The Chilean wine palm is an absolute gorgeous tree with a commanding presence.
One of the largest of the species in overall size, it needs plenty of space to be appreciated.
This tree has only recently been considered for lining streets instead of the royal or canary island date palms.
As you may have guessed, it originates in a small area of Chile and is the only tree in the jubaea branch of the palm family.
It is threatened in its natural habitat for a few reasons.
An expanding population, more clearing of land for farming and the fact that the tree must be cut down in order to harvest the sap to make wine are all contributing factors.
Patience as well as a large open space is a must if you are thinking about using this palm tree in your “little slice of paradise”
The Chilean wine palm is a feather leaf tree with leaves getting to be 12 feet plus long in mature trees.
Their leaves are a darker almost olive green/gray color on top and a lighter green on the underside.
Its mature height is upwards of 80 plus feet tall and 25 feet wide.
The trunk is a medium to dark gray and fairly smooth although they display a tight diamond pattern left behind by old leaves.
On mature specimens the trunk can get anywhere from 4-6 feet in diameter and quite often are the thickest in the middle.
Over time they will usually present with the bulge in the center and grow straight up similar to a or royal palm.
The Chilean wine palm is extremely slow growing and it may take as long as 10 or even 20 years for the tree to even begin to grow a stem or trunk.
Some have planted this tree just because it makes a quite unusual looking shrub with a huge set of leaves growing right out of the ground.
Before the trunk and for many years, it makes a unique looking bush or shrub.
The flowers appear on branches that can get from 4-6 feet long.
They have purple flowers of both sexes that once pollinated will produce a small fruit.
The ripe fruit will be anywhere from yellow to orange when ripe.
Sometimes the fruits will be found at farmers markets or grocery stores.
The fruit/seed tastes similar to a coconut but are much smaller getting only to about 1 inch round or so. They have a hard outer shell with the inside filled with a softer meat.
They will grow from seed fairly easily but it could take up to a year just to germinate.
The Chilean wine palm is a fairly easy keeper that thrives in a drier Mediterranean type climate.
It does not do well in the more humid climates like that of south Florida especially in the summer months.
It prefers a slightly acid soil that drains well keeping with the drier type climate.
It also has a drought tolerance and a slight salt tolerance.
Regular water and fertilizer should be given when the tree is young and getting established; besides it will help to speed its growth somewhat.
Originating in the foothills of the Andes gives it the ability to survive colder temperatures. In the wild and when older the tree has know to survive down to -15°C or 5 °F. For your landscape though I wouldn’t push it to below 28°F.
They don’t have any major disease or pest problems to speak of.
It is best to plant the Chilean wine palm in full sun with lots of space. You should plan ahead for its expanding growth. You don’t want to impede this massive tree from reaching its full size.
What a magnificent canopy tree!
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