Not all of us are lucky enough to grow bottle palms in our landscape, but for those of us who can…what a treat! These plants bear their name due to the trunk’s strong resemblance to a bottle. The trunk of bottle palm tree is swollen and rounded when young, becoming more elongated as the palm matures. Bottle palm tree is a true palm that is native to the Mascarene Islands where warm, balmy temperatures and loose, sandy soil form the plant’s habitat. Planting a bottle palm tree in northern climates is not recommended, as they are not frost hardy. South state gardeners, however, should know how to grow a bottle palm tree and make use of this unique and stunning tropical plant.
More information about Bottle Palm Tree
Plants develop all sorts of amazing adaptations to help them survive. Bottle palm tree has thickened trunks topped with scaly crowns. The purpose of these bottle palm is unclear but might have been a water storage device. Apart from the reason, the trunk makes for a standout silhouette in the garden or even as a potted plant. Taking care for a bottle palm tree is a low maintenance chore due to its slow growth and drought tolerance once established.
The bottle palm is a true palm in the family Arecaceae. Its scientific name is Hyophorbe lagenicaulis. The last part of the bottle palm tree name is from two Greek words, ‘lagen’ meaning flask and ‘caulis’ meaning stem. The name contains an important clue to the plant’s form.
There More interesting bottle palm tree info is hidden in the first part of the name, Hyophorbe. Broken down, ‘hyo’ means pig and ‘phorbe’ means fodder – an indication that the tree’s fruit was fed to pigs.
These palms only get 10 feet about 3 m in height but sport fronds that may grow 12 feet in length with 2-foot long leaflets. The trunk is smooth and grayish white topped with scraggly leaf scars from old, departed fronds.
How to Grow a Bottle Palm Tree
Bottle palm trees require slight warm temperatures all year and tend to prefer drier soils. These Bottle palm trees are cultivated in Florida, southern California, Hawaii and other warm climates. Northern country gardeners can grow the smaller trees in containers and bring them indoors before any frost threatens.
The site conditions of palm trees that are optimal to bottle tree palm care are sunny, well-drained soil with plentiful potassium, either in site or added annually as a feed.
When planting a bottle palm, dig a hole twice as deep and wide as the root ball. Add sand or topsoil to increase drainage and install the palm at the same depth it was growing in its pot. Do not hill soil around the stem.
Water well initially to help the plant develop deep roots. Over time, this tree can tolerate drought for short periods of time and it even withstands saline soils in coastal situations.
Bottle Palm Tree Care
One of the key areas of bottle tree palm care is provisions for protection from frost. Tie up the fronds gently and wrap the tree in a blanket or other insulating cover if cold temperatures are predicted. Even a light freeze can cause fronds to brown and die.
Bottle trees are not self-cleaning, but wait until the weather warms up to trim off dead leaves, which can provide further insulation during the winter months. Fertilize in early spring with a high potassium ratio food. Watch for pests and disease, and combat any signs immediately.
Caring for a bottle palm tree is nearly effortless, provided they are in good soil, bright light and get moderate moisture.