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Palm cultivation in a London basement


John in Andalucia

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It's been 2 years since I got back into growing palms after I left Spain for the UK 4 years ago. Back when I joined PalmTalk (in 2007) I had a poly-tunnel in a micro-climate zone on the south coast of Spain, but I can honestly say that I'm having better results here - albeit partly under artificial conditions - than I ever did before. I've experimented with over 60 species here in the UK, always cultivating from seed. I currently have around 900 seedlings and 49 species. A few of those are hanging on, others are simply taking off - and a few surprises I didn't expect.

So I hope you enjoy my roll-call of palm seedlings on this glorious 1st of June!

In no particular order, simply uploading as we go!

A year old today, my Malayan Red Dwarf, purchased as a sprouted nut on fleaBay in June last year.

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Outside in the cool shade I have Ceroxylon quindiuense, Rhopalostylis baueri ‘Norfolk Is.’ (I frazzled these when I brought them outside on a freaky hot day in April and left them in full sun) and Howea forsteriana (just spikes).

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In the sunny corner: Chamaerops humilis, Livistona alfredii, Phoenix theophrasti, Sabal minor, a Washingtonia robusta (this one, dug up in Spain in Jan.) and plenty o' Rhopalostylis sapida!

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Now indoors (on top of the kitchen units) L-R: Trachycarpus princeps (Stonegate), Sabal burmudana, Livistona decipiens, Archontophoenix cunninghamiana and Washingtonia robusta.

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Syagrus lorenzoniorum, Hyophorbe lagenicaulis, a few T. princeps in baggies, Arenga pinnata and Butia paraguayensis.

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Into the smaller of two hot boxes: Ptychosperma lineare, Ptychosperma sanderianum, Copernicia hospita, Livistona mariae and Calyptrocalyx albertisianus.

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Satakentia liukiuensis

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In a bigger wall-mounted hot box: Cyphophoenix elegans

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A few more Calyptrocalyx albertisianus.

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Cyrtostachys renda and to the left, a few Phoenicophorium borsigianum.

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Dypsis baronii 'black petiole', Syagrus amara, Areca catechu (purchased as ‘dwarf’ seed) and Johannesteijsmannia altifrons.

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Clinosperma macrocarpa, Euterpe edulis 'orange crownshaft' and Coccothrinax miraguama. 

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Areca vestiaria and another A. catechu 'dwarf' - possibly the real thing??

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A lone Kentiopsis pyriformis, Licuala dasyantha, Asterogyne martiana and Licuala mattanensis 'mapu'

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Finally - no hot box here, just a heat mat: Verschaffeltia splendida, Caryota mitis, Areca catechu and Carpoxylon macrospermum.

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The biggest surprise for me has been growing Verschaffeltia splendida. I had no idea how vigorous they were. The Carpies don't seem to mind my cool bedroom either!

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Pretty impressive. What are you going to do with them all?

Millbrook, "Kinjarling" Noongar word meaning "Place of Rain", Rainbow Coast, Western Australia 35S. Warm temperate. Csb Koeppen Climate classification. Cool nights all year round.

 

 

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2 minutes ago, Tyrone said:

Pretty impressive. What are you going to do with them all?

Well.. I erm.. :huh:

It's all just a great journey :drool:

Sell em, probably.

Except for the Lavoixia and a few others. I want to donate to Kew. Who knows, maybe I can swap them for a lifetime membership? I live 30 minutes away. 

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I was thinking Kew as well. They’d take them and they have the equipment to grow them on to much larger size as well. Don’t forget the Eden Project either. They’re tunnels make Kews palmhouse look like a common shade house.

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Millbrook, "Kinjarling" Noongar word meaning "Place of Rain", Rainbow Coast, Western Australia 35S. Warm temperate. Csb Koeppen Climate classification. Cool nights all year round.

 

 

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2 minutes ago, Tyrone said:

I was thinking Kew as well. They’d take them and they have the equipment to grow them on to much larger size as well. Don’t forget the Eden Project either. They’re tunnels make Kews palmhouse look like a common shade house.

Really? I've never been to the Eden site, but always knew about it. I'll look into it. 

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9 minutes ago, Rickybobby said:

That’s incredible 

Thanks Rob!

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1 minute ago, John in Andalucia said:

Really? I've never been to the Eden site, but always knew about it. I'll look into it. 

Definitely worth a trip to Cornwall for a visit. I think it’s near St Austell??? I’ve been twice. It’s epic.

Millbrook, "Kinjarling" Noongar word meaning "Place of Rain", Rainbow Coast, Western Australia 35S. Warm temperate. Csb Koeppen Climate classification. Cool nights all year round.

 

 

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8 minutes ago, John in Andalucia said:

Really? I've never been to the Eden site, but always knew about it. I'll look into it. 

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eden_Project

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Millbrook, "Kinjarling" Noongar word meaning "Place of Rain", Rainbow Coast, Western Australia 35S. Warm temperate. Csb Koeppen Climate classification. Cool nights all year round.

 

 

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How strong are your lights ? ie wattage and hours used per day ?

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@John in Andalucia

You are really and truly, absolutely nutty!

And I thought I was . . . . :drool:

Let's keep our forum fun and friendly.

Any data in this post is provided 'as is' and in no event shall I be liable for any damages, including, without limitation, damages resulting from accuracy or lack thereof, insult, or lost profits or revenue, claims by third parties or for other similar costs, or any special, incidental, or consequential damages arising out of my opinion or the use of this data. The accuracy or reliability of the data is not guaranteed or warranted in any way and I disclaim liability of any kind whatsoever, including, without limitation, liability for quality, performance, merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose arising out of the use, or inability to use my data. Other terms may apply.

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John, 

your palm ranch works is quite remarkable! Impressive to say the least. Great use of resources.

jimmyt

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Pretty amazing setup you've got there. I'd be interested in learning more about your hot box methods. Also, potential air circulation issues, fungal attacks, etc. Those palms look pretty healthy to me, so I think you might've tapped into the "secret."

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Thanks for the comments. Yes, truly palm nutty(!) since 2007.

In the smaller hotbox I have a 2.3W LED pygmy bulb above a 14W reptile mat, both on a timer running 15 hrs. a day.

The larger hotbox has the same timer setup with a 24W Aquarium LED light - 45" x 5" with a 25W /14ft. soil warming cable snaking the width of the box.

With an additional heat mat in the bedroom for the Carpoxylons and others, I've estimated my monthly bill to be no more than $12 - $15.

Space is a real issue when you're renting in Central London, so this wall-mounted greenhouse that I devised myself, gives off a welcome illumination in an otherwise dark basement corridor. I pass it every day on my way to and from work, and it's just uplifting to know what I have growing in there.

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4 hours ago, zoli said:

Pretty amazing setup you've got there. I'd be interested in learning more about your hot box methods. Also, potential air circulation issues, fungal attacks, etc. Those palms look pretty healthy to me, so I think you might've tapped into the "secret."

Thanks. Well, so far, the lack of air circulation and so many plants has not caused any real problems, save for a couple of seedlings last year; I think a Pseudophoenix vinifera and a couple of Lytocaryum weddellianum damped off.

I open the smaller hotbox twice a day which helps, and the larger of the two only once a week. I've seen powdery mildew form on the stem sheaths, but that's all, so I use an all-round spray fungicide which seems to halt it completely, and that only needs an application every 3 or 4 weeks. My only other 'secret' is that I use only steam distilled water in these hotboxes. My Cyrtostachys renda seedlings are growing in fine volcanic pumice, and after constant watering for 2 years are now super-saturated. I can't help but think that if I'd been using tap water, they'd be a breeding ground by now for all kinds of bacteria.

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I almost over-looked these two 'nut jobs', hiding among the Carpoxylon in my bedroom!

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Borassodendron machadonis :w00t:

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I see some obsessions never die! :lol: Your past experience is paying off. And that's a LOT of seedlings, wow! Good to see your post.

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Kim Cyr

Between the beach and the bays, Point Loma, San Diego, California USA
and on a 300 year-old lava flow, Pahoa, Hawaii, 1/4 mile from the 2018 flow
All characters  in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

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4 hours ago, Kim said:

I see some obsessions never die! :lol: Your past experience is paying off. And that's a LOT of seedlings, wow! Good to see your post.

He, he! That's so true, Kim. 

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5 hours ago, Ben in Norcal said:

And I thought I was batsh*t crazy...

Good on you, man!

Cheers dude!

 

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Mate, that wall mounted greenhouse looks fantastic! I reckon something like that could be a really nice feature in lounge room or somewhere like that, it's a bloody terrific idea!

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Absolutely impressive - great great work!

Your J. altifrons are looking really good. It seems you have them - like many other plants -

in open zip locks... Never thought about using something like that especially with root sensitive

plants - I will keep it mind!

Thank you for sharing -

best regards

Lars

 

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14 hours ago, PalmTreeDude said:

What a collection! You could have yourself a little business there! 

A pension fund too, hopefully. 

Start growing now and worry about the logistics later. That's my philosophy. ;)

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You got it bad John, and the passion brings a smile to my face.

Thank goodness I live in Hawaii and have a built in greenhouse right outside the front door. 

Tim

Tim

Hilo, Hawaii

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13 hours ago, sandgroper said:

Mate, that wall mounted greenhouse looks fantastic! I reckon something like that could be a really nice feature in lounge room or somewhere like that, it's a bloody terrific idea!

Ah, cheers mate. The only drawback is that you can't see through the polycarb twin-wall. If I had space I'd build a proper Wardian case, but I'm happy if it's inspired a few people!

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13 hours ago, palmfriend said:

Absolutely impressive - great great work!

Your J. altifrons are looking really good. It seems you have them - like many other plants -

in open zip locks... Never thought about using something like that especially with root sensitive

plants - I will keep it mind!

Thank you for sharing -

best regards

Lars

 

Thank you, Lars!

Those zip lock bags are called 'stand-up pouches' - used in the food packaging industry. They're made from an acetate-like plastic as opposed to polythene, so they hold their shape.

Drainage is straightforward if you slit the base, and it helps that the base isn't as deep as the sides. A photo explains better!

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33 minutes ago, realarch said:

You got it bad John, and the passion brings a smile to my face.

Thank goodness I live in Hawaii and have a built in greenhouse right outside the front door. 

Tim

I don't know what I'd do if I had a real palm garden, Tim. I seem to thrive on 'palm reproduction' like some obsessed cat lady. :lol:

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7 minutes ago, NOT A TA said:

Impressive John! Quite the indoor production setup.

Thanks. The next few years will be interesting!

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6 hours ago, John in Andalucia said:

Thank you, Lars!

Those zip lock bags are called 'stand-up pouches' - used in the food packaging industry. They're made from an acetate-like plastic as opposed to polythene, so they hold their shape.

Drainage is straightforward if you slit the base, and it helps that the base isn't as deep as the sides. A photo explains better!

20190603_202644.thumb.jpg.f630b85af4c95d82d59c54137ef0423a.jpg

Oh, I see - very interesting!

Thank you very much for your time to explain and show it to me!

best regards

Lars

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