plants

Phoebe

Canary Island date palm

{ Phoenix Canariensis; Canary date palm }

£50.00 - £100.00

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About Phoebe

As her name would suggest, Phoebe is a tropical beauty native to the Canary Islands. She's the natural mascot of her homeland, and stands tall and proud as an important cultural symbol there. Though she'll add a touch of beachy glamour to any space, Phoebe isn't just a pretty face. Traditionally, every part of her has been used by locals for their everyday food and commercial needs - her fan-like leaves are often dried and woven into hats, brooms, or baskets, and her sap is used as a natural sweetener for food and drinks.

She blooms pale yellow flowers in summer which grow into sweet, sticky dates, but she'll need a mate and plenty of sun in order to produce fruit. Being as tall as she is, Phoebe will need a little extra legroom to stretch out. If she's got enough space, she can grow up to 15 metres in length with leaves of up to 6 metres long, and she can live as long as you. It could take 50 years for Phoebe to reach her ultimate height - this girl is in it for the long haul.

Quick Facts:

Botanical name: Phoenix Canariensis

Nicknames: Canary Island date palm, canary date palm, slender date palm

Plant type: Evergreen / Outdoor

Toxicity: Toxic if consumed

Current height: 130cm; 180cm

Nursery pot: 21cm

Pro level: Medium

How to care for Phoebe (Canary Island date palm)

The basics

Phoebe loves the sun but can be sensitive to direct heat. To keep her happiest, place her in bright but indirect sunlight with partial shade.

She doesn't need much moisture, so make sure her soil is well irrigated with proper drainage (you can find what you need here).

She'll rarely need extra watering if she's kept outside, and if she's indoors do so sparingly - only give her a drink when the top two inches of her soil are dry.

Give her enough room to grow--ideally five feet around her base--and make sure there are no pesky weeds in her space.

Going the extra mile

After a few years, Phoebe may start to produce little sprouts offset from the base of her trunk. You can separate these young shoots from their mum (be sure to use a root saw to preserve the roots!) and replant them in a bed or pot of sandy soil. With time (a lot of time - think 12 years) they'll grow up into fruit-bearing beauties just like their mama.

If Phoebe is fertile and fruit-bearing, it's a good idea to reduce the dates by half in the first year so that the following summer, they grow in bigger and juicier.

You can tie the branches with budding fruit to a larger branch for support, and protect them from pests by putting some netting around them.