Fab Foliage Friday

Clatter Valley may have a tropical flavor-at least for part of the year--but as yet there's very little in the way of that most iconic of tropical plants, the palm tree. Now and then I'll pick up something sold as a houseplant at Lowe's Depot and plunk that in the garden for a palm effect, but I never took them too seriously until I happened on a specimen of silver Mediterranean fan palm (Chamaerops humilis var, cerifera). Wowza! What a foliage plant. A symmetrical dome of fan-shaped silver foliage -each leaf comprised of long splintery, slivers of silver--crowns a knobbly , primeval looking trunk. Those glorious leaves, which glimmer like moonlight, are perched atop long stems lined with hooklike thorns which look like a raptor's claws.

It's a plant brimming with beautiful details: the blades of the rounded, fanlike leaves, the thorns, the knobby trunk, the silvery hue, the overall silhouette--this thing's a keeper. And this native of Morocco's Atlas Mountains is among the hardiest of the already hardy (relatively speaking) fan palm clan. It grows a mile up in those semi arid mountains, where the weather is often cold enough to provide the palm a dusting of snow. Which means I can leave it out in its pot at least until Thanksgiving. And since it is so slow growing, this plant is a great candidate for containers. All it needs is plenty of sun (though color isn't bad even in part shade) and excellent drainage. Once it grows too cold outside here, my silver Mediterranean fan palm will come indoors for the winter to live as a houseplant. It's definitely worth the effort-this one's a keeper.


Pam/Digging said...

This IS a cold-tolerant -- and heat-tolerant -- palm. I have two in my Austin garden, both in a good deal of shade, which they also accept in a hot climate, and they survived last winter's record low of 15 to 17 degrees. Of course, I'm sure you get colder than that.

Steve Silk said...

Yes, we get a lot colder than 15 or so--sometimes that's the high for the day. I was wondering if those palms would be ok in a pot at that temp-or would the frozen roots kill the rest of the plant. These must look great with some of your monster agaves.

Elenita said...

amazing photos and gardens! so, beautiful!