Nothing conjures up images of warm, tropical days better than palm trees and there are so many excellent varieties from which to choose, you too can have a lovely lush palm garden no matter where you live.

Palms for the coast
Palms are often associated with coastal landscapes, but there are some which tolerate coastal, windy conditions better than others. Our three favourite palms for exposed maritime positions are:

1. The Triangle palm (Neodypsis decaryi), an elegant, greyish-green fronded palm characterised by its trunk which forms a distinctive, three-cornered or triangular shape.
2. The Spindle palm (Hyophorbe verschaffeltii), a single-stemmed palm whose trunk bulges in the middle and is prominently ringed.
3. The Bottle Palm (Hyophorbe lagenicaulis), named for its bottle-shaped trunk, is a handsome and hardy ornamental palm.
These three palms will flourish in any garden if they are planted in a sunny position and the soil is prepared with Searles Real Compost. A monthly application of Searles Palm Food will keep them growing strong and healthy.

Young plants should be watered well and mulched to conserve the moisture but once established, these palms require minimal watering and little maintenance.
Palms for shady areas
When we think of palms we usually think of them growing in sunny, tropical situations but did you know there are some beautiful palms which flourish in shade? Here are our three favourite palms which grow really well in such situations:

1. The Kentia palm (Howea forsteriana), originally from Lord Howe Island, this is one of the world's most popular palms.
2. The Cascade palm (Chamaedorea cataractarum) is tolerant of low light and therefore makes an excellent understorey palm.
3. The Raphis palm (Rhapis excelsa), a clumping variety which is also known as lady palm for its slender, delicate and attractive appearance.

These palms thrive in those areas of the garden which are shaded by buildings, large trees and slopes, but will also tolerate between two and three hours of direct sunlight per day. These varieties tend not to grow as big or as quick as their sunny counterparts and therefore you will only need to fertilise approximately once every eight weeks with Searles Palm Food.

Again, an important feature of these palms is that they do not require a lot of water and they are low maintenance. Remember, all palms are shallow-rooted and mulching will make the difference between good plants and great ones.

Happy Gardening with Searles from the Searle family.

Copyright 2002 JC & AT Searle Pty Ltd
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