Driving about on Siesta Key or Sarasota roadways you may seem some pretty exotic looking palm trees. While some of these are fairly well-known there are plenty of exotic palm tree species around to keep a tropical plant or gardening enthusiast interested.
Well start things off with the Purple King Palm tree.
Purple King Palms are also known as the Mount Lewis King, Purple Piccabean Palm or just the Purple Palm.
Rarely seen outside of tropical botanical gardens the Purple King Palm will turn heads as passers by look twice to make sure they really did just see a purple palm tree. Well, to be more specific the crown shaft of the Purple Palm is a dusky bluish purple that can have an intense purple color (really were not kidding).
The fronds of the Purple King Palm are nothing to sneeze at either. Long tropical looking graceful fronds that resemble a coconut tree’s fronds except a little firmer and less glossy. The Purple King is from the Mount Lewis area of Australia, it’s scientific name is Archontophoenix Purpurea, and it is a medium-large palm tree that grows to heights between 30-50 feet tall. The spread is moderate at 15 feet so it is recommended to plant this palm tree in groups between 3 to 5 trees.
The Purple Palm Tree prefers partial sun to full sun but can be also grown indoors if the lighting is bright enough. This tree also prefers moist soil well-drained soil, and when taken well care of has a fast growth rate.
The Caranday Palm
Another rarely seen palm tree is the Caranday Palm. The comes from South America in Paraguay,Bolivia Brail and Argentina. It’s defining characteristic is only apparent if the landscaping company maintaining this tree does not become to aggressive when trimming off other fronds. When the fronds of the Caranday Palm are allowed to remain on the tree longer a fountain effect is created. The new leaves grow mostly up while older ones bend downward making a beautiful “fountain” of palm fronds that cascade downward from the top of the tree. However to obtain this unique look leave the fronds on the tree longer.
The Caranday Palm is a large robust tree that grows to heights of 50 feet or more with a spread of 15 feet. The trunk is “knobby” similar to a Date Palm until the tree is very mature and a large size.
Carandy Palms are cold hardy down to 25 – 30 degrees but well-established trees have withstood even colder temps. The trunk as with the date palm grows very straight. The color of the fronds can vary from tree to tree with some looking more of a silvery blue and others more of a light waxy green.
The wonderful micro-climate on the Sarasota area islands, like Longboat Key, Siesta Key and Lido key create a warmer area making it possible to grow tropical plants from hardiness zones further south. This allows for islands landscapers to select from a large variety of palm trees including some very exotic species to create a tropical paradise in your yard.
Below are some interesting palm trees and plants that can create that tropical look and remain hardy even in winter if planted on the islands or bayfront locations.
Florida Thatch Palm Tree
A native of the Florida Keys, this beautiful little palm tree is an endangered species. The Florida thatch palm is almost like a cross between, a cabbage palm, cocoanut palm and pigmy date palm.
It’s leaves are shaped in thatched fans, however the fronds are broader and more flexible than a sabal palms and are a bright medium green color with a glossy texture similar to the fronds of a cocoanut palm. A smaller palm tree, the Florida thatch palm will grow to a similar size as the more popular pigmy date palm.
Planting these trees not only adds beautiful and rare tropical specimen plants to your landscape but also helps by adding to the numbers of this endangered Florida native. It can be hard to find a sample to look at but if your willing to go on a drive, there are rows of these beautiful little palm trees thriving on the mainland side of the south bridge to Manasota Key along the westbound lanes. Take notice on your next trip to Englewood Beach.
Bottle Palm Tree
One glance an it’s obvious why this very exotic specimen palm gets it’s common name. Originating from the Mascarene Islands in the Indian Ocean, this unique looking palm tree adds a tropical atmosphere to any yard.
There are some things to consider when deciding on whether or not to go with a Bottle Palm. They are very slow growers and take many years to mature to their full height of 20 feet. So select a palm tree that is already fairly large. Also bottle palms are NOT cold hardy and will not tolerate any frost. I would only recommend them for areas near the waterfront as Sarasota bay and the Gulf will protect against freezing temps. Soil should not be an issue as the Bottle Palm Tree prefers sandy well-drained soil and requires full sun. Easy conditions for Longboat key or Siesta key yards.
Flame Thrower Palm Tree
The Flame Thrower Palm, also called the blushing Palm, Watermelon Palm, Red Feather Palm, and Red Leaf Palm is an amazing and beautiful addition to your tropical landscape.
From the island of New Caledonia, this palm tree gets it’s name from the newly emerging fronds that can have a striking red or maroon color for two weeks or so after emerging. This very tropical looking, medium sized palm tree is also amazing because it is actually cold-hardy down to 25 degrees. This palm tree will grow to a height of nearly 25 feet and prefers full sun to light shade. This tree does however prefer moist yet well-drained conditions so it is not advisable to plant in a very hot and dry area. The trunk is also a focal point with a swollen green crownshaft over the ringed trunk ads to the beauty of this hardy and easy to care for tree.
Travelers Palm Tree
One of the most memorable and striking tropical plants in the world is the Travelers Tree. Often mistaken for a palm tree this very unique plant is not a palm at all, but a relative of the Bird of Paradise. Like so many other exotix-looking tropical plants the Travelers Tree originates from Madagascar.
A fully grown Travelers Tree in an incredibly impressive sight, with huge paddle-like leaves that can reach lengths of nearly fifteen feet long that are arranged along a single plan creating the appearance of a large fan. Travelers Trees require planty of space as they can grow to large sizes topping out at 50 feet. The complete size of the fan like leaves and spread across 20 feet or more when full grown. The Travelers Palm can live in our sandy Florida soil just fine and despite it’s exotic and lush appearance can be somewhat drought tolerant as the plan stores water in the leaf stems. This tree will tolerate some cold but will not tolerate frost so as with the bottle palm best plant a travelers tree near coastal waterfront areas or in areas sheltered from the winds.
Specimen Palm Trees if planted in the correct locations can be easy for your landscape maintenance company to keep healthy and growing will adding a centerpiece and dramatic look to your yard.
Nothing says Florida like a yard with large palm trees. But in the Sarasota area especially in waterfront locations like Longboat Key, and Siesta Key you can select from a huge variety of palms for your landscape. However with all that variety of palm tree shapes, sizes and colors also comes a variety of conditions suitable for each. To help make sense of things we will be posting updates on different varieties of palm trees to help you in your plant selections.
We will start things off with a few large, cold tolerant Palm Trees that are both stunning additions to the Sarasota landscape but also hardy in our zone.
The Bismarck Palm Tree
Like many other exotic palm trees the Bismark Palm originates from the Madagascar Islands. Scientific name (Bismarckia nobilis) this tree gets huge! The one pictured here a just a baby, when mature the Bismark Palm will be a stately and dramatic tree towering at heights of up to 60ft with a spread of more than 20ft. Extremely hardy and is also water-friendly and drought tolerant palm tree requiring little irrigation even in dry times once established.
Despite it’s exotic appearance with silver / blue waxy palm fronds the Bismark palm tree can grow in a large variety of climates because it is cold-hardy down to 20 degrees fahrenheit. With such large size, environmentally friendly characteristics, striking appearance and easy to maintain, the Bismark Palm is a great large palm tree or centerpiece to build a tropical landscape around.
Cuban Royal Palm Tree – Roystonea regia
A very tropical and exotic looking palm tree the Cuban Royal Palm or just Royal Palm is a beautiful palm tree that is also surprisingly hardy.
The Royal Palm will grow very large to a height ranging from 40 to 60 feet tall, the palm fronds are very full and rich glossy green. A standout feature of the Cuban Royal Palm is the glossy green trunk just below the palm fronds, with a dramatic change to a smooth light grey trunk that continues straight down to a budge at the roots.
Even though this very palm tree is very tropical looking it is actually cold-hardy down to 28 degrees, making it a perfect tree for the Sarasota area tolerating both hot tropical summers and the cold cold snap in winter.
Canary Island Date Palm Tree
Also known as the Pineapple Palm, the Canary Island Date Palm is a stand-out palm tree that can grow to be a landmark for your neighborhood. As the name suggests the Canary Island Date Palm originates from the Canary Islands off the coast of north western Africa in the Atlantic ocean.
A very stately palm tree with very large fronds that grow from what resembles large thorns, the Canary Island Date Palm creates a very dramatic centerpiece for any Florida landscape. Often the older palms are pruned to resemble the appearance of a pineapple, giving the tree it’s popular nickname – Pineapple Palm.
Like many palm trees the Canary Island Date Palm is rather slow growing when it is young but grows noticeably faster once the tree begins to develop it’s stately trunk.
This dramatic tree is a staple for landscape designers looking to project a feeling of strength and wealth in the overall design, one reason it is so popular with estate homes and high-end resorts.
If you are looking to add a dramatic feature to your property, Grants Gardens can select and install the perfect large palm tree for your home or business.