S & J Nursery’s Guide to Growing
Needle Palm / Rhapidophyllum hydrix
in the Northeast Florida Jacksonville
| St. Augustine Landscape
Needle Palm Origins:
– Rhapidophyllum hydrix is a Florida Native Palm Tree! Deep
dark green shiny foliage makes a perfect landscape accent plant for shaded or sunny areas of the North Florida | Jacksonville | St. Augustine area landscapes.
Needle Palm Preferred Exposure:
– Needle Palm can be planted in a full shade or full sun locations.
Needle Palm Fronds | Trunk:
– Foliage of the Needle Palm remains evergreen through severe frosts and
is extremely cold hardy withstanding winters much farther North than our area.
– Leaves of the Rhapidophyllum Hydrix are a deep dark shiny green
color and add an instant tropical effect to the North Florida landscape.
– Multiple trunks form a rounded crown of foliage
Rhapidophyllum Hydrix / Needle Palm Soil Preference / Salt tolerance:
– Rhapidophyllum Hydrix / Needle Palms planted in the North Florida |
Jacksonville | St. Augustine landscape will tolerate virtually any soil condition, and will tolerate consistently wet soil as well as constantly dry locations.
– Salt tolerance is moderate.
Needle Palm Size Variance:
– Needle Palm will eventually grow 8 ft high and 8 ft wide but are slow
Needle Palm Growth Habit:
– Needle Palm has a clumping somewhat oval rounded
Needle Palm Growth Rate:
– Needle Palm trees are extremely slow growers only adding a few inches in
height each year.
Needle Palm Water Requirements:
– Needle Palm are very drought tolerant.
Best Uses For Needle Palm in the North Florida | Jacksonville | St. Augustine
– Needle Palm is an excellent choice for an evergreen shade palm in smaller
landscapes or porches and patio areas where excessive growth on larger species would be problematic. Needle Palms will tolerate full sun locations as well.
– Needle Palms shade tolerance makes them the perfect understory planting under large oaks or established trees for an instant tropical effect.
– Great container plant is slow growing and wont need repotted frequently.
– Use as a single specimen or plant in groups of 3 at 3-5 ft centers for a
landcape barrier or property boundary.
– Perfect for consistently wet areas of your North Florida landscape and for
dry sandy soils prone to prolonged periods of drought.
Care of Needle Palm:
– Needle Palm will need good water during the establishment period and is
extremely drought tolerant once established into the landscape.
– Trim back damaged or older browned out fronds each year in early spring at the base of the stem to keep the plant at its best.
MINIMUM PALM FERTILIZER REGIMEN – what you should be doing to keep your palm healthy
– Fertilize each spring with a specially blended fertilizer for Palms, follow
manufacturers directions and apply 1/2 lb o 1lb of fertilizer per inch of diameter of trunk on your palm, measured from a hands width above the ground level. That means for a 12 inch wide trunk from left to right you
would need 6-12 lbs of fertilizer for just that one palm!
– Fertilize every fall with magnesium sulfate ( Epsom Salt) to keep your palm green and healthy through the winter months!
MAXIMUM PALM FERTILIZER REGIMEN – what you can do to get your palm up and growing Fast!
– Fertilize every three months with your choice of Palm fertilizer and
Magnesium Sulfate. Water 3-4 times per week and make sure to water thoroughly after each fertilizer application.
– Wait till fronds have turned completely brown before removing from the palm as the palm will take back in the nutrients from those older leaves ad use it when forming new ones.
*CAUTION – DO NOT FERTILIZE NEWLY PLANTED /
FIELD GROWN PALM TREES WITH PALM
Note : When planting smaller
palms being grown in a container, this rule does not apply, rather, use half the recommended application rate
for your trunks diameter, as containered palms roots have not been damaged or cut during planting but are still
only a portion as large as they would be if the palm had been growing in the ground and excess fertilizer on a
confined root system is still not preferable for maximum health.
Palm fertilizers are water soluble and will burn the new roots your palm tree is trying to put out as it establishes itself into the landscape. It is best to use only poly coated plant food that is heat release like Osmocote general purpose fertilizer or non burning Milorganite in the first year in the landscape, and then the following year, start your palm food regimen that will provide all of the minor nutrients that your palms will need to keep them healthy and problem free in Florida soils.