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Growing Mexican Blue Palm: Brahea armata

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Description
Form: Palm tree.
Lifespan: Perennial.
Leaf retention: Evergreen.
Growth rate: Very slow.
Mature Size: 30-50' high and 10' wide.
Flowers: Spectacular, pale yellow to white, fragrant, clustered in large, long, drooping plumes.
Bloom: Spring.
Fruit: Green, turning to yellow and then reddish-brown, round, 3/4" diameter, tough, edible but not tasty.
Leaves: Blue-gray to blue-green, wide, fan-shaped. The fronds remain attractive for several years. They can be removed from the trunk entirely when they die, resulting in an attractive, ringed, bare trunk.
Stems: Thorns on leaf stems. Trunks grow to 2' in diameter.
Roots: Deep.
Wildlife: Attracts insects.
Toxic / Danger: Thorns on leaf stems.
Origin: Baja California, Mexico.

Cultivation and Uses
USDA hardiness zones: 8b-11. Hardy to 15°F.
Heat tolerant: Yes.
Drought tolerant: Yes.
Sun: Full sun to part shade. Full sun intensifies the blue color in the leaves.
Water after becoming established: Monthly. Supplemental water speeds growth.
Soil: Well drained, dry, low organic content.
Fertilize: Fertilization speeds growth and is only necessary with nutrient deficiency. Look for 10-5-10 to 20-5-20 (N-P-K) fertilizer that also includes the micronutrients magnesium (Mg), manganese (Mn) and iron (Fe). Apply mid-spring after one year in the ground. Do not over-fertilize. Apply under the canopy but away from the trunk.
Mulch: No.
Prune: Cut off dead fronds when they have folded down to the trunk, making it easier to remove the base of the frond and leave a bare trunk.
Litter: Moderate: flower, fruit, fronds.
Propagation: Seed, pre-soaked for 24 hours in fresh water. Germination time is erratic and can take months.
Uses: Ornamental.

Comments
Other common names are Mexican Blue Fan Palm and Blue Hesper Palm. Accepts windy locations. This is not the same plant as the Mexican Fan Palm (Washingtonia robusta).



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Brahea armata ripe fruit

Brahea armata trunk

Mexican Blue Palm: Brahea armata