The Carpentaria Palm Tree, scientific name Carpentaria acuminata, is very popular and is frequently used in Florida landscapes. The Carpentaria Palm has a lot of similarity with the Christmas Palm. Most often, the Carpentaria Palm is planted in groups of two or more to great look of at tropical forest.
Carpentaria Palm Tree Profile
Scientific name: Carpentaria acuminata
Common names: Carpentaria Palm.
Origin: Carpentaria Palm is native to the rain forest areas of Australia’s Northern Territory, where it grows in flat lowland areas near lakes and rivers, and at the heads of salt water estuaries.
Appearance: It has a smooth single trunk ringed with old leaf scars that are far apart because of the rapid growth. Slender gray trunk is about 10 inches in diameter, slightly swollen at the base and is topped with beautiful crown of gracefully arching fronds. The Carpentaria Palm usually has 10-12 pinnate, or feather-like, type leaves with 90-100 leaflets. They grow from a smooth green crownshaft up to 6 feet long. Leaves are deep green on the top and blue-green downside.
Flowers/Fruits: The Carpentaria Palm produces beautiful green to white flowers all year around. Flowers are held by long inflorescence growing from under the crownshaft up to 4 feet long. Flowers are bisexual, male and female flowers are on the same inflorescence. After 5-6 years Carpentaria Palm develops beautiful brilliant red fruits hangs in large clusters from the trunk. Fruits are oval, about 1/5 inch long. They should be avoided because the juice from these fruits can cause a skin irritation.
Growth Rate: Moderate to Fast. Carpentaria acuminata is a fast growing palm that can get up to 20-30 ft tall and 5-10 ft wide.
Outdoor/Indoor Use: Both.
Cold Tolerance: Carpentaria Palm is not very cold hardy. It can tolerate cold weather only down to 30F. It is great for USDA Zones 10a (30 to 35 F) to Zone 11 (above 40 F). It is also susceptible to trunk cracks in cool weather (cracks opens the trunk to decay organisms), so make sure to provide cold protection if you expecting cold temperatures.
Light Req: Partial shade to full sun.
Water Req: Moderate. The Carpentaria palm likes moist well drained soil and doesn’t tolerate drought that well. This palm requires a richer soil than many Florida landscapes can provide.
Insects and Diseases: The Carpentaria palms is a great tree because it has very few diseases.
Maintenance: Easy. To prevent nutritional deficiency, apply good quality palm fertilizer that has continuous release formula twice a year during growing season.
Propagation: Propagated by seeds. You should sow them as soon as possible because Carpentaria seeds don’t store well. Make sure to wear gloves to protect hands when handling seeds. Remove the fleshy covering surrounding the seed either mechanically or by soaking in water for several days.
The juice of the fruit can cause irritation and should not be handled with bare hands. Plant seeds in shallow containers filled with a mixture of 50% peat moss and 50% perlite. Seeds should be barely covered.
Keep the seeds in the warm environment and germination should occur in 2 to 3 months. At cooler temperatures, germination may be delayed for as long as one year. Make sure that seedling containers should be kept evenly moist.
Transplant the seedling Carpentaria palms into 4 or 6 inch containers when they are 5 to 6 inches tall. Use a standard potting mix that allows good drainage. Begin a fertilization program at once, using slow release fertilizers recommended for foliage production.
Add micro-elements to the soil mix. Young plants grow best when grown under 30% to 50% shade. As the palm roots begin to fill the soil ball, you can move them to larger pots. As your palm tree gets older you can start growing it in a full sun.