Chamaedorea - Personal Experiences
Contributed by members of the Brisbane chapter of PACSOA.
Nick Craig (D'Aguilar - 30km north of Brisbane)
Species in the ground in my home are : C. klotzschiana , C. metallica , C. deckeriana , C. elegans , C. cataractarum , C. costaricana , C. ernesti-augustii , C. microspadix , C. oblongata , C. seifritzii , C. tepejilote , C. falcifera .
All of these species are growing well, having been through many winters outstanding plants being C. deckeriana and C. ernesti-augustii . Plants in pots at home C. sartorii, radicalis, geonomiformis, elatior, erumpens, brachypoda .
All going well, to be planted out in spring. They have all been resilient and very worthwhile to grow !
Phillip Arrowsmith (Ashgrove - Brisbane suburb)
Phillip has a collection of about 30 different species of Chamaedorea in his garden at Ashgrove which is well developed with ample canopy to suit understoty palms like Chamaedorea . He reports that they are easy to grow relative to other tropical palms, and they tend to be cold hardy, but with the occasional problem with red spider mite and fungal root rot. Phillip has also concluded that Chamadorea are generally not a long living plant and they seem to lose vigour after a few years. In the commentary on his experiences which follows those species which have produced fruit are indicated with an asterisk(*). Also, because there are so many species, we have included comments from Greg and Carlien Smith about their experiences in brackets after Phillip's comments.
Now to Phillips observations:-
4 single-stem specimens about 1.5m high, going well in shade/semi-shade.
Prefers shade stems lose vigour with age, grows up to 1.5m or more.
(Ed. C. brachypoda spreads readily in the garden from rhizomes and can be readily divided. In our garden it tends to have yellowish leaves)
C. cataractarum (syn. atrovirens)*
Could stand more sun in past has suffered from spider mite and root fungal problems as shade closed in on their area.
One (single-stem) plant has only been in ground about 6 months and is struggling a bit.
C. costaricana *
Clump 5-6m high have had problems with spider mite and root fungal problems.
C. deckeriana *
No real problems perhaps a little more cold sensitive, less hardy than some others.
(Ed. slow but healthy in our garden in Bulimba and I recall seeing some nice specimens in Denis Hundscheit's garden in Sunnybank)
C. elatior *
No problems, growing vigorously (also in Bulimba- Ed.)
C. ernesti-augustii *
No problems some of the original plants have died of old age.
(Ed. going well in Bulimba and we recently sighted a very healthy flowering stand in a garden in Bray Park.)
No problems, suckers freely leaves split in strong winds.
C. geonomiformis *
Growing well in a shaded spot.
(Ed. we lost a couple of these but second pair going OK)
C. glaucifolia * & C. plumosa
These seem to like more light than some other Chamadorea , even full sun for part of the day.
(Ed. these are no problem in our garden in part shade, glaucifolia is tidier than plumosa )
No problems will take some full sun.
(Ed. first sighted klotzschiana at Will Kraa's nursery at Pullen Vale in 1982, purchased some immediately, going well in our garden. Will advises that most Chamadorea are cold-hardy despite their tropical origins, and many withstand the frosts experienced in the low-lying areas of Brisbane's western suburbs.)
C. metallica *
No problems in Phillip's garden in Ashgrove (also going well in Bulimba)
C. microspadix *
Single stem to 2.5m, no problems.
C. oblongata *
No problems, have self-propagated in Phillip's garden.
C. radicalis *
Single stems to 5m high, comes in trunking and non-trunking varieties.
(Ed. this species was fast growing and self-seeding in my previous garden in Graceville, but the transplanted progeny are much slower in Bulimba).
Not happy at Ashgrove, gets red spider mite, maybe too hot?
(Ed. our single specimen went continuously downhill after acquisition. We note that it originates from dense wet forest on the Atlantic slopes of Mexico at altitudes of 900-1600m).
C. seifrizii *
No problem (Phillip believes that C. erumpens and C. seifrizii are different but Hodel and Gamble disagree!)
Very small single stem species, difficult to grow, needs full shade and humidity.
Growing well in Phillip's garden.
C. tepejilote *
No problems in Ashgrove
(Ed. or Bulimba, Bray Park or Mt Coot-tha Botanical Gardens).
No problems, similar to C. geonoformis .
Going OK, meant to be single but is suckering.
(Ed. our 2 specimens only ever carry 2 leaves. Maybe they need more light?)