Fishtail palm – Indoor House Plants
Fishtail palm (Caryota mitis) is an attractive clustering species. It can grow up to 10 – 20 ft tall and 5-10 ft wide. It has multi stem grey trunk. Each stem has 8 to 10 bipinnate leaves that can be up to 9ft long. The leaflets shaped like fishtails hence the palm’s common name is Fishtail palm. It produces excellent creamy blossoms that grow among the leaves. Bloom stems about 12 inches are followed by tropical-looking green fruits that turn dark red as they ripe. The fruit has round shape and is about 2 cm diameter. It does well in both indoor and outdoor. Avoid contact with the red fruit produced by this palm which is not edible. It contains oxalic acid which is toxic when ingested, and contact with skin may bring about severe chemical burns.
Scientific Name: Caryota mitis
Common Names: Fishtail palm, Clustering fishtail palm.
How to grow and maintain Fishtail palm:
It can be grown in full sun to part shade, and even in shady locations.
It grows best in fertile, loamy, moist and well-drained soils containing a large amount of organic matter.
It prefers average temperatures between 75-85°F during the day and 60-70°F at night. Try to keep this palm plant out of cold drafts and away from air conditioners. Nighttime temperatures should never go below 45°F.
It has a moderate drought tolerance, but for healthy growth, it needs regular water, however, it does not want to sit in continually wet, mucky soil. The roots and lower trunk can rot if the soil is kept too moist.
Fertilize with a weak liquid fertilizer throughout the growing season. Adding a pinch of Epsom salts monthly will help prevent a magnesium deficiency.
It can be propagated from seed and can also be propagated by division of clumps and separation of suckers from the parent clump. Seeds take 4-6 months to germinate.
Pests and Diseases:
The major pests that affect the Fishtail Palm are scale insects, spider mites, nutrient deficiencies and diseases like fungal leaf spots, bacterial leaf blights, lethal yellowing. Spray this Palm plant with a mild solution of warm soapy water a few times a month. This prevents and gets rid of spider mites.
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