Bismarckia on Fire! — Eight Wonderful Years of Tree Growth


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Bismarckia on Fire! — Eight Wonderful Years of Tree Growth

Many of you who have been by my home know that I am a bit fanatical about landscaping, especially drought tolerant options (which we have written about herehere, and here). Years ago, we had a front triangle planter island with a Crepe Myrtle. This matched well with my previous house, but, when we switched to Mediterranean style, I decided I needed something more exotic.

That search led me to the Bismarckia Nobilis, also known as a Madagascar Blue Palm. The Bismarckia Nobilis is a very dramatic plant with greyish/green leaves that is very slow growing but will often reach 50 feet or more. I had a hard time finding a plant larger than very small 5- or 15-gallon containers in the local area, but, eventually, I found a 36-inch box in Chino, which was not an easy trip home. The troubles did not end there though, as we then had to dig out the entire planter to remove the old clay, 2 feet down, and amend the soil with gypsum, sand, grow power and new soil to continue breaking up the old clay in the bottom of the hole.

2011 – 36″ Box

2014 – 2′ Brown Trunk

2019 – 6′ Brown Trunk

You are probably wondering, why would I go through all this work for a simple palm? Well the result speaks for itself, and I have had several people stop by to see what kind of palm it is. Since 2011, the Bismarckia Nobilis has grown from the 36-inch box to a 6-foot-long trunk, but the best way to get a sense for the tree is to see it yourself. If you are in Rossmoor at Rush Park driving on Silverfox, you will dead end on Blume and you can’t miss the Bismarckia Nobilis.

While you are driving by, also be sure to check out the other fan-favorite: my Arbutus Marinus, also known as a Strawberry Tree, by our garage. It was one of the first planted in Rossmoor and has turned into a true masterpiece. We have seen the copycats plant their own, but I will take this as flattery of a great plant choice.

JZ’s Plant Spotlight: Pincushion Protea

Leucospermum (Pincushion Protea) is a genus of about 50 species of flowering plants in the family Proteaceae, native to Zimbabwe and South Africa, where they occupy a variety of habitats, including scrub, forest, and mountain slopes.

They are evergreen shrubs (rarely small trees) growing to 0.5-5 m tall. The leaves are spirally arranged, tough and leathery, simple, linear to lanceolate, 2-12 cm long and 0.5-3 cm broad, with a serrated margin or serrated at the leaf apex only. The flowers are produced in dense inflorescences, which have large numbers of prominent styles, which inspires the name. (Ref: Wikipedia)