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Caryota maxima Himalaya

Himalayan or Mountain Fish Tail Palm

Though known in cultivation for a while now, especially in California where it is grown under the name Caryota urens or “Mountain Form,” this fabulous, hardy species still is rarely seen around. It is a fairly large, vigorous, and extremely fast-growing tree (up to 2 m (6.5 ft) per year) with a dense crown. This Fishtail is frequently seen growing semi-wild in the foothills of the central and eastern Himalayas up to 2400 m (7800 ft) a.s.l. As indicated by its habitat, and by experience from cultivation, it is by far the most cold tolerant Fishtail Palm, guaranteed to stand up happily to cold winters with snow and moderate frosts to -7°C (19°F).

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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 ...

...very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
Soaked the seeds for three days. Next gave them a Captan solution bath for a few minutes and then placed them into a ziplock bag with 50/50 peat perlite. The media was kept moist and at about 80F.The first seeds germinated in a few weeks.
Submitted on 20/02/2005 by one of our visitors

...very easy to germinate.
Soaked in tap water for 1 week ,and planted in clear plastic container Kept moist in warm room 30c, Germinated in 20 days 80%.
Submitted on 19/12/2004 by Hamad Alfalasi hmalfalasi@gmail.com

...very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
my himalayan fishtails are now a year and a half old, and doing great. eight sprouted emeadiatly, and are all now 1/2 foot tall. the last two seeds i thought were done for, after a year, so i through them out into my yard, guess what, they sprouted with out any care, except for general watering of my yard
Submitted on 10/08/2004 by David Reisner davr@sbcglobal.net

...very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
Very impressed on how easy these germinated. I soaked these in warm water for about a week, changing daily. Placed in a ziplock with nothing else and had nearly 100% germination within 2 weeks!
Submitted on 05/02/2004 by Scott Wallace webgator@hotmail.com

...very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
Easy and quick! Try to stop them germinating! Sowed in moist coir in sealable food trays - kept in the airing cupboard 100% germinated within a month, when kept at room temperature approx 50% had germinated within a month.
Submitted on 03/03/2004 by amanda amanda@readytogrow.co.uk

...easy to germinate and need up to 3 months to sprout.
Limited success with this species. After being soaked for 2 days, 12 seeds were sealed in zip-bags in a pre-moistened mixture of 50% peat-based compost and 50% Vermiculite and kept at approx. 25 C. After 1 month, 2 seeds germinated and are still doing well, albeit growing very slowly, after 1 year. The seed leaves are still on the plants and the first proper fronds have emerged but have yet to open.
Submitted on 30/11/2003 by David Matzdorf davidmatzdorf@blueyonder.co.uk

...very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
5 days in a plastic bag (heat : 100F/37C) were enough to more than 50% of my seeds to germinate directly in water. the other part of the seeds germinated in a plastic bag filled up with peat during the following week.
Submitted on 25/09/2003 by jean-Michel KARATCHENTZEFF jmk.creation@groupeming.com

...very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
I took delivery 5 days ago of 100 seeds from Rare Palm Seeds and already today most have sprouted. I soaked for 2 days then put into a zipper bag with moist moss. I placed them under the bench in the greenhouse. Daytime temps reach 33°C and nighttimes drop to 15°C.
Submitted on 11/06/2003 by Phil Markey phil@trebrown.com

...very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
Grown from seed, in little old England! "Nurtured" & Germinated in just 4 weeks! How about that. Will be potting on when roots look strong enough to tackle whats in store for them, & I will be discovering the world & wonders of palm growing. I cant wait, I'm so excited". to be continued!
Submitted on 10/06/2003 by Jovan Angel jovan@hoshiar.fsnet.co.uk

...easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
I was surprised at how easily the seeds of this popped. First they were soaked and bagged up in normal multipurpose compost. They were kept at 25C, then, hey presto - they all germinated within a few weeks!
Submitted on 02/08/2003 by Rob Stacewicz ewa.stace@virgin.net

...very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
The seeds germinated very easily notwithstanding being held up by customs for a couple of months. Usual bag method was used with ordinary seed compost after soaking in tepid water for two days. Germination was achieved in around 5 weeks at room temperature (15- 22 centigrade). All the seeds germinated.
Submitted on 21/01/2003 by Richard Hayward richard.m.hayward@nz.pwcglobal.com

...easy to germinate and need up to 3 months to sprout.
Seeds as received were soaked for one day in a weak copper fungicide solution. They were then placed on a thick bed of moist sphagnum moss inside a plastic sweater box made by Sterelite with a loose fitting lid. I covered the seeds with a piece of shade cloth, this aids in veiwing germination progress without having to dig through moss. I then covered the shade cloth with more moist moss to hold in moisture. Germination begins within 6 to 8 weeks and continues for 8 to 9 months. High germination percentages can be obtained with patients and without overwatering. Out of 1000 seeds purchased,over 800 have germinated some 8 months after being sown. The remaining seeds are still viable and germinating. The seeds were kept in the mid 80 degrees F and sprayed as need to keep moist. Sprouts were placed in 38 cell, 6 inch deep tree cone flats. Subsequent development is slow untill the first leaf appears, after which they grow rapidly. The plants should be acclimated slowly to full sun.This same method of germination works equally as well with Caryota zebrina.
Submitted on 17/03/2003 by Jim Murphy mursago@aol.com

...easy to germinate and need up to 3 months to sprout.
Seeds as received were soaked for 1 day in tap water.The seeds were then placed on a deep bed of moist moss in a plastic conatiner with a lose fitting lid and kept between 80 and 90 degrees F. Germination began after 8 weeks and has continued now for several months. High germination rates can be achieved with patients, the correct temperature and moisture. The seedlings take a long time to spike, but subsequent growth if quite fast. This method works well with Caryota zebrina also.
Submitted on 15/01/2003 by Jim Murphy mursago@aol.com

...difficult to germinate and need up to 3 months to sprout.
I first soaked the seeds in tap water for about three days, with daily water changes. Afterwards, the seeds were sowed in a one gallon (4L) black nursery pot in a 50-50 mix of Canadian peat moss and perlite. The seeds were left at ambient temperatures for summer in Central Florida (hot). Only one of the approximately 10 seeds germinated. Germination occurred after about two months. I believe that it was too warm for good germination based on the info pertaining to its habitat. The other seeds seemed in good shape, and were left in a moist shady place in the yard, but after a year, there has been no sign of further germination. The one seedling seems rather slow growing, but like some Arenga, the new leaf is considerably larger than the previous. Germination may be easier than I have indicated under different conditions.
Submitted on 12/03/2003 by Jason C. Skelly Skellsbells@aol.com

...very easy to germinate and need up to 3 months to sprout.
I tried to germinate these seeds using two methods. The first method involved placing the seeds in baggies of moistened vermiculite and storing them on bottom heat. This did not yield very good results. The second and more succesful method was to place the seeds in a greenhouse mix inside of a Jiffy style mini greehouse. The mini-greenhouse was kept moist and stored in a room that stays at about 75-80 F during the day and around 70F during the night. Vigorous roots started emerging in about a month and all but a few had strong roots within 3 months. It was easy to spot the ones that were ready to be transplanted because the roots had pushed the seed above the soil surface.
Submitted on 08/01/2003 by Clint cjk10@hotmail.com

...easy to germinate and need up to 3 months to sprout.
A very rewarding species that doesn't need any special care. It can be sown individually in at least 10cm pot, as it has a strong rootstock.
Submitted on 20/10/2002 by Angelo Porcelli angelopalm69@inwind.it

...very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
First seeds started germinating in less than 2 weeks, by 15 days 20 have sprouted. Started in food container on damp paper towel. I then placed them in my warming oven and checked every couple of days. At 15 days I moved all seeds to damp soil and laid on side, 1/2 in soil. I beleive that the paper towel was not staying consistantly damp and may have been drying out in spots. That is why I moved to the damp soil mix.
Submitted on 11/11/2002 by Leatha Ruchty leathap2@cs.com

...very easy to germinate and need up to 3 months to sprout.
A very easy species, that doesn't need any special care. It's better to sow in tall individual puts, as it is vigourous and with a strong root system.
Submitted on 10/11/2002 by Angelo Porcelli angelopalm69@inwind.it

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

Plants from this species ...

... are of high ornamental value
In reigate,surrey in england they need average care and grow normal.
bought 3yr old plant and it was in a tiny 10cm pot, so immeadiatly potted up into 20cm pot as it supposedly grows very fast. I live in the south east of england, not very warm and decieded to put it out into my unheated greenhouse in the beggining of janruary. the greenhouse gets lows of -5 if not more at the worst of times and this young plant has come through completly unscathed surviving one night when there were lows of -5 and the soil in the pot was completly frozen solid by morning when i came to check. hope this helps you tropical enthusiasts in colder climates,,, this palm can take some cold!!! no coastal exposure, heavily watered(probably too much for this time of winter), in a smallish pot, moved for conveniance into freezing greenhouse. :)
Submitted on 04/01/2010 by Adam

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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