Famous worldwide, Hyophorbe lagenicaulis goes by the common name of Bottle Palm which perfectly describes the distinctive swollen trunk that this beautiful palm develops as it matures.
The crown of 4-6 mid-green leaves is held upright and new leaves and leaf stalks often have a reddish tint. The Bottle Palm grows slowly and over time will form the swollen concrete-grey trunk from which it gets its common name.
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The Hyophorbe lagenicaulis is a naturally endemic plant to Round Island in the Mascarene Islands, in the Indian Ocean. Though in the wild the species is classified as ‘critically endangered’ due to invasive species introduced to the island, the Bottle palm is fairly ubiquitous in cultivation throughout the tropical belt as a garden palm tree and in the colder climates as a house plant.
Mature plants are bizarrely reminiscent of Chianti bottles often seen in Italian restaurants – the ringed trunk passing for those straw baskets and the smooth crown shaft the bottle neck.
Rather than candles the ‘bottles’ are topped by an open crown of strongly recurving pinnate leaves. Best grown in good light in a tropical greenhouse, conservatory, or a bright warm room indoors, these beautiful palms look good from an early age, quickly thickening around the middle. And not due to too much pizza and pasta!
Care & Size Guidance
The Hyophorbe lagenicaulis are very low-maintenance plants. Feed regularly during the growing period with a palm fertiliser and mist occasionally to raise the humidity.
The Bottle palm thrives in a bright room with plenty of direct or indirect sunlight. As they originate in a tropical area, they thrive in places with temperatures above 15 degrees, but well ventilated.
It can be kept outdoors in summer months if placed in a sheltered spot with plenty of sunlight. Bring outdoors in spring as soon as the temperatures overnight go above 12 degrees and keep in a part shade position to allow the plant to adapt from life indoors. Move back into the house as soon as overnight temperatures fall below 12 degrees.
Limit watering in winter, keep it on a drier side.
Will need repotting every few years, but don’t be tempted to pot it up too soon. They can survive happily for many years in pots, even when they are trunking. When choosing the soil mix, choose a sandy or loamy mix and make sure you include sand, horticultural grit or perlite to keep the soil draining fast.