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What is an Alexandra Palm?

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  • Written By: Marjorie McAtee
  • Edited By: W. Everett
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  • Last Modified Date: 25 September 2016
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The Alexandra Palm is native to the rain forests of the northern coast of Australia. The mature plant is typically tree-sized. They generally thrive in full sun to partial shade. While they often require somewhat more water than other species of palm, they usually also need well-drained soil. The Alexandra Palm normally produces flowers all year round and is considered an evergreen plant.

A popular landscaping tree, the Alexandra Palm can reach heights of 80 feet (25 m). Its leaves can be up to 7 feet (2 m) in length. The leaves of the Alexandra Palm are pinnated, and generally turn on the branch so that the whole leaf can be seen from the ground. In color, the leaves are green on the top surface, and silvery on the bottom surface. The plant produces red, round fruit that can be up to 0.5 inch (12 mm) in diameter.

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The Alexandra Palm is closely related to another popular landscaping tree, the King Palm. While similar in appearance, the Alexandra Palm typically produces white, rather than purple, blooms. Its leaves are also usually paler on the underside than those of the King Palm, and it can be expected to grow faster than its relation, adding between 1 to 3 feet (0.3 to 1 m) of new growth each year. The trunk rings of the Alexandra Palm are typically a bit more pronounced, and the trunk itself is often narrower. The trunk is normally thicker at its base, which may reach a diameter of up to 1 foot (0.3 m).

This palm usually requires full sun to partial shade. Alexandra Palms grown in full sun may require more water than those grown in partial shade. Gardeners may avoid over-watering by allowing the soil to dry before watering again. While some plants may thrive in poorly drained soil, particularly if they receive full sun throughout the day, partial shade and well-drained soil are generally recommended. These plants, however, do typically require at least a few hours of full sun each day.

An evergreen plant, the Alexandra Palm's leaves may become paler in color during the winter months. Because this is a tropical tree, however, it should not be allowed to freeze. Those growing it in colder climates may be well advised to grow this palm as a potted plant and move it inside during colder weather.

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