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In The Garden: Buccaneer palm brings unusual, unique to garden

By IN THE GARDEN - | May 4, 2021

PHOTO PROVIDED Buccaneer palm

To bring the unusual and unique to an island native garden, the addition of a silvery-blue buccaneer palm (Pseudophoenix Sargentii) is a great choice.

This specimen palm has lots to recommend it for island living. It is very salt tolerant, slow growing and wind tolerant. No two buccaneer palms seem to be alike as each palm has its own distinct growth habits. Some buccaneer palms develop long fronds and others have heavier trunks, and some will develop fronds that are more blue or more green. They have a fan-shaped frond and do well planted as a double or triple stem palm.

Even when planted side by side, in the same soil, you could end up with two palms that look different from each other, making them truly unique even among their own variety of palms. They prefer full sun, but will grow in part shade. the palm does not like to be too far from the coast, as it does not tolerate cold weather, although as a potted palm on a sunny patio or pool deck it would do fine.

The palms grow in the Florida Keys and are in fact native to Sanibel, as well as parts of Mexico and the Caribbean. The name “buccaneer palm” likely is derived from the fact that the palm is found in most of the places favored by the pirates and buccaneers who roamed the Caribbean.

Because the palm is a coastal island native, it can be planted in direct Gulf exposure on the beachside of your home as few other palms can be. You do not have to worry about losing your beach view as the palm rarely exceeds 10 feet to 15 feet in height. You can plant them close to the house or drive for a pop of silvery beauty and not worry about them outgrowing the space because of their slow growth pattern.

When you have a tough spot that is salty, windy and sandy and you want a native specimen palm, the buccaneer palm may be just the one for you. It has an interesting name that is fun to talk about and is tough enough to handle our coastal island environment. What more could you want from a specimen palm?

In The Garden is a joint effort by all at the local garden center, at 3889 Sanibel-Captiva Road, Sanibel. For more information, contact 239-395-5859 or visit www.facebook.com/rswalshinthegarden.