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Flame thrower palm


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I purchased a flamethrower palm at plant sale and  have not seen any color on the new palm shoot yet? Does it have to be a certain age/size to see that? Thanks!

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1 hour ago, Plant-a-holic said:

I purchased a flamethrower palm at plant sale and  have not seen any color on the new palm shoot yet? Does it have to be a certain age/size to see that? Thanks!

It does take some time but usually starts while still in the juvenile leaf stage.  Below is a pic of my Calyptrocalix albertsonia showing some red color with the new leaf and Chambeyronia are similar.  The color doesn't last long and isn't much to look at until it's bigger.  Some Chambeyronia are green and don't throw "flames" but they are rare.

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Jon Sunder

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 10/10/2021 at 7:12 PM, Plant-a-holic said:

Thanks for the reply…here’s the name on mine:

chambeyronia macrocarpa …

When the new frond opens, it'll be red for a few days up to a week and fade to green.  Depending on the individual plant and type of Macrocarpa (Hookeri, Watermelon, etc) the color of the new leaf can be different.  I have one that's really flame-red, another that's more burgundy, and one that starts kind of chocolate and then fades to pink before turning green.  There are a few "unique" Chambeyronia Macrocarpa that throw green new leaves, as Fusca mentioned.  The new spear on yours looks like it has 1-2 months before it opens, so you'll find out soon!

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Thanks to all that answer this post! I’m just really getting into learning about the palms. I can’t wait to see what color it’s going to turn out to be. Is there cultivar names for the different varieties /colors of the flamethrowers ?

 

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Opps… Forgot to ask, looking at that pot size in my photo, do you think I should repot it now and if so what medium mixture do you recommend for this flame thrower palm?

Thanks again!

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There are different names: Houailou, Watermellon, Hookeri and regular.  There's some disagreement on whether they are all officially the same species, with just a variation in coloring.  

To me that pot size seems reasonable, you may want to step up to a 7 gallon next spring.  My potting mix is 30% generic topsoil, 30% Turface MVP, and 30% perlite.  Others like to add in shredded pine bark and may replace perlite with crushed lava rock (pumice gravel).  

Here's a good description of Macrocarpa:

https://www.palmpedia.net/wiki/Chambeyronia_macrocarpa

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Thanks soooo very much for the reply and information!! It is very much appreciated.

Where would I find the Turface MVP, you referenced?

I live in Florida…don’t recall seeing that anywhere I can remember?

Also, could I use a gardening mix like Kellogg’s potting mix or Kellogg’s raised bed and potting mix for the topsoil component?

thanks again!!!

 

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Most of the "potting mix" types are really not suitable for palms.  They tend to use a lot of peat moss, which compacts down and holds too much moisture...thus root rot!  Everyone has their own favorite mix, but many of them use 50% or more inorganics to make sure it drains well.  So you could use a generic potting soil or generic topsoil and then add perlite/Turface/pine bark/etc to make it drain well.  There's a huge thread on here about potting mixes:  

 

You can find Turface MVP at any local Ewing Irrigation.  It's in 50lb bags (1.5cuft or something like that) so it's a big, heavy bag.  But I think they are only about $14 each, so very reasonably priced.  I also use the $17 "Vigoro" perlite 2cuft bags from Home Depot.  Finding small diameter pine bark chips is more of a challenge, because most places carry only the "big" chunks...it looks better as mulch.  I found 3cuft bags of fine pine bark chips at a local nursery for $4.50 each, which is a lot cheaper than either Turface or perlite!  I'll probably start mixing this into some pots and see how this does for a few palms over the winter.

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I got a few of these this year (macrocarpa and hookerii) and I was worried at first too.   Then I found you don’t see color on the spear really.  The color comes as the frond opens up.
In mine, it lasts only a few days at most right now.   

I’m trying to give mine a little sun.  They are easily beat up and burned at this age it seems, and very slow, but they are making progress and perhaps speeding-up as the weather cools to lows in the 70s.  These look like ugly ducklings to my eye, when young.  

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I put a lot of stuff in pots this year, and started to think about the components of the mix individually for each palm, rather than trying to find a single formula.  I have on hand: sand, peat, wood chips, composted cow manure, pearlite, gravel, cactus mix, crushed shells etc..  

I’ve been mixing these by feel / texture for each palm I pot up, based on what the palms like for pH, drainage/wetness, organics, and density…. with decent success, though I tend to overdo the organics still.  

I have some background in chemistry, and grew up on a mini-farm with our own large manure pile, so I’ve always been interested in soil effects on plant growth, but I’m still learning a lot about palm-specific needs down here.  

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4 hours ago, Merlyn said:

Most of the "potting mix" types are really not suitable for palms.  They tend to use a lot of peat moss, which compacts down and holds too much moisture...thus root rot!  Everyone has their own favorite mix, but many of them use 50% or more inorganics to make sure it drains well.  So you could use a generic potting soil or generic topsoil and then add perlite/Turface/pine bark/etc to make it drain well.  There's a huge thread on here about potting mixes:  

 

You can find Turface MVP at any local Ewing Irrigation.  It's in 50lb bags (1.5cuft or something like that) so it's a big, heavy bag.  But I think they are only about $14 each, so very reasonably priced.  I also use the $17 "Vigoro" perlite 2cuft bags from Home Depot.  Finding small diameter pine bark chips is more of a challenge, because most places carry only the "big" chunks...it looks better as mulch.  I found 3cuft bags of fine pine bark chips at a local nursery for $4.50 each, which is a lot cheaper than either Turface or perlite!  I'll probably start mixing this into some pots and see how this does for a few palms over the winter.

Thanks again!!! I did look upI did look up that company Ewing irrigation but even in a 75 mile radius there’s none in my area that company Ewing irrigation but even in a 75 mile radius there’s none in my area…I’ll have to look at another irrigation place to see if I can get some. I do have the fine Pinebark, and I also have perlite, I do have a small amount of black volcanic pebbles/rock that was recommended for me to use in a Licualo  grandis re-pot when it gets a bit bigger. Should I put that in as well?

If understand you correctly I should NOT use any potting mix but instead just use a topsoil instead? I was a little confused when you said to use a generic potting soil or topsoil …What’s the difference between a potting mix and a generic potting soil? Thanks again for all your help!

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4 minutes ago, Plant-a-holic said:

Sorry For any typos…was using talk to text! :O

It has less typos than my normal typing... :D  Small volcanic rock (pumice gravel) is a good substitute for either perlite or Turface.   The general rule is fast draining but moisture retention, which is what all 3 of those are good for.  

I use generic topsoil because it is usually just fine ground up wood scraps with some sand or dirt mixed in.  It seems to work well for me.  It is $2 per cuft instead of $8 to $20 per cuft, so that helps when I am doing a lot of pots.  A lot of people use potting soil as a basis for their mixes, the only ones to avoid are ones with tons of peat moss.  It tends to dry out and then become hydrophobic...and impossible to get wet again!  

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42 minutes ago, Merlyn said:

It has less typos than my normal typing... :D  Small volcanic rock (pumice gravel) is a good substitute for either perlite or Turface.   The general rule is fast draining but moisture retention, which is what all 3 of those are good for.  

I use generic topsoil because it is usually just fine ground up wood scraps with some sand or dirt mixed in.  It seems to work well for me.  It is $2 per cuft instead of $8 to $20 per cuft, so that helps when I am doing a lot of pots.  A lot of people use potting soil as a basis for their mixes, the only ones to avoid are ones with tons of peat moss.  It tends to dry out and then become hydrophobic...and impossible to get wet again!  

What about the nutrients for the palm… wouldn’t a good potting soil in a mix provide that,,, or is that not as essential for palms …. I understand the drainage is vital but I guess I was thinking it would need more nutrients, decomposing matter etc….I’m not so  familiar with cultivating palms as  I am with Other Tropicals etc. etc. I guess I was thinking that if it was in a rain forest/tropical area that it would need more of that nutrient type matter? 
so no dressing it with compost  either ,right?

just trying to understand…sorry for all the questions…

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The critical part for most palms in pots is root health.  If the soil is too mucky, dense, or always saturated with water, the roots rot.  There are exceptions, like some swamp dwelling palms (Licuala, Nypa, etc).  And there are exceptions the other way for desert palms like Hyphanae and Nannorrhops, which want to be extremely dry.  But for most common palms a 50% inorganic (perlite, pumice, Turface, small gravel, etc) and 50% organic (cactus/succulent potting mix, topsoil, etc) is a good starting point.  One common problem with mixes is that they work fine for 6 months or so, then it breaksdown into mucky sludge that causes root rot.  So keeping it 50% or more inorganic keeps the soil mix aerated much longer, and you can add some Osmocote/Nutricote fertilizer to the top every 3-4 months or so.

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13 hours ago, Plant-a-holic said:

Thanks again!!! I did look upI did look up that company Ewing irrigation but even in a 75 mile radius there’s none in my area that company Ewing irrigation but even in a 75 mile radius there’s none in my area…

Did you try this?

https://www.turface.com/find-distributor

Butch

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4 hours ago, Merlyn said:

The critical part for most palms in pots is root health.  If the soil is too mucky, dense, or always saturated with water, the roots rot.  There are exceptions, like some swamp dwelling palms (Licuala, Nypa, etc).  And there are exceptions the other way for desert palms like Hyphanae and Nannorrhops, which want to be extremely dry.  But for most common palms a 50% inorganic (perlite, pumice, Turface, small gravel, etc) and 50% organic (cactus/succulent potting mix, topsoil, etc) is a good starting point.  One common problem with mixes is that they work fine for 6 months or so, then it breaksdown into mucky sludge that causes root rot.  So keeping it 50% or more inorganic keeps the soil mix aerated much longer, and you can add some Osmocote/Nutricote fertilizer to the top every 3-4 months or so.

Thanks so VERY much for all the information and advise… I understand better now… will follow your recipe… fir the flamethrower….should I add more organic matter  though when repotting g my Licuala grandis ?

 

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2 hours ago, Plant-a-holic said:

Thanks so VERY much for all the information and advise… I understand better now… will follow your recipe… fir the flamethrower….should I add more organic matter  though when repotting my Licuala grandis?

If you are repotting a Licuala Grandis it'll tolerate more organic material.  It's still a good idea to end up with 30-50% perlite/pumice/Turface for aeration.  You definitely do not want to let a Grandis dry out.  I had a big, beautiful one with 10-12 dinner-plate sized leaves...and my dripline popped out of the holder I had securing it to the pot.  It went completely dry in early October's drought, and lost all of its leaves except for one half-opened frond.  I think it'll survive, but it'll take at least a year to recover.  A Grandis won't like being mucky either, but definitely not totally dry!

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My flame thrower Cham. hookeri has a new red leaf but was wondering will the color last longer since its inside with a little grow light on it? I also need to pot it up into a bigger container soon. It about 4' tall with three leaves.  I'm using my own mix of soil which I use on all my plants that like moister but not dripping wet. 

Also What is a good temperature to put it outside again come spring. Low above 40 and highs in the 60's. At these temps it will be in the unheated = partly shady greenhouse. 

Photo are taken inside and the lamp lights are blue and red giving it an off color look. 

Thanks. 

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6 hours ago, Merlyn said:

If you are repotting a Licuala Grandis it'll tolerate more organic material.  It's still a good idea to end up with 30-50% perlite/pumice/Turface for aeration.  You definitely do not want to let a Grandis dry out.  I had a big, beautiful one with 10-12 dinner-plate sized leaves...and my dripline popped out of the holder I had securing it to the pot.  It went completely dry in early October's drought, and lost all of its leaves except for one half-opened frond.  I think it'll survive, but it'll take at least a year to recover.  A Grandis won't like being mucky either, but definitely not totally dry!

Thanks again for all the help!!!  Very much appreciated! :>)

 

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6 hours ago, Merlyn said:

If you are repotting a Licuala Grandis it'll tolerate more organic material.  It's still a good idea to end up with 30-50% perlite/pumice/Turface for aeration.  You definitely do not want to let a Grandis dry out.  I had a big, beautiful one with 10-12 dinner-plate sized leaves...and my dripline popped out of the holder I had securing it to the pot.  It went completely dry in early October's drought, and lost all of its leaves except for one half-opened frond.  I think it'll survive, but it'll take at least a year to recover.  A Grandis won't like being mucky either, but definitely not totally dry!

 

6 hours ago, Merlyn said:

If you are repotting a Licuala Grandis it'll tolerate more organic material.  It's still a good idea to end up with 30-50% perlite/pumice/Turface for aeration.  You definitely do not want to let a Grandis dry out.  I had a big, beautiful one with 10-12 dinner-plate sized leaves...and my dripline popped out of the holder I had securing it to the pot.  It went completely dry in early October's drought, and lost all of its leaves except for one half-opened frond.  I think it'll survive, but it'll take at least a year to recover.  A Grandis won't like being mucky either, but definitely not totally dry!

Thanks again for all your help!!! It is very much appreciated!

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3 hours ago, Paradise Found said:

Also What is a good temperature to put it outside again come spring. Low above 40 and highs in the 60's. At these temps it will be in the unheated = partly shady greenhouse. 

My outdoor ones appeared to be growing most of the winter here in the Orlando area.  Normal lows are in the upper 30s ands highs around 70.  But two decent sized ones died with 28F and frost, being completely defoliated and later having spear pull and crown rot.  Three others in the ground and 5 potted seedlings all did fine near the house (about 3F warmer) and with frost protection.  So definitely avoid any temps near freezing.

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Merlyn sorry to hear about your palms dying. 28F is not that cold so I am a little surprised, thanks for the temp tips.  Your right I don't want to rush the palm in the spring, So I will put in the greenhouse in May and June when the nights go into the 50's. will be in the garden. 

Thanks again. 

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10 hours ago, Paradise Found said:

Merlyn sorry to hear about your palms dying. 28F is not that cold so I am a little surprised, thanks for the temp tips.  Your right I don't want to rush the palm in the spring, So I will put in the greenhouse in May and June when the nights go into the 50's. will be in the garden. 

Thanks again. 

Yeah, I was surprised and more than a little disappointed.  I was hoping they could be a nice "big leaf" focal point in a few spots.  But I get at least 1-2 nights in the upper 20s every year.  The ones under canopy at those temps seemed fine, with just a bit of cold spotting/yellowing.  That's consistent with kinzyjr's cold hardiness spreadsheet, where they did fine in the upper 20s with canopy...but took severe damage out in the open at any temps below 30.  I have planted out 5 more this year in protected and semi-protected spots, so I'll find out in a couple of months if they can take it!  :D

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