as much as thirty years before indoor specimens bloom.

The common name Ponytail Palm refers to how the foliage appears in tufts, much like a “ponytail.” Another common name is Elephant’s Foot, which describes the plant’s swollen base. This base serves as a storage reservoir for water.

Beaucarneas are dieoecious, like hollies, meaning there are distinctly male and female plants. Flower color varies by sex, as male plants have cream colored flowers, while female plants have pink flowers. Our plant will not produce any seeds after flowering, because we only have a male specimen.

Beaucarneas are native to eastern Mexico and are members of the Asparagus family, Asparagaceae. They are sensitive to cold temperatures and can only be grown in locations in Hardiness Zones 9 and higher.

Come to the Gardens for a visit and enjoy the rare sight of this unusual plant in bloom. You will find it to the right as you enter the Conservatory at the back of the Rose Garden.

Thread: Pony Tail Palm blooming… now what.

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Ponytail palm

Scientific name:

Nolina recurvata / Beaucarnea recurvata

Did you know that the Ponytail palm is related to the well-known Agave and is also known as “Elephant foot tree”? This little plant is perfectly happy with very little care. In nature the bulbous stems grow into large plants shaped like an elephant’s foot. The strappy green leaves sprouting from the bulbous stem will add a playful touch to your home.

Easy care tips

Ponytail palms are strong houseplants requiring very little care. They like a light spot, but they also tolerate shade. Preferably don’t place them in direct sunlight.

Tips for your home

The low maintenance demands make Ponytail palms very suitable for many different places in your home or working environment. You can for example also place them in the middle of a room, and even if you forget to water them from time to time they won’t mind.

Origins

Ponytail palms are native to Mexico, where they grow in dry, rocky soil.

Ideal position and temperature

Ponytail palms will grow best in a light place away from direct sunlight. But you may also place your plant in a shady spot in the middle of a room. The indoor temperature may vary from 10°C to 30°C.

Water and fertilisers

Ponytail palms are very hardy plants that don’t need as much water as other plants. The tough leaves don’t evaporate much water and the plants store a supply of water in their bulbous stem. So always allow the soil to dry out before watering your plant again. But don’t forget your plant altogether or else the tips of its leaves will turn brown.

Give your Ponytail palm only very small amounts of fertiliser.

Most common pests and diseases

Ponytail palms are not susceptible to pests and diseases.

Frequently Asked Questions

Ponytail Palm – Beaucarnea recurvata
This medium sized Ponytail Palm tree (Beaucarnea recurvata) is really not a palm but a member of the Lilaceae (lily family), and is known by several names such as: Pony Tail Palm, Bottle Palm, Monja, Palma Culona, Elephant-Foot Tree and Elephant’s Foot. The Ponytail Palm has earned the name “elephant’s foot” because of its large round base sometimes appearing as an elephant’s foot. The Ponytail Palm will survive almost any lighting conditions but does best in a bright light. The Ponytail Palm is native to Mexico. The Ponytail Palms are closely related to Yuccas and thrive under the same conditions. Ponytail Palm trees are very easy to maintain and keep healthy. They are very slow growing sometimes rarely reaching the heights of 15-20 ft. The maximum average height of most Ponytail Palms is 10 ft but taking many years to do so. It is advised not to anticipate much growth of the ponytail palm when grown indoors. The Ponytail Palm trees have dark green, grass-like leaves that are close to one inch wide and can be up to 6 feet in lenght. They’re swollen bases are more for water storage and can store water up to 6 months to 1 year. The drought tolerant Ponytail palm is a great palm for ornamental placing in the home or office or landscape. The Ponytail palm does not enjoy being over watered. It is also one of the easiest palm trees to take care and suitable for xeriscaping.
This Ponytail Palm tree will make a great addition to any home office or landscape. The Ponytail Palm will give a sense of the tropics with little cost. Palm trees are also great for indoors because they act as a natural humidifier and detoxifier by removing Carbon Monoxide and replacing the air with fresh Oxygen. Real Palm Trees makes a home feel like home, by giving you the feel of nature year-round. Buy this Ponytail Palm tree and have a piece of unspoiled nature.
Wholesale Nursery
For export/import pricing on medium wholesale palm trees or Wholesale Caribbean Tropical Plant Foliage please contact us at 888-RPT-AGRO or contact us via email at customer.servicerealpalmtrees.com

What Is an Elephant’s Trunk?

By changing the shape and size of their nostrils elephants can control their trumpeting vocalisations in order to communicate with other individuals in their herd, send a message to rivals or even members of other species.

Elephants can often be seen intertwining their trunks with other elephants, specifically with friends or family, in a greeting much like a human handshake or hug.

An African elephant using its trunk as a snorkel

Evolution

All this brings us to how the trunk was first developed.

A short trunk, such as that of tapirs, isn’t that useful in terms of grasping and as such would be hard to select for and refine over successive generations. Half a trunk isn’t that useful to a fully grown elephant!

One theory suggests that the trunk could have initially evolved as a snorkel for breathing whilst submerged. This would then prove useful later when it could be utilised for the many functions mentioned above. A case of “chicken or the egg” for the pachyderm world.

Some of the elephant’s closet relatives are manatees and dugongs, which have a fully aquatic lifestyle, suggesting that ancestral elephants could have possibly been more aquatic than they are today. Further evidence comes with male elephant’s penises being held internally when not erect, which is something that isn’t normally seen in terrestrial mammals.

To round off the argument, elephant lungs even have an adaptation for being able to withstand the pressure of water when snorkelling. Humans can only use a snorkel up to one foot long, due to pressure on their lungs, while elephants have a dense sheet of tissue in the space between the lungs and the chest which prevent their lungs from collapsing.

Perhaps elephant trunks are a throwback to a previously water-based existence and their usefulness on land is a coincidental asset which would otherwise been hard to develop? However the elephant managed to gain its remarkable trunk, I’m sure we can all agree its an enviable appendage.

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