Bismarck Palm Tree – Bismarckia nobilis

Bismarck Palm (Bismarckia nobilis). Photo by Flickr.

The Bismarck Palm Tree, scientific name Bismarckia nobilis, is one of the most desired fan palms in Florida.  The Bismarck Palm is native to the island of Madagascar which is off the east coast of Africa.

It was a relatively recent introduction to Florida landscapes. Bismarckia nobilis is a massive palm that will give dramatic effect to any landscape. This palm can be used as a focal point or for nice shade and screening.

This palm can tolerate cold temperatures down to 25F and can be grown in states like Alabama, Arizona, California, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, Oregon and Texas.

Bismarck Palm Tree Profile

Scientific name:Bismarckia nobilis
Common names:The Bismarck Palm is also known as Bismark Palm, Bismarckia Palm, Nobilis Palm.
Origin:The Bismarck Palm is native to the island of Madagascar which is off the east coast of Africa.
Growth Rate:Slow to Moderate
Cold Tolerance:USDA Zones 9b – 11
Light Req:Partial sun to full sun
Water Req:High drought tolerant
Soil Req:Widely adaptable
Fruit:Brown. Not edible.
Propagation:Seeds, often germinating in less than 2 months

Bismarck Palm Features

The Bismarck Palm has a single smooth trunk topped with 20-25 wide fronds forming a spherical crown. Younger Bismarck Palm has grey trunk covered with old leaf bases which gets smoother as it matures.

The Bismarck Palm has palmate waxy leaves supported by thick stems. Stems are 8-10ft long, 10 inch in diameter and covered with small sharp teeth. Wide spread of beautiful silver-green leaves can reach 10ft across.

Bismarck Palm Flowers and Fruits

Bismarck Palm (Bismarckia nobilis). Photo by Flickr.
Bismarck Palm (Bismarckia nobilis). Photo by Flickr.

During late spring Bismarck Palm produces small fragrant flowers. The Bismarck Palm is dioecious, male and female flowers are on different plants.

Cream flowers grow in clusters on 3ft long stalks which gets bent downwards by the fruit weight. Beautiful flowers are followed by not edible blue fruits. Fruits are oblong and 1/2 – 1 inch in diameter.

How to Care For Bismarck Palm

Bismarck Palm (Bismarckia nobilis). Photo by Flickr.

Domestic Bismarck Palm can grow up to 30-40ft tall and 20ft wide, but in the wild it can reach 70ft. It is a fast growing palm that can grow from 3ft to 15 ft tall in 5 years.

It’s a great tree for gardeners who want low maintenance palm tree. Apply good quality palm fertilizer that has continuous release formula twice a year during growing season.

The Bismarck Palm is very cold hardy and can tolerate cold down to 15F  when mature enough. Great for zones 9b (25 to 30 F) – 11 (above 40 F).

It adapts to many kinds of soil and likes full sun. If you don’t have sunny spot, don’t worry it will tolerate some shade.

You are not going to get any serious problems with this palm tree.

Bismarck Palm Pictures

Bismarck Palm (Bismarckia nobilis). Photo by Flickr.
Bismarck Palm (Bismarckia nobilis). Photo by Flickr.
Bismarck Palm (Bismarckia nobilis). Photo by Flickr.
Bismarck Palm (Bismarckia nobilis). Photo by Flickr.
Bismarck Palm (Bismarckia nobilis). Photo by Flickr.
Bismarck Palm (Bismarckia nobilis). Photo by Flickr.
Bismarck Palm (Bismarckia nobilis). Photo by Flickr.
Bismarck Palm (Bismarckia nobilis). Photo by Flickr.

14 thoughts on “Bismarck Palm Tree – Bismarckia nobilis”

  1. We had so much rain on the texas coast and hard winds that our tree has blown over. I have tried staking it with rope and stakes but the leaves are so big that they catch all the wind and keep blowing over again. Question—does anyone know the best way to stake this tree. The base is still so short that clamping 2×4’s on it and then running a 2×4 to a stake will not work. What will happen to the tree if I cut a bunch of fronds off to help the tree not move asmuch and allow the roots to get grow more? We are lost as to what the heck to do. Please help___

  2. My tree was up-rooted in a Hurricanes winds, I was afraid of disturbing the roots but I secured the tree the best I could & the tree survived & re-grew the disturbed roots without any problem. Good Luck, -Pat

  3. These palms were planted in the landscape bed right next to the house in my neighborhood. The palm is now ridiculuosly tall an impossible to remove dead frawns without paying someone. I am really wanting to have it removed because I’m terrified its going to blow over on to my house. What kind of wind can these palms handle? In my opinion this palm species was a very bad choice to put right next to the house. I really don’t want a tree that can potentially reach 70 feet next to my house.

  4. Once a bismark is planted, 90% chance of it dying if you replant it. The roots don’t take to being touched once in the ground. They will be like a camels leg or thicker. I have ten. 3 were bought grown in canvas, weighed 1500# at time of planting. They took 200 gallons each on first day. 50 gallons a day for a week. Then, about 5 to 10 every other day for 3 months. After 6 months the roots should hold the palm during a hard tropical storm (70 mph). No stakes required. I planted 7 from Home Depot, in 2012 and they are almost as big as the ones I had installed. The hole should have been dug deep as possible, using same earth to cover ball and 2″ of trunk

  5. What kind of rootball does a palm have…?? I’m looking at a small Bismarkia palm, and want to plant in a bowl about 10″ deep – just for the summer…..
    Will this bee deep enough….??
    What about water??

  6. what if you put blanket over the palm and tie the blanket to rebar or something. it just a thought

  7. Stan, We live in Florida and it’s fairly windy. Our Bismark is staked with rebar and rope. There are Bismarks all over down here and the wind doesn’t seem to be a problem. I do know that it’s important to get the roots seated well when you initially plant it and water deep every day for two weeks to allow the roots to take. Water all around the tree, otherwise the roots can die on one side.

  8. We have 2 large Bismarck Palms in our front yard that we have had for about 15 years. Yesterday we noticed on one of the trees that all the fonds have collapsed and there is a strong odor. Do you know what is wrong and what we should do? The other tree is fine

  9. Seeds in my bismark palm. Am I suppose ti loose some seeds at an early stage..small ones falling off. Also how do I germinatevthese seeds, when do I pick them????

  10. I’ve been involved in moving many large (20′-30′ overall ht) Bismarck palms in Miami. They were root pruned as you would any tree with a fair sized rootball. The key was that all the fronds were hurricane cut like Sabal palms – we did not have any losses. It took a while for the heads to fill out again, but it was well worth it!

  11. I have a 12 ft. Bismarck that needs to be removed, because of a hurricane. How big is the ball of my free? I need to plant so.ething else and I need the stu.p removed

  12. We have a couple of these trees and they have big ants in them. Does anyone know what we can use to get rid of these ants?

  13. How do you trim a fan palm or prevent it from growing taller? Ours is almost to roof and don’t want it any bigger!

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