Tag Archives: growing palm trees

The Arecaceae are a botanical family of perennial climbers, shrubs, acaules and trees commonly known as palm trees (owing to historical usage, the family is alternatively called Palmae).[3] They are flowering plants, a family in the monocot order Arecales. Currently 181 genera with around 2600 species are known,[4] most of them restricted to tropical, subtropical, and warm temperate climates. Most palms are distinguished by their large, compound, evergreen leaves, known as fronds, arranged at the top of an unbranched stem. However, palms exhibit an enormous diversity in physical characteristics and inhabit nearly every type of habitat within their range, from rainforests to deserts.

Clean-up and Re-design of a patio garden space

In October last year, a lovely senior lady contacted me in regards to cleaning and re-designing her small patio garden.  She loves gardening but found she could not do the manual labour of weeding, digging and replanting some of her potted plants and some of the plants that were already in her garden.

Small garden spaces are a challenge and take some getting used to…not to mention they try your patience at the worst of times.  Such small spaces make for cramped quarters for the gardener and can cause cramped muscles, short fuses and damaged areas if not careful from miss-steps in the garden area itself.  After many many small garden projects for many garden owners (as well as my own small garden space) I have discovered that often times these small spaces can take as much time and sometimes more then a larger space, due to the confined quarters.  What I truly love is the final display of the garden owners design.  Sometimes, the design is left up to me and sometimes (most times) Mother Nature shows you how the garden should look…if we really open our visual telepathy we will see the plants characteristics…in terms of colour, size, growing patterns, leaf patterns and flowering times…then the design picture comes to light…such was this garden…it really just unfolded as I weeded and cleaned the area.

Eva is a lovely lady who waited since last October as it froze up before I could get to her garden and was kind and patient enough to wait for me to get to her re-design this spring.  A sincere thank you Eva for giving me the opportunity to beautify your outdoor space…it really was a pleasure for me and I am so very please that you are happy with the end result…hope you enjoy your patio all season long!  Cheers Eva !

Total length of time was 5 hours…which included weeding and mulching her front gardens as well, although I did not include before and after pics as I forgot to take them. Total cost to her was $175.00 which included the mulch costs.  The plants that were in pots she had me plant into the ground.  With the exception of her mint…because if you have ever grown mint you know how invasive it is.  In a small garden like Eva’s, the mint would have spread to every area of her garden by fall.  So we agreed that I should heal in the entire pot with the mint in it.  I dug the hole 3\4 the depth of the pot and placed the pot in the hole and filled in around it.  The pot will maintain the mint in the pot and not allow it to travel throughout the garden area.  It will go to seed and spread that way but it will be much slower and easier to manage…just by pulling out the seedlings as they sprout.



Re-Planting a Palm Tree

After planting a windmill ( Trachycarpus fortunei) palm tree in a new garden design last year, a new home was built next door.  The new home now blocks the sun for the better part of the day limiting the sunlight hours for the palm tree.  Although it was very happy in its location, the minimal sunlight hours would change that.  The palm tree had to be relocated to a sunny part of the yard where it will get at least 8  hours of sunlight, have protection from the North and West wind and maintain a minimum temperature of -15C or higher.  Which isn’t a problem here on Vancouver Island where the temperature rarely drops below -5C.

Ladysmith British Columbia is in a micro climate, which means we have slightly warmer weather then the basic hardiness zone map shows which for us is zone 8.    Soil, moisture, humidity, heat, wind, and other conditions also affect the viability of individual plants from one area to another.  It is important that your plants can thrive year-round, surviving extreme temperatures.  Often you will find that your own gardens are slightly different then the basic hardiness zone map.  The location of your property, buildings and even trees on your property will change the demographics of what you can grow.  For a list of hardiest palms to grow research this link.   

Island Garden Scapes purchased this windmill palm from Island Passion’s nursery.

How to plant:

Dig the hole twice as wide and one and a half times as big as the root mass.  Work in several shovelfuls of organic matter (peat moss and/or manure) and bone meal and ensure there is loose soil at the bottom to allow for easy root growth.  After planting, pack the soil firmly to avoid air pockets and water well.

Where to Plant:

Choose any part of your garden in a sunny location.  In cooler winter locations such as at the higher elevations avoid a windy exposure.  Absolutely never plant this palm close to the house if you have an overhang because the plant can reach 30 feet.


Neutral to slightly acidic (which is typical in this area).  Although these palms tolerate our high rainfall they will thrive in well draining soil.  The garden where I planted this palm is comprised of mostly clay soil, so I dug the hole 3 X as deep as the palm required, broke up the soil with a steel bar and added a wheel barrow of sand and small pebbles for added drainage.  Then I added a layer of mulch in the bottom about 4 inches deep.  Bone meal and peat moss are also great to help your palm perform better.

Watering and Fertilizing:

Watering frequently during dry spells is crucial especially when newly planted.  Fertilizing is necessary for lush palms.  Any one of these three different methods will get you good results:

1.)  A 6 or 9 month slow release, high nitrogen fertilizer (like osmocote) applied once during the growing season.

2.)  Water soluble 20-20-20 and fish fertilizer mixed according to package directions and watered in every 10 days to 2 weeks.

3.)  A slow release granular fertilizer designed for evergreens applied every two months during the growing season form April to November.

Winter Protection:

In ideal conditions, those close to the moderating influences of the ocean, protection is usually not necessary except for a good ground mulch.  If your palm is in one of the more cold sensitive palms,  a burlap wrapping of the top 18” of the trunk and the newly emerging spear should suffice.  The younger the palm the more protection it should have.

Other hardy palms that are worthy of experimenting with are European Fan Palm (Chamaerops humilis), Wine Palm (Jubaea chilensis), Pindo Palm (Butia capitata), Date Palm (Pheonix canariensis) and the Mexican Fan Palm (Washingtonia robusta).

Original Location of the Palm:

Palm Tree original location 1Original Palm 2

Franks Garden 026Original location  Original location of palm   Original location of palm tree

New Location of Palm:  The palm tree was moved to sit adjacent to the top pond.  There will be two ponds on the sloping property at the bottom of the original palm location.  The new location will provide the garden owner with a better view of the palm from his balcony and his window views.

Tools Tools requiredTools used to lift &  re-plant the palm. palm tree palm tree root ball palm tree roots

new locatinn palm

I added several inches of mulch on top of the palm and will also add about 4 to 6 inches of wood chips once the plant and soil have settled in their new location.  This will ensure that the plant roots are protected from extreme temperature changes, will hold the moisture and will provide a compost tea to feed the plant every time it rains or is watered.