A guide to growing Manila palm

Published May 11, 2021, 10:30 AM

by Vina Medenilla

Christmas Palm (Adonidia merrillii), or Manila palm, is a palm tree native to the Philippines and is a popular ornamental grown for its bright red fruits and minimum maintenance requirement. 

Despite being called the Christmas palm, this can be grown anytime, given that it is planted in a suitable environment. This palm is non-toxic to animals. It grows fast and reaches a height of 25 feet when mature. 

Featured Image by zoosnow from Pixabay.

Christmas palm trees thrive best in full sun. With the right climate, this palm would be easy to tend to. 

When growing Manila palm, preferred soils are clay, loam, or sand. It also requires good draining soil since it is not tolerant of stagnant water. 

Watering is essential, especially when growing them in dry areas because they can only tolerate drought in a short period of time. Growth deficiencies may arise when not given enough moisture. Mulch can also be applied on its base to retain moisture. 

Manila palms are one of those self-pruning palms because their dead fronds automatically fall. Thus, the only work to be carried out is cleaning up the fallen, dead, or rotting fruits because this can invite unwelcome pests and diseases when neglected. 

In some countries like Australia and Central America, a common disease of Manila palm is Lethal Yellowing. It causes premature fruits to fall from the tree. The tips of their flowers also turn yellow, preventing the palm from producing new fruits. Although there is no cure yet, a practical way to manage this bacterial disease is to plant a different palm species that is less susceptible to it, especially if growing them in the mentioned countries. Otherwise, this can cost a lot for a yearly treatment.

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