Canary Island Palm - Phoenix canariensis


It is a large evergreen plant native to the Canary Islands; for centuries these palms have been cultivated in the Mediterranean area, so much so that they are considered typical plants of the Mediterranean landscape. Some palms, including the Phoenix, are rustic, and have long been grown in North America and most of Europe's coastal areas, including on the Atlantic side. They have a thick erect trunk, which easily reaches 15-20 meters in height and 60-80 cm in diameter; It is dark brown or greyish in color, marked by showy rhombus-shaped roughness, due to the marks left by the insertion of the petiole of the fallen foliage. The fronds are very large, can reach 4-5 meters in length, arched; they are bright dark green, pinnate, with long linear leaves on the sides of the petiole; the petiole is up to a meter long, and has numerous sharp spines. The palms of the Canaries are dioecious plants; the flowers bloom in late spring, among the fronds, they are orange-brown in color; the flowers of the female plants are longer and more showy, and leave the place in the summer in clusters of oval berries, edible but not particularly palatable. Within each berry there is a single fertile seed. The P. canariensis are cultivated particularly for their aesthetic qualities; in many Mediterranean countries, P… dactylifera is also cultivated, the date palm, of African origin.


The palms of the Canaries are planted in a sunny place, although they can withstand light shading. They can withstand temperatures of many degrees below zero, even up to -10 ° C, which is why in Italy they are grown quietly in the garden without any particular problems. It can however happen that in young specimens, or during particularly harsh winters, the fronds are damaged by cold, especially when short frosts occur; it is therefore advisable to repair smaller plants from the cold in the coldest areas of Italy with a special plant cover. The phoenix canariensis they can also be grown as potted plants, in this way they remain smaller in size, and they can also be sheltered during the cold months, thus guaranteeing better growth for them.


Canary Island palms can withstand periods of drought that are very long; however it is advisable to sporadically water the very young specimens in such a way as to guarantee them optimal growth. Regular watering, to be provided only when the soil has been perfectly dry for some days, causes a faster and more luxuriant growth of the plants. In the case of the species of phoenix canariensis are grown indoors, in the apartment, it will be necessary to irrigate them abundantly and regularly. If the Canary palm is cultivated in the garden watering should also be abundant especially in the first vegetative period. Over the years, irrigation can be reduced, especially near the winter season when plants, due to lowering temperatures, will no longer have the same needs to be irrigated as in summer.


The palms of the Canaries are species of great ornamental value as they present the typical exotic features that Italians like so much and show their bright and cheerful colors. For this reason they are used both to furnish and decorate our apartments, and to decorate the garden at home. It is important, in order to grow them better, to know their cultivation needs regarding the soil. Let's look at some specific features of this palm variety. The palms of the Canary Islands are cultivated in any type of soil, even in those that are poor, gravelly or stony; in any case, they prefer very well drained or sandy soils, also because water stagnations easily cause the development of fungal diseases on the fronds. A rather dry soil would therefore be ideal for their growth.


The multiplication of the Canary palm occurs by seed during the spring season (for the dactylifera it is the kernel of the date); as for the young plants, these have a fairly slow development, but once they are settled they tend to grow much faster and do not require specific care as required instead in their first vegetative period. Another method to multiply our seedlings is the transplanting of the suckers, always at the beginning of spring. The plants that will be originated must be placed as soon as they are born in small containers, with a diameter of less than 10 centimeters. As time goes by and their development, it will then be possible to transplant our plants in larger containers or in the home garden, according to our needs.

Canary Island Palm - Phoenix canariensis: Parasites and Diseases

In general, these plants do not fear the attack of pests and the development of diseases if the cultivation is carried out correctly and following the basic rules specific to the palms of the Canaries. It is enough to cultivate them in the best way and dedicate the necessary care to them to see them develop strong and healthy and avoid incurring the use of specific pesticide products. A possible problem could be caused by excessive humidity that often leads to the development of scab or rust on the fronds; moreover, the palms of the canaries cultivated in soil subject to water stagnation and in a humid climate show to be less rustic during the winter months. For some years now a curculionid that develops inside the plants seems to have arrived in Europe, against which there does not seem to be still possible treatments.