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Arenga Micrantha siting in Central Florida?


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After reading through at least 15 different threads about the Arenga Micrantha, I am still a little uncertain on locating a pair of very tall Arenga Micrantha on my lot.  I posted a similar question on the end of a thread by @Eric in Orlando but it is necro-bumping an 8+ year old thread.  Here's links to a variety of informative threads on this palm:

In Gainesville at UFL they planted a 4-5 foot in between some shrubberies, but it's not clear how much daily sun it sees.  It died after the 2018 January freezes, but it's not clear why: https://www.palmtalk.org/forum/index.php?/topic/41798-mccarty-hall-palm-garden-at-the-university-of-florida-update-2008-2014-some-before-and-after-pics/&

Leu Gardens has a couple in "high tree canopy with bright but filtered light."  I didn't see them when I visited in November, hopefully they are still ok!  https://www.palmtalk.org/forum/index.php?/topic/19917-arenga-micrantha-tibetan-sugar-palm/

@richnorm has a flowering one in New Zealand, apparently in full sun and has been ok for leaf burn and low temps of -5C/23F.  I'm not sure about the humidity there, but the sun angle is about 10 degrees lower than the Orlando area so it's not as intense. https://www.palmtalk.org/forum/index.php?/topic/15074-arenga-micrantha/&tab=comments#comment-264964

@Phoenikakias had a pretty big one in 2013, and it grew well in temps over 100F every day as long as it got a lot of water: https://www.palmtalk.org/forum/index.php?/topic/35440-my-arenga-micrantha/&tab=comments#comment-557815

@Sandy Loam had a large but very lazy one with some good discussion and photos here: https://www.palmtalk.org/forum/index.php?/topic/45063-why-does-arenga-micrantha-insist-on-lying-down-horizontally-against-the-ground/&amp

@Albey found a nice clump growing at a botanical garden in New Zealand: https://www.palmtalk.org/forum/index.php?/topic/55912-arenga-micrantha-at-43°-south/&tab=comments#comment-838192

@steve 9atx had a nice one growing in Houston with 6 hours of unshaded mid-day sun, so it can take some strong sun along with high humidity:  https://www.palmtalk.org/forum/index.php?/topic/4571-arenga-micrantha/&amp

@Brahea Axel had some really nice ones back in 2013: https://www.palmtalk.org/forum/index.php?/topic/37978-which-is-nicer-a-engleri-or-a-micrantha/&amp


So after all the background above, I had this palm on my "to buy" list along with an Arenga Pinnata.  It's like a cold-tolerant and not deadly spiky version!  A local Palmtalker had two for sale and I picked them up on Sunday.  One is around 8' tall and the other is probably 12-14' tall.  Both are 3-4 leaf plants with very small suckers.  They were growing in moderate shade and I'm trying to figure out the best spot in my lot for them.  From the above threads I concluded that they grow best in Central FL (just NW of Orlando) in filtered light with PM shade and a consistent source of water.  I'd like to get these in the ground ASAP, and have 4 possible locations for them:

  • SE corner in the summer gets filtered sun all day, but gets lots of sun in the winter, especially in the afternoon.
  • SW corner in the summer has direct AM sun but is shaded by oaks by about 1pm.  It has winter AM filtered sun and PM direct sun.
  • NE corner in the summer has filtered AM sun but quite a bit of direct mid-afternoon sun, and is filtered most of the winter.
  • E side of the house, direct sun all year until just after noon, then shaded by the house.

Is sounds like direct sun in the winter might not be a big problem, but direct afternoon sun in the summer could be a death sentence.  I have available drip irrigation in all spots, so a consistent water supply isn't a problem.  The soil is probably 50/50 sand and decomposed oak leaves.  Any thoughts on the above for locations to avoid?

Arenga Micrantha mine cropped.jpg

Edited by Merlyn2220
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Sorry, I have no thoughts on what to avoid.  Mine doesn't seem to be fussy, but it is growing in shade and is slow, as a result.  I just wanted to comment that mine is still alive in Gainesville, FL.  It took a beating (unprotected) during the big January 2018 freeze, but it came back and is doing fine now.  There have been other winters when it did not look good (cold damage) and I had to chop the ugly browned fronds off.  However, it has always come back again in the spring.  It just varies from year to year.  This winter it looks fine.  If you are down in central Florida, yours won't have problems with the cold there, at least in my opinion.

I cannot think of any other special requirements of this palm, but perhaps others will know of some.  Mine thrives on neglect.

 Arenga Engleri (no Arenga Micrantha) is the better choice for up in northeastern Florida, but since you're down in Orlando, yours will be fine.

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Thanks for the feedback Sandy Loam!  I also have an Arenga Engleri still in a pot, but Eric @ Leu said it looked more like a Tremula.  It's very similar to the Engleri and apparently at least one South Florida grower is selling them as the wrong species.  It might not matter a lot in Orlando, but the Micrantha is probably hardier than the Tremula.

I considered putting one of the Micrantha in the NW corner where it's exposed to lots of wind.  It would get strong summer sun until about noon, but the shade there is a giant water oak that is dropping some massive branches on a regular basis.  I'd hate to have it get crushed by a 10 foot long 6" diameter branch...  :o 

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I ended up planting the two pots in the SE and SW corners, specifically to avoid lots of PM summer sun.  I put the SE one in a corner behind a couple of Ensete Maurelii.  The red bananas actually went through ~33F with almost no damage.  It looks like it's right on top of them, but it's actually in a clear spot about 6' from the false bananas and viburnum hedge.  I can easily move the bananas if it gets big enough and needs more space. 

The bigger one is about 8' from the hedge and the young majesty palms on the left.  There's about 4' of 2x4 hammered into the sand, hopefully that'll keep it upright until it grows a full set of roots.

P1040505 cropped.JPG

P1040506 cropped.JPG

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