The Christmas Palm Tree, scientific name Veitchia merrillii or Adonidia merrillii, is one of the most popular palms in Florida. It has a lot of similar characteristics with Royal Palm Tree and sometimes is even called dwarf royal palm.
Christmas Palms Trees are much smaller and are easier to manage in comparison to the Royal Palm Trees. Christmas Palm Tree is great for indoors.
|Scientific name:||Veitchia merrillii or Adonidia merrillii|
|Common names:||Christmas Palm, Manila Palm, Kerpis Palm, Adonidia Palm, Dwarf Royal Palm, Veitchia Palm.|
|Origin:||Native to the small islands of the Philippines located north of Malaysia and Indonesia.|
|Growth Rate:||Moderate to Fast. Up to 15 – 25 ft tall and 10 ft wide.|
|Cold Tolerance:||USDA Zones 10b (35 to 40 F) to 11 (above 40 F)|
|Light Req:||Full sun to partial shade.|
|Soil Req:||Widely adaptable|
|Fruit:||Yes. Red, glossy. Not edible.|
|Propagation:||By seed, germinating in 1- 2 months.|
Christmas Palm Identifying Characteristics
The Christmas Palm has smooth slender grey trunk that is slightly swollen at the base and ringed with old leaf scars. The Christmas Palm may be used alone or may also be planted in groups of two or three.
Bright green crownshaft supports a crown of 10-12 pinnate, or feather-shaped, fronds. Short crownshaft is about 3ft long. Leaves are glossy, strongly arched, grow to a length of 5 feet with sharp-edged leaflets that are up to 2 feet long by 2 inches wide.
Christmas Palm Flowers and Fruits
During summer months the Christmas Palm produces light green flower buds that turn into creamy blossom. Unisexual flowers are held by 2ft long branched stalks that emerge from the area where the crownshaft attaches to the trunk.
In December flowers are followed by green oval fruits that turn bright red as they ripe. Berrie-like fruits are 1 inch long and 1/5 inch wide. They hang in clusters looking like Christmas ornament, therefore palm’s common name is Christmas Palm.
How To Care For Christmas Palm
In the wild Veitchia merrillii is known to grow up to 25ft tall but in cultivation it usually doesn’t get taller than 15ft and 5-10 ft wide.
Christmas Palm is not considered cold hardy and will not tolerate frost well. It can tolerate cold temperatures only down to 35F for a short period of time. It is great for growing in USDA Zones 10b (35 to 40 F) to 11 (above 40 F).
It likes full sun but can also grow in broken shade. The Christmas Palm is moderately salt tolerant prefers moist well drained soil. To avoid root rot don’t let it sit in water. It can tolerate drought for a short time when mature enough.
It does not require much maintenance. The only thing you need to do is to remove old dead leaves to keep it looking neat. To prevent nutritional deficiency, apply good quality palm fertilizer that has continuous release formula twice a year during growing season.
While it usually doesn’t have any problems, it’s highly susceptible to leathal yellowing also called “veitchia decline”.
Propagated by seed. It will take around 1-2 months to germinate.