This blog is about growing tropical-looking plants in the Phoenix, Arizona area

August 29, 2016

The strange way that Mediterranean palm trees grow

Mediterranean palms do great in the Phoenix area. They don't mind the most intense heat, even in full sun, and they aren't harmed a bit by the coldest temperatures that Phoenix gets to. I have a few of them here, and they're great. But they grow in a strange, bushy, way.

So if you're not sure what kind of palm tree you have, and it seems to be growing in a strange way, it may be a med palm. And they sucker. A lot.

No, I'm not using a rude word here, that's what those additional sprouts that grow all around the base are called - suckers. Most palm trees sucker, a bit (I notice that my dwarf date palms don't), but med palms go absolutely crazy with the suckers.

If you try to cut them back to the main trunk, they will grow back. A lot. If you don't have room for a suckering palm tree, sorry, it's gotta go. Otherwise you'll spend your whole darn life trying to keep those suckers down.

Anyway, I like the way med palms create a palm bush. Because that's what it really looks like - a bush. I've seen really old ones in Sun City that are tall enough to be trees, but mostly they're fairly stubby bushes. I put the one in the photo in the northeast corner of my yard, where it gets the full force and fury of the Phoenix southwest sun, and it's doing great. It's on a slope, and it gets regular water, and it grows faster than my other two med palms.

So I don't do much trimming on my med palms. Today and yesterday I did a bit because the leaves were dragging on the ground, and I thought it looked untidy. I have those leather "gauntlet" gloves that people use to trim rose bushes, and they protect my hands and forearms. I trim my med palm as hard as I can and it grows back, looking better all of the time.
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