The Christmas palm tree is a slender tree perfect for small yard landscaping. Veitchia merrillii pictures and growing information. Manila palm's height.
Also known as the Manila palm, will rise to a height of 15-20 feet.
The slender trunk bulges slightly at the base and tapers toward the crownshaft. The portion below the yellow-green, 3 foot crownshaft is ringed by the scars from the fallen fronds.
There may be a single trunk or sometimes these trees will have a double or even a triple trunk.
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The gently arching fronds are bright green and grow lushly from the top of the crownshaft. They grow to a length of 5 feet with leaflets up to 2 feet long by 2 inches wide.
Two foot long, branched flower stalks emerge from the area where the crownshaft meets the gray trunk.
Pale green flower buds open into spidery cream-colored blossoms.
The flowers are followed by inch long, oval-shaped fruit which ripens to a bright red, often in December.
This fruit is the reason this tree is called the Christmas tree palm.
Pictures of ripe V. merrillii fruit taken in St. Pete, Florida in early May.
Manila palm trees closely resemble another popular Florida palm, the Royal palm tree. In fact, V. merrillii is sometimes called the Royal dwarf palm tree.
The advantage to planting Christmas palms instead of Royal palm trees, is that Christmas palms are much smaller and more in scale with smaller homes.
Above, Christmas palm trees combine with golden butterfly palms to create a lovely swimming pool landscape design at the Plantation Inn in Lahaina where we stayed during our last visit to Maui. If you plan to visit and are looking for accommodations in Lahaina, we highly recommend this B&B.
Christmas Palm Flowers and Fruit
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Plant the manila palm in full sun to part shade in well draining, fertile soil. Feed it with a complete palm tree fertilizer every 6-8 weeks.
Water it regularly during the warm season, more sparingly in the winter.
Veitchia merrillii exhibits a fast rate of growth, moderately salt tolerance and good wind resistance.
A double or triple Christmas palm makes an especially beautiful specimen plant.
It can become infected with lethal yellowing.
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This palm tree performs well when planted in containers.
It makes a good indoor palm tree as long as it gets enough light.
Place it right in front of a south facing window or use grow lights.
Feeding is even more important for a potted palm than for one growing in the ground. This plant needs regular doses of palm fertilizer in order to look its best.
Keep it drier in the winter than in the summer just as you would an outdoor palm. Do not ever let it become waterlogged.
Mist the tree during the winter when the heating system is running and the air is dry inside your home.
Give it a summer vacation outside in the shade to keep it healthy. Just don't forget to bring it back in before night temperatures begin falling into the 30s F.
If the air in the house is too dry or hot (much above 70 degrees F.) you may find yourself battling spider mites.
Seeds germinate in 2 or 3 months. Sometimes less but don't count on it.
Plant the seeds in a peat based potting mix. You can plant them with the husk or pop it open and just plant the seed inside.
Once the seedlings are up, they grow quickly.
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