Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Manila Palm (Veitchia merrillii)
I am rather fond of the Manila Palm even though it is very common here in Hawaii. If you have a small garden but still want that palm filled, tropical garden look, the Manila Palm is an easy choice to make. It has a lovely mini coconut palm look without the hassle of dangerous coconuts falling or bulky dead fronds to dispose of. The Manila grows to about 20 ft and has fronds that are about 6 ft long. It also has the added beauty of its flowers and the resulting 1" long red skinned nuts that give the palm its other name of Christmas Palm. The name Manila Palm will tell you what part of the world it is from, although it is not actually native to the Manila area of the Philippines but to the southern islands of Palawan and Danjugan and down into the Sabah area of Malaysia.
The Manila is an easy, trouble free palm. Well ...except in Florida, where they are having problems with Lethal Yellowing disease. Hopefully it does not come to Hawaii. We have enough new bugs and diseases arriving here already. The Manila Palm has flowers and fruit all year round. The fruit do drop on the ground and some grounds crew workers like to trim off the flowers and fruit so they do not have to bother with raking them up. I like seeing the red fruit and the birds and wild chickens like to eat the red skin off the nut. Some of the dropped fruit will sprout and root but they are easy to pull up out of the ground while still small.
The Manila Palm does well in a container. One plant or three together. The height of the palm will be stunted somewhat depending on the size of the container. It also does quite well inside as long as the room is well light.