Selecting the right palm
Before purchasing a palm you first need to consider your location; wind, sun, salt spray, frost, drought and drainage will all play a part in deciding the best palms for your location. Check out the requirements of different species here or speak to us first if you are unsure and we’ll be happy to advise you.
Getting the right look
Also, consider the look you’re intending to achieve in your garden. There are many types of palm trees so with the right selection you can create a tropical garden, an arid desert garden, a rainforest or something more traditional.
Certain species of palm (and other plants) lend themselves to particular locations. The links to the right provide a few examples you may wish to consider.
Getting the size right
Do give some thought to the size of the palm tree you want. Whilst smaller palms will of course be much less expensive there’s always the drawback that they may take many years to become feature plants. For fast growing species that’s perhaps less of a concern. In addition, many palms – especially the more tropical ones – generally succeed better when planted as semi-mature specimens.
Beware when buying palms that have either been field-grown or those that come directly from a greenhouse. Recently lifted field-grown palms (rather than those given several years in a large pot to recover) can suffer from root damage which may cause set-back. This need not be terminal but can result in a long period of sulking. Palms that have come directly from a greenhouse will generally look glossy and in perfect condition. On closer inspection they’re likely to be quite tall and skinny. Such palms will however be quite unused to withstanding sunlight, wind, frost et cetera. When planted there is often a period of a year or two where these palms gradually acclimatise and do not look their best. Worse still small, skinny palms can easily snap in New Zealand’s strong winds.
Finally, when buying a palm, pay more attention to the health of the trunk and leaves in general rather than simply whether the leaves look a little tatty. Typically, the leaves of palms that are over-wintered outside in pots or bags will look a little weather damaged by spring. Rest assured that when planted the same palms will look in much better condition (provided the right site is selected) the following spring.