Paul, The Palm Doctor recommends, dear readers, that you reconsider the so-called Areca Palm (not really of the Areca family!) It is tropical-looking; serves as a super, bamboo-like screening plant and is relatively pest-free. These attributes, along with fast growth, can make this palm extremely useful in frost-free palm-growing areas!
SOME DYPSIS LUTESCENS (ARECA PALM) features:
HOW TO IDENTIFY: The Areca palm is clump-growing with ringed, bamboo-like stems and yellow leaf-ribs. The foliage is evergreen, of fine texture and yellow-green in color. Gardeners know this attractive plant under various names, and so nursery labels may designate it as madagascar palm, bamboo palm, yellow palm, or cane palm. Under any name this is one of the most useful Palms of the tropics the world around.
LANDSCAPE USES: This beautiful soft palm is one of Florida's favorites for use in foundation plantings, as a featured patio plant, or as an urn subject for terrace or Florida room.
HABITAT: Madagascar; in Florida, widely planted in nearly frostless sections.
LIGHT: Tolerant of rather dense shade on patios or Florida rooms.
SOIL: Grows best in fairly rich soil, slightly acid in reaction.
CARE: Plant in fertile, acid soil; water moderately during dry periods; protect against scale insects and frost.
Origin: Madagascar, but naturalized in Puerto Rico and Lesser Antilles of the Caribbean Basin, in the 1700's
Zones: 10 - 12 (USDA Hardiness Zones) Minimum Tolerated Temperature is about 1° C. or 34°F.
Rate of Growth: Quick!!
Salt Tolerance: Moderate
Soil Requirements: Widely adaptable
Water Requirements: High drought tolerance
Nutritional Requirements: High, subject to potassium deficiency