Lots of palms to play with!

cattman(z10a FL)April 20, 2013

I just ordered a big batch of palm seedlings from Hawaii. Quite a few of these will be risky (or downright folly) here Ft. Myers/Cape Coral area, but I'm just so tickled to try! (I've been greatly encouraged to hear recently that someone was having success with a verschaffeltia splendida on nearby Pine Island.)

Today I potted up tiny sabal mauritiiformis, a couple calamus aruensis, and 2 freshly sprouted mauritia flexuosa (I know, I know...."terribly tropical, super-thirsty, etc"!). The dypsis pembana I have high hopes for under a cassia bakeriana. Rarer -- for here at least -- fun stuff includes dypsis "pink crownshaft", dypsis pilulifera "orange crush", licuala distans, caryota no, and wettinia hirsuta.

Wettinia, mauritia and calamus are just crazy, I know, but I've always found them to be heartbreakingly lovely....

Other arrivals include dypsis baronii, cyphophoenix nucele, areca vestiaria red, licuala ramsayi, clinostigma savoryanum, and archontophoenix purpurea. Where I had the money I ordered a couple extras of some babies to sell once I get them established.

I've been working on expanding my tree cover for nearly 4 years now, which seems to greatly help keep young palms nearby from dessicating during windy winter days and nights. Especially with the caryota no, it's hard not to rush out and stick those in the ground, but I know they're not ready for full-on Florida sunshine yet.

The rain tonight has been a delightful surprise, especially since we're supposed to be in the driest month of our annual dry season -- and it definitely was a terribly dry winter here! One of my biggest challenges is deciding how far to modify my sandy soil with peat without tipping the balance too far when rainy season starts.

Anyone with any tips for soil preferences for mauritia and for wettinia? I potted up the mauritias in peat with some perlite and lava rock, watered with a bit of added liquid copper fungicide, and sat each pot in a large saucer with a good quarter-inch of water in each one.

Thanks in advance! - I'll try to keep everyone posted on progress as the babies grow....

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garyfla_gw(10 Florida)

I can tell you're a new enthusiast by the choices of palms lol My advice would have been choose some hardier types but if you don't try how can you find out?? Good luck !!! gary

    Bookmark   April 21, 2013 at 5:49AM
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cattman(z10a FL)

Thanks, Gary -- I'll let the blog know if I hit the jackpot with some unexpected successes. My first clue that such unexpected success can happen here was the first time I visited the Cape Coral Yacht Club and spotted 4 magnificent satakentia liukiuensis anchoring a walkway! I'm guessing the overall height on those palms is around 10 feet, maybe more, with a few feet of clear trunk. Later I found out about the verschaffeltia doing fine out on Pine Island.

Cyphophoenix nucele and dypsis pembana in particular are supposed to be good down into the upper 20s, which should be no problem here at all; ditto for the sabal mauritiiformis. I did catch my breath today, though, when I passed a yard with what was immediately recognizable as the dead hulk of a dypsis baronii in it! Since we had such an incredibly mild winter here, though, it has to have been the drought -- or some accident, like weedkiller sprayed nearby -- that did it in. Until the rains this month we've been in terrible drought here.

Anyhoo, everybody's potted up and enjoying our 100% humidity tonight, courtesy of our second rain of the day -- cheers!

    Bookmark   April 21, 2013 at 9:56PM
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garyfla_gw(10 Florida)

Have you visited Fairchild?? Not only actual palms but tons of cultural info.. If still looking for even rarer and more exotic attend the spring show there .Last falls had over 800
vendors with over 12,000 species of mostly tropicals without the emphasis on orchids . you might also be interested in Searle Bros in Ft. Lauderdale. they specialize in palms but you have to go during an open house You can find both on the web gary

    Bookmark   April 22, 2013 at 3:22AM
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I recently bought seeds of about a dozen species of palms, with 10 seeds of each. Some started to sprout after a couple of weeks. It's made me realise I have to start preparing planting areas now so that it'll be ready by the time these need planting out. The idea seemed good when first making the seed selection. Even when the seeds arrived it still seemed perfect. Now with them sprouting I'm beginning to look ahead to spacing, exposure/shading, soil type, drainage, etc. It's looking more daunting by the minute. At least they can stay in pots for a couple of years and give me more time. Good luck with yours.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2013 at 4:06AM
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cattman(z10a FL)

Thanks, Garyfla and Tropicbreezent! Gary, my membership to Selby Gardens is supposed to let me into Fairchild for free, so I'm gonna go -- either end of May or early June (working too much until then!).

Tropicbreeze, I have repeatedly tried sprouting palm seeds from a certain seed vendor of longstanding fame. In hindsight I suspect my mix was always wetter than I thought it was, I failed to use fungicide as much as I should have, and I always wanted to order seeds before the weather was done with its last cold snaps. My success rate with palm seeds has been poor.

Finally having moved to South Florida has been a big help on the temps' side. And 10 days after potting up 57 baby palms from Hawaii -- nearly all of which were unpotted before shipping -- I'm thrilled to say that every last one has, so far, survived; most are growing, even the baby mauritias (so small that they don't even have their first leaf yet)!

Best of luck, Tropicbreeze. Gary, maybe we'll bump into each other at a future Fairchild sale! Happy growing, and thanks both for writing....

    Bookmark   May 1, 2013 at 12:09AM
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cattman(z10a FL)

Well, it's been 2 weeks and everybody so far seems to have survived their transplantings! I've had 2 of the tiny sabal mauritiiformis shrivel, but one has already resumed growth and the other has lost one leaf blade and seems to have stabilized.

The baby rattan palms have developed some spots on a few of the leaves, but that happened pretty quickly and doesn't seem to be spreading. (I misted all the palms as soon as they got here, with water and liquid copper fungicide.)

One Caryota No over 3 feet tall had its new leaf absolutely crushed in shipping. I made splints for the leaf and have kept it in complete shade but the leaf is dying anyway. Since the palm only has 2 leaves and the next leaf is going to have to come out of that broken stem, I'm a bit worried.

Since all the palms arrived 2 weeks ago we've had two spells of rainy weather -- which is absolutely remarkable for SW Florida in April and has no doubt contributed significantly to so many of the palms thriving. Now the days are getting hot again as the sun has returned, and I'm hoping that will finish getting all the palms started into active growth.

P.s. Coconuts I kept in the sun over winter have begun to sprout -- the first year since I moved to the Cape 4 years ago that a winter was mild enough not to kill the embryos in coconut seednuts!

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 5:56AM
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