Palms

8 species of Phoenix palm trees to decorate your garden

Palms of the genus Phoenix are ideal plants to decorate gardens, as they give them that tropical and exotic touch that they like so much. Its cultivation and maintenance is relatively simple, as long as we keep in mind that they adore the sun.

So, if you have a sunny garden and you want to decorate it with beautiful and easy-care palm trees, here are 8 species of Phoenix that you will love.

Phoenix Features

Palm trees of the genus Phoenix are one of the most cultivated in gardens and parks in Spain; and they are even often planted in the streets. But how are they? Well, although it is easy for a trained eye to identify them, the truth is that when you are beginners it may cost you a bit, since there are other palm trees that look like it (like the Beccariophoenix or the Archontophoenix for example).

Therefore, we are going to see what its characteristics are. And we will start by talking about its trunk. This is not really a true trunk, but a stipe, which is covered by the bases of the leaves that are drying and falling. These bases are arranged in a spiral, something that gives them a very beautiful appearance as the plant grows and matures.

There are species that are multicaule ; that is, they have several stipes, like the Phoenix dactylifera, but most have only one. It would not be wrong to think that each of these stipes is an independent individual, since each of them has its own growth guide. This means that, in the event that one of those stems died for whatever reason (plague, lightning, disease…), the rest would still be alive.

The leaves are pinnate, and are composed of simple green leaflets. Those that are closest to the petiole (that is, to the stem that joins the leaf with the stipe) are spines, generally long and sharp. Of all the species that exist, the least ‘dangerous’ is the Phoenix rupicola, as its spines are less numerous and smaller in size than others usually have.

They are dioecious plants ; that is, there are female and other male specimens. The flowers are grouped in inflorescences composed of a leathery spathe, which protects the flowers. These have 3 petals and 3 sepals. The masculine ones also have 6 stamens and 6 staminodes, and the feminine stigmata that curve.

The fruits are berries that contain ellipsoid, cylindrical or convex seeds, with a very visible lateral groove. They are known as dates, although not all are consumed. When a seed germinates, an undivided green leaf sprouts, similar in appearance to lawn grass.

Finally, a distinctive feature of the Phoenix is ​​that they do not have a capital like other palm trees do. The capital, or crownshaft in English, is a column-like ‘sheath’ that forms the bases of the pinnate leaves on the stipe, although of a different color. In the Phoenix, the union between the leaves and the stipe is often called the bud, and it is rounded in shape.

8 types of Phoenix palm trees

Phoenix canariensis

We see it often in private and public gardens, and also on the streets. The Canarian palm is very decorative, being able to reach 20 meters in height with a trunk thickness of up to 1m in diameter. Its leaves, which are green in color, can measure between 5 and 6m in length, so its crown gives very good shade.

It resists freezes down to -8ºC.

Phoenix dactylifera

The date palm is a normally multicaule plant, that is to say, with several trunks, which can measure between 25 and 30 meters in height, and have a trunk of about 50 cm in diameter. The leaves, which are bluish-green in color, can be up to 3-4m in length.

It resists freezes down to -10ºC, but at -4ºC it begins to suffer damage.

Phoenix loureiroi

Image – Flickr/ Tony Rodd

The P. loureiroi is a plant of a single trunk that grows up to 4 meters high, with thick trunk up to 60cm. Its crown is very dense, composed of dark green leaves that measure about 2m.

Withstands frosts down to -7ºC.

Phoenix reclines

Image – Wikimedia/ Haplochromis

The Senegal palm is a multi-stemmed palm (with several trunks) whose height ranges between 7.5 and 15m. Its leaves are green, pinnate and grow curving a little. These come to measure between 2 and 5 meters in length.

Withstands frosts down to -3ºC.

Phoenix roebelenii

Image – Wikimedia/ Forest & Kim Starr

The dwarf palm is a highly recommended plant for small gardens. Its height does not exceed 5m. Its leaves are green and measure up to 1m in length. It is unicaule, that is, with a single stem, but it is often planted in groups.

It supports occasional frosts down to -3ºC.

Phoenix rupicola

Image – Davesgarden.com

The palm of the rocks is a very little known plant, since its growth rate is the slowest of all those of the genus, which is why it is not widely commercially distributed. It grows up to 8m in height, with a trunk diameter of about 30cm. Its leaves are green and measure up to 4m in length.

Supports up to -4ºC.

Phoenix sylvestris

Image – Wikimedia/ P Jeganathan

The silver date or wild date palm is a single-trunk palm tree that grows up to 15 meters in height. Its crown is made up of up to 100 green and pinnate leaves with a length of up to 3 meters.

Withstands frosts down to -4ºC.

Phoenix theophrasti

Image – Wikimedia/ Wouter Hagens

This multicaule palm is especially suitable for large areas, where it can develop well. It grows up to 15 meters tall, with blue-green leaves up to 3 meters long. Its trunk is up to 50cm thick.

Withstands frosts down to -5ºC.

How are Phoenix palms cared for?

Location

The Phoenix are very grateful palm trees that do not require as much care or attention as others. But for them to be well it is necessary that you know that they have to be put in a sunny area, since they need a lot of light to be able to grow well. Only the Phoenix rupicola and the Phoenix roebelinii can be in semi-shadow.

Earth – Substrate

It is advisable that they are planted in the ground as soon as they are about 40 centimeters tall, especially if they are large and/ or multicaule species. The land must be fertile, and above all it must have excellent drainage. In this sense, perhaps the least demanding is the Phoenix dactylifera, which grows without problems in arid regions where there is hardly any decomposing organic matter.

If you choose to grow them in a pot for a while, it is important that you choose one that has holes in its base. Also, you must fill it with quality substrate, like this one they sell here.

Irrigation

As for watering, water them about 2 times a week, less in winter than a weekly watering will be enough. Once they have been in the soil for more than a year, the waterings can be more widely spaced. During the growing season it is advisable to add compost or fertilizer so that they grow well.

Pruning

Contrary to popular belief, you shouldn’t prune them beyond removing the dry leaves. If green leaves are cut, it only contributes to making them very vulnerable to diseases and pests, in particular the red weevil and the paysandisia. In addition, plants use their leaves to photosynthesize and breathe: if they have few, their ability to perform those functions that are basic and vital for them is reduced. It is also necessary to say that they are not pruned in summer, for this same reason (it is when these pests are most active), but at the end of winter.

Did you know these species of Phoenix palm trees?

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