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beccariophoenix alfredii vs a coconut


redant

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Both planted about the same size and same time, about 10 ft apart. Neither ever fertilized. While I do love beccariophoenix alfredii, it's clearly not a real coconut substitute. Like all beccariophoenix it's pretty slow, takes up a massive circumference and the fronds spread for miles lol. beccariophoenix alfredii is very jurrasic park like.  

 

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Jupiter FL

in the Zone formally known as 10A

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My favorite of all the beccariophoenix is the one nobody ever talks about lol, slow, easy and stunning

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Jupiter FL

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Both are beautiful palms. Unfortunately, from my experience, Beccariophoenix are not very wind tolerant. We had multiple tip over in last year’s hurricanes and we only experienced weak cat 1 hurricane winds max.

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8 hours ago, redant said:

My favorite of all the beccariophoenix is the one nobody ever talks about lol, slow, easy and stunning

IMG_0532.jpg

I suppose you're talking about B. Madagascariensis? There's a pretty big one not too far from my house that I go visit quite often and I love the upright form and the color of the petioles. Looks like it's exploding out of the ground like a volcano. The more relaxed fronds of palm in this photo looks more like Alfredii to me. Is it Madagascariensis?

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13 hours ago, Hurricanepalms said:

Both are beautiful palms. Unfortunately, from my experience, Beccariophoenix are not very wind tolerant. We had multiple tip over in last year’s hurricanes and we only experienced weak cat 1 hurricane winds max.

if you look at the base of the beast you will see all the former poles and such to support it. It's pretty darn sturdy at this point but yeah for many years they tip and sway way to easily. A hurricane will clearly rip it out of the ground when young.

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Jupiter FL

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11 hours ago, Billy said:

I suppose you're talking about B. Madagascariensis? There's a pretty big one not too far from my house that I go visit quite often and I love the upright form and the color of the petioles. Looks like it's exploding out of the ground like a volcano. The more relaxed fronds of palm in this photo looks more like Alfredii to me. Is it Madagascariensis?

It's had some name changes over the years,  Beccariophoenix madagascariensis 'no windows' - Palmpedia - Palm Grower's Guide  thats it.  I have multiples of all 3 but this one always strikes me as the best of the bunch. I have no idea why it's not used more. All my palms struggle for light so that's probably why it's more relaxed.

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Jupiter FL

in the Zone formally known as 10A

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1 hour ago, redant said:

It's had some name changes over the years,  Beccariophoenix madagascariensis 'no windows' - Palmpedia - Palm Grower's Guide  thats it.  I have multiples of all 3 but this one always strikes me as the best of the bunch. I have no idea why it's not used more. All my palms struggle for light so that's probably why it's more relaxed.

Yeah the non-Alfredii names are confusing.  If I have it right there was a B. Madagascariensis...then a "windows" and a "no-windows"...then a B. Madagascariensis (the no-windows type) and the B. Fenestralis (the windows type).  Is that right?

Anyway, I think the reason Alfredii is dominating in the growing and sales is because of the relative hardiness.  My 15+ footers took 24-26F with frost and only had minor damage.  Reports on the other two aren't quite as good, but Madagascariensis seems to be a solid 9B survivor.  The faster growth after seedling stage probably helps.  :D  I really need to pick up a couple of Madagascariensis, as I already have 5 big Alfredii in the ground and another ~20 in pots...

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I think the size of an alfredii will depend more on sun exposure and soil.  Obviously getting knocked down just destroys roots, retarding growth.  My full sun one is around 28-30' overall and it was spread out from its shuttlecock shape by IAN where we had gusts to 97 mph.  I have two others in part shade(20-24') that took more damage in bent and fractured petioles.  I agree ALfredii or any beccariophoenix is not a coconut substitute.  Mine has a 36" thick clear trunk bulging at the base of 8' of trunk and is about 35' wide leaf tip toi tip.  I think planting in sandy or rocky soil only exacerbates the wind issues which are due to a much bigger crown than roots can stabilize early in life.  I guess I got lucky,  only one of mine had a mild tilt in IRMA, nothing from IAN but bent and fractured petioles.  The leaflets on all of mine are over 50" long, its a different "jurassic" look than a coconut.  No one guesses it to be a coconut as those are notably smaller in crown with fewer leaves and more yellowish in this area.  The good side is trimming is much more safe, LOL!  I think I will be able to trim mine for another 20 years from the ground with my 18' pole saw.   

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Formerly in Gilbert AZ, zone 9a/9b. Now in Palmetto, Florida Zone 9b/10a??

 

Tom Blank

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I am pleasantly surprised at how cold and frost tolerant BA are here in St. Augustine.  Both of mine were pretty exposed during the Christmas cold spell here in St. Augustine and they have almost zero damage.   There are just a very few strands of frond that turned brown.   My Archontophoenix cunninghamiana and Adonidia merrillii had much more frond burn.  When they are young their fronds look very coconut like up here in non coconut territory. The hurricanes were harder on them than the cold.  Both of mine leaned  after the hurricanes but I have braced them back into place. 

Edited by Lou-StAugFL
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Lou St. Aug, FL

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3 hours ago, sonoranfans said:

I think the size of an alfredii will depend more on sun exposure and soil.  Obviously getting knocked down just destroys roots, retarding growth.  My full sun one is around 28-30' overall and it was spread out from its shuttlecock shape by IAN where we had gusts to 97 mph.  I have two others in part shade(20-24') that took more damage in bent and fractured petioles.  I agree ALfredii or any beccariophoenix is not a coconut substitute.  Mine has a 36" thick clear trunk bulging at the base of 8' of trunk and is about 35' wide leaf tip toi tip.  I think planting in sandy or rocky soil only exacerbates the wind issues which are due to a much bigger crown than roots can stabilize early in life.  I guess I got lucky,  only one of mine had a mild tilt in IRMA, nothing from IAN but bent and fractured petioles.  The leaflets on all of mine are over 50" long, its a different "jurassic" look than a coconut.  No one guesses it to be a coconut as those are notably smaller in crown with fewer leaves and more yellowish in this area.  The good side is trimming is much more safe, LOL!  I think I will be able to trim mine for another 20 years from the ground with my 18' pole saw.   

The no windows version you can prune for your entire lifespan with a pair of hand clippers and no ladder. The one in the picture is about 13 to 15 years old.

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Jupiter FL

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The no-windows “true” madagascariensis is the only decent looking one of the genus I’ve seen in South Texas, alfredii doesn’t really like it here (though it can languish in the shade) and it did poorly in the ‘21 freeze (~23F). The thicker glossier leaves of madagascariensis seem to help in our climate and it appears to anchor itself down better, keeping its growing point lower. On the whole Attalea is a much more satisfactory genus to fool with.

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B alfredii is a great coconut substitute if you can't grow a coconut. Its about the closest thing too it out there. 

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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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5 hours ago, richtrav said:

The no-windows “true” madagascariensis is the only decent looking one of the genus I’ve seen in South Texas, alfredii doesn’t really like it here (though it can languish in the shade) and it did poorly in the ‘21 freeze (~23F). The thicker glossier leaves of madagascariensis seem to help in our climate and it appears to anchor itself down better, keeping its growing point lower. On the whole Attalea is a much more satisfactory genus to fool with.

Out of curiosity, which Attalea have you had success with?  I've lost one 8' frond Cohune to frost and crown rot, and two others defoliated but seem to be rebounding year-on-year okay at their small size.  I also have Brejinhoensis, Butyracea, and Phalerata out in the yard and doing pretty well down to the mid 20s with frost.  I read that Speciosa is a good hardy option too, but I haven't found one yet.

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Cohune is the easiest, after a hard freeze it’s a good idea to cut it back to green tissue and treat it with hydrogen peroxide or copper fungicide. This is the large one in the back yard last summer. When they’re young they bounce back more quickly after a freeze. I have a smaller one from Action Theory that is labeled speciosa but it’s hard to tell much difference from cohune. Butryacea is the one native south of Tampico and it burns easily but the large one in Brownsville recovered from ‘21. Dr Montalvo in Brownsville has a number of different ones he’s grown from seed and most have done well, some got a little scorch this past winter but most were fine.

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On 2/8/2023 at 2:56 AM, richtrav said:

The no-windows “true” madagascariensis is the only decent looking one of the genus I’ve seen in South Texas, alfredii doesn’t really like it here (though it can languish in the shade) and it did poorly in the ‘21 freeze (~23F). The thicker glossier leaves of madagascariensis seem to help in our climate and it appears to anchor itself down better, keeping its growing point lower. On the whole Attalea is a much more satisfactory genus to fool with.

Mine has been through some freezes here but nothing like the TX freezes. 09/10 was a long term 30 to 32 every night for like 14 days and not much relief during the day. These never flinched.

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Jupiter FL

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I think texas is too cold for beccariophoenix, at least the snaps which are more severe than florida.  Alfrediis are not a jungle palm more like hilly savannah palm of the upper plains @ 3500'.  They develop deep roots in my experience but only where you water cycle.  Soggy soil will limit root growth and strength. as would drying soil with root dieback.  Ive seen  30' bismarckia in rocky wet soil in miami that I could move with a push on the trunk.  Treat this palm more like a bismarckia than a coconut in terms of soil and irrigation.    When you see them on the habitat pics on the upper plateau they look like they get lots of direct sun.   

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Formerly in Gilbert AZ, zone 9a/9b. Now in Palmetto, Florida Zone 9b/10a??

 

Tom Blank

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15 hours ago, richtrav said:

Cohune is the easiest, after a hard freeze it’s a good idea to cut it back to green tissue and treat it with hydrogen peroxide or copper fungicide. This is the large one in the back yard last summer. When they’re young they bounce back more quickly after a freeze. I have a smaller one from Action Theory that is labeled speciosa but it’s hard to tell much difference from cohune. Butryacea is the one native south of Tampico and it burns easily but the large one in Brownsville recovered from ‘21. Dr Montalvo in Brownsville has a number of different ones he’s grown from seed and most have done well, some got a little scorch this past winter but most were fine.

That's a great looking Cohune!  My problem with them is near 100% defoliation each winter.  I think if I were on the SW side of Orlando they'd do okay, but they seem to be very frost sensitive.  They do grow back reasonably fast, but only get a couple of decent fronds each year...that then get burnt off in December or January.  I bought a couple of Brejinhoensis and they have so far been substantially hardier than the others.  They also have a neat variegated petiole/rachis, which is pretty unique!

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On this rainy day, almost  7 weeks after our freeze event.  You can see slight burn on a few edges.  We were 28 degrees here in St. Augustine South, Florida, it may have gone down to 27 degrees in the front of the house where the larger BA is located.  Overall, I am very impressed with their handling of the cold freezing temperatures.

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Lou St. Aug, FL

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 2/9/2023 at 6:54 PM, Merlyn said:

That's a great looking Cohune!  My problem with them is near 100% defoliation each winter.  I think if I were on the SW side of Orlando they'd do okay, but they seem to be very frost sensitive.  They do grow back reasonably fast, but only get a couple of decent fronds each year...that then get burnt off in December or January.  I bought a couple of Brejinhoensis and they have so far been substantially hardier than the others.  They also have a neat variegated petiole/rachis, which is pretty unique!

Merlyn. I also love Attalea and I am in central Florida a ways south of Orlando on the Lake Wales Ridge. I have A. speciosa, and A. brejinhoensis. I am about to get a Cohune too. Do you know of a source for more A. brejinhoensis? I wish I would have bought more at the time when I had a chance. Thanks 

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I am excited to hear about the hardiness in both the Beccariophoenix alfredii and the Attalea cohune. I am growing both in my sunniest and 'best' overall planting bed which I hope to make a complete jungle. The 5 gallon BA did fine this past winter here in Northern Ca which was a real winter (coldest temp seen was 37C) . I have since added a 2 gallon Beccariophoenix fenestralis to the mix to see how it fairs. Additionally, in this pic I have planted a Parajubaea torallyi + Butia odorata + Reed avocado + small Cocos nucifera for fun. (Tropical fruit trees that are small in this pic include starfruit + white sapote 'sue belle' + multiple guava species that all made it through our tough winter here in CA).

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I bought a pretty well-established Fenestralis at the last CFPACS show, grown by the host Neil.  This replaced a Dypsis Onilahensis 2' tall seedling that got crown rot and died this spring.  It was subjected to a lot of hours below 32F around Christmas and the 2nd weekend in January.  My 5 big B. Alfredii took only minimal leaf tip burn and kept on growing like nothing had happened.  This spot is one of the warmest in the yard, so hopefully it'll be happy here!  There's a touch of sunburn but it seems to be adapting quickly:

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The palm in the upper left is a Archontophoenix Alexandrae that had just a bit of tip burn.  The Ficus Lyrata behind the Fenestralis and the Ficus Auriculata at top center were both burned to the ground, but are growing back nicely.  The Encephalartos Whitelockii/Ituriensis/Equatorialis in the upper right took about 25% leaf burn.

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1 hour ago, Merlyn said:

I bought a pretty well-established Fenestralis at the last CFPACS show, grown by the host Neil.  This replaced a Dypsis Onilahensis 2' tall seedling that got crown rot and died this spring.  It was subjected to a lot of hours below 32F around Christmas and the 2nd weekend in January.  My 5 big B. Alfredii took only minimal leaf tip burn and kept on growing like nothing had happened.  This spot is one of the warmest in the yard, so hopefully it'll be happy here!  There's a touch of sunburn but it seems to be adapting quickly:

20230506_084653.thumb.jpg.4d72553d2e4783260532c7fed46ac3fd.jpg

The palm in the upper left is a Archontophoenix Alexandrae that had just a bit of tip burn.  The Ficus Lyrata behind the Fenestralis and the Ficus Auriculata at top center were both burned to the ground, but are growing back nicely.  The Encephalartos Whitelockii/Ituriensis/Equatorialis in the upper right took about 25% leaf burn.

those need an ungodly amount of iron when young. The yellowing is typical of them not getting iron.

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Jupiter FL

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On 2/6/2023 at 5:11 PM, Hurricanepalms said:

Both are beautiful palms. Unfortunately, from my experience, Beccariophoenix are not very wind tolerant. We had multiple tip over in last year’s hurricanes and we only experienced weak cat 1 hurricane winds max.

Funny that my large alfredii had minimal damage from IAN (to 97mph gusts locally) and IRMA(85 mph gusts) in2017.  Palms that had notably more damage with direct wind exposure comparable to that BA include, Bismarckia copernicia fallaensis and baileyana, and even my sabal causiarum had a number of fractured petioles.  No palm of mine was knocked over except dypsis(?) pembana and  lutecens which both had trunks snapped as did a neighbors 15' sabal palmetto.   A half dozen live oaks were knocked down in my neighborhood.  Its starting to look like planting a bigger alfredii may be a mistake as the large sail on top doesnt allow for roots to establish.  I have (3) BA  at 22' to 30' overall, and none have been knocked down in two hurricanes, and 12 years in the ground.  But mine were planted as 3 gallons just starting on the first divided leaf.   If you do not allow them to grow deep roots, yep it will go down fast since it has such a large crown which acts as a sail in wind.  It might be that my soil type; sandy with deeper shelf of sand plus clay at 2' is also a better for root establishment.   The roots on 30' BA extend more than 20 feet from the trunk as I have installed plants at that distance and ran into substantial root density from it.IMG_9225.thumb.JPG.7a8754bab80cbaa3ce3cd346d6ef9365.JPG

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Formerly in Gilbert AZ, zone 9a/9b. Now in Palmetto, Florida Zone 9b/10a??

 

Tom Blank

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@redantthanks for the info!  I heard the same thing from Mike at MB Palms about the Alfredii, though once in the ground they seem to like any "normal" palm fertilizer and haven't had anything other than potassium/magnesium/cold damage end-of-leaflet burn. 

@sonoranfansI'd guess the clay helps to stabilize the really long root runners that Alfredii seems to put out.  But part of the key may be just planting depth or planting age.  I visited MB Palms' open house and he's got at least 10 big trunking Alfredii in the ground.  None of them had a hint of a lean to them, after 2 hurricanes last summer with sustained 50-70mph winds and gusts around 100.  The couple big ones at Leu Gardens' Tropical Stream Pavilion are both leaning.  Those two were planted the same way I did mine, erring on the side of slightly high rather than low.  Mine were 4-5' tall big 7g when planted.  MB Palms' Alfredii were all planted low...really low...like a foot low and with mulch all the way up covering the base of the trunk.  I asked Mike about hurricanes and Alfredii and he said, "Plant them DEEP."  So while mine are all starting to look like they are "air girdled," and all tilted during the hurricanes, his were all 100% stable.  I'm not sure how deep is too deep, but it seems that is a key to getting them to be stable.

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9 minutes ago, Merlyn said:

@redantthanks for the info!  I heard the same thing from Mike at MB Palms about the Alfredii, though once in the ground they seem to like any "normal" palm fertilizer and haven't had anything other than potassium/magnesium/cold damage end-of-leaflet burn. 

@sonoranfansI'd guess the clay helps to stabilize the really long root runners that Alfredii seems to put out.  But part of the key may be just planting depth or planting age.  I visited MB Palms' open house and he's got at least 10 big trunking Alfredii in the ground.  None of them had a hint of a lean to them, after 2 hurricanes last summer with sustained 50-70mph winds and gusts around 100.  The couple big ones at Leu Gardens' Tropical Stream Pavilion are both leaning.  Those two were planted the same way I did mine, erring on the side of slightly high rather than low.  Mine were 4-5' tall big 7g when planted.  MB Palms' Alfredii were all planted low...really low...like a foot low and with mulch all the way up covering the base of the trunk.  I asked Mike about hurricanes and Alfredii and he said, "Plant them DEEP."  So while mine are all starting to look like they are "air girdled," and all tilted during the hurricanes, his were all 100% stable.  I'm not sure how deep is too deep, but it seems that is a key to getting them to be stable.

I have 4 Fenestralis and a bit more Alfredii in the ground. The Fenestralis clearly needs a lot of supplemental iron, the Alfredii I have never given any.

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Jupiter FL

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2 hours ago, Merlyn said:

@redantthanks for the info!  I heard the same thing from Mike at MB Palms about the Alfredii, though once in the ground they seem to like any "normal" palm fertilizer and haven't had anything other than potassium/magnesium/cold damage end-of-leaflet burn. 

@sonoranfansI'd guess the clay helps to stabilize the really long root runners that Alfredii seems to put out.  But part of the key may be just planting depth or planting age.  I visited MB Palms' open house and he's got at least 10 big trunking Alfredii in the ground.  None of them had a hint of a lean to them, after 2 hurricanes last summer with sustained 50-70mph winds and gusts around 100.  The couple big ones at Leu Gardens' Tropical Stream Pavilion are both leaning.  Those two were planted the same way I did mine, erring on the side of slightly high rather than low.  Mine were 4-5' tall big 7g when planted.  MB Palms' Alfredii were all planted low...really low...like a foot low and with mulch all the way up covering the base of the trunk.  I asked Mike about hurricanes and Alfredii and he said, "Plant them DEEP."  So while mine are all starting to look like they are "air girdled," and all tilted during the hurricanes, his were all 100% stable.  I'm not sure how deep is too deep, but it seems that is a key to getting them to be stable.

mine are not planted low at all,  if anything they are a bit high.  I think root growth is very good on mine because 1`) moisture at 2' depth from some clay mixed with sand likely gives a better deep dry/wet cycle in the dry season.  2) I water with sprinklers, never used drip or even microsprayers on them so all the soil around them is wetted in the dry spring which is where I suspect the worst root damage occurs due to poor dry cycling.   IF soil sees a wet dry cycle roots will grow into it but if not they will be stunted.  BA is a palm that is naturally occuring near rivertine stream beds(seasonally dry) and they develop deep roots.  In florida I think there are many places that will not allow deep roots like wet rocky soils down south or mostly dry sandy soils elsewhere.  If starting with a bigger palm, I would cut off some of the older green leaves to "reduce the sail" but prevent root damage.  Propping these up with stakes is a loser as there is no trunk to attach the stakes to till they get over 20'.  Most of what I hear is people buying the bitggest one they can find and then when it gets knocked down they try to prop it up with stakes.  The big crown means lots of root tension/damage in the wind, probably better off with less leaves until the roots develop(3 years?).  I am betting MB palms also planted their BA's very young.  I remember when I bought mine from mike evans in st pete I took a trip up there and saw them at MB palms the same size, the second batch of seeds from the wild I believe.  I think Jeff Searles huge one (at his former nursery) was in the first batch.  Mine is 2-3 years younger than the oldest "first batch" ones in florida.  Im looking forward to seeing all these more recent ones get big!  

Formerly in Gilbert AZ, zone 9a/9b. Now in Palmetto, Florida Zone 9b/10a??

 

Tom Blank

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20 hours ago, redant said:

those need an ungodly amount of iron when young. The yellowing is typical of them not getting iron.

I have the same problem with my BA seedlings. But only in winter indoors.
If I remember correctly, low light levels making it difficult for the palm to get the existing iron out of the soil.
What is the connection of light and iron exactly?

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3 hours ago, fotodimatti said:

I have the same problem with my BA seedlings. But only in winter indoors.
If I remember correctly, low light levels making it difficult for the palm to get the existing iron out of the soil.
What is the connection of light and iron exactly?

Just to clarify, beccariophpoenix alfredii are not needing extra iron when young, but fenestralis has a big need for iron to green up, as you can see in merlyns pic.  I have not added any iron to my alfrediis over the 12 years they are always a green color.  I have seen some potassium deficiency on mine (from time to time) on a few of the older leaves, but many palms are susceptible to potassium deficiency in rainy florida's sandy soils.

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Formerly in Gilbert AZ, zone 9a/9b. Now in Palmetto, Florida Zone 9b/10a??

 

Tom Blank

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I put this guy in out front in blazing sun.    I have a lot of alkaline sand as a base, and did get iron issues last year that resolved with EDDHA iron treatments.   Now I keep up with regular iron.   Gets assaulted by tea scale sometimes.  So I have to treat for that too sometimes.  
 

It started as a 1 gallon from Floribunda 2 years ago…..

827C188B-9F7A-4180-B4DD-C941ADB18335.thumb.jpeg.6fe9245cff0534549ebef85e232f7ea1.jpeg

 

Planted out as 3 gallon later that year.   I planted a little deep.  Wish I would have planted deeper….

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Now about 5 feet tall….   

614A2ED9-B52E-45A8-BDD5-157AC98B67FC.thumb.jpeg.b60704221095ba29d09b065e1b326f2c.jpeg
 

I intended on putting fenestralis there initially, but that one seemed too finicky for me…. Still in a pot, wobbling away.   

7g Early 2021….
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Up to 15g Late 2022….

8A885A4D-8156-454B-8CDF-98019DB506EA.thumb.jpeg.7f99c1e063b683b090a11e0ac2aae32a.jpeg
 

Fenestralis seems to want better soil, better water, and lots of fertilizer, and part shade, to grow faster.   

 

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4 hours ago, sonoranfans said:

Just to clarify, beccariophpoenix alfredii are not needing extra iron when young, but fenestralis has a big need for iron to green up, as you can see in merlyns pic.  I have not added any iron to my alfrediis over the 12 years they are always a green color.  I have seen some potassium deficiency on mine (from time to time) on a few of the older leaves, but many palms are susceptible to potassium deficiency in rainy florida's sandy soils.

Here are three photos of an example of my BAs. Some three years old. The less sun they get in winter the more pale they get...IMG-1405.thumb.jpg.4147926493194143a292deb7e37093ca.jpgIMG-1406.thumb.jpg.44fa7953e20a3a66d9a0b2a4424a74fa.jpgIMG-1404.thumb.jpg.c03b0be118be64221585b9c7db8e9bce.jpg

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yeah growing indoors is tough for many palms.  There are a handful that work indoors, but most will not be healthy.

Formerly in Gilbert AZ, zone 9a/9b. Now in Palmetto, Florida Zone 9b/10a??

 

Tom Blank

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To clarify my earlier comments, Mike at MB Palms told me about 4 years ago that *some* Alfredii struggled with iron deficiencies in pots.  All of his looked deep green and were in full sun, in potting soil that was relatively rich.  I've been growing some Alfredii seedlings from Halley Ferrel and they don't seem to have any significant issues.  My biggest problem with seedlings is that I just plain forget to fertilize them...

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