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King Palms

There a couple of different king palms to choose from.

All are stunningly beautiful in their appearance.

All are in same sub family, native to the Queensland area of Australia.

They all go by the same name of  with some variations.

Canopy of Bangalow King Palm TreesCanopy of Bangalow King Palm Trees

There’s the Alexandra king, bangalow palm (also called the piccabeen palm) and the purple variety.


The three species of this palm have 6-10ft long beautiful green feather leaves that twist a bit.

It causes their long leaflets to hang more vertically on the tips instead of horizontally.

They are solitary in nature and produce a fruit that is a bright crimson color when ripe.

Their leaf crownshaft is 3-4 feet long and bulges slightly at the base.

The color of the first two is an olive type of green while the purple king has a purple one... thus its name.

Having their origins in the same location, their growing conditions are also similar.

They require acidic soil and don’t tolerate alkaline soil. None are tolerant to salt or drought.

Alexandra Palm Tree FruitAlexandra Palm Fruit

CC   Photos by Dave Kimble

Bangalow Palm Tree FruitBangalow palm fruit

All will show some signs of heat stress if the night time temps are too warm as in tropical areas.

Here they do better if they are shaded some. Everywhere else full sun is the order of the day.

Also in common is their water needs.

Not really drought tolerant so will thrive if fed and watered regularly especially if drought conditions are setting up.

Your Ultimate Palm Tree Handbook

I’ll explain their differences so you are sure to pick the right one for your “little slice of paradise."

Alexandra King

The Alexandra is the largest of the king palms growing to heights of 80 ft in their natural habitat.

Their trunks get to be about a foot thick and are gray to white in color.

This king palm has a darker green leaf on top with some silvery green undertones on the underside.

It is considered a medium to fast grower and produces whitish color flowers of both sexes on sprays about 2 feet long.

Alexandra king palm treesAlexandra king palm trees

CC  Photo by  Forest & Kim Starr

Quick info:  Scientific name    Archontophoenix alexandrae

  • Generally 30-50 ft tall, 15 ft wide when cultivated
  • Minimum temp 30°F   zones 10-11
  • Prefers acidic soil, regular water and fertilizer
  • Part shade when young, full sun once older

King-Bangalow-Piccabeen Palm

The biggest differences of this king palm compared to the others is its flower sprays.

They are numerous and the branched sprays appear from just below the crown shaft.

They generally are quite long and go around the whole trunk.

The flowers themselves can be a violet, rose or pale purple in color. There are both sexes of flowers produced on the same tree.

Bangalow king palm treeBangalow king palm tree

The trunk will not be as thick as its 2 brothers only getting to be about 8-10 inches in diameter and is light brown to pale gray in color.

The bangalow generally doesn’t get as tall or grow quite as fast as the Alexandra. It can tolerate slightly cooler temperatures as well.

 Scientific name: Archontophoenix cunninghamiana

  • 30-45 ft tall, 15 ft wide
  • Minimum temp 28°F   zones 10-11
  • Acidic soil mixed with organic material, regular water and fertilizer
  • Part shade when young and in tropical conditions, full sun when older

Purple King Palm

This king palm has just as stately an appearance as the others but with that beautifully colored crownshaft.

Its best feature!

This palm comes from a higher elevation in Australia. Therefore it doesn’t adapt to the warm humid nights of tropical areas.

It too doesn’t get quite as tall as the Alexandra but grows a thicker trunk.

Purple king palm tree displaying crownshaftPurple King Palm Tree displaying crownshaft

CC Original Photo by:Author Raffi Kojian

It can be up to 18 inches in diameter and the same white to light gray color. It has flower sprays similar to the bungalow in length, display and appearance.

Quick info: Scientific name    Archontophoenix purpurea

  • 30-40-ft tall, 12-15 ft wide
  • Minimum temp 28°F     zones 10-11
  • Acid soil with organic material, regular water and fertilizer
  • Full sun except when younger then part shade

An important point about all the king palms is they are all difficult to transplant.

If you have decided that one is the tree for your yard, choose the location wisely. If you try to move it at a later date chances are it won’t survive.

One of the great things is that their seed germination is quite easy compared to a lot of other palms.

They generally start to sprout in about a month or so.

young purple king palm treeyoung purple king palm tree

The king palms are stunningly beautiful when the long feather leaflets gently sway in the breeze.

They will all display great as a solitary tree, planted in groups of 2-3, or with some ground cover planted around their base.

Are you are thinking about adding one of these wonderful beauties to your backyard?

More Palms to Explore

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  • Travelers Palm

    The travelers palm would make a great addition and will turn any yard into a little slice of paradise! Many call it a fan palm because of the leaf pattern.

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