How long does it take for the R. Hystrix to produce suckers?

mcgyvr2009i(Schenectady, NY 5b)August 16, 2012

I have just received my needle palm yesterday, and I want to try and make money off of the suckers it produces. Obviously, I will abide by the law, but I'm not sure when the palm will start producing suckers. I want to sell the suckers because I want to try as hard as I can, to at least control the suckers it produces so as to keeping it a single trunk. I also want to fill my entire zone 5b garden with these palms so that people can say, "Looks like palms WILL grow here." Anyway, can you tell me when the palm will start producing suckers, and when & how to harvest them, and how to pot them? Thanks in advanced. For images of my needle palm seedling, in case you haven't seen it yet, here's the link to my facebook album:

That may make it easier to help me.


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LagoMar(USDA 8/AHS 7)

I would think that reproducing by seed would be more reliable and healthier for the plant. I don't know how long it takes to seed though nor if it will if it is the only one around.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2012 at 3:10PM
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I don't know how easy Needles are to separate. But my clump started to suckering within a single season, so now there are developing Needle suckers where there were none in April. I don't intend to separate for a few reasons. Not sure how well suckers can survive at this stage and not quite sure how to do it though assume easier than with Med. fan which seem notoriously difficult. Also, I want the clump to build up food and mass for the winter and severing the suckers would seem to defeat this as they have only been in the site for 1.5 years. Thinking of which palms I regularly divide by pups and the only one that comes to mind is Raphis (Lady palms), which are easy. I agree with Lago, if you want to propagate palms go with seeds, some are real EASY. Try Washingtonia, Phoenix canarience, and maybe Queens and Butia capiata. Butias are supposed to be slow but my Butias seem to be on steroids!! :)

    Bookmark   August 16, 2012 at 3:44PM
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Make that Butia capitata and Phoenix canariensis--my spell check doesn't seem to like the Latin nomenclature.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2012 at 3:56PM
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One of the beautiful things about needles is their clumping nature. Not sure why you would try to force them into looking like a single trunked palm, when they look best as a big shrub-like cluster. I know it is possible to propagate them from suckers, but raising them from seed is probably the most common and practical way. Cutting off pups can cause injury, introduce disease and perhaps affect hardiness (particularly after surgery that hasn't healed over). I'm guessing it could take more than five years in good conditions for a needle palm to produce pups. In your area, even longer. Just concentrate on getting this one to a healthy size and learn how to get it through the winter.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2012 at 7:01PM
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mcgyvr2009i(Schenectady, NY 5b)

Oh yeah, I don't want to mess with the hardiness, especially in my current zone. So division of clumps is out of the picture. I've heard through the grape vine that the seeds are heavily protected by the needles this palm produces. How do I harvest the seeds when (and if) it produces them? Thanks.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2012 at 1:11PM
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Don't have experience propagating this one from seed but assuming they are slow from seed. Assuming that they are usually propagated by pups from larger clumps. Don't know how difficult they are from pups, some clustering palms are notoriously difficult and Needles do ave those long needles! If you grow it in a container, go for one wider than you might might for other palms to accommodate their clustering tendency. When I used to grow this one in a container, I erred in not providing a pot that was wide and/or big enough. In the ground, I see faster growth with both Needles and Sabal minors. And much of the new growth seems to be centered on suckering as the plant is trying to establish itself. Mine started suckering more aggressively this summer, which is its second summer.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2012 at 11:05AM
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I bought mine 2 years ago in one of those blue pots from Wal-Mart. I figured they were selling them as house plants since they won't grow unprotected here. I was surprised when I took it out of it's pot this spring just how many roots had grown. It was nearly root bound. Any way, it's grown about 5 suckers since I bought it. I too wanted to cut off all the suckers to maintain a solitary trunk, but after reading this thread, I won't be doing that.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2012 at 12:32AM
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