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What is a King Palm?

By Sarah Sullins
Updated May 16, 2024
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A king palm is a palm tree that calls Australia its original home. It produces flowers in the summer and then produces fruit that looks like berries. The king palm can be kept as an inside plant for a while, but it grows very quickly and many believe it looks best when it is clustered with other king palms.

King palms, also known as Alexander palms or Alexandra palms, are native to the rain forests of Australia, but can be grown in other areas where there is plenty of humidity and water. The plant sprouts from seed quickly and is fast growing, usually growing from 1 foot to 3 feet (30 cm to 91 cm) every year. When it is fully grown, the tree will have reached a height of 50 feet to 80 feet (15.24 m to 24.384 m). A king palm’s spread at the top of the tree will usually be between 10 feet and 15 feet (3 m and 4.6 meters) wide.

The trunk of the king palm is solitary and wide, about 1 foot to 1.5 feet (about 30 cm to 46 cm). It is typically ringed and smooth. The leaves at the top of the tree are attached to fronds and are usually bright green and silvery-white underneath. Pink or cream flowers develop during the middle of the summer and are followed by green fruit that looks like berries. When the fruit ripens, it will turn red.

Because this tree grows to such heights, it can only be kept as an inside plant while it is young. Many times, it is best to keep young king palms inside so the weather and temperature outside do not harm them. When the plants grow, they will be able to withstand temperatures as low as 28 degrees Fahrenheit (-2 degrees Celsius). Younger king palms can fall prey to spider mites and leaf spots, so they may need to be protected from these issues.

This type of tree usually grows best in full sun. A little bit of shade can be tolerated by the king palm, though. The soil that the king palm is planted in needs to be well drained for the tree to grow well.

These trees can be purchased at home improvement stores or via the Internet. It usually takes from a few weeks to three months for seeds to grow. Seeds for the king palm usually do best when they are planted in the spring and are given the proper amount of fertilization. The fertilizer needs to be placed a couple of feet (just under 1 meter) away from the trunk during the spring and in the middle of the summer.

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