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There are 2 species of thatch palms that are perfect for landscapes or containers indoors and out.
The common name comes from the thatch roofs made out of their tough fan shaped leaves.
There’s the key thatch and the Florida thatch.
There are a couple of other species in a group known as silver thatches.
They are in a completely different branch of the palm tree family.
You can easily tell the two families apart by the color of the fruit they produce.
The silver thatch group will have fruit that is like a dark purple when ripe.
These varieties have a fruit that is almost white once ripened.
Both of these great fan palms are native to Florida and the Caribbean.
They are threatened in their nature habitat but with all the landscapes using them on display, they are not likely to go extinct.
The Key Thatch Palm is the smaller of the two varieties.
It gets up to 30 ft or so tall in the wild. It will be much smaller in your landscape, maybe 20 ft.
They generally have a lighter to medium green, with slight yellow undertones on top with a more bluish to silvery color on their underside.
The leaves are around 2-3 feet wide and are deeply divided to about two thirds of the leaf.
These ones have a very light gray trunk and their leaf bases split where they meet the trunk.
This is another distinguishing characteristic between it and the other thatch palms.
They have the appearance of having rings or grooves around the older parts of the trunk.
The flower sprays can be quite long reaching from 3-5 feet.
The white flowers are of both sexes and produce the same color fruit that almost looks like long strings of pearls on yellow stalks.
This slow growing palm is both salt and drought tolerant and is mildly cold tolerant.
It is easily grown in a container and will do okay indoors with lots of light and air circulation.
It isn’t known to have nutrient deficiencies, disease or pest problems.
The Florida variety is a larger tree than its close cousin.
It reaches up to 40 or more feet tall.
It has a trunk that only gets to be about 4-5 inches thick, is light gray to almost white in color and is very smooth.
Most of the time it is solitary, but every once in awhile one will off shoot a sucker or two.
Original photo found here:
The leaves are a brighter deep green compared to it's relative and are approximately 3 feet or so across.
They will be lighter green/silvery on the underside.
These leaves are some of the best you can get for making thatch roofs.
They are used quite often here in the Dominican.
Their circular leaves are segmented in much the same way, running about two thirds of the way into the leaf.
The fruit and flowers are similar on yellow branching strands around 3-4 feet or so in length.
The flowers of both sexes are white as is the small fruits once ripe.
The Florida thatch palm is also drought and salt tolerant. It is not as cold tolerant as the other variety.
It will thrive if given regular fertilizer and water in more extreme drought conditions.
It doesn’t have any nutrient deficiencies, pests or diseases that are common.
Not as good indoors as it’s close cousin.
You have a great selection of thatch palms to choose from. How will you decide? Indoors or out? Containers or landscape?
Why not get one for each!
NOTE : About Buying Palms
If you are looking to buy palm trees of any kind then I would highly recommend purchasing through the Real Palm Tree Store.
They are a huge nursery based in Florida with connections to many quality growers.
Whether you are ordering from inside the United States, Canada or another part of the world-- ordering one tree for your landscape or many for a commercial project-- I’m confident you won’t be disappointed.
Their customer service is second to none; all products are high quality and backed by a money back 100% satisfaction guarantee.
Make sure to visit
real palm trees, ask questions and read the reviews before buying anywhere
Here are some other articles I hope you will find useful:
Growing has a graph of the plant hardiness zones, explains the different soil, lightening types and other commonly used terminology in gardening.
Identification of palms can be difficult. It doesn't have to be if you know what parts of the tree to look at.
Planting shows the best practices so your next tropical addition will be off the a great start.
Fertilizing explains what the numbers mean, how to calculate how much to use and where to apply.