The plant Trachycarpus is a representative of the Palm family. This genus includes 9 species that live in East Asian countries. Most often, trachycarpus can be found in China, Japan, and Burma. As an ornamental plant, this palm is found all over the world. Depending on the conditions, trachycarpus can be grown both outdoors and at home. Due to sufficient frost resistance, of the whole variety of palms, it is trachycarpus that most often adorn the Crimean and Caucasian coasts, being used for landscaping.
A distinctive feature of the palm is its high frost resistance, which is important when caring for trachycarpus at home. The plant can safely withstand temperatures as low as -10 degrees. Unfortunately, other representatives of Palmovs are not so winter-hardy. Trachikarpus is often a decoration for greenhouses. If conditions permit, the trachycarpus palm can be safely grown as a houseplant.
Description of trachycarpus
The trachikarpus forms a straight trunk. In the natural environment, its height sometimes reaches 20 m. The outer part of the trunk is covered with fibers left over from old fallen leaves. Domestic specimens usually do not exceed 2.5 m. The foliage has a slightly elongated rounded shape and reaches 60 cm in diameter. In this case, the size of the petiole can be up to 75 cm. Each leaf is divided into numerous segments. In some species, their separation occurs to the base of the plate, in others only up to half. There is a bluish bloom from the inside of the sheet.
During the flowering period, in late spring, a large (up to 1 m) cluster inflorescence is formed on the palm tree, in which there are numerous fragrant yellow flowers, but domestic specimens of trachycarpus do not bloom. Garden or greenhouse specimens can form buds. To pollinate such flowers, you will need two copies of the palm – a male and a female. In this case, after flowering, dark bluish fruits resembling medium-sized grapes are tied on the trachycarpus.
Brief rules for growing trachycarpus
The table shows brief rules for caring for trachycarpus at home.
|Lighting level||Half shade or diffused light will do.|
|Content temperature||During the period of active growth – 18-25 degrees, in winter about 10-12 degrees.|
|Watering mode||Watering is carried out when the soil dries out by 2-3 cm, the volumes should be small.|
|Air humidity||A higher level is preferable; for this, the trachycarpus leaves are wiped with a damp cloth twice a month. Spraying is not recommended.|
|The soil||Loose soil is suitable for planting, which does not retain water.|
|Topdressing||Held from April to the end of summer, about once every 3 weeks. A universal composition for palms is suitable, but it is recommended to reduce its dosage by half. During the rest period, the plant is not fertilized.|
|Transfer||In the first years of life, palms are transplanted every spring, adults – 3-5 times less often. Old trachycarpus are not touched, confining themselves to replacing the top layer of soil in the pot.|
|Bloom||Trachikarpus is grown as a large plant with decorative foliage.|
|Dormant period||It manifests itself weakly, but from late autumn to spring, the palm tree slows down its growth.|
|Reproduction||Seeds forming shoots.|
|Pests||Aphids, mealybugs, thrips, leaf-eating insects, scale insects.|
|Diseases||Various types of rot.|
Caring for trachycarpus at home
Trachikarpus is considered a very undemanding plant, therefore, provided suitable conditions are provided, it does not create problems for the grower at all. With good care, the palm tree will delight with its beauty.
Trachikarpus is quite light-requiring but can adapt to almost any level of illumination, except for abundant direct light and deep shadow. If the pot with the plant is kept on the south side, it should be protected from direct scorching rays, and also periodically ventilated the room. Trachikarpus do not like drafts, so the container with a palm tree should not stand in the way of the airflow.
For uniform and symmetrical development of the crown, once every couple of weeks, the palm should be turned to the light with the other side. In the summer, you can move the tub outside, but this should be done in stages, allowing the plant to get used to changing conditions.
In spring and summer, trachycarpus develops well at temperatures around 18-25 degrees. The plant reacts to heat above 25 degrees by slowing growth, as well as drilling the tips of the foliage. In winter, it is desirable to provide trachycarpus with a cool wintering (about 10-12 degrees), but if necessary, you can leave it in a warm room. If the palm tree has spent the summer outdoors, you can leave it in the garden until frost, but specimens growing in pots should not be exposed to subzero temperatures. In addition, the winter hardiness of trachycarpus directly depends on its size. The most persistent are adult specimens with a formed trunk.
Trachikarpus have good drought tolerance and do not need frequent watering. If the palm tree is constantly in moist soil, this can lead to the rotting of its roots. For watering, the soil in the pot should dry out by about 2-3 cm. An exception is made for specimens that are transferred to the street for the summer – there the earth dries out faster, so you can water the bushes a little more often.
It is important that the water does not contain chlorine, therefore, it must be carefully defended or filtered before watering. If the trachycarpus dormant period is cool, the winter irrigation schedule should be adjusted. At this time, they are carried out much less frequently.
Trachikarpus prefers an average level of humidity (about 55%), but it can tolerate dry air quite well. In the summer, a couple of times a month, trachycarpus can be bathed under a warm shower, having previously wrapped the soil with a film. In winter, you can wipe the palm leaves with a soft cloth dipped in water. It is not recommended to spray such a palm tree. Constant moisture on the leaves can lead to the development of fungal diseases, especially if the room is cool and not bright enough. Instead, to increase the level of humidity, open containers of water are installed next to the palm tree, or humidifiers are turned on.
If traces of water spray appear on the trachycarpus leaves, they can be removed by wiping the leaf with a cloth soaked in a 5% solution of oxalic acid. Then the leaves are washed with warm water and wiped dry. If the foliage is just dusty, you can wipe it with a damp soft cloth once every couple of weeks. Do not use special foliage polishes. They can lead to the development of chlorosis.
Loose soil is suitable for planting trachycarpus, which does not retain water – the surplus should go away in only a few seconds. The reaction of the substrate can vary from acidic to neutral. You can prepare the planting soil yourself by mixing compost, humus and sod soil and adding to them a part of a baking powder – sand, vermiculite or perlite. Another substrate option includes wet peat, turf and leafy soil, and half of the baking powder. Trachikarpus will grow well in universal soil for palm trees. When selecting soil, it is important to avoid elements that impair the drainage properties of the soil. These include fine sand and clay.
For trachycarpus, a universal composition for palms is suitable, containing all the trace elements necessary for a plant. Top dressing is carried out during the period of active development of the bush – from mid-spring to late summer – about once every 3 weeks. In this case, the recommended dosage should be reduced by 2 times.
It is permissible to use nutrient granules, which gradually release the substances necessary for the trachycarpus. In this case, it will be enough to apply a top dressing to the ground just once a season – in the spring.
You will have to transplant the trachycarpus only when necessary, as the palm tree outgrows its pot, and its roots begin to be seen in the drainage holes. Younger specimens need a transplant more often. It is held annually in April. Mature palms can be moved 3-5 times less often. When the trachycarpus becomes too large, it will be inconvenient to replant it, in addition, the risk of damage to the plant increases. Instead, each spring in a tub with such a palm tree, the top 5 cm of soil is replaced with fresh substrate.
The roots of trachycarpus can be easily damaged, so when transplanting, you need to carefully transfer the plant into a new container. The soil lump is preserved by filling only the voids in the pot with fresh soil. Any selected soil must be prepared in advance. Half a month before the transplant, it is disinfected by calcining in an oven or microwave or spilled with a saturated solution of potassium permanganate.
The new container should not be too large for the old one. An impressive layer of drainage is laid at the bottom of the pot, and then a palm tree is transferred into it along with a soil clod. The remaining places are filled with fresh soil. It is important to ensure that the same depth is maintained. The transplanted trachycarpus is watered and shaded for several days. After that, the plant is not fed for about 1-1.5 months until it depletes the nutrients of the fresh soil.
To maintain a neat and attractive crown, damaged, dried or leaf blades hanging downwards must be removed. Moreover, in a year, you should not remove more foliage from the trachycarpus than it forms in return. Do not remove leaves that have turned yellow or changed color to brown. They still continue to feed the plant, so wait until they are completely dry before removing.
If lateral shoots are formed on the trachycarpus, they are also removed – new stems will slow down the development of the main shoot. An exception is made for those cases when such growth is required for the propagation of a palm tree.
Always be careful when trimming foliage or shoots – the trunk must remain intact.
Breeding methods of trachycarpus
Growing from seeds
Plant breeders do not resort to this method of reproduction of trachycarpus so often because of its duration, in addition, the seeds remain viable for only a year, gradually losing their ability to germinate with each month of storage. Fresh seed from January to February 1 pc. placed in cups (0.1 l) filled with seedling soil with the addition of baking powder, and covered with glass or film on top. Such planting dates will allow the sprouts not to experience a lack of light. Previously, the seeds can be kept in water for a couple of days, removing the fleshy layer from them. The water should be changed every day. When planting, the seeds are not buried, but only slightly pressed into the ground.
The shelter is removed every day for ventilation and the soil moisture is monitored, if necessary, watering the seedlings little by little. Seed germination lasts from 3 weeks to a couple of months, usually they hatch not very amicably. For full development, they need to be kept in diffused light in a warm (from 20-22 degrees) place. When the seedlings form a leaf about 3 cm long, it can be transplanted into ordinary palm soil. In summer, young trachycarpus are slightly shaded from the bright sun. With proper care, the seedlings should have up to 5 leaves by the first winter. From the 5-7th leaf blade, split leaves will begin to appear on the palm tree.
Reproduction using shoots
Vegetative reproduction of trachycarpus is often practiced, but for it it is necessary to provide the palm with certain content. The planting material here will be the basal processes formed in all representatives of this genus. The main condition for the formation of such shoots is considered to be high humidity. When the shoot grows to 7 cm in thickness, it is separated from the main palm in the area of narrowing using a sharp and clean instrument. It is important not to damage the main barrel when detaching. After that, all leaves must be removed from the shoot. The section of the cut is treated with a fungicide and a root formation stimulant.
The prepared shoot is planted in a moist substrate, which includes part of the coarse perlite and part of the sand. The roots will most likely form in a shady and warm (about 26-28 degrees or slightly higher) place, subject to constant moderate soil moisture. Strong roots of such a process are formed in six months or a year. After that, it can be transplanted into another container, using soil for palm trees. Care for seedlings is carried out according to the same principles as for adult trachycarpus.
The peculiarity of this breeding method is that most of the offspring formed by the palm tree is slightly curved.
Diseases and pests
Systematic waterlogging of the trachycarpus can lead to the development of black or gray rot. Excess watering can also cause brown spots on foliage. The best prevention of these problems is considered to be adherence to the soil moisture schedule. If the palm tree is already affected by fungal diseases, a fungicide solution should be used.
Failure to comply with the conditions necessary for trachycarpus can also lead to problems with the plant. A tub with it should not be kept in a too shady place or in the scorching sun, as well as in drafts. To completely dry out the soil lump of the trachycarpus is almost as harmful as to overmoisten it – this leads to a halt in the development of the bush and the death of foliage.
The slow growth of a palm tree can be caused by a lack of nutrients, which can also manifest itself as yellowing of the leaf blades. If a palm tree is fertilized, but its leaves still turn yellow, the cause of the problem may lie in too hard water for irrigation or excessive heat in the room. Yellow or brownish specks on the leaves indicate sunburn.
Due to the large and succulent foliage, the trachycarpus sometimes becomes the target of harmful insects. Among them are scale insects, aphids, spider mites and other pests that feed on plant sap. Having found signs of damage, you should determine the type of pest and use special means to combat it. But the treatment with chemical insecticides or acaricides is recommended to be carried out in the air. If scale insects or mealybugs are found on the trachycarpus, they should first be removed from the leaves by hand.
Sometimes pests can enter the house with the purchased plant. Such a palm tree should be kept in quarantine for about 3 weeks, daily examining its trunk, foliage, soil, and also a pot from all sides.
Types and varieties of trachycarpus with photos and names
The following types of palms are most often grown at home:
The most common type. Trachycarpus fortunei in the natural environment is capable of reaching 12 meters in height. If you grow such a palm tree at home, its size will not exceed 2.5 m. Its trunk is covered with the rough remains of old foliage, giving it a shaggy appearance. The leaf blades are deeply divided and consist of numerous segments. From the outside, the foliage is painted in a rich green color, and from the inside it is covered with a silver coating. If this species grows in a greenhouse, during the flowering period, inflorescences-brushes of fragrant yellow flowers are formed on it. In indoor culture, flowering does not occur.
Interestingly, this species is also used for industrial purposes: the fibers obtained from it make it possible to create strong ropes, mats and even garments. It is also noteworthy that there are no thorns on the petioles of such a palm.
Trachycarpus two-segment (Trachycarpus geminisectus)
Another species is often found in floriculture. Trachycarpus geminisectus reaches 2.5 m in height with a trunk diameter of up to 25 cm. The trunk itself is covered with remnants of old petioles. At the top of such a palm tree, there are up to 15 leaf blades in the form of large fans with a dissection to the base of the leaf.
Trachycarpus Wagner (Trachycarpus fortunei Wagnerianus)
This species is especially popular in Asian countries. Trachycarpus fortunei Wagnerianus grows up to 7 m in its natural environment. It has strong dark green leaves that stick to hardish petioles. Due to its structure, such a palm tree resists the wind well and is able to endure cold weather.
A heat-loving species that is used to decorate gardens in regions with mild winters. The trunk of Trachycarpus martiana is practically bare. On it, leaf blades are closely located, including about 65 small segments.
Trachycarpus high (Trachycarpus excelsa)
This type of trachycarpus is considered one of the most frost-resistant. As a result, Trachycarpus excelsa is grown in many parts of the world. When planted in open ground, the size of this palm tree can reach 16 m, at home – up to 3 m. The lower half of its trunk has a scaly coating. The foliage is quite tough, with a bluish bloom.
Dwarf trachycarpus (Trachycarpus nanus)
An unusual view, notable for its low height. The dimensions of Trachycarpus nanus reach only 50 cm. This palm tree has a root system that penetrates deep into the soil. Rounded foliage is dissected in the form of a fan and covered with a bluish bloom.