Cyrtostachys renda syn lakka - Lipstick Palm
Also known as Red Sealing Wax Palm, this has bright red, sometimes orange or yellow, clumping trunks. It grows to 6m and performs best if grown in clumps. It comes from the coastal swamps of Sumatra and Malaysia, therefore it is only suitable for the tropics as it won’t grow it temps below 10 degrees and prefers it to be above 20 degrees. It prefers moist loam soils and needs fertilising monthly with a Palm fertiliser.
Tip – water it in with Fongarid and allow it to dry it out for a few days, before regular watering, this prevents root rot.
Areca vestiaria - Orange Beetle Nut Palm
If you live further south and have to have a Lipstick Palm but can’t keep one alive, try the Orange Beetle Nut Palm. It has unique orange to red crown / trunk and has extremely colourful fruits. It will grow as far south as Sydney and will withstand the cold to 2 degrees. It loves shade, warmth and a little protection from strong winds and will grow to 6m.
Licuala grandis - Vanuatu Fan Palm
This is a perfect specimen for pots and it has completely circular leaves that are ruffled and pleated. It needs constant warmth and humidity. In the tropics it likes part shade with a well-drained soil and in temperate climates, it must be grown indoors.
Best palms for pots
Bismarckia nobilis - Bismarckia Palm
The enormous, bright-silver pleated leaves make this an outstanding and eye-catching palm. Growing to 20m (less in pots) it is a bold, solitary palm, with a stout trunk that is not to be grown in clumps. It is endangered in its native habitat of Madagascar. Being drought and frost tolerant, it is one of the best palms to grow in cold areas and can be grown throughout Australia. In the beginning, it is slow growing, but then once it is established, it takes off. It needs lots of water and it is resistant to pests and diseases.
Propagation of Lipstick palm seed:
The fresher the seeds are, the better the results will be. To check the freshness of your seeds, cut open a sample seed and inspect the endosperm and embryo. The embryo should be fresh, firm, and not discoloured. If the interior of the seed is rotten or has an unpleasant odour, it is unlikely to germinate. After cleaning the seeds, hydrate them by soaking them in water for 24 hours, especially if you did not soak them to help remove the pulp. Within 24 hours most fresh, viable seeds will sink.
Whatever soil mix you use, the medium should be very porous and drain extremely well. All containers should have plenty of holes in the bottom to ensure quick and thorough drainage.
Growing tips for palms
• Feed with a controlled release fertiliser specifically for tropical plants
• Regular water with seaweed solution over the leaves, ensures good growth
• A dead fish buried under a new palm will help it grow strong and healthy
• Palms like cramped conditions, so don't plant them in too big a pot
• Indoor palms prefer a bright spot with no direct sunlight