How To Grow Old Man Palm Tree (Coccothrinax crinita)

Old Man Palm Tree (Coccothrinax crinita)
Old Man Palm Tree (Coccothrinax crinita). Photo by Flickr.

The Old Man Palm Tree, scientific name Coccothrinax crinita, is well-known because of its stunning trunk that is covered with thick layer of wool-like fibers.  It is very rare palm that you can only find in the collector’s garden, that is one of the reasons it is very expensive.

The  Old Man Palm is frequently planted as an ornamental.  It can also grow indoors.

Quick Facts:

Scientific name:Coccothrinax crinita
Common names:Old Man Palm, Thatch Palm, Guano Barbudo, Guano Petate, Palma Petate.
Origin:Native to Cuba.
Growth Rate:Slow. Up to 10-15 ft tall and 1-5ft wide.
Cold Tolerance:USDA Zones 10b (35 to 40 F) to 11 (above 40 F).
Light Req:Partial shade to Full sun.
Water Req:Moderate.
Soil Req:Widely adaptable.
Fruit:Yes. Purple.
Propagation:By seed, germinating in 6 months.
Quick facts about Old Man Palm Tree (Coccothrinax crinita).

Old Man Palm Identifying Characteristics

Old Man Palm Tree (Coccothrinax crinita)
Old Man Palm Tree (Coccothrinax crinita). Photo by Flickr.

Trunk is slim, only 8 inches in diameter, but appears bigger because of the the thick hair covering. The Old Man Palm trunk reminds of an old man’s beard, hence the name Old Man Palm.

With no crownshaft 15-25 circular leaves grow right from the trunk. Leaves are palmate, or fan-shaped, stiff, spirally arranged, deeply divided, about 4-5 ft in diameter. They grow on short 2ft long unarmed petioles. Leaves are bright green on top and silvery-gray on the bottom.

Old Man Palm Flowers and Fruits

Old Man Palm Tree (Coccothrinax crinita) fruits
Old Man Palm Tree (Coccothrinax crinita). Photo by Wiki Commons.

In the summer the Old Man Palm produces yellow flowers that are held by 5 ft long stalks growing among the leaves extending farther than the leaves’ length. Flowers are bisexual, both male and female reproductive organs are born on the same plant. Flowers are followed by dark purple fruit that is round, fleshy, about 1 inch in diameter.

How To Care For Old Man Palm

Coccothrinax crinita is a slow growing palm that can get up to 10-20ft tall and 1-5ft wide.It will take this evergreen about 10 years to grow to 5”.

Old Man Palm Tree can tolerate cold down to 35F when mature enough. It is great for USDA Zones 10b (35 to 40 F) to 11 (above 40 F).

It does best in partial shade or full sun. This palm is great to plant along the seashore because it is very drought and salt tolerant. It likes moist well drained soil.

To prevent nutritional deficiency, apply good quality palm fertilizer that has continuous release formula twice a year during growing season.

Propagated by seed.

Old Man Palm Pictures

Old Man Palm Tree (Coccothrinax crinita)
Old Man Palm Tree (Coccothrinax crinita). Photo by Flickr.
Old Man Palm Tree (Coccothrinax crinita)
Old Man Palm Tree (Coccothrinax crinita). Photo by Flickr.
Old Man Palm Tree (Coccothrinax crinita)
Old Man Palm Tree (Coccothrinax crinita). Photo by Flickr.
Old Man Palm Tree (Coccothrinax crinita) trunk
Old Man Palm Tree (Coccothrinax crinita). Photo by Flickr.
Old Man Palm Tree (Coccothrinax crinita)
Old Man Palm Tree (Coccothrinax crinita). Photo by Flickr.
Old Man Palm Tree (Coccothrinax crinita)
Old Man Palm Tree (Coccothrinax crinita). Photo by Flickr.
Old Man Palm Tree (Coccothrinax crinita)
Old Man Palm Tree (Coccothrinax crinita). Photo by Flickr.
Old Man Palm Tree (Coccothrinax crinita)
Old Man Palm Tree (Coccothrinax crinita). Photo by Flickr.

More information can be found on EDIS site.

3 thoughts on “How To Grow Old Man Palm Tree (Coccothrinax crinita)”

  1. Good day,

    I am interested in the old mans palm tree, the small one. I would like to know a little more about the possibilities for importing this tree in Surinam. I’m looking for a tree with a big beard.

    Sincerely,

    Es Devie
    Surinam

  2. My old man palm has light green fronds, we have had a colder than usual winter, but no frost, it was really lush green last year. What’s going on?

  3. We purchased an Old Man Palm from our local Lowes. I live in Apollo Beach, Fl. It is in a pot outside in full sun. It has gotten plenty of rain this summer and when not raining we have a sprinkler system. We have feed it palm food and Magnesium.
    It is fifteen inches tall and in a round fourteen inch across pot. It does grow new leaves, but the mature leaves are yellow
    and nothing seems to change that. Should we take it out of the pot, it does not seem root bound, and plant it ?
    Your help is greatly appreciated.
    Thank You

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