Q: My neighbor says I should stay away from planting palms inside my lanai because they get too big. Aren’t there any slow growers out there? Besides, I can keep them trimmed myself.
A: We agree you have to be thoughtful about planting palms inside lanais, but if you select a slow-growing specimen, yes — you can have your palm and admire it, too. The left photo below shows the removal of a pigmy palm after it was pushing into the lanai screen. As you can see, we replaced it with a low-maintenance bottle palm — an outstanding choice for sheltered entry areas or lanais. Bottles reach 10-feet at maturity, but that takes many years (most specimens in the landscape average only 5 to 7 feet tall). They’re not self-cleaning, but due to their slow growth rate, you’ll rarely have to trim off old fronds. You should also know that they like full-to-part sun, and even though they’re fairly drought-tolerant once established, they require regular irrigation during dry periods. Important: If you’re expecting a freeze, tie up the fronds and wrap with a frost cloth. This bottle doesn’t like to be chilled!
Should you decide to go with a bottle palm, why not invite your neighbors over to admire? You could open a bottle of something to celebrate with. Just a thought.