One of the best ways to add some tropical flair to your yard is through the use of palm trees.
There are dozens of choices out there; some common and some very exotic (and expensive).
This week, I want to talk about a couple of the more common varieties that you might want to try in your landscape.
The Queen is probably one of the most common palm tree varieties found in our area. These palms are native to Brazil, Paraguay and northern Argentina. This palm is very commonly used as a landscape accent. Queen palms have been assigned the name Cocos plumose.
The Queen is a very hardy plant that is cold tolerant down to 20 degrees. The tree is also relatively draught tolerant and requires little in the way of watering once the plant is established. The Queen Palm can grow upwards to 50 feet.
The Queen boasts a smooth straight trunk that is marked with evenly spaced leaf scars. The top of the tree is marked by a large canopy that consists of feathery like fronds. The leaves are a dark green and have a very graceful and tropical appearance.
The Queen also has a spectacular display of fruit and flower clusters that give this tree a very unique appearance. In each fruit is a seed with three spots.
Queen palms can be used in many landscape environments including lining a pathway or driveway, grouped together to form a tropical hammock, used individually to accent a garden area or for an accent on your front lawn. The uses are endless and the beauty is amazing.
There is one downside with these palms. Over the years, there has been a fungus disease that is affecting some of the tees. Personally, none of mine have ever been affected.
Another common palm that this found just about everywhere is the Areca Palm. The Areca has feather-like green fronds that radiate from several trunks, which make this a good choice for use as a border. Areca palms are slow growing plants that will grow wider before they get taller.
One common problem that you can encounter with these plants is the browning out of the plant tips. This is normal and will happen in almost all cases. These palms require bright indirect light and if you use the plant indoors, keep it within 5 to 8 feet of a bright window. If you plant the palms outdoors or use them as a border, plant them on in a part of your yard that gets some shade, either from the structure or from larger trees that might be in the yard. If the Areca receives too much direct sunlight, it will cause browning of the leaves.
The Areca palm requires a fair amount of water but it will not do well in an area that does not drain properly. It does not like to sit in standing water.
In addition, over time you may notice a slight yellowing of the leaves. This is normal with these palms and using simple Epsom salts around your palms can often offset the yellowing. Use about a half-cup around each plant and water in. Apply the tonic around your plants about every month or so. This will help keep the lush green color intact.
Joe Zelenak has more than 30 years experience in gardening and landscape. Send e-mails to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his Web site www.hometowngarden.com.