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Pseudophoenix sargentii

Buccaneer Palm, Cherry Palm

This rare palm is found in coastal areas of the Florida Keys, the Bahamas, Hispaniola, a small area of Cuba, and very eastern Mexico. It has a slightly swollen, waxy, ringed trunk; a waxy crownshaft; and arching, dark grey-green, very leathery, pinnate leaves. The Buccaneer palm grows very slowly, but, because of its extreme coastal habitat, it will grow in almost any well-drained soil and is one of the most salt and wind tolerant of all palms, i.e. ideally suited for coastal planting. It will do well in both warm temperate and tropical climates. Unfortunately, it is now endangered in most of its native habitat and also is rare in cultivation. Even small plants fetch high prices in the nursery trade, and it is hoped that this fabulous and unusual palm will be a little more commonly cultivated in the future with the high-quality seeds we now have available in good quantities and on a regular basis.

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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 1 month to sprout.
These seeds were very easy. I put them in a ziploc bag with a wet (not damp) paper towel on a windowsill that gets morning sun. They germinated after about 3 and a half weeks.
Submitted on 24/09/2007 by Susan Bickel susantiedemann@aol.com

...very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
Acquired 200 seeds of P. Sargentii var. saonae var. saonae (slowest growing of the species). Soaked in water for a few days to ferment and remove yellow pulp. Then cracked and removed hard black shell and soaked in mild chlorine solution for 20 minutes. Planted seeds a half inch deep in 6 inch deep container filled with 100% coarse perlite. I drilled holes in the bottom of the container for water drainage and placed it in another container the same size. I placed a third container upside-down on top of the setup to close in moisture and keep humid. The setup was kept around 90F on heat mat. I flushed the perlite twice a week with water to keep it fresh. First sprout popped up today after only 3 weeks!! They key to these is constant heat in a semi-humid meduim and fresh sterile perlite to fend off disease. Time to order more...
Submitted on 17/05/2004 by JBD socalwholesale22@yahoo.com

...easy to germinate and need up to 3 months to sprout.
Fresh seed collcted in Miami (in Dec 2002) Cleaned then refrigerated for 3 weeks then put on bottom heat in a propigation tray with humidity dome at 30-35 C seeds began germinating after 60 days after 90 ays most have germinated. Some are still appearing. I think the refrigeration helped trigger the germination.
Submitted on 30/04/2003 by Doug DLG0070@aol.com

...difficult to germinate and need up to 1 year to sprout.
This seed was aquired from palm society auction. It was red & ripe,after the initial 48hr soak removed all the fleshy pulp but a hard outer shell remained. carefully removed that & bagged 1/2 spagnum moss & other in community bed in shadehouse. After 6 months both methods show germination slowly & still have more seeds that havent popped yet. Long term project at best.
Submitted on 16/05/2003 by werner weigt bushwack2000@bellsouth.net

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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 Miami, Florida in USA they need average care and grow slow.
The seedling will grow VERY slow. Once it gets about 4 or 5 years old, it will grow more quickly, taking about 10 years altogether to become mature. While the plant is very salt tolerant, drought tolerant, requires low nutrition and has no major pest problems, it will mature more quickly if it is not allowed to dry for long periods of time and if it is given palm fertilizer (potassium sulfate, magnesium sulfate, and manganese sulfate) particularly in poor soil areas like coastal South Florida. We grow these palms in the ground in a residential landscape. Most of our palms have been planted in the ground for 7 or 8 years. They were about 5 year old seedlings when we planted them. They are about 10 - 12 feet high. They grow in full sun and during the dry season in South Florida they get irrigated 1 time per week. They tolerate the rainy season very well. Our do not receive any coastal exposureThey are GREAT landscape palms for small yards, requiring less care than many other tropical palms. They do not grow very tall so they have good scale for small yards. They are also very resistant to hurricane winds, the fronds and trunks are very strong once mature. They will attract many bees when in bloom. The droppings from the blooms are a little messy and it is advisable to pick up the seeds when they fall. They produce many seeds about the size of a small marble which are bright red when mature. The seeds will germinate easily. I just throw the seeds in a bed of bare soil and cover with mulch. They will germinate in 2 to 4 months, but once they germinate it will take 3 to 4 years to get between 1 1/2 - 2 feet high. Theses plants are sold locally for $125 when they are between 3 and 4 feet hight which takes 5 to 6 years from germination. Their very slow grow at the beginning and high price is the reason why they are not more popular in residential or commercial landscape. But if you get one, it is well worth it because of its outstanding qualities.
Submitted on 17/10/2009 by John R King

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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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