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Growing Mexican Blue Palm: Brahea armata

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Form: Palm tree.
Lifespan: Perennial.
Leaf retention: Evergreen.
Growth rate: Very slow.
Mature Size: 30-50' high and 10' wide.
Flowers: Pale yellow to white, fragrant, clustered in spectacular, large, long, drooping plumes.
Bloom: Spring.
Fruit: Round, 3/4" diameter, green, turning to yellow and then reddish-brown. They are tough and 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: The leaf stems have thorns. The trunk grows to a 2' 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 a 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.

Other common names are Mexican Blue Fan Palm and Blue Hesper Palm. It accepts windy locations. This is not the same plant as the Mexican Fan Palm (Washingtonia robusta) which grows 100' high.

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Brahea armata ripe fruit

Brahea armata trunk

Mexican Blue Palm: Brahea armata