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Bismarckia nobilis (Silver)

Bismarck Palm

HHow to do justice to this magnificent palm in just a few words? The Bismarck Palm has a full crown of large, silvery-blue, circular, fan-shaped leaves and a tall, columnar trunk. In seedlings and young plants, the leaves are tinged with an unreal purple-red color. Bismarckia develops fairly quickly into a large and stunning tree that is excellently suited for the subtropical or tropical garden, for parks, and for breathtaking avenues. It is tolerant of drought and a few degrees of frost and wants a place in full sun, such as it enjoys in the highland savannas of its native home of Madagascar. Our seeds are collected only from the areas of Madagascar with the best, most silvery-blue plants. A winner!

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germination comments by our visitors
For general germination instructions click here.

Also see plant cultivation comments below.

Seeds from this species ...

... are very easy to germinate and need up to 3 months to sprout.
Thanks a lot Toby… These are so easy to germinate here in Bolivia.. So far I have 68 out of 100 seeds.. Nice… All blue a beautiful… Soaked for about 3 days and then just put them into bags with good healthy soil and BANG after 1 month the first one was sticking up its first little leaf..
Submitted on 29/12/2013 by Jonas Qvistmose

... are easy to germinate and need up to 3 months to sprout.
I cleaned seeds and soaked in warm water for 2 days, then dipped in copper fungicide. Placed seeds in a plastic lidded box between damp kitchen towel at a temperature of 30c. Seeds started to germinate in 6 weeks.
Submitted on 30/03/2013 by Jungle Jas.

... are easy to germinate and need up to 1 year to sprout.
I have had the best luck with these just by planting them directly in the ground. All of them planted in the ground on drip irrigation emerged within 6 months while the ones I tried in a pot with a lot of coddling took over a year to sprout.
Submitted on 25/08/2012 by J Hamilton

... are very easy to germinate and need up to 3 months to sprout.
I purchased 10,000 seeds bismarckia nobilis, soaked in water changing the water daily for 16days,then staked ina plastic bag sealed with mild dump wood sawdust and within three months I have 8000 seeds germinated and still germinating.
Submitted on 12/09/2011 by ALBERT MALANGALILA

... are very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
I've been germinating Bismarckia for about 3 times in Brazil. First time we just cleaned them and planted, it took about 8 months before germination. First thing you do is put the seeds for about 3 days in the wather clean the wather every 24 ours first time use a little cleaning product to make sure that they are clean from the outside. Now we put them in long plastic pots because de main root is very big and needs space do go down. When the seeds are planted in these pots just spray them with wather and make a type of tunnel with plastic. This you do for higher temperature and damp, just open the tunnel every 2 weeks, spray them and close the tunnel again. If you have good seeds and can get a high temperature in the tunnel it should be germinated in about 1 month. Succes Huub Akkermans
Submitted on 14/11/2010 by Huub Akkermans

... are very easy to germinate and need up to 3 months to sprout.
I´ve left into the water for 24h, after that I put in the freezer for 12h, and after I put in hot water for 1 min. Worked to me.
Submitted on 05/09/2010 by thiago

... are very easy to germinate and need up to 3 months to sprout.
I have had 100% germination with this palm. I have planted 4 of the ten seeds I received, 3 directly in the ground and one in a pot. I soaked them for about 24 hours and then simply planted the 3 in the ground in their permanent location which is watered by drip irrigation. One of those was even chopped off by a skid loader and has since recovered. The one planted in the pot came up well but subsequently died because during the first hot spell this summer I didn't water it enough.
Submitted on 27/07/2010 by j. hamilton

... are easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
I placed 5 seeds in a ziplock bag with a mixture of peat/sphagnum/soil. Then I made sure that there was very little water in the bag(Just enough that the soil looked a little darker from it). I then later placed the bag on top of a water heater. After two weeks I had a root push from the top of one of the seeds. The next week I had two more seeds spouting roots. I'm still waiting on the other two.
Submitted on 17/04/2009 by donnie jackson

... are very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
Very easy, get deep pot for the deep root. Keep soil moist, not over water. In 3 week the root start to grow. And the 1st sliver leaves show up and ready to be planted, this palm love full sun.
Submitted on 01/12/2008 by one of our visitors

... are very easy to germinate and need up to 3 months to sprout.
1000 seeds I bought from rarepalmseeds. com. Must say it was a superb experience with 95% germinated, super fast and the silver/rusty colors are present from the first leaf. Thanks rare palm seeds
Submitted on 10/09/2008 by zaid akeel

... are very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
Need fresh seed, soak in water and need deep pot for the long taproot. Keep soil moist. Within two weeks the shoot are out off the soil and ready to be in full sun light.
Submitted on 20/08/2008 by one of our visitors

... are average to germinate and need up to 3 months to sprout.
Soaking the seeds seem to speed up the germinating process. I place the seeds in a galoon pot in a shady spot. With regular waterings and kept moist, the seeds should germinate in no time. The Bismarck seeds are average to germinate, but once they germinate you have to pay close attention to them... The first root that emerges from the seeds grows very large. Germinating in a deep pot would be the best way to germinate the Bismarck seeds without disturbing the root system once it starts to grow.
Submitted on 09/01/2008 by Tyler Sharpe TyTy1581@aol.com

... are very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
Within three weeks of sowing, I checked all of my seeds and all but 1 had germinated - I was truly surprised. The seed quality clearly played a key factor to the success as I know of many people who never get the same result but on reading other people's comments - and I find this is key to doing before buying any seed - I noticed that those that soaked their seeds for a longer period got better results. In my case, mine were soaked in warm-hot water for five days. I say hot because they were placed on top of my computer stabilizer, which like a TV generates 35C-40C heat. After that I put them in a 50-50 earth and sand mix and put about 1 inch of pure sand on top. I placed the seeds in that sand layer - it helps hold moisture which means very low maintenance and more importantly gives a kick to the heating process. The seeds were exposed to 25C-35C daytime temperatures with four hours of morning subtropical Brazilian sun a day. I am surprised it was a doddle. Now the tricky part, finding future spaces in my garden for these massive silvery beasts.
Submitted on 10/10/2007 by Anthony adovkants@hotmail.com

... are very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
What a wonderful palm, and so easy to germinate. I soaked seeds for 5 days then placed them in well draining potting mix. Half had germinated within 3 weeks.
Submitted on 02/10/2007 by Ivey Blanton Ivey_Suzi@hotmail.com

... are easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
got some rarepalmseeds.com the best place to get palm seed. Easy, just get a balck pot, filled with soil, then put the seeds in the soil. Do not overwater it or it will rot.
Submitted on 28/09/2007 by one of our visitors

... are very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
10 out of 9 seeds have germinated within 3 weeks in usual conditions used for germination. They need very deep pot otherwise their strong roots will push seeds above the surface. Now its been 4 more weeks and I am still waiting for first leaves to appear.
Submitted on 10/05/2006 by Iva iva@czn.cz

... are very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
I received 10 seeds of this palm a month ago.I put it in water for 15 days with daily water change.Bagged it in plastic zip lock bags with damp peat moss.Kept at normal temperature(around 29 Degree C during day and 22 at night) out of direct sunlight. 10th day the first ones have sprouted!!!Hopefully they will become majestic palms!! I have used only 5 seeds in this attempt!
Submitted on 16/03/2006 by one of our visitors

... are not rated.
I recommend to soak the seeds for 2 days in warm water, then sow them in clear plastic bags, mixed with moist peat, perlite, sawdust or wood shavings. Keep in a warm place. Check occasionally for germination. When a thick white root emerges from a seed, plant in a deep pot (minimum 25cm (10in.)) in well drained soil. The seed should be at the surface, the root must face down. Take care to move the germinated seeds into pots before the root gets too long. The roots are very brittle and break easily, which usually results in the death of the plant.
Submitted on 15/12/2005 by one of our visitors

... are difficult to germinate and need up to 6 months to sprout.
It would appear that heat is the key variable in the germination process. We planted 50 seeds as a trial and 20 have germinated thus far of which 10 have emerged above ground.We are now attempting to use underground electrical heating elements but this is not highly practicable since the bags must be at least 12 inches high to accommodate the root. Our average daily high temperature at this time of the year is 27 degrees C.
Submitted on 28/11/2005 by one of our visitors

... are easy to germinate and need up to 3 months to sprout.
Placed in airtight container with potting soil mix first seed germinated in 1 month others followed within 30 days approx. 40% germination within 3 months. Sprouted within 60 days.
Submitted on 25/11/2005 by Mark Roodvoets mredfoot@aol.com

...easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
Place in tube (50 cm long) with peat, perlite and vermiculite: 100% germination. This method provides better root system, easier for transplantation.
Submitted on 26/10/2005 by julien julientahiti@yahoo.fr

...very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
I let them soak in a bucket for 2 weeks outside, I changed the water every couple of 3 days, I treated with Apergillus and bagged in 50/50 perlite moss mix, put on top of water heater. They started germinating in 1 day, I had about 30% germination in 1 day.
Submitted on 23/09/2005 by one of our visitors

...very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
Kept warm (90ish) by placing in plastic containers with moistened spagnum moss. Then put in a cooler with boiling water in hot water bottles. The seeds next to the hot water bottles germinated first.
Submitted on 03/09/2005 by Jane Freeman janefree0513@yahoo.com

...very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
Very easy of germinating .The germination began in 16 days (650 fresh seeds) & 60% of them had germinated , The seeds were 2 days soaked in water then i planted them in in plastic pots 50/50 perlite & peatmoss in 35c+ withen 1 month all seeds germinated. ;)
Submitted on 02/05/2005 by Hamad Alfalasi hmalfalasi@gmail.com

...not rated.
Five years ago next February, I received a small order of Bismarckia nobilis seed from you. I had said to you that I hoped they would have the color of the two Bismarckia palms at Selby Botanical Garden (which I called "the color of moonlight") and you said, as near as I remember, that they would be at least equal to those two. Well, now they're three to four feet tall and the color is fantastic. Much, much better than any Bismarckias I've ever seen. Ever. Better than Selby; better than Fairchild--and much better than the nursery trade. So, thank you very much.
Submitted on 24/11/2004 by one of our visitors

...easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
After soaking seeds for 4 days,I put my seeds in compost saved from my garden in Oregon. They were placed in a warm room above my garage in July. Within 10 days I had my first roots. I then transported them to Baja , Mexico and placed them in 5 gallon containers filled with wonderful mulch from the desrt. About 3 weeks later one had sprouted.Several others followed.Going back down ther next week and hope to plant them along with several Sagosand Phoenix robellenis
Submitted on 05/11/2004 by one of our visitors

...very easy to germinate and need up to 3 months to sprout.
I started with 10 seeds from RPS. I soaked the seeds for two days in water at room temperature, then placed them in baggies with sterilized, moist cactus mixture. All 10 seeds germinated and sent out impressive roots within about 12 weeks. I planted the rooted seeds in very deep pots and put them outdoors for the summer. It took another couple of months before the seeds sent up shoots, but now 9 months later 9 of the 10 are in active growth.
Submitted on 20/10/2004 by Will willgillis@aol.com

...very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
Put the fresh seeds in warm clean water ( 20-30 degree celcius) overnight. Rinse water out in the next day, put the seeds in captan solution in high concentration ( 1 spoon per 100 ml.of water) or ditnane M45 can be used aswell. Leave the soak seeds with fungicide dry in shade for about 1 hour . place the seeds in plastic bag (transparency) contain with coconut coir dust or sawdust that contain moisture (but not soak). the amount of coir dust must have enough to cover all seeds, close the bag still with some air inside. Place the bag in shade about 30-40% light. Germinated seeds will start in 10 to 30 days in tropical zone.
Submitted on 01/10/2004 by Mr Rojrawee Piromya rdgrwp@ku.ac.th

...very easy to germinate and need up to 3 months to sprout.
These seeds are very easy to germinate, I put mature seeds in 3 gallon pots {about 10 seeds} I put them about 1 inch below the surface and the soil is well drained soil that I keep moist and hot {about 85 to 95 degree's}About a month most will germinate but as with many other seeds,some usually germinate a little later.
Submitted on 27/09/2004 by one of our visitors

...very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
Seeds were placed in tupperware containers, half way buried in 100% Peat in slightly shaddy area with daytime temperatures reaching around 32 degrees. 100% Germination after 12 days
Submitted on 10/07/2004 by one of our visitors

...very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
I placed 2 seeds in a small sealed zip loc bag filled with tap water and hung them in my warm fish tank water for 3 to 4 days. Seeds were then taken and packed in a large zip loc bag filled with damp moss sealed and put out in porch, average temp range low 80's. Within 3 to 4 weeks roots were sprouting, planted each in a 10" pot and kept soil damp but not wet and out of direct sun. Within 1 month they are both sprouting.
Submitted on 25/04/2004 by Dave Erdman dle53@bellsouth.net

...difficult to germinate and need up to 3 months to sprout.
planted in 50% peat moss 50% perlite, left in summer sun in San Diego. Only 3/10 seeds sprouted and took a long time. First one sprouted within 3 months, the other two within 6 months. I didn't use any type of heater, so the temperature may have been too cool for them. All three still growing, with one leaf. These have the fattest roots of any palm seedling I have seen. Definitely need to be germinated individually to avoid having to transplant right away.
Submitted on 04/03/2004 by one of our visitors

...very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
Seed was soaked in warm water (approx. 35C) for three days. Then, on February 11th 2004, it was planted in a mixture of 50% peat and 50% perlite and kept in a "germination chamber" (made by myself) where temperature riches a maximum of 37C during daytime and a minimum of 22C during nightime. I was thrilled to find out that germination began just a week afterwards. (Thank you Tobias for the extra seeds)
Submitted on 24/02/2004 by Christos Djamas ctzamas@spidernet.com.cy

...very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
Seeds were pre-soaked for 2 days in warm water.As pots 2 litre Coke bottles were used (just narrow neck of the bottle was cut away).Seeds were placed on top of garden soil and pressed in for its half. Bottles were sealed on top with plastic clear wrap.Bottles were kept at 37 d.C. Germination began after 7 days of sowing, by 12th day a 100% success was achieved.Occasionally after 10 days of last seed's germination, the temperature dropped to 10 d.C and lasted for a week.Then temperature was increased by 36 d.C. again. All seedlings successfully went through this.Subsequent growth is fast and strong.
Submitted on 15/11/2002 by Sergei Leonov serileonov@hotmail.com

...very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
Put in tupperware container with loose lid. Moist soil composed of peat and vermiculite. Used heating pad to keep seeds at 90 deg. F. 80% germinated in two weeks.
Submitted on 13/05/2002 by A. Garrison austcar@aol.com

...very easy to germinate and need up to 3 months to sprout.
I planted 300 Bismarkia seeds in april and as of now may 25 I have over 100 germinated seeds. I planted 8 seeds in each 2 gallon pot kept moist and warm [above] 80 degrees f. no first leaf yet.
Submitted on 25/05/2002 by one of our visitors

...very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
Very easy to germinate. I soaked the seeds in tap water for one week and sowed them in an air tight freezer bag filled with peat moss wetted with a Captan fungicide solution. The bag was placed outside in June on my concrete patio in Victoria, Texas (coastal south Texas) where it received late afternoon sun. Temperatures ranged from 96 F (36 C) daytime to 72 F (22 C) night. The patio provides residual bottom heating during the night. 90% germination occurred within 3 weeks.
Submitted on 05/07/2002 by Don Truman truman@icsi.net

...easy to germinate and need up to 1 year to sprout.
Soaked 4 days in warm water (80F / 25C.) Then to baggie with coconut fiber, kept at 30C / 90F. Remove sprouted seeds carefully to avoid damaging shoot. Some seeds take over one year to sprout, so don't discard. One discarded seed found its way to the bottom of another pot and sprouted over a year after purchase.
Submitted by Leo Martin leo1010@attglobal.net

...easy to germinate and need up to 3 months to sprout.
The seeds were soaked in water for two days. They were then soaked in a fungicide and insecticide for 20 minutes. They were then placed in damp medium consisting of perlite and sphagnum moss 1:1 ratio. Temperatures were consistent at about 70- 75 degrees F. Germination started after 2 weeks. I received 80% germination, 8 out of 10 seeds.
Submitted by one of our visitors

...very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
This species seems to either germinate quickly or not at all. If put in a sterile medium such as perlite or vermiculite and kept at temperatures about 30C (88F) some will germinate in 2-3 weeks while the others don't. Worth buying in larger batches because of this variability.
Submitted by Adam St.Clair stclair2@bigpond.com

...very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
Seeds were soaked for two days in tap water with the water changed daily. They were then placed in plastic tubs on a thick bed (2 inches) of moist sphagnum moss and sprayed with a copper based fungicide. The seeds were then covered with another inch of moist moss and the loose fitting lid placed on the tub. The tubs are 23x17x6 inches made by Sterilite. The tubs were placed on heated soil beds( 85 f) in a greenhouse. The daytime air temperature reaching 100F, night time air temperature 78F. The seeds started germinating within two weeks, reaching 90% germination after five weeks.The top dressing of moss was misted with water every two to three days to keep from drying out to much and a maintenance spray of fungicide weekly to prevent mold growth. The germinated seeds were removed from the tubs after a 1/2 inch root was showing and sown in a one gallon pot of peat, pine bark and sand.All the seeds survived the transition from tub to pot. This same process works equally well with Dypsis decaryi, with these seeds starting to germinate after five days and producing over 90% germination after only 21 days.These seeds were removed from the tubs when a root, 1/2 inch long was showing and placed in tree cone flats(tubes)in the same soil mix.Again all the germinated seeds survived the transition from tub to cone flat.
Submitted by Jim Murphy mursago@aol.com

win € 50 worth of seeds
by writing a germination comment about how to germinate the seeds of this species. Click here!

plant cultivation comments by our visitors
Also see germination commnets above.

Plants from this species ...

... are of poor ornamental value
In Orangeburg in USA they need very much care.
If I could give NO STARS rating to this plant, I would. I wasted my money on 157 Bismarckia palms.... That is 2 x 4 footers and 155 seeds. Tried one 4 footer, took a great care of it, but no matter what I did it slowly died. Then tried another 4 footer, and it slowly turned brown in the ground over a 2 month period. Only central spear remains, all brown, but it's not pulling out yet. The 150+ seeds planted professionally in environmentally friendly pots about 3 months ago, well taken care of, not a single germination so far. I will update this post if I get any good news.
Submitted on 16/06/2013 by one of our visitors

... are of excellent ornamental value
In 1100 Twin Oaks Rd.#21, Lufkin Tx 75901 in USA they need little care and grow normal.
Keep in a sunny, warm, and well drained place. Drought, and frost tolerant. A very spectacular palm, and well worth a position in any garden that can accomodate it.
Submitted on 01/11/2008 by Shirley A Billingsley

... are of excellent ornamental value
In Stockton, CA in USA they need average care and grow slow.
I have grow 3 in a soda bottle and in the winter in CA i keep it in my room it used a old soil it about 3 inch and use as indoor next to my window. It has been grow for year.
Submitted on 05/01/2008 by one of our visitors

... are of excellent ornamental value
In Greenacres, Florida in USA they need little care and grow very fast.
This palm has excellent ornamental value. It really stands out and turns peoples heads with its silver blue coloration and large fan leaves. Mine is planted in my front yard for all to see. It grows very fast. When I planted it in March of 2005 it was two feet tall, now Nov 2007 it's nine feet tall and almost as wide. I did not add anything to the soil, I just dug a hole and dropped it in, and added a four inch layer of mulch. I live in south Florida and the soil here is very sandy which palms love. It gets watered every other day and responds well to fertilizers. It grows best in full sun, but will tolerate shade also. This is not a plant for indoors due to its large size.
Submitted on 01/11/2007 by James Shields jshields2u@bellsouth.net

win € 75 worth of seeds
by writing a plant cultivation comment about how to cultivate the plants of this species. Click here!

If you wish to read more on palm cultivation, we highly recommend Ornamental Palm Horticulture by Timothy K. Broschat and Alan W. Meerow, available in our bookshop.

Ratings and comments reflect individual experiences and the views of our visitors. They do not necessarily describe the most appropriate methods, nor are they necessarily valid for all seeds or plants of this species. Germination and plant cultivation success depends on many different factors; nevertheless, these experiences will hopefully aid you in your effort to get the best germination results from our seeds and the best growth results from your plants.

We recommend:
The Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms

The Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms
by Robert Lee Riffle, Paul Craft, Scott Zona

2nd edition
Completely revised and updated

Hardcover - 528 pages
11 x 8.5 inches

Our rating:
Suitable for: all

The Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms is the definitive account of all palms that can be grown for ornamental and economic use. Palms are often underutilized as a result of their unfamiliarity—even to tropical gardeners. To help introduce these valuable plants to a new audience, the authors have exhaustively documented every genus in the palm family.
825 species are described in detail, including cold hardiness, water needs, height, and any special requirements. Generously illustrated with more than 900 photos, including photos of several palm species that have never before appeared in a general encyclopedia, The Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms is as valuable as an identification guide as it is a practical handbook. Interesting snippets of history, ethnobotany, and biology inform the text and make this a lively catalog of these remarkable plants.

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