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brahea armata vs bismarckia nobilis


Jerrrod

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Hi guys, just wanted to hear what you all think about these two, pros and cons. Which do you prefer and why?

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Neither one is suited to your 7b climate. Are you wanting to grow one or the other in a pot and bring inside during hard freezes? If so, the Brahea armata would work better since it’s a slower growing palm and will do well potted for a number of years. 

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Jim in Los Altos, CA  SF Bay Area 37.34N- 122.13W- 190' above sea level

zone 10a/9b

sunset zone 16

300+ palms, 90+ species in the ground

Las Palmas Design

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Las Palmas Design & Associates

Elegant Homes and Gardens

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17 minutes ago, Jerrrod said:

Hi guys, just wanted to hear what you all think about these two, pros and cons. Which do you prefer and why?

Both are great palms that are pretty adaptable. that said.. some differences..

** Bismarckia take up a bigger footprint ( in the landscape ) than B. armata..

** B. armata are generally slower -growth speed wise- compared to Bismarckia.

** Bismarckia are typically doiecious, so you generally need a male and female specimen to produce seed ..lots of it ..and they're pretty big. 

** One mature B. armata will produce seed, much smaller than Bismarckia size-wise, but lots of it too..

** Leaves on B. armata specimens have a finer look than Bismarckia, and perhaps vary in the shade(s) of blue-ish silver.. That said, giant  Bismarckia fronds are really an impressive sight up close.

** Bismarckia  can grow quite well in areas that are hot / wet / humid, whereas B. armata can struggle in those same areas ..though the example of that palm in the palm collection at Kopsick, in St. Petersburg, FL. kind of challenges that idea a little.

** Both do fine here in our furnace of a climate, and in California, where warm enough. 

At the end of the day, Brahea armata  wins, ..by a hair, over Bismarckia  only because it is regionally native,  thus best adapted to the climate.  Regardless, as mentioned, Bismarckia  does fine too.

** Both can be tricky to transplant, so plant em' -carefully-  then leave alone and enjoy watching them mature.

** Neither will grow in the ground in zone 7.  Wouldn't grow either in a pot myself where it couldn't go into the ground eventually.

 

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2 hours ago, Silas_Sancona said:

Both are great palms that are pretty adaptable. that said.. some differences..

** Bismarckia take up a bigger footprint ( in the landscape ) than B. armata..

** B. armata are generally slower -growth speed wise- compared to Bismarckia.

** Bismarckia are typically doiecious, so you generally need a male and female specimen to produce seed ..lots of it ..and they're pretty big. 

** One mature B. armata will produce seed, much smaller than Bismarckia size-wise, but lots of it too..

** Leaves on B. armata specimens have a finer look than Bismarckia, and perhaps vary in the shade(s) of blue-ish silver.. That said, giant  Bismarckia fronds are really an impressive sight up close.

** Bismarckia  can grow quite well in areas that are hot / wet / humid, whereas B. armata can struggle in those same areas ..though the example of that palm in the palm collection at Kopsick, in St. Petersburg, FL. kind of challenges that idea a little.

** Both do fine here in our furnace of a climate, and in California, where warm enough. 

At the end of the day, Brahea armata  wins, ..by a hair, over Bismarckia  only because it is regionally native,  thus best adapted to the climate.  Regardless, as mentioned, Bismarckia  does fine too.

** Both can be tricky to transplant, so plant em' -carefully-  then leave alone and enjoy watching them mature.

** Neither will grow in the ground in zone 7.  Wouldn't grow either in a pot myself where it couldn't go into the ground eventually.

 

I kept a Brahea armata in the same 15 gallon pot for 25 years and it looked good but a bit bonsai in size of course. I gave it away and it got accustomed to being in the ground after that. 

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Jim in Los Altos, CA  SF Bay Area 37.34N- 122.13W- 190' above sea level

zone 10a/9b

sunset zone 16

300+ palms, 90+ species in the ground

Las Palmas Design

Facebook Page

Las Palmas Design & Associates

Elegant Homes and Gardens

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I know that they're both not practical for me here, just wanted to know how they compare to each other. BTW are there any blue/silver palms for me? If not, how big pot wise and growth rate?

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Is palmpedia a good website because I'm a little confused. It states 10F for armata and around 20F for Bismarkia. Besides the big freeze it rarely gets below about 25F where I live, maybe my particular area is a microclimate. I don't know. Most of the people that I talk to say it maybe gets cold enough for snow every 20 years. Most days that get cold only last hours before it gets above freezing. Some days it may get in the 20's then within a few days get back into the 40's or 60's. Not that I'll probably try again, but who knows.

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I think Chamaerops humilis argentea is probably the most cold hardy blueish/silver palm. Plus its small so you could grow a nice one in a pot and bring it inside in winter if necessary. 
 

Another cold hardy one would be Trithrinax campestris

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I would love to find a local argentea, every time I order something online it's hit or miss.

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Here are some other differences in addition to Nathan's list:

  • Brahea armata has thorny leaf petioles and Bismarckia does not.
  • Bismarckia sends down a very long radical as it germinates so it requires a deeper pot even as a seedling.  Sounds like you'll be dealing with pot culture if you choose to grow these.  If you're not careful potted Bismarckia can send roots into the ground if kept directly on the ground and then it becomes a problem because Bismarckia are quite sensitive to root breakage (can be fatal).  Brahea armata aren't quite as sensitive but still difficult to transplant.  Both species require a lot of care when repotting.

Another option would be the highlands variety of Sabal uresana (if you can find it) which can have very blue/silver fronds.  If your winter freeze events are on the dry side it might be worth trying in the ground but zone 7b might still be a stretch.

Jon Sunder

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I've seen Brahea armata growing around San Antonio, and every one I've seen looked completely unburned following the December freeze, unlike many other palms. I wish more people would plant them, they look beautiful. 

Bismarckia has no chance down here, but they're stunning if you're lucky enough to live somewhere where they can thrive. 

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