Travelling to a tropical island may be off the holiday list now, but why not create your own touch of paradise at home with some gorgeous palms and their alies. All palms are not created equal though, so come with us through our palm grove and discover the right plant selection for your position to create the perfect touch of lush for inside and out.
Kentia palms (Howea forsteriana) are popular the world round due to their hardiness and adaptability. Their dark green, elegant foliage and graceful, arching fronds made it perfect for interiors. They live happily in pots for many, many years, and are great for providing a canopy in shady gardens. Indoors, it is the best pick of palms to cope with low light positions, though will do best if spelled outside in the shade to recover. Lord Howe Island’s greatest export to the world is the Kentia Palm, which is called thatch palm there as it is used for thatching.
Australian Fan Palm (Licuala ramsayi) are simply one of the most beautiful and stylish palms around, and we can claim it too as its native to tropical Queensland rainforests. The completely round leaves split into segments, giving it a pinwheel effect, which can be up to 2m in diameter as it matures. Perfect for turning your friends green with envy, great in shaded frost-free courtyards and stylish in well-lit interiors. This ‘must have’ palm won’t last long, so get in while stocks last!
Sago Palm (Cycas revoluta) is a beautiful cycad palm that is popular in garden design. Its rounded whorls of dark green fronds give it a sensational silhouette that looks stylish in pots, great planted as a specimen in gardens and even used inside in bright positions. Native to Japan, it is one of the palms used to produce sago, which was popular in puddings last century and is making a bit of a comeback in kitchens.
Bamboo Palm (Chamaedorea seifritzii) is a tall, narrow clumping palm that is useful for screening as it grows thick to the base and reaches about 3m tall. Outside, bamboo palms prefer a semi shaded position with well-draining, organically enriched soil. Inside, they like a light filled room. Bamboo palms are wonderful to include not only as an air purifying plant, but also because they look great. Team them with a cane basket for a relaxed look, or pot them into a glazed pot for a more formal take on a jardinière.
Cardboard Palm (Zamia furfuracea) is a stunning cycad that looks great in pots inside or as a specimen in the garden. Each frond is olive green, thick and leathery, giving it the cardboard nickname. They radiate out from a central crown creating a beautiful shape. Cardboard palms like a shaded position outside, or full sun spot indoors, and will grow to about 1m in diameter and develop a small cylindrical trunk if they get the right position.
Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia nicolai) is not really a palm, but is does have palm like fan fronds. Perfect for instant height to your interiors, or used in containers outdoors as a terrific screening plant. The great thing about this plant is how much bang for your buck you get; they add value and lushness. When mature, the giant bird of paradise produces a giant ice-blue and white flower.
Golden Cane Palms (Dypsis lutescens) are prized for their golden stems and bright green fronds. They will grow happily in any frost-free position, and when planted outdoors can grow to 6m. One of the charming characteristics of this palm is its suckering habit, which means that as it grows taller it also gets thicker and bushier. Just remember to have enough room for it if you’re planting it outside, and don’t put it too close to any structures. Indoors and pots are perfect partners for golden cane palms.
Lady Palm (Rhapis excelsa)What’s not to LOVE about this lady? She is elegant, sophisticated, looks good for a lifetime and works with Asian interiors perfectly or mixes with the best tropical styling. Lady palm has dark green divided fronds and a multi-stemmed habit, putting up new stems as it grows taller so your plant always looks thick and lush, unlike some palms that get tall and skinny, this is your ‘fully figured’ palm. Lady palms will cope with air-conditioned environments, provided they are given regular spritzes with an atomiser, and are watered regularly.
Parlour Palm (Chamaedorea elegans) is perfect for indoors due to its low light tolerance, slow growth and diminutive habit. It’s been used for decades successfully and is the quintessential potted palm. It also works well as a kokedama.
Looking After Your Palms
Keep the palm fronds clean and wipe down any dust. Allow them to dry out slightly over winter, then up the water and fertilise regularly as the temperatures increase. Sometimes mealy bugs, scale and red spider (two spotted mites) can cause problems indoors, but a non-toxic Eco oil spray used occasionally can help rid you of problems, as well as a good hose down outside.Use a liquid fertiliser every few weeks.
When you need to repot your palm, we recommend using Eden Garden’s Premium Mix.