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Bismarck Palm Watering: How To Water A Newly Planted Bismarck Palm

Bismarck Palm Watering: How To Water A Newly Planted Bismarck Palm


By: Mary Ellen Ellis

Bismarck palm is a slow-growing, but ultimately massive palm tree, not for small yards. This is a landscaping tree for monumental scale, but in the right setting it can be a beautiful and regal tree to anchor a space and accent a building. Watering a new Bismarck palm is crucial for ensuring it grows and thrives.

About the Bismarck Palm

The Bismarck palm, Bismarckia nobilis, is a large sub-tropical palm tree. It is a solitary palm that is native to the island of Madagascar, but which does well in zones 9 through 11 in the U.S. thriving in areas like Florida and southern Texas. It grows slowly, but can go up to 50 feet (15 m.) high with a crown that can reach up to 20 feet (6 m.) across.

How to Water Newly Planted Bismarck Palms

A Bismarck palm is a big investment, both in time and money. The tree only grows one to two feet (30-60 cm.) per year, but over time it grows quite large. To ensure that it will be there for years to come, you need to know when to water Bismarck palms, and how. Not watering a new Bismarck palm could have disastrous consequences.

Bismarck palm watering can be tricky. To get it right, you need to water your new palm so that its roots stay moist for the first four to six months, without letting it get waterlogged. Good drainage is crucial, so before you plant the tree, make sure the soil will drain well.

A good basic guideline is to water the palm every day for the first month and then two to three times per week for the next several months. Continue watering once a week for about the first two years, until your palm is well established.

A good rule of thumb for the amount of water you should use at each watering is to go by the container the Bismarck palm came in. For example, if it arrived in a 25-gallon (95 l.) container, give your new tree 25 gallons of water each time, a little more in hotter weather or less in cooler weather.

New Bismarck palm watering is a real commitment, but this is a grand tree that needs care to thrive, so don’t neglect it.

This article was last updated on


How to Plant a Silver Bismarck Palm Tree

Related Articles

Silver Bismarck palm trees are commonly known as Bismarck palms (Bismarckia nobilis). They are hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 10 and 11. They will grow in warm areas of USDA zone 9, although the leaves may be slightly damaged if temperatures fall below freezing. They grow 1 to 2 feet per year to a height of 40 to 70 feet, developing 10-foot wide, silver-blue leaves. New Bismarck palms should be planted in late spring.

Choose a planting location where the Bismarck palm will receive a minimum of four hours of direct sun during the day. Do not plant the tree where it will eventually grow into telephone or electric wires.

Dig the hole two times as wide as the Bismarck palm root mass and just deep enough for the tree to be set at the same depth it has been growing. Use the tip of the dirt shovel or a hand rake to scratch the sides and bottom of the hole if the soil is predominately clay. Do not add soil amendments to the back-fill soil.

Place the tree next to the newly dug planting hole. Push the Bismarck palm tree over on its side. Pull the container off the root mass or remove the burlap or plastic root ball wrapping.

Set the tree roots into the hole. Handle the tree at the base of the trunk. Level the tree vertically. Use a shovel to place the back-fill soil into the hole or push it back in by hand. Push the soil under and between the roots by hand. Press the soil down while filling to remove air pockets. Check several times that the tree remains level while backfilling.

Place a 1 1/2-foot wide piece of burlap around the tree approximately two-thirds the way up the trunk. Arrange three 1 1/2-foot long pieces of 2- by 4-inch boards evenly around the trunk over the burlap. Position the boards to run lengthwise vertically with the trunk. Wrap two metal 1-inch wide straps around the boards, and tighten them to hold the boards securely to the tree trunk.

Set three 2- by 4-inch stakes at a 60-degree angle running from the ground 3 feet from the tree trunk up to the boards previously affixed to the trunk. Nail the top of each stake to the corresponding board on the tree trunk. Do not pierce the trunk with the nails.

Create a water reservoir by mounding soil 4 to 6 inches high all the way around the Bismarck palm tree trunk at the edge of the planting hole. Water the newly planted Bismarck palm tree with 50 gallons of water poured slowly over the loose backfill soil. Remove the ties from the palm fronds if they were tied. Water the tree with 20 to 25 gallons if the leaves were removed. Place a 3- to 4-inch depth of organic mulch around the tree, but keep it several inches away from the tree trunk.

Give the Bismarck palm tree either 50 gallons of water or 20 to 25 gallons of water, depending on whether or not it has leaves, three times per week for four weeks. Water it twice per week during the second month and once per week during the third month. Water the tree once per week for two years until it becomes well established. Take the stakes off the tree one or two years after it was planted.

Reannan Raine worked for 30 years in the non-profit sector in various positions. She recently became a licensed insurance agent but has decided to pursue a writing career instead. Ms. Raine is hoping to have her first novel published soon.


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Watering A New Bismarck Palm - When To Water Bismarck Palms Recently Planted - garden

INTRODUCTION

Bismarckia nobilis is a stunning, large silver blue fan palm that has become increasingly more popular in the past ten to twenty years. It is native to Madagascar where it tolerates fairly dry and hot climates. There is only one species within this genus. It is a stately single trunk palm that has a good sized trunk and, over many decades, can get tall. First introduced into the commercial nursery market about twenty years ago, it is being used both commercially and in the home garden in increasing frequency. It is commonly called the Bismarck Palm. Either as a single specimen or in groups, this is a strikingly beautiful species. It is most commonly known for its silver blue color. Remember that most gardeners and enthusiasts love blue palm trees.

HISTORY

Although mentioned in the literature for many decades, this species has become much more understood over the past twenty years. It is from the western and northern areas of the country of Madagascar where it enjoys sun, heat and dry conditions. It was named after the German chancellor, Prince Otto von Bismarck, who lived during the 19th century. As mentioned in his book, the Palms of Madagascar, John Dransfield points out that this is one of the few palms named after a politician. Bismarckia nobilis is similar to another genus, Medemia, but the two are felt presently to be two distinct genera. It is a common palm in Madagascar, but surprisingly wasn't really utilized in landscapes elsewhere in the world until recently. There are some isolated specimens in botanical gardens outside of Madagascar that were introduced many years ago, but it's popularity has exploded in the past two decades.

NATURAL HABITAT

This palm is natively found only in Madagascar. There it is seen almost entirely in the western side of this large island and is often found in very harsh natural conditions. It is fairly common in habitat and is widespread over many localities. It is seen in plateaus and plain areas where it experiences extremes in weather from very hot and dry to more humid conditions during the rainy season. From a cultural point of view, this species has been found to thrive in more tropical and humid environments around the world but has also had success in drier, desert areas. So, it tolerates a wide variety of conditions. Also, in habitat, is endures fires probably because the crown of leaves is well above any brush fires. In many areas in Madagascar, it is the only palm species evident.

CHARACTERISTICS OF BISMARCKIA NOBILIS

Trunk: Bismarckia nobilis is a single trunk fan palm. It's trunk diameter is typically 18 to 24 inches. This palm in habitat is known to get up to 60 feet, but this height may take a century to reach. The trunk is straight, a tan or brown color and basically smooth with hints of old scars from leaf bases. It has no crown shaft. The base of the trunk may be swollen. Leaves: The crown of leaves numbers from 15 to 30 leaves, typically blue to silver in color, and slightly arched. Of note, there are both green and blue forms of this species (described below). Leaves fall off easily when old and there is essentially no petticoat of old dead leaves as seen with some other species. The leaf width is 8 to 10 feet with approximately 20-30 divisions. The overall crown width is approximately 20 feet. The petiole length is 6 to 8 feet on mature specimens. On the blue variety of this species, the leaves have a silver-blue waxy coat. The leaf stems and bases may be smooth or hairy. Plants without the hairs almost have a polished metal feel to the stems. This causes such stems to be intensely blue. It is unclear why the hairs are variable among different populations of this species. But, if you look at a lot of Bismarckia, you will note stems from polished and smooth to very hairy and bumpy.


Back side of the Bismarckia leaf

Close-up crown of leaves

Photo showing silver color on this plant


Two Bismarckia in Balboa Park, San Diego

Close-up photo showing hairs on base of leaf stem


Bismarckia with smooth, polished stems (petioles)

Bismarckia with rough, hairy stem

Bismarckia, close-up of coarse hairy stem

Blossoms and Fruit:


Bismarckia, young female blossom with
immature fruit

An older male blossom, Bismarck Palm

Bismarckia female in fruit, Columbia SA, photo by T.F.

Same plant, close up view, photo by T.F.

GREEN VERSUS SILVER-BLUE FORMS OF BISMARCKIA NOBILIS

Since Bismarckia Palms were introduced commercially, it has been known that there is a blue and a green form. Because of the popularity of the silver blue form, few green Bismarckia are seen in landscapes. There also seems to be less cold tolerance with the green form, a fact that is surprising. And, to make things a bit more complicated, there seems to be "really blue" plants and "in-betweeners" in color. Therefore, a wise consumer who wants a very blue plant should look carefully at the color of the purchased plant. Select the plant with the most satisfying color.

There is another issue of a red discoloration to the leaves. Sometimes this is purple or similar shades. It is usually seen on smaller or juvenile plants. It appears that this color is a result of exposure to cold weather. This purple color is typically seen with the blue variety and may disappear with age and size.


Another example of the green form
in the wild, photo donated

This photo shows what appears to be a green leaf. But,
this is the underside of the leaf. Observe the leaves behind
this one. They are extremely silver color. So, when talking
about color, look at the dorsal side of the leaf, not the
underside.

CULTURE AND GROWING OF THE BISMARCK PALM

Bismarckia nobilis is a good grower. It likes full sun, sandy soil, good drainage and heat. In areas where summer rain is prevalent, it seems to put on rapid growth with this ample water. In areas where most of the rainfall is during the cooler period (Southern California), the growth of Bismarckia is slower. Therefore, little supplemental water is needed during the winter. In California along the coast, full sun is preferable. In inland areas it can be grown in half day sun. Good drainage is also important, especially if you have a cooler rainy period. This is a species that does not want to sit in continually wet, mucky soil. Although the Bismarck Palm can tolerate drought, it does respond to ample water during the summer and gives more rapid growth.

Since introduction to the commercial market, it has been found that this species performs fabulously in tropical and subtropical climates like Hawaii and South Florida. It also grows well in Southern California and some Californian and Arizona desert climates. I would classify its growth rate as medium. An average 15g palm can get up to eight feet height in about 3 years in the ground. Growth is much slower in containers. If growing in a container, as you would expect, it likes a big pot with plenty of room for root growth.

The cold tolerance of Bismarckia seems to be the low 20's F. I personally know of many specimens that have survived 22 degrees and even a bit lower. At the opposite end of the spectrum, it has no problem with heat to 110 degrees F. Common things that can kill a Bismarckia include poor drainage, too much water (especially during cold weather), too low of temperatures, too dark of growth environment, and significant disturbance of the roots. This species seems to be more susceptible to poor culture than to insect infestations. Root burn from fertilizers is something one wants to avoid.

To summarize on basic culture, consider this species if you have good draining soil, experience ample heat during the year and down get below about 22 degrees. When one looks at pictures of Bismarckia nobilis in habitat in Madagascar, he begins to realize just how hardy this palm is and the extremes of conditions it tolerates. The picture to the left below shows how someone has planted young Bismarckia along a driveway in Madagascar. To the right you see the dry conditions where Bismarckia nobilis grows natively.

BISMARCK PALM ROOTS AS IT INVOLVES CULTURE

Special mention should be made about the disturbance of or damage to the roots of a Bismarckia Palm. They are very sensitive and significant damage can kill a plant or put it into serious decline. What this means to you is that a good sized specimen is extremely difficult to successfully dig and transplant to another location. Also, a purchased plant in a container that has "rooted" into the ground may succumb if the roots out of the bottom holes are torn while lifting the plant. Also, when transplanting from one pot to another, rough handling of the roots can cause decline. We have seen over the years how imported Bismarckia that had their roots pruned prior to transport to California uniformly went into decline with leaves turning dry brown. And, many died about two weeks after arrival. So, be ever so careful with the roots of this species.

GERMINATION OF BISMARCKIA NOBILIS SEEDS

Bismarckia seeds fall off the tree with dark fruit. This fruit must be removed prior to attempts at germination. Wash the seeds thoroughly to remove this fruit and plant seeds at with the upper 1/3 to 1/2 of the seed showing above the mix. We advise using a good draining mix such as perlite and peat moss, but many utilize sand mixes. Typical watering schedules are two to three times a week on this open mix. Bottom heat may speed germination in colder areas. But, be careful that the large roots near the container's bottom don't "cook" from too much heat. Germination typically takes one to three months. When germination occurs, a very deep radicle root is produced even prior to the formation of the first leaf. Because of this, it is best to germinate seeds in a deep container to give the roots enough room. When separating new seedlings, be quit gentle with the roots and do not break any roots. This can cause a rapid death to the seedling. In its new pot, once again give the plant plenty of root room.

BISMARCKIA PALMS IN CONTAINERS

Many people in colder areas would like to grow the Bismarck Palm. This way they can bring the plant inside during the winter. As mentioned, this palm tolerates low temperatures down to about 22 degrees, perhaps a bit lower. For enthusiasts that have lower temperatures than this, they must winter their Bismarckia in a greenhouse or inside the home. I have little data on the growth of this species inside the house. However, if you do attempt this, give it plenty of sun inside and do not overwater it. It should also be reiterated that containerized Bismarcks do not grow nearly as fast as they would in the ground. This species would probably not be recommended as a "year round" interior plant.

COMPARISON OF BISMARCKIA WITH ANOTHER BLUE FAN PALM, BRAHEA ARMATA

To the untrained eye, Brahea armata (the Mexican Fan Palm) and Bismarckia nobilis are similar. Yes, there are similarities. Both are blue fan palms, single trunk, and like hot dry conditions. But, there are many differences. First, they come from opposite sides of the planet. Brahea armata comes from Mexico, Bismarckia from Madagascar. Bismarckia is a monotypic species with only one species in the genus. There are many different types of Brahea. Bismarckia are much faster growing and eventually get much taller. Crown size could be said to be similar, but Bismarckia has larger leaves.

Bismarckia seeds are much larger than the very small B. armata seeds. Not to forget the taxonomists, the blossoms are totally different. Brahea armata is more cold tolerant than Bismarckia, taking temperatures to about 15 degrees. Bismarckia also grow in tropical climates whereas the Mexican Blue Fan has more difficulties because of the humidity. And, there remains one final huge difference: by survey, most people think that Bismarckia is much more beautiful when it is mature. This is, of course, up to the eye of the beholder, but seems to be a common viewpoint. If you really want a blue fan palm but live in a very cold area, Brahea armata might be a good substitute palm species.



Brahea armata at Balboa Park, San Diego

This Brahea armata has very nice color
but note how the leaves are smaller than
those of Bismarckia nobilis

CONSERVATION AND THE FUTURE OF BISMARCKIA NOBILIS

Populations of Bismarckia nobilis in the wild historically have not been included in the endangered species list as they have been plentiful in their native habitat. In the past two decades literally tens of thousands of this species have been planted in many domestic and public habitats worldwide. It has been found that such plantings are presently fruiting with viable seeds. This will undoubtedly take the stress off of collection of wild habitat seeds and plants. It is not unusual for botanical gardens to feature a planting of multiple silver blue Bismarckia.

USAGE OF BISMARCKIA NOBILIS IN THE LANDSCAPE

When the enthusiast can give an environment of heat, full sun, and no temperatures below approximately 22 degrees F, the Bismarck palm becomes an ideal addition to the garden. It is great for both commercial and domestic gardens. Like many larger palms, it looks its best when given plenty of room for both growth and viewing. When exposed to travelers coming by the garden, it is not unusual for people to stop their car and admire the Bismarckia . If properly selected for color, the Bismarck will show the most wonderful color of silver-blue one can imagine. Do not plant it close to a building or structure. And, do no plant it where it might get shaded out by adjacent trees. Remember, this is a very difficult palm to relocate once established if you later decide you put it in the wrong spot. If given adequate space between trees, a group of two or three specimens is very attractive. Perhaps you might be lucky enough to get both a male and female and some day have viable seeds.

CONCLUSION

Bismarckia is a gorgeous and typically blue single trunk fan palm that has become very popular. It likes sun, heat and good draining soil. It tolerates cold temperatures into the low 20's F. It is ideal for domestic and commercial planting and is a "showstopper". It is not unusual for someone driving by to observe your large Bismarckia and ask you "hey Mister, what is that gorgeous blue palm?". It grows at a medium speed and looks best if given some room. It is stately and magnificent in its appearance. Mention is made of the rare green form of this species and how one must take care not to damage Bismarckia roots. It is good for tropical, subtropical and Mediterranean climates where temperatures don't get too cold. Culture in containers is possible although growth rates are slower.

As a reminder, Jungle Music has a variety of sizes of Bismarckia nobilis for sale, from small to large. We can ship plants anywhere within the United States.


Bismarckia habitat, photo by M.R.

Mature
Bismarckia in Columbia, SA
Photo by T.F.F

End of Article

We have lots of Bismarckias of various sizes for sale at the nursery.


Bismarckia Species, Bismarck Palm, Bismark Palm

Category:

Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant suitable for xeriscaping

Average Water Needs Water regularly do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Foliage:

Foliage Color:

Height:

Spacing:

Hardiness:

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 °C (20 °F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 °C (25 °F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 °C (30 °F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 °C (35 °F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 °C (40 °F)

Where to Grow:

Danger:

Pollen may cause allergic reaction

Bloom Color:

Bloom Characteristics:

Bloom Size:

Bloom Time:

Other details:

Soil pH requirements:

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:

Seed Collecting:

Unblemished fruit must be significantly overripe before harvesting seed clean and dry seeds

Regional

This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Rancho Cucamonga, California

Santa Barbara, California(2 reports)

Boca Raton, Florida(3 reports)

Fort Lauderdale, Florida(3 reports)

Homestead, Florida(2 reports)

Key West, Florida(2 reports)

Sarasota, Florida(2 reports)

Corpus Christi, Texas(2 reports)

Gardeners' Notes:

On Dec 1, 2019, TheBethbiri from Hollywood, FL wrote:

Simply breathtaking! This plant thrives in the sun and grows much faster with a little TLC. I water early in the morning almost every morning but never a lot of water and have been asked several times “what kind of trees are they “? I must say that they live up to their original name but I’ve given them a family name as well.

On Mar 17, 2013, MYCATNOEL from Seminole, FL wrote:

I love this palm it's beautiful. I wanted to know how to grow from seeds . There are four huge plants in Seminole Florida bearing seeds of all stages,magnificent view. I picked up a seed the size of a walnut black and wrinkled don't know what to do with it, is there a special way to plant it? does anyone know . jan

On Mar 11, 2013, NorthSC from North, SC (Zone 8a) wrote:

I bought this 4 foot tall palm from RealPalmTrees website since it is advertised as hardy to zone 8B. We've had zone 9 weather in the past two winters, so I decided to buy one and upon arrival, no matter how good the care was it died by drying up from the fronds down. Then the spear pulled with fishy smell, so I received a replacement and took a second chance and planted in the ground with temps being above freezing and only one night in the high 20s, but no matter that I watered it well as per instructions, applied root growth powder, did not disturb the roots at all while transplanting it, the second specimen is all drying up, but the tiny trunk is still green, so that gives me a little hope, yet the fast drying up in 2 weeks is probably a sign that it is not going to make it yet again.. read more Perhaps it is only a zone 10 plant? Then why is it being sold as zone 8B plant? Or perhaps these are impossible to transplant? To mention, it cost me $250.

P.S. Update: 4th April 2013: while the fronds are all dried up and brown and the central spear is mostly dried and brown, but there are areas on the lower part of the spear that have some green in it. Also a couple spots o the trunk have some green. I watered it twice a day for a month and now down to every day watering, but will slow down to 3 times a week after 3 months. I still have hope it may show some growth although overwintering it with or without protection in zone 8-9 is another matter.

By the way, at the new Farmer's Market near Columbia, SC I have seen some kind of palms (about 4-5 ft. tall) planted in sand with many other palms on a street corner. Those look like Bismarckia nobilis, but could be something else. The colour seems to look like Bismarck palm. Those made through winter without protection there, with severe burns, but still some green as well, which gives hope.

Update: May 26, 2013: the central spear (all that remains from my second Bismarckia) is now completely brown without even a slightest hint of greenness, yet it does not pull out yet. I could use that spot for another palm, but have to wait probably until the next winter, to see what's going on with it.

Update: Sept. 8, 2013: About 4 months ago I planted 155 seeds, planted professionally in environmentally friendly pots, and now months later there are about 50 of them germinated and growing in a variety of pots. What's most interesting that the "dead" one that I already drove over with a lawnmower tractor just showed signs of regrowth, now, in September 2013. :-) Thus upgrading this post from negative to neutral. If this palm survives and overwinters in my zone 8/9 I will upgrade this post to positive.

On Sep 16, 2012, Crawman1 from Gainesville, FL wrote:

We planted this at our house in St. Augustine Beach, Florida. The palm has a very fast growth rate and is doing very well in the spot we chose for it in full sun but shared with some coastal live oaks. It has gotten huge, much bigger than we expected, It came out of a 30 gallon pot and is now 15 ft. tall (the fronds, that is) in four years. It continuously puts out new spikes. It is basically growing in beach sand since we are probably no more than 200 yards from the beach. We haven't had a problem with frost. It does get below freezing here but usually for a short period of time only plus it is protected from the north wind by a large two-story house next door. We also have Bouganvillea growing but it has frozen down to the ground. A large, striking, beautiful palm. My favorite.

On Jun 20, 2011, StevePalmSpring from Palm Springs, CA wrote:

Planted after seeing gorgeous specimens in Palm Harbor, FL. Stops growing during cold weather but begins as soon as weather warms. Keeps its wonderful silver blue color. Have uploaded pictures from 2006 when first planted and now, 2011. Has not flowered yet.

On Mar 2, 2011, sherizona from Peoria, AZ (Zone 9b) wrote:

One of my favorite palms for the Southwest. I have one planted in full, all-day sun where the temps during the summer can reach 115. It grows super fast during this blistering heat. Transplant shock is very common so extra care is needed but once this palm gets comfy in the ground it grows very fast.

On Sep 9, 2010, Seedera from Punta Gorda, FL wrote:

I have 8 Silver Bismark seeds that have rooted, but no sprouts have come up. Anyone know how long that takes? I have them individually placed in 3 gallon containers and they have been rooted for a little over 2 months.

also have some seeds for sale if anyone wants some.

On Mar 7, 2010, morti234 from Venice, FL wrote:

All the comments I've read about the Bismark palm are very good, however but no one has mentioned the potential damaging effects of strong winds on young fan palms. I live in Venice, Fl and my first young Bismark was blown down and destroyed in a tropical storm. I secured my present one with ropes tied to rebar stakes untill it was well established.. It is at least 10 ft tall now and what a joy to behold. Definitely stake your palm as it is too precious to do otherwise.

On Nov 5, 2009, perkite from Houston, TX wrote:

This is a gorgeous palm tree. I planted it over a year ago. The coldest low recorded at my house last winter was 28 degrees, and there was no noticeable damage. We are just far enough south and close enough to the gulf to be able to grow this palm over winter. An extraordinary winter could damage or kill this tree I imagine, but most winters will not.

On Jun 15, 2009, nalin1 from New Delhi,
India (Zone 10a) wrote:

Truly a noble palm and most beautiful of all palms in my opinion. Leaves first time viewers breathless. Extremely hardy in our zone and has given no trouble at all. Other palms for our zone such as foxtail, areca, rhaphis, liciala, triangularis and others generally have problems here due to too much heat or too much water (triangularis) and termites. There is no special fertilizing schedule for Bismarckia--2 times a year leaf mould and/or aged manure.

On Jun 1, 2009, plantparent from Sarasota, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

I am in love with this palm. Stately looking as a specimen.
I tend them in areas with a lot of wind and salt (container plantings). While they show stress during very cold they do recover well. This may be due to being confined to the containers. I (and they) would prefer being in ground due to their wonderful size.

On May 25, 2009, billowen from Port Charlotte, FL (Zone 10a) wrote:

Fast growing, almost bullet proof in Southwest Florida. One of the most beautiful cold hardy palms I know of. Just one point, do not harm the roots when transplanting from a pot, cut the pot if needed. Once established it's difficult to move, many die if not transplanted properly. Update Dec. 2010, has tripled in size, fantastic growth rate.

On Mar 24, 2009, ArchAngeL01 from Myrtle Beach, SC (Zone 8b) wrote:

Hey i LOVE this palm and i have seen it in florida before and looked for one ever since and ive looked everywhere for one ! GRRRRRRR no luck though but can anyone trade your bismark for my pygmy date palm or my large needle palm? please help. hehe thanx

On Jan 15, 2009, zillabug from Cato, NY wrote:

We purchased 4 of these beautiful blue specimens last May to (hopefully) live out their lives in 40 & 50 gallon containers. Last spring they were delivered from S. Florida in 10 gallon nursery containers, and the spent the summer partially buried in those containers among the Landscape at Pittsford Plaza and Eastview Mall. They all seemed to do well, slowly sprouting new growth. In October they were transplanted into their new, large containers, and brought inside the building to a south facing glass entrance. Transplant shock was apparent in 2 of the plants, but so far, so good. all have survived. As expected, their appearence up here has inspired many positive comments. They grow exceptionally slow, but they maintain the beautiful blue color. We have feed them "weakly" weekly, but we ma. read more y experiment and 'up' the dosage on one or two of them to see if we can increase the amount of growth for our very short growing season. They do not like long stretches of cool, cloudy weather. this year we will be moving them indoors in late September.

On Oct 7, 2008, CuratorMan from Locust Valley, NY wrote:

I'm in Atlanta, GA - and recently purchased ten of these beauties to winter over in a cool greenhouse for use as focal points in containers next summer. They were only $10 for 3 gallon pots. My question is: the greenhouse will not get below 40 F over the winter and will be warmer on sunny days. Is it safe to leave them in their 3 gallon pots for the winter. Should I cut back on watering and let them get dry between waterings?

On Jul 11, 2008, LusiPalMan from Porto Alto,
Portugal (Zone 9b) wrote:

The Bismark Palm itґs a awsome palm for those who want to dig just one more hole in the garden. for palm fever colectors or garden lovers.. like me. lol
In first place, iґve to say just two things:
FIRST - the bismarck is frost resistance! the only one that i have, itґs outside of my garden in a full sun position, about 4 to 5 years on the ground, and the winter temperatures here as some diference between one year to another. there were cases that the temperature in one or more nights have just fall arround 24є F (-4є C), and the plant in the end of the winter station appears to have good looking, with just a few burn signals at the end of the leaves. In other cases, when the winter is rainy, i donґt have to worry about the temperatue raises up to 40є F or more. so, the . read more temperature is very unstable here, and i i donґt mencionate the high summer and dry temperatures, strong northern winds and invasive and infestant grass plants that invade my Bismark all the year..but that..will be another story to tell..lol SECOND: make sure you have the right spot to put your Bismarckia in..DONґT DO IT LIKE I DO..i knew it and iґve did it anyway. The one that iґve now was a brother of another that iґve lost on a transplatation..the plant was on the ground for about 1 year, but the place was not the best because she was on a place where the cars always run through, i tryed to convince my father to not put it out, and explain the motives, but..nothing..so..I and my father, in a very delicated operation, for about 3 hours, and trying not to touch the roots, the plant cames out, with all the roots and with all the sand shape like when she was planted on the floor. the result. yes. unfortunaly. DEATH, 2 weeks later.

I will try very soon to put some photos of her here, on the site, and other palms and trees that i have.

Thanks, and sorry for my bad english writing

On May 28, 2007, tmccullo from Houston, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

We have had ours in Houston now for 1 year. It actually survived an ice storm and 3 days of weather below 32 degrees. It actually got down to 25 degrees for several hours with strong winds. There was some leaf damage and the center actually died. I sprayed it daily with a fungicide and it is growing again this spring. Of course weather like this is very unusual in Houston so I expect our Bismark to really take off this year. This is the most awesome palm in our collection.

On Mar 14, 2007, davelodi from Stockton, CA wrote:

I received one on Father's day 2006. What a beautiful Palm. It was doing so well until the big freeze 2007 in N. Cal. I pulled it up today and threw it away. Needless to say I was pretty sad. I will try again as soon as I find one.

On Feb 7, 2007, BayAreaTropics from Hayward, CA wrote:

A great palm. After the great California freeze of 2007,it is the talk of the town so to speak. Freezing to below freezing temps were shrugged off by even young palms. The cold tolerance of this exotic looking plant was a pleasant surprise.
They also have the ability to be fast growers in non tropical climates-at least to quickly grow new fronds if not trunk.
In ten or twenty years they will be seen all over California dotting the urban and suburban landscape I predict.
The culture is-sunniest and warmest spot with much summer water and fertilizer.I found they even grow fast in pots,given enough root room. A fast draining mix is best as usual for potted plants.
Expensive,but well worth it. Trouble free and fits in with the sunny jungle or Xeric garden design. A. read more new introduction to our area,and a big hit it is.

On Jan 11, 2007, jawadkundi from Lahore,
Pakistan wrote:

" there is alot said about the ' Bismarckia nobilis ', its early child hood (2 years) and after the burgundy shade turn is due to frost and irregular watering habits, the seedling after sprouting " lets say three month old (2 inch from soil level) cannot sustain excessive water, it just erodes to dry, in 24 to 36 hours, there is one other element shedding light on the bone of the plant, regular dietary pattern enables and also monitors its crowns circumfrence aswell as the height from one sprouting leave from the other, usally every leaf is 3 to 5 inches higher from the previous one, if planted very near to a structure the magnetism silver is over shadowed, away and aloof it will have its share of light and nutrition, irregular watering sometimes invites termite attack, and it damages the . read more formation of the early growth of its trunk and hinders the plant to form in full "

On Nov 18, 2005, GernBlandston from Lake Elsinore, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

I'm growing one Bismarck in a container in full sun in zone 9b. It produced four leaves this summer (2005). I overwatered it for about a month when I first got it, and the leaves started turning brown. After reducing watering to twice a week, it did fine and the new leaves are perfect.

On Nov 3, 2005, KUDDEL from North Port, FL wrote:

I bought 2 plants in April 05 of this year. They are so beautiful and have grown since. One is 8 foot tall and the other is 6.5 and have given me, at this point, each 3 + new leaves. I bought them each for under $300, but
I have been told that this size sells for twice the money.
Over all, I am very happy and got a lot of attention in the neighborhood.

On Aug 30, 2005, elHoagie from Altadena, CA (Zone 10a) wrote:

Probably the best palm in my garden, looks great all the time and grows fast from May until Nov. Almost no growth at all during the winter, but it still manages to put out about 6 leaves per year for me. I purchased my first green Bismarckia this spring, and it appears to grow even faster, but it might not be as happy as the silver form once winter arrives.

On Nov 22, 2004, IslandJim from Keizer, OR (Zone 8b) wrote:

I have just uploaded a new image of one of my seedling Bismarckias, I planted the seed in February 2000. I live in an area where Bismarckias are a staple of upscale landscape construction. This seedling and its siblings [I have several] have the best color of any I have seen hereabouts--including those at Fairchild Tropical Gardens, Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, and Harry P. Leu Botalical Garden. The seed came from Madagascar, which may explain part of it. This tree is now about 3-1/2 to 4 feet tall another in the same group is nearly 6 feet tall.

On Aug 27, 2004, tcfromky from Mercer, PA (Zone 5a) wrote:

The Bismarck Palm is another beautiful and desirable fan palm suitable for sub-tropical climates although it can be grown as far north as Sarasota (freeze damage will occur, but the palm quickly recovers). Of the tribe Borasseae, and subfamily Corphoideae it is also known by the botanic name Bismarkia nobilis. Bismark Palms are native to Madagascar.

On Aug 23, 2004, Kylecawaza from Corte Madera, CA (Zone 10a) wrote:

Prefers hot. Their are great specimens in inland CA, like Fresno. These palms survive the San Francisco area, but they grow extrmely slowly and are susceptable to rot.

On Feb 24, 2004, amorning1 from Islamorada, FL wrote:

Young ones are actually purple.

On Dec 29, 2003, laspalmasdesign from Los Altos, CA wrote:

Don't hesitate to plant this palm in northern California especially if you are in the Bay Area inland. I started a small seedling three years ago and it is now over 3 feet tall and about as wide. It grows a little faster each year taking some time off in December through February. Plant it in the warmest, sunniest part of your yard and give it plenty of room. Relective walls or pavement are plusses as this palm flourishes in the heat. I've seen them grown in cool coastal areas too but they are slow growing in those conditions.

On Oct 9, 2003, mikehinz from phoenix, AZ (Zone 10a) wrote:

My original post below. From 2003. It is now 2014. I have been told that these may be the largest Bismarks in Arizona by two nurseries, moon valley as well as whitfield. I regularly get door knocks from landscape pros looking for tips.

Mynthree palms are now each over my roof line. The largest has verticle trunk of about 12 feet with a crown in excess of 8 feet. Pruned fronds are too large to haul in my Tahoe or in the bed of my helpers 4 wheelmwasre hauler. Fronds are about 8 to 12 feet from stalk to tip. It is a remarkable set of trees.

Trees were set in a slight slope, hit by lawn overspray on the east side of a 2 story home. They were in full sun from early am til about 1 pm in summer heat but protected by the house from frying sun in heat of day. r />
I protected from hard freeze bybheating hearts with blankets and heat lamps for a week. Now that the crown of the largest plant is over my roof line it is in full sun all day. So far it has done well in the very hot 115 degree summers but growthnhas slowed ..

These guys are magnicicent. And have created a micro climate in my front yard. Love them

I live in Phoenix, Arizona (U.S.) and planted three Bismark Palms in Spring 1999. There are few experienced growers in my area, so I'm on my own.

The plants were initially small (ten-gallon pots) and about 8 inches of trunk with the top most frond arms arching at about 3 to 4 feet.

These plants appear drought-resistant and seem hardy in the cool dry winter nights (lows to 28° F.). They explode in growth in our HOT and humid summers, June thru September. Must be watered liberally (for Arizona) and fertilize 3 times per year.

Plants are now four times times bigger than when I planted them the largest specimen trunk is nearly 4 1/2 feet. Arching fronds arching reach at 15 feet and no end in sight to growth. I remove fronds when they bend far enough to touch the ground.

On Jan 3, 2003, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

This palm, grown under the proper conditions (warm and humid) is a very fast growing palm. There are two forms, green and blue. The green form is slower in So Cal where it is dry, and is more cold sensitive, showing foliar damage at around 28F. The blue form is much more spectacular and is an excellent large specimen plant for most areas of Southern California, from the deserts to the coast. This form, once maturing, shows little leaf damage until the lower 20s. It is also a great palm for many areas of Florida from Orlando south to the Keys. In the tropics, both form are very fast growers, with the green form being the fastest, reaching a trunk height of 20' in just 7-10 years. Bismarckias have one of the most massive and impressive crowns of all the palms. In its native Madagascar. read more it can be seeing growing in the drier areas far above the scrub- a very awe-inspiring sight.

This is dioecious palm. in other words, you will not get viable seed unless you have a mature male and female near each other (I think most recommend you do the pollination yourself). but most growers just get the seed from the tropics. You cannot get good seed from just one palm, obviously. Best to germinate seed in deep containers as this palm has deep, sensitive roots. Germinate in large pots so you don't have to move from pot to pot too many times (these palms don't like their roots disturbed).

Leaves are costapalmate- those are palmate leaves with a curve near the tip and a large costa (mid-rib) down the center of the leaf). Leaves a very stiff, heavy and have a waxy coating (especially the blue form- waxy coating can be rubbed off with your hand to expose the green leaf beneath).

On Dec 18, 2002, Chamma from Tennille, GA (Zone 8b) wrote:

This is a spectacular palm but extremely slow growing. The trunk is tall and slender and reaches no more than a foot in diameter although the tree can reach tremendous height. It is a rather drought tolerant but looks and grows better with a regular water supply.

On May 29, 2001, BotanyBob from Thousand Oaks, CA wrote:

More information on this palm: It is a native of Madagascar. Two basic forms of this palm exist in cultivation: a green form, which is much more frost tender and less exotic looking than the blue-silver form. Some blue forms are nearly white-silver and are highly sought after.

This is a heat loving palm. In Florida, where the days are hot nearly all year round, it is a very fast grower, putting out 10-15 leaves a year. However, in Southern California, where it is only warm 1/2 the year at most, this is a much more slow-growing palm (maybe 2-3 leaves a year in warmer areas), and is much more sensitive to cold than it is in Florida. Chronic cool conditions will cause this palm to rot, and cold snaps (temps in the high 20s) can kill one outright, while similar temps in. read more Florida will only cause leaf burn.

The eventual height of this palm is unknown in the US, but in Florida it appears to be at least 30-40 feet. In Southern California it may eventually get that tall, but may take 100 years to get there. It is a massive palm and plenty of room should be given for it to spread out. It is also one of the best looking palms there is (at least the blue form is), so be sure to plant it as a specimen in a showy spot.

When planting this palm it is important to know that that's really where you want it, since moving it usually ends up in death of the palm (unless still pretty small).

On May 14, 2001, PostmanSeb from Palm Bay, FL (Zone 10a) wrote:

One of the most beautiful fan palms for subtropical landscapes. This Palm is massive, young specimens can spread to 20 feet or more. Freeze damage can occur, but will recover in a single season of growth. Seeds germinate in about 2 months.


Watch the video: . BISMARCK PALM BY GARDEN CENTER