The Palm of the Month
Hyophorbe Species (Bottle & Spindle Palms)
This month, MAY, 2001, thewisegardener.com chooses the Hyophorbe Family of Palms, as "Palms of the Month!" They are very striking & unusual- looking specimens, indeed! Their common names Bottle Palm and Spindle Palm are very "apt" as the trunks of these palms truly resemble CokeŽ Bottles!
Endemic to Round Island and Mauritius, and now restricted to a few individuals in habitat on Round Island, this species is widely cultivated in Mauritius. As well as individual specimens in the capital, towns and villages, mass plantings are common at median strips and roundabouts.
Their successful culture is usually dependant upon the following:
1. USDA Plant Zones 10-11 with minimum temperatures in winter no lower than 2° C. (about 40° F.) and certainly no lower than 0° C.!!
2. Correcting soil nutritional deficiencies EARLY!! Make sure that magnesium sulfate & manganese sulfate are applied at the rain dripline at least yearly!! This will assure that the Hyophorbe palm will not evidence smaller-than-normal, light green to yellowing leaves, or frizzled fronds. Also, institute a regular 3 times a year fertilisation program. Any standard "Palm Special" Fertiliser will suffice. It will assure healthy roots, stem and leaves...also longevity of these beautiful palms.
3. Hyophorbes like sunlight; don't plant in too shady an environment (3 hours a day minimum of at least partial sunlight!)
4. Watering is essential until Hyophorbes are well-established. Three times a week for the first month after planting, is OK. Water well, around the root ball, at least once a week, when no rainfall is received, for the first six months, also!
5. Pests are no serious problem for bottle & spindle palms, either, but keep a watchful eye out for palm leaf skeletonizer, and eliminate as required! (New leaves will soon emerge, that should be unphased and pristine.)
The delightful architechtural form of Hyophores are the truly unique feature of this species that makes them such a decorative addition to the landscape at your tropical home (or containerized for a tropical note, outside, in summer only, in cooler climates, due to their relatively smallish mature height!) For these reasons, the Hyophorbe trulty earns the accolade of Palms of the Month!
Paul,"The Wise Gardener!"