Alexander Palm

Ptychosperma elegans

 

The Alexander Palm is sometimes called the “solitaire palm” because it only grows one trunk (a solitary trunk.)

 

The alexander palm is a larger palm that can be used in smaller spaces because of its slender form.  The alexander leaves are more moderate in size and scale than some larger palms, which allows it to be planted in fairly narrow spaces.  Alexanders are self-cleaning and prized for ease of care since aged fronds fall off by themselves.  Mature alexanders produce a fruit enjoyed by birds.

 

Specifications

 

Alexander palms grow to a height of 20 to 25 feet, and like full to part sun, though they will grow fine in part shade.

Alexanders do best in warmer areas - Zones 10A and 10B - and they do especially well when they are in a place that is protected from drying or cold winds.

 

The alexander is a moderate grower and can be grown indoors when it has enough height and light to thrive. Alexanders are moderately drought-tolerant once they're well-established.

 

Care 

 

Use organic peat moss or top soil to enhance your soil when planting an alexander.   Alexanders should be fertilized three times a year - in spring, summer, and autumn - to keep the fronds full and deep green.  It should be watered regularly.  Alexanders are self cleaning so you don’t have to remove dead fronds when the palm is tall, they fall off on their own.

 

Spacing 

 

Because of its slender gray-ringed trunk and moderate scale head, an alexander can be planted in a small yard and in close proximity to the house as an accent tree.

 

If planting close to a house, plant at a distance of 5 to 6 feet or more from the house, positioning palms in a way that makes sense for future growth. Avoid any placements where the fronds touch walls.

 

You can plant these palms as close as 3 feet from a fence or short wall provided that the head of the palm clears the top of the structure. If you are planting a row of alexanders, place them 5 or 6 feet apart.

 

Alexander palms are fine in large containers, and can be used as striking indoor specimens if they've been acclimated to an indoor space.

 

Landscaping with Alexander Palms

 

• use as an architectural accent for a tall structure, like a 2-story house

• as an anchor for a garden bed

• as a specimen for the center of a circular driveway

• backdrop planting for smaller palms and cycads

• stand-alone specimen in the yard

• large container plant for the pool or patio

• lining a driveway or property border (if protected from wind)