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Palm family. Excellent representatives of this family are the best representatives of decorative deciduous plants for indoor cultivation, although the best place for a palm tree is in the winter garden. Most palms are native to the tropics and subtropics. At home, palm trees grow to enormous sizes, for example, leaves can reach 15-17 m in length and 2 m in width. Nevertheless, many of the palms were not quite whimsical, and rather slow growth allows them to be successfully grown in city apartments.
There are several types of so-called house palms - they can be grown as indoor plants. Conventionally, according to the shape of the leaves, they can be divided into two groups:
- pinnate (dipypsis, coconut, date, hovea, hamedorea)
- fan-leaved (karyota, hamerops, trachycarpus, livistona).
Caring for palm trees at home
Most of the palms grown at home require a fairly large area. A living room or hallway is best. Even if your palm is not large, it is still a solitary plant, and nothing should interfere with it. By the way, if there is a cat in the house, then keep in mind that a palm tree can be very tasty green for her. Caring for palm trees is simple: timely watering, annual transplanting, periodic feeding and rinsing the leaves from dust.
The room where the palm tree will grow should be bright, with good sunlight. Best of all, bright diffused light, since not all palms tolerate direct sun well, most of them need shading in the hottest spring-summer time - from 11 am to 4 pm on the south and west sides. As a shade in the summer, a light tulle curtain on the window is enough. But this is only in summer, and in the period from August to February, palm trees are not afraid of any sun. In winter in mid-latitudes, no shading is required at all.
Very often they try to decorate the dark corners of the room with palm trees, forgetting that there are no shade-loving indoor plants, there are only shade-tolerant ones. In addition, the crown of palm trees is spreading and requires uniform lighting from all directions. Therefore, it is advisable to organize additional lighting with fluorescent lamps already a meter from the window.
Palms of tropical origin require keeping in winter in moderately warm or warm rooms, where from 16 to 24 ° C. Palm trees, which are native to the subtropics, are best kept in winter only in cool rooms, where the temperature is about 8-12 ° C. All palms do not tolerate drafts. You especially need to be wary of cold air when ventilating a room in winter through a window and a door. The roots of palm trees are very sensitive to cold, so palm pots are not placed directly on a cold windowsill or marble floor slabs. So that the root system does not overcool, a pot with a palm tree is placed in another, larger pot, or a wooden tub, and the space between the walls of the containers is covered with expanded clay, filled with sphagnum moss, or peat.
- The palms of warm rooms: areca, coconut, cariota, chamedorea, acanthophenix, phoenix Robelini - require warm maintenance and high humidity.
- Palm trees of temperate rooms: hovei (Belmora, Forster), Bonneti coconut, geonoma, clinostigma, ropalostilis, rapis.
- Palms of cool rooms: hamerops, brachea, washingtonia, trachycarpus, etc.
All palms, even those that come from dry areas, are quite hygrophilous, so watering is plentiful in summer, almost every day, and moderate in winter. But this concept of moisture-loving applies only to palms planted in loose soil, with good drainage. Those. when watering, the earth should have time to dry out in the upper third of the pot. And in the depths (if you touch it with your finger) - to be slightly damp all the time, but not soggy. The frequency of watering directly depends on the air temperature, for example, when the palm is kept in a very cool room in winter (about 5-7 ° C), the plant is watered very rarely (once every 1.5-2 months), or watering is replaced with light spraying. Caring for palms also consists of periodically loosening the topsoil after watering.
Palm trees love humid air, for them the optimum humidity is 40-50%. Therefore, palms need regular spraying, especially in hot summer and winter in a heated room. Due to the dry air, palm trees suffer greatly (the ends of the leaves dry out) and lose their decorative appeal (see below). The water to spray should be warm and spray the plant on both sides of the leaves. In winter, the average humidity in apartments is 20-25%, while spraying only temporarily eases the situation, but in no case should you increase watering. Remember that excess watering does not compensate for the lack of air humidity! In such cases, hanging the batteries with wet sheets and installing a humidifier helps, and for small palms, placing the pot on a wide tray with wet expanded clay or sphagnum moss.
How to transplant a palm tree
Soil - 2 parts of light clay-soddy, 2 parts of humus-leaf, 1 part of peat, 1 part of rotted manure, 1 part of sand and some charcoal. This is a very nutritious soil. On poorer potting mixes, palms will not grow well. Transplanting palms is carried out in the spring. Young palms up to 3 years old - annually, over 3 years old - after 3-5 years. In general, palms are not very fond of transplanting, but if it is carried out correctly, they tolerate it well. One of the conditions for the correct transplant is the selection of the appropriate dishes. To do this, you need to inspect the root system of the plant - if the roots have grown in width, closer to the walls of the pot, then they take a new pot of larger diameter; if the roots grew mainly downward, i.e. deep into the pot, then the new pot should be larger than the old one, but not in diameter, but in height.
If diseased or damaged roots are found during transplantation, they must be removed without damaging healthy tissues.
Before planting, good drainage must be placed in the pot and compost (well-rotted manure) is laid on top of it in a layer of 3-8 cm, depending on the age of the plant and the size of the dishes. Then the plant is placed in a pot and covered with earth, while the soil is slightly compacted. After transplanting palm trees, even sun-loving ones do not put in direct sunlight. Watering the first two weeks after transplanting is moderate.
If the roots of a palm tree protrude strongly from the pot, then it is best to overlay them with moist moss. Since adult palms are transplanted after a few years, and they consume nutrients quickly, despite regular feeding in spring and summer, it is recommended to annually (if the root system allows) to remove the top layer of the earth (the most depleted), and replace it with fresh nutrient soil (you can compost - it, unlike fresh manure, does not smell).
Fertilizing is used in cases where the plant is healthy and is in a period of growth, not dormancy. Fertilize palms after 2-3 weeks with fertilizers for decorative deciduous plants.
Top dressing is carried out only after the earthen lump is watered and soaked in water. You can feed it with any purchased fertilizers suitable for palms, for example, Ideal, Uniflor-growth, Tsniflor-micro, Giant, etc. Palm trees are not fed in autumn and winter, as well as the first two months after transplanting into fresh the ground.
To prevent the attack of thrips, aphids and other pests, it is necessary to periodically wipe the palm leaves with a damp sponge, and small plants can be immersed in warm water with a solution of Persian chamomile or green soap. After 30 minutes, the plant must be washed with clean warm water. Palm trees are regularly sprayed, taken out in the summer in the rain, or under the shower at home, if the size of the plant allows.
Propagation of palms
Palms can be propagated by seed, but this is a rather difficult business and not everyone succeeds. Palm seeds lose their germination rather quickly. Palm seeds germinate in an average of 20-30 days (livistona, washingtonia, sabal, trachycarpus), with soil heating, palm seeds, stored for 3-4 years, germinate in 2-4 months. Therefore, only buy fresh seeds, preferably from flower shops.
Before sowing, large seeds with a hard shell must be carefully sawed, so as not to damage the seed itself, not large seeds, but also having a hard shell, are soaked for 3-4 days in warm water (30-35 ° C). Sowing seeds is best done in late winter or early spring. Before sowing, seeds are soaked in warm water for 2-3 days. Pots for planting seedlings take no more than 15 cm in height, otherwise the roots of the seedlings grow greatly in length. At the bottom of the pot, there must be one or more holes for water drainage.
First, a good drainage is placed in the pot from a shard and a mixture of river sand and expanded clay (broken red brick or small pieces of foam plastic can be used), then a soil mixture is poured, consisting of 1 part of sod land and 3 parts of coarse sand. On top of the soil mixture, clean river sand is poured with a layer of 4 cm, into which palm seeds are sown, no deeper than 2-3 cm. The seeding density is 3-3.5 cm between seeds. To keep the soil moist, cover it on top with a small layer of moss. The optimum temperature for germinating seeds is 20-22 ° C - for subtropical palms and 28-30 ° C. Seedlings are watered daily with water, the temperature of which is not lower than room temperature.
When the germinated seedlings grow the first leaf, 8-10 cm in size, they are transplanted into pots with a diameter of 9 cm in a soil mixture consisting of 3 parts of turf, 2 parts of humus, 2 parts of leafy soil and 1 part of sand. Good drainage is also poured into the bottom of the pot. If the seedling has a very long root, then it is rolled up in a spiral and covered with earth, while it is necessary to preserve the remainder of the seed, which will provide food for the young plant. The soil is compacted and watered abundantly.
It is even more convenient to sow palm seeds into peat tablets. After seed germination and emergence of seedlings, peat tablets, without violating their integrity, are planted in pots.
The pot is placed in a warm and bright place, but so that direct sunlight does not fall. The first two weeks, the planted seedlings are watered moderately, allowing the soil in the upper layers to dry out slightly, and then more abundantly, maintaining the soil constantly in a slightly moistened state. But remember that palm trees cannot stand excessive moisture.