Your December, 2001
Paul, "The Palm Doctor!"
Palm of the Month!!
Syagrus romanzoffiana "The Queen Palm"
The Queen palm is heavily planted in South Florida. It grows best in full sun, Queen Palm is most suited for acidic, well-drained soils and shows severe mineral deficiencies on alkaline soil. Unfortunately. acid soil is rare in Florida. Most homeowners do not fertilize properly and so we see many Queens with "frizzle top" symptoms. The new fronds progressively weaken, get shorter, yellow and have a frizzy appearance.This disfigures the palm by stunting the young leaves and can kill it. Since Queen Palms are frequently planted in our heavily alkaline soil, regular preventive applications of manganese and/or iron to help keep the fronds green. Potassium deficiency is also displayed on older fronds in well-drained soils. Quick-growing Queen Palm responds well to ample moisture and fertilizer and is slightly salt-tolerant. After planting Queen Palm in the landscape, growth is rapid. This palm is not affected by lethal yellowing disease.
Another caution here! Pruning off too many fronds at one time can cause the palm to decline. Growth often slows with new foliage aborting to display distorted leaflets. The trunk is also very susceptible to decay. Prevent injury to the trunk by keeping turf well away from the trunk. The Queen Palm IS highly suseptible to Gandoderma butt rot. This is an always fatal fungal disease.
Description (University Of Florida data)
Height: 25 to 50 feet
Spread: 15 to 25 feet
Crown uniformity: irregular
Crown shape: palm, upright/erect
Crown density: open
Growth rate: fast
Leaf arrangement: alternate (Fig. 3)
Leaf type: odd-pinnately compound
Leaf margin: entire
Leaf shape: lanceolate
Leaf venation: parallel
Leaf type and persistence: evergreen
Leaf blade length: 12 to 18 inches, 18 to 36 inches
Leaf color: green
Fall color: no color change
Fall characteristic: not showy
Flower color: white/cream/gray
Flower characteristics: showy
Fruit shape: round
Fruit length: .5 to 1 inch
Fruit covering: fleshy
Fruit color: orange
Fruit characteristics: does not attract wildlife; showy; fruit/leaves a litter problem
Trunk/bark/branches: branches don't droop; not showy; typically one trunk; thorns
Pruning requirement: little required
Current year twig color: not applicable
Current year twig thickness:
Wood specific gravity: unknown
Light requirement: full sun
Soil tolerances: clay; sand; loam; acidic; well-drained; occasionally wet
Drought tolerance: moderate
Aerosol salt tolerance: moderate
Roots: not a problem
Winter interest: no
Outstanding tree: no
Invasive potential: little invasive potential
Ozone sensitivity: unknown
Verticillium wilt susceptibility: resistant
Pest resistance: resistant to pests/diseases
In spite of the aforementioned drawbacks, the Queen is very easy to grow and deserves some planting in palm groupings and as a nice background tree. It must be remembered, however; this variety of palm needs regular preventative nutritional care otherwise it will look poorly, and not be long-lived.
Paul, The Palm Doctor!