Howea mistake...

Discussion in 'PALM TREES - WHERE TROPICAL STARTS' started by Stan, May 27, 2014.

  1. Stan

    Stan Well-Known Member

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    507
    To make a long story short.. I planted this from it former spot on my porch using the "With pot" method. Years later,I realized I took it TOO literal..not having slit the pot,or enlarge holes,etc. Now,I have a bottle Howea much smaller all around then a big one in my backyard. The rings on this guy are miniscule too.
    Can I bring it back to normal? Normal big fronds, normal trunk?
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  2. Dypsisdean

    Dypsisdean Administrator Staff Member

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    13,862
    Location:
    Big Island of Hawaii - Kona
    I think it's going to be tough Stan - although maybe not impossible. Howeas don't send out those adventitious roots as readily or profusely as some other palms, but they will somewhat. So maybe piling up some soil around the base may encourage them. But then again, you could encourage some rot. If it was me, I might try to very gradually add soil a little at a time (over months/years) around the base, and maybe the base will pop open and new roots will come out. Then it won't look so weird. But I'm afraid the trunk itself will never get fatter at the soil level. Once the trunk has gotten "woody" on these, they will stay that size, no matter what.

    But the palm itself looks great. :)
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2014
  3. Stan

    Stan Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    507
    Thanks Dean. I've seen some in ground I knew had been very old houseplants...very thin trunk and compact crown of 4' fronds. I guess mine was in a pot too long...and then by the time it realized it was in the ground ,it was too late for it to be like my other big Howea. Just my luck,I outsmarted the palm in the wrong way.
    Well,break up the old surface plastic,fertilize and water..and maybe plant more of a fine textured ground cover so the palm seems "bigger". I've got some beautiful kind of Med oxalis- not the buttercup weed- but a south african native that I encourage to grow whereever it can. Darn thing even takes me walking on it on occasion.
     
  4. Dypsisdean

    Dypsisdean Administrator Staff Member

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    13,862
    Location:
    Big Island of Hawaii - Kona
    I bought my first Howea as a boxed specimen with about 5 feet of trunk, and it had been terribly neglected for a long time. The trunk had narrowed quite a bit below the crown, and it was woody. I planted it and the trunk slowly ballooned back up to about twice the diameter that it was - but the narrow woody trunk did not expand at all. After a few years it looked really funny with that skinny trunk down low, with about six feet of green new trunk with a full head of fronds on top. That is until a big wind storm snapped it off at the narrow part, since the whole top half of the palm was so full and heavy.
     
  5. Stan

    Stan Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    507
    Ok,this is how it went down. After removing the ring of plastic- like brand new- I gave up on cutting down the sides of the palm. And on closer inspection,I see it has only vertical roots. We've all seen palms do that stilt root thing for various reasons. And its windy today..I could see the Howea rock..not good. I dug up some clay yard soils,wet it and packed as best I could under the "bulbous" trunk..then stepped on it all to get a solid clay like filling. The rocking in wind stopped. At least,as it had been. I covered all the clay with potting soils and then some large smooth Modoc stone..like what you see under the Queen palms in my post. I used larger sizes I had.
    So best case is it steady's itself. Worst case? Like Dean said....
     
  6. Dypsisdean

    Dypsisdean Administrator Staff Member

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    13,862
    Location:
    Big Island of Hawaii - Kona
    Hey - maybe some sphagnum moss piled up an inch around the woody base would encourage some new roots to pop out, without being wet/soggy enough, and kind of "airy" - so as not to encourage any rot. And it would hide that narrow part as well.
     
  7. Moose

    Moose Esteemed Member

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    7,952
    Location:
    Coral Gables, FL Zone 10b
    I agree with using peat. It is so acidic, it may inhibit fungus development.
     
  8. Stan

    Stan Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    507
    The fog that carries little cable cars half way to the stars in San Francisco,filtered over Hayward hence the flash pic of the results.
    Of the many species of palm that grow in the bay area,at least I planted the best for the small front yard. Hard to beat a Howea. Beautiful palms.
    [​IMG]
     
  9. Dypsisdean

    Dypsisdean Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    13,862
    Location:
    Big Island of Hawaii - Kona
    I wrote an article for the SoCal Journal once about if I was allowed only one palm to grow, but could grow as many of this one palm as I wanted, it would be a Howea. You can grow them indoors as beautiful house plants, then in the patio in larger pots looking tropical. Then they can go out in the garden, and make any setting more tropical looking. They tolerate dry conditions, some cold, and are extremely easy to transplant from out of the garden when older and more valuable.

    They used to be very expensive, and there was some money to be made for growing them up to specimen size. But a lot of people jumped on that train, and now the customer and backyard grower can get nice size palms for good prices.
     
  10. Stan

    Stan Well-Known Member

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    507
    I agree. I saw a trio for the 40-50$ price range at HD. But,the slow growth of them in the bay area means I better start doing some aerobics and change my diet to see any more grow large.
    BTW,I have to disagree with some who say Howea belmoreana is the better looking palm. H.belmoreana is a great palm,but its like the sister of Kate Middleton, if you catch my drift...
     
  11. Dypsisdean

    Dypsisdean Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    13,862
    Location:
    Big Island of Hawaii - Kona
    Stan - they are also slow in SoCal. But I have grown thousands there, and once they get about foot of established trunk and a root system in the ground, they will really surprise you. So, it is possible to find a healthy boxed specimen these days for a fraction of what they would have cost 20 years ago. But as we have discussed, don't buy it if it is stressed and the trunk constricted.

    There probably isn't a better growing tropical looking palm for the Bay Area than a Howea.
     
  12. Stan

    Stan Well-Known Member

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    507
    Also Dean,one tidbit on Howea's I've never seen? They are ignored by gophers. I've had Rhopa's and Bizmarckia's,and even Chameodorea plumosa eaten right to the base of the palm. Only the C.plumosa was able to regrow a new root system. And then I moved it!..its still going..not great ,but good enough.
    But,on Howeas? They have never tunneled too close...they took out C. costa ricana planted a few feet away..a 20 year old clump,..but neither of my two Howea's. And I don't think that's luck. I think King and Howea palms thankfully, are not on the gopher list.
     
  13. Dypsisdean

    Dypsisdean Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    13,862
    Location:
    Big Island of Hawaii - Kona
    Stan - very interesting observation. I had over 50 Howeas in my SoCal garden, and I had gophers kill more palms through the years than I would have liked. But I do not recall ever loosing a Howea to a gopher. I never thought of that, but useful informatiion.
     
  14. Stan

    Stan Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    507
    Gophers will also go straight to Rhapsis. All these palms in one small yard..Howea's are fine.
     
  15. mwardlow

    mwardlow Active Member

    Messages:
    33
    Location:
    Huntington Beach CA Zone 10a
    Stan, I got these two kentias from a grower who said they had been in very tall pots for over 10 years. They each had about 2 to3 feet of clear trunk but extremely root bound really no soil just root. They have been the ground for about 8 years now. The trunks above ground increased in size to accommodate the size of the palm nicely. The woody portion just broke open a little to release additional roots.
    Hope that helps
    Mike
     

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  16. Stan

    Stan Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    507
    That's very fast growth on 8 years of Howea's. Even with 3' of trunk to start with. The trunks seem almost full size,really negligible stunting. My back yard has another Howea...not stunted at all and actually has the elephant foot base and very wide bright green ringed trunk-8' of trunk +8' of fibrous trunk +8' or so of fronds. Its been in the ground since 1993. Not stunted,but it was slowed since back then I was a newbie who read they "shouldn't be watered unless dry, and rarely want to be fertilized". Turns out,not true outdoors in California. They like both I learned in time,but I guess big old ones can also be considered great palms for the fact those can take just average watering.
    Those 3 in a pot at HD are calling me..lol..$.39
     

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