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.
A question popped into my mind when I noticed what I believe is a male inflorescence emerging from a Ravenea glauca. In that this species is dioecious, I wondered if hybridization with other species within the genus is very common when species are grown in close proximity. I was trying to think if there were desirable characteristics that one might want to pull from two different Ravenea species in a hybrid. Anyone seen examples of hybrid Raveneas or experimented with them?
By Pal Meir
What is your palm with the thinnest stems? My record holder is a 15 year old Rhapis micrantha. The 1st stem (grown directly from seed, no offshoot) has a diameter of 4.6 mm, much less than the stem of a 3½ year old Chamaedorea tuerckheimii with 5.0 mm. (An old no more existent Rhapis subtilis had 4.7 mm.)
I guess good other candidates were Chamaedorea stolonifera and some Calamus spp.
I was checking my pots of palm seedlings this morning and I found this albino seedling in my pot of Cham klotzschianas. Albino seedlings are, unfortunately for the plants affected, not as rare as you might think. Albinism in palms occurs because a genetic defect in the seed produces a palm that is unable to manufacture chlorophyll. Lack of chlorophyll in green plants means the defective plant is unable to photosynthesize and feed itself. Right now this little guy is living off food storage in its seed. When that is used up the seedling will wither and die. After taking the following photos I put the pot of seedlings back under canopy and will let the albino one get the most out of its spark of life. Guess I'm a softie.
Chamaedorea klotzschiana albino seedling, Cape Coral, FL
The Palm Society of Southern California will be having an article about hybrid palms in its magazine soon, and one of our contributors cited Merrill Wilcox's seminal article "How to make a hybird."
Anyone know where I can find it?