Ptychosperma macarthurii (Cluster Palm, Macarthur Palm, Hurricane Palm)
Macarthur Palm is one attractive and impressive palm tree you may want to consider.
Best to plant it straight into the ground for optimum growth and enjoy its majestic beauty, though it can be container-grown if garden space is unavailable.
A very hardy, easy to grow palm that practically thrives on neglect in the tropics!
Even their seeds self-sow freely in our garden, as if choosing their choice plot. Haha…must have been the birds dropping goodies from the sky, dispersing the palm seeds in their droppings.
Every once in a while, some palm seedlings will emerge unexpectedly to delight us! Frankly, our potted Macarthur Palms, 2 plants at the front yard and another at the backyard, have originated from these marvelous surprises!
Ain’t that wonderful..free supply! ;)
Plant Profile, Culture and Propagation :
- Botanical Name: Ptychosperma macarthurii (syn.: Kentia macarthurii, Actinophloeus macarthurii)
- Common Name: Macarthur Palm, Macarthur Feather Palm, Cluster Palm, Hurricane Palm
- Family name: Arecaceae
- Plant type: An ornamental palm tree
- Origin: Northern Queensland in Australia and Papua New Guinea. However, it is widely cultivated elsewhere in the tropics where the warm humid weather is most conducive for its growth.
- Features: Ptychosperma macarthurii, a species of the genus Ptychosperma, is an evergreen clustering palm of variable height with a slow to moderate growth rate, depending on the growing conditions and environment. It can reach up to 9.1 m (30 ft) tall, but generally grows between 3-6 m in height, with a frond spread between 1.8-3 m. It can be planted singly or in groups.
Popularly grown for its ornamental beauty, it is typically multi-trunked, with impressive clumps of upright and slender stems that are grey-coloured and ringed by leaf scars. Extended above is a short light green crown shaft that supports a dense head of pinnate or feather-shaped fronds that are about 1-1.5 m long.
Coloured medium to dark green, the pinnae or leaflets are linear-shaped and up to 30 cm long, with jagged tips or seemingly torn ends.Emerging year round at the base of the crown shaft are clusters of branched flowering stalks, 0.6 m long, bearing inconspicuous off-white or whitish-green flowers that eventually develop into green fruits.
These fruits will ripen to a brilliant red tone, almost roundish-shaped and about 1.3 cm long. Truly attractive and showy in fabulous contrast with the cool and refreshing-looking green foliage.
- Culture (Care): Ptychosperma macarthurii is such an easy plant to grow and to care, needing minimal attention.
Light: Best with filtered sun or bright light. However, it can grow in various light conditions, from bright light or full sun to full shade, or part sun/part shade.
Ground-planted palms in brightly lit sites will be large and vigorous growing, whilst container-grown plants in shade will grow slowly and be smaller and petite, suited for indoors.
Moisture: Medium water requirement. Though drought and heat tolerant, it benefits from regular watering, especially during the dry seasons, to enhance the vitality of foliage crown and stems.
Soil: Adaptable to any well-drained soil type – clayey, loamy, sandy, slightly alkaline and even acidic soils. Prefers soil that is rich and moist, and enjoys high humidity.
Others: Remove unsightly withered leaves, if within reach, to maintain tidiness. Trim off or remove some small basal shoots if there are one too many, especially if container-grown to reduce congestion and improve aeration. You can then use these suckers to propagate as new plants. Monthly feeding with a balanced fertilizer is beneficial. Macarthur Palm is generally free of serious pests or diseases.
For subtropical regions: Hardiness: Zones 10B through 11. Where not hardy, grow as an indoor palm in containers.
- Propagation: Easily by seeds. Collect some dried-up seeds, scatter or push them about 1 cm deep into your garden bed or potted soil at a sunny spot. With regular watering, they should germinate within 1-3 months. Germination can be hastened by soaking the seeds for 3 days or by scarifying before planting.
It can also be propagated by division of suckers that emerge freely from the parent plant as seen in the right image. Just take a very sharp knife to gently separate the very young and small suckers and grow them as new plants.
- Usage: Looking elegant and stately in its clumping habit, Macarthur Palms will be excellent for landscaping. Suitable in parks and gardens as an ornamental specimen or grown en masse, along sidewalks, road dividers, highways and byways.
Great to flank both sides of home entrances or driveways with these majestic-looking palms.
Ptychosperma macarthurii is very adaptable to varying light and planting conditions. Thus, it can be grown in containers or above-ground planters to contain palm height and be ideal as indoor plants or to add interest at patios, decks, shopping malls and other public areas.
Here’s sharing more pictures of Ptychosperma macarthurii (Cluster Palm, Macarthur Palm), from our garden and elsewhere. Enjoy!
Last edited: Sept 9, 2013