Bangalow Palm ‘Archontophoenix Cunninghamiana’
The Bangalow Palm is a stately and stunning Palm when well-grown, being particularly suited to a large, open, airy setting. It can be used alone, as a specimen plant, or as part of a collection of houseplants to add height and scale. One of the faster-growing large-scale plants, the Bangalow Palm adapts well to life in a large tub and is an excellent, easily-grown plant, although it dislikes root disturbance and should be repotted with care. Tub culture limits its ultimate height, but the Bangalow Palm will still reach an impressive 3m (10ft) tall. Native to Queensland and New South Wales, the Bangalow Palm has leaves to 10cm (4in) wide and 90cm (3ft) long; lilac flowers sometimes appear on container-grown plants, being followed by small fruits.
This Palm needs temperatures above 18°C (64°F) for active growth, and temperatures no lower than this for survival: the warm, dry air of many homes is not ideal for the Bangalow Palm, which prefers a Winter temperature of around 18°C (64°F). Winter heat will only be tolerated if the level of humidity is also increased. In the heat of Summer, provide adequate, but draught-free, ventilation. This plant prefers light shade to direct sunlight: bright, but indirect, light will result in balanced growth, and the light from a North-facing window is ideal. If light is limited or from one direction, turn the pot by a quarter turn every month in Summer.
Using tepid water, water thoroughly, then allow the surface of theto dry out before watering again: during cool periods, reduce the amount given.
If temperatures in the growing environment are mostly above 20°C (68°F), the Bangalow Palm should be misted each day. In addition, stand the pot over (but not in contact with) a tray of moisture-retentive pellets. In Summer, stand the Palm outside during warm showers to refresh the foliage.
Feed this plant every month during the growing season, using a proprietary foliage houseplant feed: newly-potted plants need no feed for about six months.
Carefully repot overcrowded plants in Spring, — using a free-draining loam-based compost for large plants – for the extra stability – or add extra horticultural sand to a peat-based mixture (up to a quarter by volume). Use deep pots if possible, and pack the compost well around the rootball.
Judicious use of staging can help to make the most of a Palm display. A stepped effect will provide immature plants with the height they have yet to attain, will make the most of available floor space and will allow the plants to share the humidity provided by their associates.
Red Spider Mite will thrive on the undersides of the fronds: misting the leaf undersides discourages this pest, but damage is often too far advanced by the time RSM is noticed. Try using an insecticide-impregnated spike in the compost as a preventative measure before the problem manifests itself, and give the plant the necessary cultural conditions. Badly affected plants should be discarded and burned.
Scale and Mealy Bugs are common pests: eradicate them with a cotton bud and methylated spirit.
Thrips like high temperatures and cause a characteristic silvering of the leaves: reduce the temperatures if possible and apply a suitable insecticide.