edible palms for containers?

plantlover13(5)June 19, 2013

Hello all. I grow all of my tropicals in containers, as it is too cold here on long island to grow anything in the ground. I am interested in growing edible palms (like for the fruit), what would work and how large of a pot would i need? i believe that some of the butias are small, what species yield edible fruits? What other small palms are there. Thanks!

(note: i know that some palms like the chilean wine palm and some butias are exceptionally cold hardy, but i also have no space to put them in the ground. So any suggestions have to be small palms suited for containers. Thanks again!)

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Trachycarpus are a great species of palms if you're thinking of keeping them out all year long. I have 3 in my yard in NYC and they are actually starting to get "common" here. There is one house in my neighborhood that has 5 trachycarpus fortune in their front yard and I can see even more of them in their back yard. They are great palms to fit in small spaces and do well in sun or shade.

Needle palms and Sabal minors are also small growing and will do well in smaller spaces so look into those as well.

As for getting fruiting palms in containers, I don't think it's worth the effort. It can take 20 years for a butia to reach fruiting age and they will be WAY too big to take inside at that point. I have not heard much about the fruit of shorter growing butias, but I'm sure that even those would not be heavy producers of fruit in pots and probably aren't worth the effort especially since you won't know if they are male or female for many years.

Lots of palms do great in containers though so if you are looking for palms that you can keep in containers just to bring the tropical look, I can definitely suggest a few.

Good luck!

This post was edited by tropicalzone7 on Thu, Jun 20, 13 at 20:25

    Bookmark   June 20, 2013 at 8:23PM
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The south shore of Long Island is a little warmer than the north. Record cold in some south shore areas is in the 10F range. North shore has had temps below 0F.

Phoenix roebellini are on the small side, and easy to find. I have a Bottle Palm in a pot. It is one of the smaller trunking palms, but even that gets big for a pot. There are some very slow growing palms that will be fine in a pot for many years, but those tend to be ultra-tropical and need lots of warmth and humidity year-round.


    Bookmark   June 21, 2013 at 2:00PM
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Do any of the palms you guys mentioned have edible frutie like she asked? I was unaware the needle, trachycarpus etc had edible fruit. The Butia does for sure. The Mule palm hybrid does for sure. The date does as well.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2013 at 10:26PM
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None of those palms I mentioned do have edible fruit. I was just suggesting some palms if she was mainly interested in having palms just to have palms. I don't think growing fruit from palm trees is realistic on Long Island (which I guess says a lot since I do think that growing palms is realistic!). Dates and Butias all make fruit at pretty large sizes. It's hard to find the smaller growing butias so you don't always know if you are getting the real deal. You can get palm fruit so easily at a store and even though it's awesome to be able to grow your own, there are so many other fruits both tropical (that need to be brought indoors) subtropical (That might stand a chance during long island winters) and cold tolerant (that have no problem in Long Island's winters) that are great if you're looking to have something tasty to eat from your yard.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2013 at 1:45AM
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I would imaging the palms are far and few between there in Long Island. Butia's and there fruit are quite commone here. We have over 30 trunking ones.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2013 at 9:02AM
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Just saying i'm a he...

so, it looks like it's impossible. Knowing me, that means i am going full steam ahead next year anyway. thanks!

    Bookmark   June 22, 2013 at 3:16PM
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Sorry for using she, I didn't think you were a woman, I was just typing fast and late at night (it was 1:45 am when I posted that). Usually I don't use he or she unless I know for sure.

As for growing palms for food on Long Island, I definitely think it's possible, almost anything's possible when it comes to gardening, but it definitely will require a lot of work without any guarantee. I would never keep someone from experimenting with tropical plants in a subtropical climate because it's definitely cool to see, so if you decide to give it a go, definitely try and keep us updated!


    Bookmark   June 22, 2013 at 4:49PM
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NO prob about the gender error....

i probraby won't try until next year. I'm sorta trying trying things out this year with tropicals, gonna try some mangoes, etc. Next year, i think i'm going to enter the world of palms. I just want to know what i'm in for ahead of time.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2013 at 8:05AM
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