My palms going into winter look their best so far this year. Today on Christmas Eve I took the following photos to look back on when spring reveals what winter has in store. Best always to all and their palms.
Areca catechu normal
The sun is still ferocious and days usually sweltering but north and east breezes carry a whiff of cooler, drier days on the horizon. Another 4-5 weeks and the rainy season spigot abruptly shuts off. I do most of my yard work in the fall, winter and early spring trying to catch up with growth in overdrive from summer. Yesterday I decided to make a photo update of my tropical container garden on the back lanai. Last month I did battle with a mealybug infestation on some of my Chamaedoreas using two spray bottles of insecticidal soap and imidicloprid drench. Yesterday I found scale starting to invade - more insecticidal soap. Come early Nov. I will proactively go after spider mites with one of my two miticides. Right now all my uber tropical potted palms are at their peak glory.
Among the palms featured below are two that have lost their tags and need an expert ID. Please help me find out who they are.
First Photo: a view of the length of the lanai looking east. I keep the birdcage covered with two layers of commercial grade shadecloth to protect the palms inside.
One palm in particular inspired this photo essay: Pinanga cochinchinensis. I've had a checkered history with Pinangas. I love them but so often they cling to life for me, then give up and die. I'm so delighted this handsome clumper has hung in and actually grew to about 6' tall. I recently moved it to a larger pot because the wind kept blowing it over.
Areca catechu Dwarf - This is my oldest surviving dwarf Areca and the only large one kept on the lanai. The rest stay outdoors.
Johannesteijsmannia altifrons - my larger of two. Both have done well for me. I have repotted them once with great trepidation because they are quite root sensitive but they took the disruption in stride. I've had no luck growing any of the other Joey species.
The genus Dypsis has scores of species. Many, but not all, prefer the mediterranean climate in CA, as opposed to the sweltering heat of FL. I am currently trying the following species in pots:
Dypsis mirabilis - I've had this colorful little palm for almost a year. It will go through its second winter here soon.
Dypsis psammophila - A slender, gracile clumper related to the larger commoner D. lutescens
Dypsis prestoniana - My tentative introduction to the large to huge species that often grow like snails and keel over when faced with the heat of the day and night
Got to take a break now. More photos soon. Thanks for looking.
One sweltering day this past week I realized I hadn't posted any new photos since the spring. And everyone loves photos, right? So, I got to thinking about one of my favorite genera: Areca. This notoriously cold sensitive genus hails from tropical Asia and I would love to have a garden of dozens of species. But most of them of them can't survive in my climate, which breaks my heart. However, I've managed a scant few successes. Most of those are Areca catechu semi-dwarfs and dwarfs, some which I germinated myself. For some reason, the dwarfs are marginally cold hardier than the normal variety, which is rated a zone 11. I've decided to do a photo essay on the incarnations of Areca catechu.
Areca catechu normal: In habitat this variety can reach 100' tall. I grew this palm from seeds, planted it last fall at the edge of my jungle just above the canal. It survived winter and is growing quickly in the heat. Note the long, thin stem, petioles and spaced out leaflets - no signs of stunting or rigid, scrunched leaves.
Areca catechu semi-dwarf: Dwarfism in A. catechu occurs along a spectrum. The semi-dwarf shows subdued traits, including shortened stems and petioles and some scrunching of the leaves. I bought the palm in the following photos as a dwarf but understood it would never show extreme dwarfism. And the price was right. Was I lied to? That's in the eye of the beholder. It's a handsome palm anyway. The stem is chunkier, the leaves somewhat scrunched and petioles only 4-6" long. It stands 5-6' tall, excluding pot.
Areca catechu semi-dwarf #2: I germinated this palm from semi-dwarf seeds I received from Scott Zona
Areca catechu dwarf: I've owned this palm for a number of years. It is in a very large pot on a wheeled dolly set on my back lanai. If temps fall below 45F I wheel it indoors along with my other uber tropicals. The gold ring for A.c. extreme dwarfism is a total lack of a petiole. Those specimens are very rare indeed and I am still looking. The palm in the following has petioles 1/2" to 1" long, so it is close. It lives under shadecloth, which might be causing the minimal petioles. Dwarfs grown in sun have shorter petioles while those in shade "stretch out."
By Eric Thompson
I recently got around 100 Areca seeds from a plant in Niagara Falls. The majority of them still with the flesh on. I’ve tried using the baggie method with soil and perlite as well as paper towel with another group. It’s been 3 weeks and not seeing anything happening. I have now moved them into a done around 80 degrees. How long should I expect to see something happening. Thanks