Transplanting a Canary Island Palm
In the 1990’s I began learning the landscape business and industry as a lowly worker. I had taken a basic horticulture course that was taught by Ken Dobler, a landscape professional with whom I still associate through my involvement judging new landscape contractor and technician candidates. I followed that course with a Plant Identification course in same college. It was taught by the late, great Greg Charles who inspired me and many others to pursue careers in horticulture. Greg advised that if we were ‘into’ certain plant types that we should dive into learning much more about them and strive to become experts. Some people are really into roses, some folks are crazy about cacti, but I fell in love with palm trees!
So … here’s how I began to propagate palms:
One day as I drove home from a long day of work to my apartment in Hyde Park in Tampa, I passed a row of mature Canary Island Palms along Bayshore Boulevard that were being trimmed. I could not resist turning onto a side road, parking, and walking back to pick up a bright orange seed pod that was full of ripe seed.
Later I was cleaning the seeds outside my apartment, and I told my neighbors that I would grow them in my home. They were amused and confused. Phoenix Palms are known for their easy germination, and I suppose it is a good thing that I tried an easy palm that kept me encouraged. I used an old aquarium with a foot of germination mix inside, and I placed a heat lamp over the Saran-wrapped aquarium to quickly sprout several hundred seed. This Canary Island Palm is from that first batch of seed and therefore sentimental to me:
My local mentor Randy Frazier assisted with the move, and I am grateful to have a friend whom is as passionate about palms as I am. We jest about our ‘obsession’ with these beautiful works of nature. I look forward to watching this palm grow for at least another thirty years on my farm. Sorry, but this one is not for sale! — Pete