Magazine article Sunset

The Arnold Schwarzenegger of Palm Trees

Magazine article Sunset

The Arnold Schwarzenegger of Palm Trees

Article excerpt

If Arnold Schwarzenegger were a palm tree, he'd be a Jubaea chilensis. This vigorous behemoth, commonly called Chilean wine palm, reaches 50 to 60 feet tall and develops a thick trunk (the one on the tree at right is 4 1/2 feet in diameter). Fronds on a mature tree may reach 12 feet long.

Chilean wine palm is little known outside its native South America. Yet the few old specimens found in northern California are proof of the plant's adaptability to dry summers as well as to occasional deep dips in temperature; able to weather cold of 20' and below, this is probably the hardiest of the featherleafed palms. It didn't flinch at this year's freeze.

If you like big, bold, can't-miss-'em plants and there's room in your garden for this giant, you might try growing one. It'll give your grandchildren living proof of your gardening gusto.

Plant in a roomy spot with full sun and fast-draining soil. Although the palms seem to do well in poor, rocky soil in their native Chile, growers suggest getting young plants off to a good start in rich garden soil. …

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