Identification: Mystery palm

Discussion in 'Indoor and Greenhouse Plants' started by cindym26, Mar 1, 2009.

  1. cindym26

    cindym26 Member

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    Hello - I inherited this palm from some friends. Does anyone know what it is? It sits next to a south-facing window but I keep the shades mostly closed to avoid scorching my other plants. Is it possible to prune this? It looks a little gangly at the moment, but I don't know how to care for it or how much sun it needs.

    Thanks for any help you can offer.
     

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  2. Chungii V

    Chungii V Active Member

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    Draceana fragrans, I'd say prune, fertiliser and fresh potting mix.
     
  3. joclyn

    joclyn Rising Contributor

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    i agree with the id chungii gave.

    if it's not been repotted in more than two years, time to repot. if the root ball takes up most of the container, go one size larger (if there is still plenty of room for the roots to spread out in that pot, just repot with fresh soil mix). unglazed clay is good - just make sure there's a drainage hole in the bottom. they like the soil to dry out a bit before being watered again, so the unglazed works well.

    soil should be a mix of cactus soil, regular potting soil and some perlite - you get lots of good drainage and enough soil to hold some moisture.

    water thoroughly and allow the soil to dry down about 2 inches before thoroughly watering again - should be every 2-3 weeks with that size container.

    you can top it off and plant the top piece (either in same pot or a different one) and the top will root and the main piece will put out new shoots.

    i'd hold off on that though.

    first, give it a couple weeks to get adjusted to your home and then do the repotting. once it's been in the fresh soil for a month or so, give some fertilizer.

    i'd wait at least 6 months (and maybe longer) before doing any topping-off. let it get good and situated in the new soil and/or container before doing anything drastic.
     
  4. Chungii V

    Chungii V Active Member

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    Very thorough as always joclyn :}

    I still forget the climate is different and a slightly different approach is requiured for you guys :} Here the weather is so constant that any time of year prune and fert even if the plant is older and struggling works wonders. Actually probably best avoided through middle of summer because it's just too hot at that time and plants will slow a little. We're going into another growth period now before winter, rather than slow down before winter.
     
  5. cindym26

    cindym26 Member

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    Thank you both so much for your replies. Now I just need to find a giant pot!
     
  6. Bluewing

    Bluewing Well-Known Member

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    I would avoid a "Giant" pot, that is, if you mean replacing the old pot with a really large one. If the pot is too large, the roots can rot. As Joclyn suggested, go with either the same pot, or find one that's slightly larger/next size up. You only want to have about an inch or so of room for the roots.
     
  7. joclyn

    joclyn Rising Contributor

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    chungii, it's not so much that the climate is different - san fran is very similar to your area - it's just the matter of the different hemisphere thing; we've got opposite seasons going :)

    from your pic, cindy, i'll hazard a guess that the current pot is 10 or 12 inches wide...dedpending on how the roots look when you unpot it, you might want to stay with the same diameter and go with something that's a little deeper. if you go with something in larger diameter, it's naturally going to be deeper. it really depends on the root ball - as bluewing said, you'll want to give the roots 1-2 inches all around for growing room.

    cute duck! i forgot to mention earlier, would look even better with the plant on the floor right next to it :)
     
  8. joclyn

    joclyn Rising Contributor

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    forgot...

    any home depot or lowes or other garden center will have containers in the size you'll need.
     
  9. cindym26

    cindym26 Member

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    Ok, duly noted about the root ball.

    We used to have the pot on the floor but it's carpeted, and my landlord insisted we raise it up onto a table to avoid condensation or any other water marks. :)

    Will there be a way to straighten out the trunks at all? From other photos of this type of palm, it seems that some of them can be grown straight up with the fronds exploding out of the top. Ours had to be tied and as you can see the trunks are jutting in various directions. Can it be "trained"?
     
  10. joclyn

    joclyn Rising Contributor

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    when you repot it, you can re-position them so they are straight up rather than tilted to the side.

    as for the condensation issue - i can see the landlords point especially since it's unglazed clay (as the moisture will pass right through). you can get large plastic dishes to place under the bottom clay dish - again, lowe's or home depot would have them (usually on a display rack with all the different sizes). the large size only cost a buck or two and it's a worthwhile investment (regardless of whether you rent or own!)
     
  11. cindym26

    cindym26 Member

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    We have the plastic dish under the plant but he still is convinced that even having moisture in the dish will lead to the carpet being damaged if it sits on the floor. He renovated the entire apartment himself before we moved in and treats us like his kids, so he is rather persnickety about certain things.

    It's not really a big issue to have it on that little table. It's quite large; I think the diameter of the pot is more than 12". Probably more like 16". Having it up in the air on the table really makes it get noticed!

    Thanks! Maybe I'll send photos once we get it looking more presentable.
     
  12. cindym26

    cindym26 Member

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    Re: Mystery palm - Round 2

    hello there -

    i received help on identifying and repotting my palm a few months back. sadly, things have not been going so well, and i thought i might request some more assistance from the experts.

    we repotted with a mix of potting soil, cactus soil, and vermiculite, and tried to follow the instructions given on the board. however i did get a glazed pot for aesthetic reasons since it's in our living room. we had to prop the whole thing up using a camera tripod so the trunks would stay put.

    since repotting, the leaves have been turning brown and dying one by one. i clip them off as they die. one of the fronds (sorry, i don't know the right word for it) seemed to be completely dead, with a very dry stalk, so i clipped it off as well. i water every 2-3 weeks. i haven't given it fertilizer yet.

    it also appears that the palm and another plant that sits near it have an infestation. i've attached pictures.

    do you think the dying leaves are related to the shock of repotting (this is my aunt's hypothesis) or perhaps the infestation? And how can I get rid of the infestation?

    This is making me sad; I really would like our palm to flourish. :) Any help you can provide is welcome!

    Thanks.
     

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  13. Laticauda

    Laticauda Active Member

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    I think the plant is just seriously stressed out!

    Continue to water only when the soil feels dry the top 2-3 inches. Also, make absolutely certain that the pot is allowed to drain for 30 minutes after it stops flowing, to be sure the soil doesn't get boggy. I have mixed hypothesis about what to do with the dead/dying leaves. I'm not sure if I believe that the plant cannibalizes the resources in older leaves, and thus these leaves die off while the plant is trying to survive, or if the plant continues to try to repair dead/dying leaves and wastes precious energy.

    Maybe we can get someone with a more informed opinion to comment on this aspect?

    Oh, and be sure to spray each plant's leaves, even lightly every day to help kill the spider mites. They can't survive in humid conditions, and normally too dry conditions is how these guys emerge and infest.
     
  14. Bluewing

    Bluewing Well-Known Member

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    Spidermites are not the easiest pest to get rid of, especially when more then one plant is infested.

    You can try using an insecticidal soap, neem oil, or an alcohol an water mix, 2 prts alco, 8 prts water in a spray bottle. You'll need to get every inch of the plant so it's dripping, including under the leaves, If you miss ANY mites, they will re-infest all over again. Spray every 5-7 days, you may have to do this for a few weeks. I'd cover the soil when you do this and keep an eye out for any you may have missed....
     
  15. Jen P

    Jen P Member

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    Does your glazed pot have a hole in it, and is it draining properly? There could be moisture build-up around the roots...
     
  16. cindym26

    cindym26 Member

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    Yes, it does have a hole in it - and it does seem to be draining well.

    I tried spraying a 1:4 mixture of rubbing alcohol and water all over it today, and will try to do a better job of keeping it moist. That would also explain why my rosemary plants always seem to dry up into oblivion. I find it confusing because we live in a very moist, foggy part of San Francisco near the ocean, but somehow the air in our apartment is quite dry -- and we hardly run the heat.

    So do you all think the mites are responsible for the dying leaves? Or the repotting? Or both? :)
     
  17. Laticauda

    Laticauda Active Member

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    Well, My guess would be a mixture of stress and infestation. It's not just one or the other. However, here is a picture of my Dracaena that I repotted about a month or so ago, and it still looks the same....I even got rid of all of the old soil, took the two rootballs apart and repotted them into a SMALLER container. These guys are tough, I think that if it weren't for being unhappy before the repot, then it wouldn't be so unhappy due to the repotting. But since it was infested, then the stress of repotting is magnified. Just be patient, and keep spraying the plant. Spidermites got a hold of one of my ivies, and I thought it was dead, but I just left it alone (near the sink, I guess the extra humidity cleared the little buggers up!)

    You could also put the plant outside, they do enjoy being in a shaded area where it can receive really bright indirect light. Just being outside vs. inside they get a whole lot more light, even if it doesn't seem like it to the naked human eye!
     

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