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BOTTLE PALM FROND NOT OPENING


Dave L
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Hello and thanks for reading.   I have an all season tropical glasshouse with one bottle palm.  It suffered some damage when it was planted in the grow bed, so I moved it into a pot.  Before planting I had to remove one of the fronds and now it only has one full frond.  There is another frond, but it is not opening.  The palm has been in the same condition for almost a year and no signs that the 2nd frond is opening.  I am fertilizing (Palm Gain 8-2-12) once/month now in an attempt to force the frond to open.  There is no sign that the existing frond is dying, but I would like the second one to open.

Any suggestions will be welcome.

Two pics are attached.....one shows how nice the bottle palm displays a canopy at the entrance, the second shows the full bottle palm where I need help.

Many thanks

 

IMG_0626.jpeg

IMG_0770.jpg

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how are the night temps? Cold temps on Tropical Palms will slow them down to a halt.

Edited by Palmlover_78
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Many Thanks Palm Lover_78.

I don't know much about Boron and its impact on Palms.  I do use 'PalmGain' an 8-2-12 palm fertilizer and after looking at the label it only has 0.08% Boron.   Would you recommend another fertilizer?

Regarding your question, my tropical glasshouse is temperature controlled with radiant heat imbedded in the concrete floor.  While the temps in the winter are less than the warmer months, they always stay around 70-75F during the day and never fall below 55F at night.

How long does it usually take a Bottle Palm frond to open?

Thanks again and any other suggestions will be appreciated.

best regards

dave

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On 11/18/2022 at 1:54 PM, Dave L said:

Many Thanks Palm Lover_78.

I don't know much about Boron and its impact on Palms.  I do use 'PalmGain' an 8-2-12 palm fertilizer and after looking at the label it only has 0.08% Boron.   Would you recommend another fertilizer?

Regarding your question, my tropical glasshouse is temperature controlled with radiant heat imbedded in the concrete floor.  While the temps in the winter are less than the warmer months, they always stay around 70-75F during the day and never fall below 55F at night.

How long does it usually take a Bottle Palm frond to open?

Thanks again and any other suggestions will be appreciated.

best regards

dave

My in ground bottle palm opened over 3 fronds this summer. It does not take too long once the spear has fully grown out. If you have not seen another spear pop up, then its not growing and something is wrong.

Palms - 4 S. romanzoffiana, 2 W. bifurcata, 6 W. robusta, 3 R. rivularis, 1 B. odorata, 1 B. nobilis, 2 P. roebelenii, 2 S. palmetto, 1 H. lagenicaulis, 1 A. merillii, 3 P. sylvestris, 1 Butia x Jubaea, 1 Butia x Jubaea x Butia x Syagrus, 1 X Butiagrus nabonnandii, 2 L. chinensis, 1 Cocos nucifera 

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I'd check the base for any signs of soft squishy areas.  If it had some cold damage it may have some trunk or root rot.  I had a Spindle in a similar state for about 9 months after the January 2022 freeze.  It had one decent frond and a partial spear, but it wouldn't grow.  Finally in October I yanked it and found that the lower part of the trunk was stinky mush inside.  So about 28F caused an infection that killed it....very slowly.

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Merlyn.  Thanks for the reply.  I doubt that this is  a result of cold damage since my glasshouse is temperature controlled and even in very cold temperatures it stays above 50 degrees F.  But I appreciate the comment.  

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Your medium looks very dark and organic-rich; I wonder if the roots are getting too much water/anoxic and rotting. Whenever I've had a palm that doesn't open a spear, it generally has turned out to be a root rot problem. I doubt it's Boron, unless there are abnormalities to the spear that can't be seen in the photo. Plus, your medium looks organics-heavy and will contain plenty of it.
I also doubt it's temperature; these palms should be fine well below the 50s F. I'd check the roots first.

Very nice conservatory, though.

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I have had palms go up to 18 months with an unopened spear before they resumed growing. I don’t know what they were doing in their state of apparently suspended animation. I tested the spears about once a week and if the spear didn’t pull I left them to their own devices.

Meg

Palms of Victory I shall wear

Cape Coral (It's Just Paradise)
Florida
Zone 10A on the Isabelle Canal
Elevation: 15 feet

I'd like to be under the sea in an octopus' garden in the shade.

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Hi Meg

Thanks for the comment.  This has been almost one year (I actually lost track), but based on a few other comments I was ready to pull the plant out of the pot and check the roots.  Perhaps I'll be a bit more patient and wait another few months before doing so.  

Thanks again

dave

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16 hours ago, Dave L said:

Merlyn.  Thanks for the reply.  I doubt that this is  a result of cold damage since my glasshouse is temperature controlled and even in very cold temperatures it stays above 50 degrees F.  But I appreciate the comment.  

Ah, I just guessed that you had it outside when you said "grow bed."  It is possible it had some root rot after transplanting to the pot.  And depending on how long it had been in the grow bed, it might have grown a lot of roots out into the bed...those may have been chopped off or broken when potting it up.  If that's the case, then it may need to grow a new set of roots before it will continue growing fronds.  Some palms don't seem to care if you brutally hack off roots when transplanting.  But I did have one Spindle in the ground for about 2 years...and after transplant it just sat and sulked for a long, long time.

A couple of things to check:

  • Give the spear a light tug, to make sure it isn't rotten inside the trunk.
  • It looks like it may be planted a couple of inches too deep.  Soil level should be at about the RIZ (Root Initiation Zone).  Any deeper could contribute to rot.
  • As Palmsandliszt said,  the soil is pretty rich looking.  Everyone has their own favorite potting mix, but most are at least 50% inorganic.  Mine are usually potted in about 30% generic topsoil (shredded tree stuff) and the rest Turface MVP, perlite, Sakrete Paver Base (crushed limestone gravel), or pumice.  Some like Licuala want more mucky soil, but a fast draining mix will help avoid root rot.
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Merlyn.  Many thanks for your thorough reply....much appreciated.

FYI, my grow beds were originally filled with a mix of 50% topsoil, 20% peat, 20% compost and 10% perlite that seems to have done well for all my plants.  Along with that I have avoided most fertilizers since I raise worms for compost tea which has been great for most plants.  But I thought this palm needed a bit more and that's when I started using Palm Gain (8-2-12).  

However, based on your suggestions, along with a few more, I think I am convinced I need to remove it from the pot and inspect the roots.  If I discover root rot I will be forced to compost this plant!  If the roots still looks good I will take your advice and plant a bit higher in the pot.  

On the other hand, if I want to replace this plant I will have a difficult time finding one within a reasonable drive from my place.  I live outside Pittsburgh and getting tropicals in this area is far more difficult than living in Florida!  But I'll give ti a try if needed.  

Again, thanks for taking time to reply.

best regards

dave

 

Edited by Dave L
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42 minutes ago, Dave L said:

On the other hand, if I want to replace this plant I will have a difficult time finding one within a reasonable drive from my place.  I live outside Pittsburgh and getting tropicals in this area is far more difficult than living in Florida!  But I'll give ti a try if needed.  

Again, thanks for taking time to reply.

best regards

dave

 

I hope your Bottle pulls through, but worst case scenario there's tons of mail order/online sellers. If you go that route, common sense kinda says to wait until spring so nothing is sitting in a freezing truck/warehouse.  

 

I'm in East Texas between Houston and Dallas, in the middle of nowhere, really. Out of almost 40 plants, I think I've bought 3 locally.... And none of them were palms. 

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16694837008052187821484565373999.thumb.jpg.a487b2d659292f33fe3eaf8217c5da0f.jpgGet yourself a sharpie put a line down towards the bottom of the spear and the old frond half of the line on the spear and half on the frond lined up so you can see if the frond is still pushing upward. Bottle palm fronds can grow up to 12' long so it is possible it's still pushing up. Not to mention the repotting has disturbed the roots and it will work on the roots before it goes back to work on the top. Bottles like to be root bound so it could honestly just be taking time to get established in it's pot. 

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Hey Skulls...many thanks for the message.  The sharpie idea is a good one and I should have thought of it earlier.  I know these things take a long time to open.....I am just too damn impatient to wait!

Thanks again

dave

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I get it man! Sometimes especially with my Majesty I will squeeze the spear daily and once it starts to separate I'll help it open 😬. With how big your bottle is I'd guess that new spear has a couple more feet to grow out before it's ready to pop. It's going to be at least as long as if not longer than the previous frond. 

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I have a dypsis lepto teddy bear in a 24" pot that did mostly nothing this year. Very unusual. It wasn't dying or discoloring or growing or anything. Like in a coma. All existing fronds stayed green, the center spear was fully grown but just wouldn't open. It was so long overdue it was practically welding itself shut. The only thing different I did this year was use PalmGain cause I ran out of Carl Pool. Just one feeding per instructions in March. By mid July I lost patience and decided to remove the dirt, examine the rootball, hose away all trace PalmGain, and repot with new soil. Also added more holes to the bottom of the pot to accelerate drainage. The pot is a straight cylinder. Cylinders and cubes need extra holes to facilitate drainage as water gets trapped along the sides unlike in tapered pots that force water toward the center hole(s) automatically. That is the reason most pots are tapered! But I like that cylinders and cubes don't blow over in strong winds. Anyway, in early September the spear finally opened and a second spear quickly followed. But now that winter temps have arrived (upper 30s at night) the teddy is again in a holding pattern. Hopefully in a few months with warm weather it will return to its normal pattern for 2023.

For now on, I won't use PalmGain for a potted palm even though it says so on the bag because, more importantly, it says to keep the fertilizer away from the trunk or it can kill the palm. When you water a pot or when it rains, it creates a lake and it's very difficult to keep it off the trunk. PalmGain is really a one-trick pony for inground palms where you have control of where it goes. Carl Pool is better for pots. If you must use PalmGain in a pot, use a small fraction of the recommended dosage.

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hank you for replying.  I have stopped using Palm Gain and I now plan to dig down to the roots and take a look.  And I'll have a bit more patience!

Thanks again

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