Did you know that there are over 2,500 species of palm trees in the world? They can be found on every continent except Antarctica. Although many people think of palm trees as tropical plants, they actually grow in a wide variety of climates. In this article, we will tell you some interesting facts about palm trees and give you some tips on caring for them.
Where Do Palm Trees Grow?
Palm trees are native to the tropics, but can also be found in subtropical and even temperate regions. Most palm species come from Africa, Asia, and Australasia. Some of the most common palm species include the coconut palm, the date palm, and the African oil palm. Most palm species grow on the island of Madagascar, in tropical or subtropical climates. In fact, more palms like to grow in hot and very humid weather, which affects its development as well as its ability to bear fruit.
In addition, evergreen palms can grow in the south of France, Europe, Spain and Colombia. But there are also palms in the world that can grow in temperatures as low as -12 degrees Celsius – a fan palm species called Hamerops squat.
How Long Does It Take A Palm Tree To Grow?
The answer to this question depends on the species of palm. Some species can grow up to 20 feet tall in just one year, while others may take several years to reach their full size. The average palm takes about five years to reach its full size.
As we mentioned earlier, there are more than 2,500 species of palm trees and each species takes a different time to grow a palm tree. It will also depend on the climate in which you are growing the palm. A palm tree will grow slower in a Mediterranean climate than in a subtropical or tropical climate. It is also important to consider the fact that different palms can grow to different heights. For example Montgomery palm in full adult form can reach a height of 100 feet, which it will need about 40-50 years. This time frame is only appropriate for zones 9 through 11.
Most other palm species grow about 2 feet per year. Based on this figure, you can make a rough estimate of how long your palm tree will grow.
Do Palm Trees Have Coconuts?
The answer to this question is yes, but not all palm trees grow coconuts. In fact, coconuts are the fruit of the coconut palm. This type of palm grows in tropical climates and can reach a height of 80 feet. Coconut palms grow in the tropics, including places like Brazil, India, Indonesia, and Madagascar.
Coconut palms are divided into species by their height:
- Up to 30 feet;
- 6 to 18 meters.
The latter is well suited for growing in the gardens of small cottage plots.
One palm, depending on its height and maturity, can produce about 75 coconuts per year. But very good and quality care is important here, which will help the palm to fully “give birth” to sweet fruits. Different types of coconut palms can produce green or red coconuts. Coconut palms are very needy of moisture and high humidity. Therefore, it is important to provide them with such care so that the palms give a good harvest.
Difference Between Palm Tree And Coconut Tree
People often confuse palm trees and coconut trees, but they are actually two different kinds of plants. In appearance these two trees are very similar to each other, so many people can not understand what the difference is. But the difference, of course, is that a coconut palm will have coconut fruits in the center of the top of the trunk under the leaves, while a regular palm will not. It is also worth paying attention to the leaves of the palm itself. A coconut palm has wide leaves, while a regular palm has fan-shaped leaves. And it is the palm that produces the famous palm oil, while the coconut palm produces only coconuts.
You can also compare tree trunks, because the coconut palm usually has a skinny trunk. It usually reaches about 80 feet in height, but it can be higher or lower. An ordinary palm can live up to 150 years, but a coconut palm lives from 60 to 80 years. The coconut palm and the regular palm have very different root systems.
Palm Tree Root System
The palm has a fibrous root system that is very dense. The palm’s roots are not deep, but they grow sideways and spread outward. This type of root system is good because it helps anchor the palm in the ground and provides stability in windy conditions. The palm root system refers to a wet system and spreads out in the soil like a fan, so you often see palm roots sticking out of the ground. This is especially true if the palm has not been planted deeply.
If you plant the palm in sandy soil, it can be blown away by the wind if you live in a windy climate. So think about this problem beforehand and if there is no other soil, it is worth burying the palm in a deeper place.
The roots of a palm tree are derived from the base and are morphologically similar. They grow horizontally and quite far from the trunk about 12-36 inches. But there are some species where the roots can grow as far as 50 feet from the trunk. Palm tree roots have a thick base at first and then thin out as they grow in length, so they can’t harm underground pipes or raise asphalt on the road.
How Often To Water Palm Trees?
Palm trees need a lot of water, so water them often. During the dry season, you may need to water your palm every day. If you live in a region with high humidity, you can water your palm once every two or three days. Before watering, it is best to check the soil to make sure it is dry enough to water it again.
Be sure to consider the rainy season as well as the age and size of the palm. If you have just planted a palm tree, water it every day for the first week. In the second week, you need to shorten the watering and water every other day. The third week, reduce watering to 2 times. After that, it’s up to the weather and the moisture in the soil.
The amount of water per palm should be based on the container in which it stands. For example, if the palm grows in a 15 gallon container, it will need 15 gallons of water. But again, if the weather outside is very hot, you should give the palm a couple of gallons more water. If you notice wilting as well as curling on the palm leaves, then the palm has received too much water and has developed water stress. Here it is important to let the soil dry out completely and then start watering the palm again, but with less water.
It is best to water early in the morning or in the evening. In winter, it is best to water only in the morning.
What To Put Around Palm Trees?
When planting a palm tree, consider what will be around it. For example, if you are planting it next to a house, make sure that the palm tree’s roots do not interfere with the foundation of the house. The following plants can be planted around the palm tree:
- Jasminum officinale – The plant grows in the shade of the palm tree, creating beautiful and long vines. Liana is a groundcover plant that produces beautiful and delicate white buds;
- Bromeliads are a unique plant that grows on tree bark, so it does not need soil. They are among the epiphytes that feed on nutrients from moisture in the air. Bromeliads can produce buds of different colors: purple, white, pink, red. The leaves are mostly the same – olive with or without spots;
- Crotons – like shade and penumbra, as well as moist soil, just like palm trees. The plant has leaves similar in shape to the leaves of an oak, which is why it is often called a miniature oak. The leaves have an oily finish and are olive or lettuce colored with streaks of red;
- Caladiums – The plant likes warmth and shade and grows well next to large sprawling palms. They do well in moist soil, but make sure they are well drained. The plant has wing-shaped leaves, with distinctive streaks of green or red. They are usually colored light white, or may differ in greenness.
Landscaping Around Palm Trees
When landscaping around palm trees, the main thing is to create a natural look. Therefore, it is best to use plants that grow in the wild. You can also use rocks and gravel to give the area a more natural look.
Here are some ideas for landscaping around palm trees:
- Pebbles – You can line the area where the palm tree is growing with pebbles. It should be a different color than the paving stones in your driveway. A short evergreen grass will be a great addition to the map, around an area with pebbles and a palm tree. Other low-growing plants are allowed in the center of the plot itself, so as not to draw attention away from the palm tree;
- Landscape with dwarf palm – this option is ideal for small plots. Dwarf palm will not take up much space, it is perfectly combined with different varieties of flowers and evergreens. You can simply clear a piece of land from the grass, thus visually highlighting it. Plant it with varieties of low flowers, preferably of the bushy kind, to get a harmonious picture in the end;
- Catoons and cobblestone road – you want to create a real exquisite palm lantern, then the third option is perfect for you. Expensive nesting with cobblestone or road stone, and on its sides areas scattered with chalky pebbles with large smooth stones will give your lawn an incredible look. A palm tree can be planted on both sides of the path, but it is better to leave the palm tree on one side, and the other side completely planted with different types of cacti.
Small types of palm tree
Miniature Palm Trees-House Palm Tree
One of the most popular indoor palms is the Chamaedorea elegans, or Neanta Bella palm. It is a small tropical plant that grows up to four feet tall indoors. The neanthe bella palm has dark green, glossy leaves 2-3 inches wide and 6-8 inches long. This palm is often referred to as a graceful palm for its structure and exquisite appearance. In the wild, it grows in moist forests, eastern Mexico and Guatemala. It is popular in the home because it has unpretentious care, has a beautiful appearance, and is small in size.
At maturity, the palm forms panicles of 6 and 7 twigs from the upper stems. All branches are colored green, and the tree also produces small, fragrant yellow flowers.
Pygmy Palm Tree
The pygmy date palm (Phoenix roebelenii) is a miniature palm species that grows to a height of only six to twelve feet. It is native to southeast Asia, particularly Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and southern China. The tree was introduced to the United States in 1910 and has been widely popularized throughout the country.
The palm is characterized by its very tasty and sugary fruits, which are often used in creating sweets and making dried fruit. Such palms can give not only dates, but also beautiful small flowers of yellow color. The color of the dates is purple, and the palm leaves are a rich dark green color.
Short Fat Palm Tree
The short thick palm (Chamaerops humilis) is a small species of palm that grows only six to twelve feet tall. It is native to the Mediterranean region and is widely cultivated throughout Europe and North America. The tree is characterized by very dense and prickly leaves, which are often used as ornaments. Such palms are often called Chinese or fountain palms. Their trunks are often painted a gray hue and the bark is covered with scars.
Cactus Palm Tree
The cactus palm is also known by another name, as the Madagascar palm. It can grow to a height of 10-15 feet and a width of 6 feet. It grows best in zone 9-11 and easily tolerates penumbra. The cactus palm is distinctive in that it has a spiky trunk like a giant cactus. The trunk can be single or give a branching to the top, divided into three branches. The entire trunk of a cactus palm is covered with small spines, which are equidistant from each other. Spines can be poisonous, so be very careful near such a tree.
The cactus palm produces white flowers with a yellow core and has spreading branches at the very top.
How To Fertilize Palm Trees?
Fertilizing palms is not as difficult as it may seem at first glance. The main thing is to choose the right fertilizer and follow the instructions on the package. The best time to fertilize is in the spring, before new growth begins. It is worth noting the fact that palms like sandy and well-drained soil, and, accordingly, from such soil useful substances will be washed out faster.
Here it is important to use fertilizers with a slow release of nutrients, so that the roots have time to saturate them. At specialist gardening stores, such fertilisers are available with a label for palm trees. There is a choice of pellets, pallets and spikes on sale, which is very convenient. Such fertilizers are well suited for fertilizing palms at intervals of once every three months. There are stronger and more concentrated substances that are good for feeding your palm once every 6 months.
How to trim a palm tree trunk?
If you want your palm tree to look nice and well-groomed, it needs to be pruned. But how to do it correctly, so as not to harm the plant? After all, the palm is a living organism, which can react very painfully to improper pruning. In addition, it should be noted that there are several steps in pruning the trunk of the palm:
- First, an inspection of the trunk itself is needed to determine if it’s time to trim it. It is better to start trimming the trunk in the spring, when the flowering process is underway. It is important to remove dry branches as well as fruit stems;
- To trim the trunk, you will need a hand saw and chain saw, disinfectant, sharpening stone, protective gloves, goggles and a ladder for convenience;
- First, sterilize the tools. They must be sure to be clean so as not to get an infection into the trunk cut. To make a solution to sterilize the tools you need to mix 3 parts water with 1 part bleach. Soak the tools in such a solution for 5 minutes, then take them out and wipe them well with a cloth so that they are completely dry;
- First, cut off all dead leaves and dry branches, as well as loose petioles;
- Next, take a saw and cut off the trunk from the very top, at a 90 degree angle. It is not necessary to trim palms such as Kentia, Hamadorea, Yubea, and Royal.
How To Cut Down A Palm Tree
General pruning of the palm itself is similar to pruning its trunk.Follow these instructions:
- First disinfect the tools and then proceed with the treatment;
- Start trimming the palm tree from the top, for which it is important to wear protective gloves and goggles, because trimming the branches and removing the scales will fly sawdust;
- Cut back only old, rotten, sluggish and poorly growing branches. It is also acceptable to cut branches that are too thick and large if they pose a threat to your property or safety;
- Next, pay attention to the trunk. On it, look for loose or peeling scales that can easily be picked up with a screwdriver or knife. So gently drive a wedge between the healthy and damaged scales and tug to remove the damaged one;
- After pruning the palm tree, it is important to put all the leaves and scales in a bag and dispose of them.
Palm Tree Removal
Sometimes that moment comes when the palm tree needs to be removed. There are several ways you can do this:
Professional help – there are special organizations that help with these kinds of issues. Some types of palm trees are very valuable, so you can still make money by uprooting them. After these manipulations, trained people will come to your home, assess the situation around your palm tree and bring in the machinery to remove the palm tree;
The second method is the classic one of chopping down the tree. Chopping or sawing down the tree will still cost you less and easier than replanting. The process must be carried out in the same way as in the first case, identify a valuable palm tree or not, and then proceed to remove the tree yourself:
- First assess the surrounding area so that when the tree falls it cannot damage power lines or buildings, as well as other plants and flowers on the property;
- Next, wear a mask, goggles and gloves, and headphones;
- If the tree is too tall, you will need climbing equipment, because you must first climb to the very top to cut off all the leaves and thus lighten the weight of the tree itself;
- Immediately assess which way the tree falls, so as to prepare the area;
- When the leaves are cut, then make a deep cut into the trunk of the tree at the bottom. It should be triangular in shape and placed on the side of the tree where you want it to fall. The cut should be made diagonally 1/4 of the way down with a chainsaw;.
- Next, rip the trunk with the chainsaw from the other side of the tree. Saw until you hear a distinctive crack. You can additionally push the tree trunk with your hand in the desired direction;
- The remaining stump can be gradually cut out, or uprooted with the help of machinery. You can also buy a stump destroyer. Such a tool contains potassium nitrate, which will “eat” the tree.