APRIL, 2000 Palm of the Month
Alexander Palm Archontophoenix alexandre
Dear Fellow Palm Aficionado (or compulsive palm collector and fan), we are about to unfold in this electronic periodical, for the VERY FIRST TIME: (break out the bubbly!), Paul,"The Wise Gardener's" choice for the Blue Ribbon-Awarded Palm Species of the Month! These louded species are palms that time and time again make their owners proud that they acquired these guys in the first place!! They dazzled us with a certain rare attraction: shape, colour, exoticness, or lushness; we were won over rapidly AND, convincingly, indeed! The love affair in which we were initially engaged has never, ever waned either. (No divorce court needed here, my friends!!)
My selection for this very 1st Awarded Palm is an Queensland Australia Palm: The Alexander Palm, or Archontophoenix alexandrae!! It's regal, clean, tropical in "feel", colourful, and VERY HARDY!!! Our own (AR-KON-TOE-FEE-NIX) has gotten more and more vibrant and lush, with each passing year, (and it's over four years in residence with us now), and ever more a unique focal point in our backyard.
This particular backyard faces Southwest in orientation, but the archontophoenix occupies a rather protected "nook" which partially blocks out strong winds of either the COLD Northwest winter variety, or those fierce winds of tropical origin (our palm has weathered quite successfully two major hurricanes) in its life here in South Florida! The everyday beauty that this specimen hallmarks is the expected; the surprise "bonus" is FRUITING TIME!! Wow!! From April through October, our archontophoenix palm produces literally HUNDREDS of cranberry-like seeds and that number is no exaggeration!!
What is truly AMAZING is that the seeds of our archontophoenix palm are 100% FERTILE!!! Every single ruby-coloured cauldron of life will sprout forth with a baby archontophoenix!! Just look at our pictures (recently back from the developer), and see what I mean, palm lover! These are plants bursting with vigour. We must have at least 500 plantlets, (or is that palmlets) in various stages of growth. We intend to make our backyard, an: "ARKONTO-Forest" in these next few months by transplanting these baby sprouts throughout our yard. We'll show you status photos at several times throughout the year!
Friends, this palm is all I've stated, and more!! All you need is a well-drained site (our palm occupies a somewhat elevated planting residence as you can see), plenty of moisture, and no temperatures under 35 degrees F.: (This is a ZONE 10A palm, but if you're adventurous, you might find success in ZONE 9B, with a minimum winter temperature of 30 degrees F., with PROTECTION!!) Try growing this Australian native if you happen to see one FOR SALE. It will become one of your favourites, I am sure!!!
Paul,"The Wise Gardener!"