The Bottle Palm (Hyophorbe lagenicaulis) is known for its very unique one of a kind large swollen trunk. The striking Large Bottle Palm tree is from the Mascarene Islands, which are in the Indian Ocean just East of Madagascar. The Bottle Palm is nearly extinct in its natural habitat but is now widely commercially grown for its ornamental use. The Bottle Palm is very slow growing and adds flavor with uniqueness to any setting. The most distinguishing feature of the Bottle Palm is the bulged section of its trunk. This bulged section changes in colors throughout its life from gray, green, and even purple. The unique palm tree grows to the maximum average height of nearly 20 feet tall when mature but will take many years to do so. It has Pinnate (feather shaped), arched leaves that will give any location a true feeling of the tropics. The Bottle Palm Tree enjoys full sun and does best with sandy, good draining soil. The Bottle Palm is not cold hardy and will not tolerate frost. The Bottle Palm is usually the center of attention and a conversation starter in any garden or home.
Stems: Solitary, erect stems, to 7 m tall, up to 60 cm in diameter, ringed with close leaf scars and greatly swollen at the base. Leaves: Pinnate, reduplicate, strongly arched, to 3 m long, with leaflets evenly spaced along the rachis and held in a V-shape. Upper and lower leaf surfaces are green to gray-green; the midrib and secondary ribs are prominent and yellowish. Flowers and fruits: Inflorescences are erect in bud, to 1 m long, with several horn-shaped buds circling the base of the waxy green crown shaft, densely branched with male and female flowers on the same inflorescence. The ovoid fruits (2.5 cm long) are brownish black when ripe.
Growing Instructions for the Bottle Palm
The seeds need to be planted when received or stored in a refrigerator until they are planted. 1. Scarify the seeds by nicking or sanding the seed coat. The seeds can be sanded with sandpaper, a nail file or an emery board. 2. Soak the seed in water for several hours. 3. Prepare a mixture of half potting soil and half sand, perlite or vermiculite. Water the mixture so that it is moist but not wet. 4. Put the seeds on the soil. 5. Cover the seeds with a thin layer of soil. 6. Water the seeds. 7. Place the pots in an area with warm temperatures in full sun or part shade. 8. When the seedlings are a few inches tall, they can be transplanted.