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707

King Palm in clay soil

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707

Im in Vallejo CA and want to plant a king palm in my backyard. The soil is clay and takes forever to drain without ammendment. I've been doing my research and everyone says you can't over water a king. Does this mean I can plant one in my clay soil with just a little bit of compost and not worry about drainage? 

 

Also I'm not sure if it's cunninghamiana or what but the local Lowes always has "king palms" in stock. Trios or singles.  I might do a trio for better cold protection. 

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Tyrone

Depends what sort of clay you have. There’s all different types. If your clay is very fine, the sort you could just dig out the ground and make a nice clay pot or jug and fire it then I would definitely amend it with heaps of organics. If it crumbles a bit and sort of breaks up it’s more of a gravelly clay and you may be ok. Personally I would just amend with a nice chunky compost mix and see how it goes.

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TomJ

They love Vista clay.

Plant, water, enjoy

 

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DoomsDave

@707 welcome!

King palms like lots of water, and they’re pretty much “swamp things” but they also benefit from good soil which their roots can easily penetrate.

I’d dig a big hole four times the size of the rootball and mix up some organic compost dead leaves etc about half and half and backfill the hole and plant it in that.

Do that and keep watered and with luck they’ll be glorious in ten years or even sooner.

B22097DF-12E8-4503-869F-EE67E9F53A65.thumb.jpeg.4e0509db58ce6e13a5f96b555c67d088.jpeg

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Ben in Norcal

I am in Concord and have pure clay.  Dig a hole the size of the plant rootball, and don't bother amending AT ALL.  They love our clay and grow explosively in it.  I believe amending will slow them down if you incorporate drainage...they don't need or want it in the slightest.  Jim Denz in Los Altos is growing some with roots IN A POND.

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707

Not sure what kind of clay I have. I know I heavily amended it with compost sand and gypsum for my two bougainvillea and they are growing like weeds.

I read on an old thread here that someone had some growing out their pond so I should be good right lol. I may just lightly add some compost like 1/8 of the total amount or something and give it a try. Im waiting until spring so I got time to decide.

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707
10 hours ago, Tyrone said:

Depends what sort of clay you have. There’s all different types. If your clay is very fine, the sort you could just dig out the ground and make a nice clay pot or jug and fire it then I would definitely amend it with heaps of organics. If it crumbles a bit and sort of breaks up it’s more of a gravelly clay and you may be ok. Personally I would just amend with a nice chunky compost mix and see how it goes.

Actually now that I think of it it does crumble a bit and breaks up when dry. It holds on to water like crazy though but thats probally good thing I guess.

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Tyrone

Archontophoenix will handle sitting in running water, but sitting in standing water will not be good from my experience. I killed one in the side of my lake early in the piece. If the clay never drains the oxygen level will drop off and the roots will die. Personally I would amend with organics. That creates better soil structure. 

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awkonradi
On 10/13/2020 at 11:33 PM, 707 said:

Im in Vallejo CA and want to plant a king palm in my backyard. The soil is clay and takes forever to drain without ammendment. I've been doing my research and everyone says you can't over water a king. Does this mean I can plant one in my clay soil with just a little bit of compost and not worry about drainage? 

Also I'm not sure if it's cunninghamiana or what but the local Lowes always has "king palms" in stock. Trios or singles.  I might do a trio for better cold protection. 

Probably cunninghamiana at Lowes.  Since these are beautiful, generally hardy in the SF bay area, and not too expensive, I recommend planting one (or more) without too much soil amendment or additional thought, and keep it watered, and be optimistic that it will grow great.

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Ben in Norcal
2 hours ago, awkonradi said:

Probably cunninghamiana at Lowes.  Since these are beautiful, generally hardy in the SF bay area, and not too expensive, I recommend planting one (or more) without too much soil amendment or additional thought, and keep it watered, and be optimistic that it will grow great.

Almost certainly cunninghamiana - almost impossible to find anything else around here, which is why I germinate and grow out hundreds of kings of other varieties.  One day, I hope to be spreading around some more interesting and visually appealing Archontophoenix.  A. cunninghamiana are great, super tropical looking, but the least appealing of the genus to me.  I'm planting lots of the other varieties, and cutting down cunninghamiana as they grow in.

A few years back some 5g A. alexandres popped up at Lowes around the Bay Area and Sac, mislabelled as A. cunninghamiana, but I think Derrick out in Rocklin and I hit just about every Lowes in the East Bay & Sac sucking them up! :D:D:D

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NorCalKing

As others have mentioned, they really don't care if they are grown in pure clay. I'm located in chilly Livermore, and mine are growing like stout telephone poles and flower annually. No amendments. Nothing.  Just fertilizer and tons of water. They never miss a beat, and laugh at 28° temps.

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Jim in Los Altos
11 hours ago, Tyrone said:

Archontophoenix will handle sitting in running water, but sitting in standing water will not be good from my experience. I killed one in the side of my lake early in the piece. If the clay never drains the oxygen level will drop off and the roots will die. Personally I would amend with organics. That creates better soil structure. 

I’ve got three King palms sitting in a stagnant water area and they are thriving. Water has nowhere to go so the palm’s roots are submerged 24/7 365 day’s a year in an old fiberglass pond, three feet deep filled with soil, gravel, and of course water right up to the brim. 

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707

Appreciate the feedback everyone. It's got me excited for next spring to put one in the ground. 

 

I have another question regarding sun exposure. I know kings don't need full sun like say a mexican fan but where I plan on planting the king in my backyard get 5-7 hrs full sun a day depending on time of year. I was thinking of planting one or maybe more on the side of my house between my fence and the public street.  Only problem there is its facing north and my fence doesn't allow for any direct sun at all. Its bright but not direct. Will it still grow in such a location? 

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BayAndroid
4 hours ago, 707 said:

Appreciate the feedback everyone. It's got me excited for next spring to put one in the ground. 

 

I have another question regarding sun exposure. I know kings don't need full sun like say a mexican fan but where I plan on planting the king in my backyard get 5-7 hrs full sun a day depending on time of year. I was thinking of planting one or maybe more on the side of my house between my fence and the public street.  Only problem there is its facing north and my fence doesn't allow for any direct sun at all. Its bright but not direct. Will it still grow in such a location? 

I personally think you will have more success growing it there, than in a South facing location. I have mine facing south and they get a ton of hot sun. They get burned fairly easily. I try to over water to compensate for all the sun and heat. I live in Redwood City, on the peninsula. The pictured cunninghamiana is my triple, and the most successful of my 2 grouped cunninghamianas. 

20201010_120040.jpg

Edited by BayAndroid
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Tyrone
On 10/16/2020 at 7:39 AM, Jim in Los Altos said:

I’ve got three King palms sitting in a stagnant water area and they are thriving. Water has nowhere to go so the palm’s roots are submerged 24/7 365 day’s a year in an old fiberglass pond, three feet deep filled with soil, gravel, and of course water right up to the brim. 

I’ve grown bangalows in a fishpond with recirculating water before and they’ve done well. With that in mind I planted a trunking one on the edge of my lake here and in winter the water came up and flooded the base to around 4 inches up the trunk for a few months and it died. Since then I’ve planted all my Archontophoenix where they may get flooded for a few days but where the water recedes back again and they’ve done fine. 

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Jim in Los Altos
18 hours ago, Tyrone said:

I’ve grown bangalows in a fishpond with recirculating water before and they’ve done well. With that in mind I planted a trunking one on the edge of my lake here and in winter the water came up and flooded the base to around 4 inches up the trunk for a few months and it died. Since then I’ve planted all my Archontophoenix where they may get flooded for a few days but where the water recedes back again and they’ve done fine. 

This has been growing with all roots submerged 365 days per year for ten years. It loves it. Perhaps, when you planted a trunking one, it was accustomed to a dryer situation. All the ones I have in water have been there since 1 gallon seedlings. 

EBBAB446-EC6F-4E99-8919-92D52DE95553.thumb.png.a9410057401ca7ba7186b1127aac0169.png

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Tyrone
5 hours ago, Jim in Los Altos said:

This has been growing with all roots submerged 365 days per year for ten years. It loves it. Perhaps, when you planted a trunking one, it was accustomed to a dryer situation. All the ones I have in water have been there since 1 gallon seedlings. 

EBBAB446-EC6F-4E99-8919-92D52DE95553.thumb.png.a9410057401ca7ba7186b1127aac0169.png

That could be the issue then. 

Ive got Livistona australis now on the bank and some were almost completely submerged when we flooded and they loved it. They will have all the water they could ever want. 

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