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Adonidia merrillii

Christmas Palm

If you have seen those tall and elegant crown shaft palms in shopping malls, they are likely to be Adonidia merrillii. They are chosen because of their ability to put up with less than perfect conditions such as over- and underwatering, and dry air. Outside in the tropical or subtropical garden they are splendid also, producing bunches of large, bright red fruit in December, hence the common name. They are easy to germinate and fast growing and their popularity is richly deserved.

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germination comments by our visitors
For general germination instructions click here.

Also see plant cultivation comments below.

Seeds from this species ...

... are easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
Fresh seed germinate within a few weeks if kept warm, about 25 C, in damp moss. Treat as most other palm seeds, ensure all fruit is removed and the seeds are sterilised and soaked before germination. Expect a good rate of germination, 70%+
Submitted on 11/09/2013 by Lee Roberts

... are very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
Ordered my seeds roughly some five months ago with a subsequent germination rate of 100% within 5 weeks! After having pre-soaked them in water for three days l put them in a ziplock bag with moistened vermiculite, and the bag on a bed of sowing soil to cover the bottom of a 'mini-greenhouse with 'bottom heat', temperature around 30 during the Days, and 20-22 at night (bottom-heat turned off)! Now after some five months they are all growing vigourously and some pushing on their third leaf! To be recommended!
Submitted on 10/09/2013 by Martin Olin

... are very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
Extremely easy to germinate! Bought some in march and after putting them in zip-lock bags with 50% 50% vermiculite and perlite, Seven out of ten germinated within two weeks with some 'under-heat'! Apparently very fresh seeds!
Submitted on 11/04/2013 by Martin Olin

... are very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
I collected five Manila Palm (a. k. a. Christmas Palm) seeds fresh from the tree in Maui (Hawaii, USA). I only collected seeds with bright red skins and discarded seeds with any discoloration. I scrubbed the fleshy part of the skins off with a toothbrush, rinsed them, and let them air dry overnight. I left the fibrous seed coat intact. I put them in a baggie and had them inspected for export by the Hawaii Dept. of Agriculture. (BTW, this inspection is free of charge. Bring your own box. The hard part is finding the office. )Once I got them home I noticed mold growing on several of the outer seed coats. I soaked the seeds overnight in a very dilute solution of Clorox bleach and water. I planted the seeds the next day. I put moistened seed starting mix in 3 inch peat pots. I put the peat pots in one of those seed-starter micro-greenhouses with a transparent plastic lid, and placed the micro-greenhouse in my sunroom. All five seeds sprouted within a month. Despite this success, I'll use regular potting mix next time. The seed starting mix forms a surface crust which I don't like. After I saw roots coming out of the bottom of the peat pots, I transplanted the palms into gallon containers with Miracle-Gro potting mix. All five are doing fine.
Submitted on 07/12/2009 by one of our visitors

... are very easy to germinate.
This palm is loved for its elegancy.... believe me am not kiding i can make have this plant germinated within 5 days... not once but i've done it several times... i assume that it might be the fastest germinated seeds in rarepalmseeds collection... very simple just peel of the skin.... you can place it in pots directly.. more preferable to put it in sealed plastic bag with some sphagnum moist... but it should be to dry or to wet... within 7 days just check out the resultoption2peel of the skin place it in a pot and water it every morn and night until 5 days.. perfect result but within 5 days reduce the amount of water cause it will rot..
Submitted on 07/03/2009 by mehdi

... are very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
awesome seeds!!!! I put them in a ziplock with a little junglegrow soil sat them on top of my water heater and 13 days later 3 of 3 seeds had 1/2" to 1" roots..........I can't wait for them to spout.
Submitted on 13/11/2007 by woodrow waggoner padlinout@comcast.net

... are very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
Very easy, find tree with rip fruit and drained soil. Don't over water seeds, my got rot! Just keep it moisted.
Submitted on 29/10/2007 by one of our visitors

...very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
Very easy,simply collect fresh seeds from palm and planting in well drained soil, keep soil moist .
Submitted on 17/10/2005 by one of our visitors

...very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
Soaked seeds 24 hrs. Planted directly into large plastic pot (seeds only partially buried) and placed outside in a sheltered location here in Key West, FL. 90% seeds germinated in 25 days.
Submitted on 13/09/2005 by one of our visitors

...very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
It just took the seeds one week to spout when I plced them on top of tiled stove.
Submitted on 31/03/2005 by one of our visitors

...very easy to germinate and need up to 3 months to sprout.
Have sowed 100 seeds in a plastic sealed transparent container , and also keep next to a source f hear at approx 25 degrees celcius, have had almost 100% germination after 8 weeks now, and expect all of them to germinate soon.
Submitted on 28/03/2005 by Andrew Strickland mstrick@maltanet.net

...very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
This palm is very easy to grow. It can stand up to anything, lack of water,high temperatures, low temperatures, anything you can throw its way, even the seeds have a good resistance. My advice to you is let mother nature take her course. Sit the seeds in a pot, with moist dirt in the summer time, lay it out on a table, and don't tend to the seeds at all. My seeds grew right before my eyes in a months time.
Submitted on 08/03/2005 by one of our visitors

...very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
A very easy palm to grow. Just put it in potting soil ,any kind,and water regularly. Soon, your seeds will grow, plain and simple.
Submitted on 08/03/2005 by one of our visitors

...very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
I collected 50 fallen seeds, still fresh and red, from a palm in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. When I arrived home, I peeled them completely and then soaked them for 48 hours in water, then placed them still in wet in ziplock bags, 10 seeds in each bag. No extra products put with the seeds, just 10 wet seeds in each bag. I placed the bags in my roof, warm in the day, fresh at night. The first 4 seeds germinated in an amazing 4 days. The rest of them, about 40, took from 7 to 15 days. 90% germinated in less than a month.
Submitted on 10/01/2005 by Xavier Iturbide xavieriturbide@yahoo.com

...very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
very easy to germinate and needs up 1 month to sprout
Submitted on 06/01/2005 by mohammed abdulla matrooshi b_88888@hotmail.com

...very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
VERY easy to germinateI push them half way down in sand and water them every day and have nearly 100% germination. Temp is about 30 degrees in the day and 25 degrees at night and dont let them get direct sunlight.
Submitted on 24/10/2004 by one of our visitors

...very easy to germinate and need up to 3 months to sprout.
I collected 10 seeds from Playa Del Carmen, Mexico, in May 2004 whilst on Honeymoon. I cleaned and soaked them and soaked them in tap water for 24 hours. They were then planted about 3 cm down in a large propogator containing a mixture of 75% multi purpose compost and 25%Vermiculite. I Kept the propogator on a south facing window sill and took it ouside on days when the temputure reached the late twentis / early thirty degrees. The seeds germinated after about two and a half months.
Submitted on 17/08/2004 by one of our visitors

...very difficult to germinate and need more than 1 year to sprout.
No success with this species. After being soaked for 2 days, 11 seeds were sealed in zip-bags in a pre-moistened mixture of 50% peat-based compost and 50% Vermiculite and kept at approx. 25 C. After a year, no seeds have germinated.
Submitted on 30/11/2003 by David Matzdorf davidmatzdorf@blueyonder.co.uk

...very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
...easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
Submitted on 13/12/2003 by abdulla thani dxb_dxb_@hotmail.com

...very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
Very easy, rapid germination rate at about 90%. I didn't use any special tricks, simply planted the seed directly into a tray and left it outside in the shade, daytime temperatures were around 32c.
Submitted on 22/12/2002 by Van vandringar@hotmail.com

...very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
Unbelievably easy! I used two methods for germinating the seeds and both have yield results. A little under a month ago I put some tropical soil mix that I bought into a sandwhich bag with a zip top and put 2 seeds in. The soil was msot to the touch and every few days I would take a spray bottle and spray some water in to keep it moist. I kept the bags on a heated concrete floor in a room around 75 degrees. A few times someone in the house had turned the thermostat down to around 60 and I was afraid this would hurt the seeds but it didn't. The humidity created by the sealed bag got the seeds to germinate in a little under one month.I also used the method mentioned about soaking the seeds for 2 weeks in water then putting them in the bag without any medium. One of these started as well and I'm confident the others will as well.
Submitted on 15/01/2003 by one of our visitors

...very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
First, I soaked the seeds for three days in water. Then, I put then in ziplock baggies with a little water and stuck them next to the heater. They sprouted in around 16 days, with no problems!
Submitted on 24/03/2003 by Robert Doleiden martygsunshine@aol.com

...very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
I put to germinate 1350 seeds of veitchia merrilli now adonidia merrillii and the results are incredible in 6 weeks 100% germinate wit out any problem i wish all was like this. thanks.
Submitted on 25/07/2002 by manuel rivero rilatel2@prodigy.net.mx

...very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
Of approximately 150 seeds collected on Key Largo, Florida on Christmas Day 2001, I cleaned and soaked about 50 in tap water for 10 days, and then placed in a large zip-lock bag. The moisture from soaking the seeds was enough to begin germinating them within two weeks with no kind of medium present (such as peat, perlite, sphagnum moss, etc.). After one month, I had nearly 100 percent germination with this simplistic method. After the emergence of the first seedling root, the young palms were placed into community pots in a mix of peat moss, perlite, and Miracle-Gro potting mix in a 4:5:1 ratio. Approximately one dozen were planted individually into 4 inch/9 cm pots with the same substrate. Those in the individual pots received more water and brighter light than the others as they were subjected to the elements of Central Florida (almost daily rain and bright light, though not quite full sunlight). The seedlings in the community pots are about one leaf behind the individuals nearly 8 months after germination. These were kept in shade and watered with tap water when the soil seemed dry to the touch. None have been lost for any reason.
Submitted on 04/08/2002 by Jason C. Skelly Skellsbells@aol.com

...easy to germinate and need up to 3 months to sprout.
Christmas palm, in sometimes named Veitchia merrillii.I brought 14 seeds -fresh fallen from the tree- beginning of October 01 from the Dominican Republic (DR).Cleaned and pre-soaked in the DR. Seven seeds germinated 6 weeks after planting, 3 within seven weeks,five needed eight weeks. 100% germination after 8 weeks.Climate chamber @ 30°C, used Kokohum very moist/wet (by sparkling mineral water). Seeds and roots look very similar to Chambeyronia macrocarpa: I think they will grow well.
Submitted by Jens JensBluetling@onlinehome.de

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plant cultivation comments by our visitors
Also see germination commnets above.

Plants from this species ...

... are of excellent ornamental value
In Newquay, Cornwall in England they need much care and grow normal.
I'm trying to grow this in the UK - not your average tropical/sub-tropical location. Plants are, therefore, kept in pots. I found fresh seed to be very easy to germinate, even in late winter/early spring in northern Europe. However, care of young plants in a cool temperate climate is problematic. My plants seem to get rot & die during the winter, approximately 2 years after germination with 2-3 juvenile leaves. This is a great shame as Adonidia merrillii is a beautiful tree once it gets going. Does anyone have the secret to successful growing of this plant in cool temperate climates? As a potting mix, I tend to use 60:30:10 mix of multi-purpose compost, soil-based compost & perlite. As I have had difficulties recently with peat-substitute multi-purpose compost (roots burnt) I have, with difficulty, found some peat-based multi-purpose compost & have begun to use this, having found that there is less risk of root damage & in the hope that last years germinated seedlings might therefore have a better chance of survival. I try to keep the potting mix just moist & keep the plants out of direct sun. They are kept indoors during autumn, winter & spring, close to a north-facing window (spring sun burns everything here) & outside in deep shade during summer.
Submitted on 20/04/2007 by Ray Longhurst raylonghurst@aol.com

win € 75 worth of seeds
by writing a plant cultivation comment about how to cultivate the plants of this species. Click here!

If you wish to read more on palm cultivation, we highly recommend Ornamental Palm Horticulture by Timothy K. Broschat and Alan W. Meerow, available in our bookshop.

Ratings and comments reflect individual experiences and the views of our visitors. They do not necessarily describe the most appropriate methods, nor are they necessarily valid for all seeds or plants of this species. Germination and plant cultivation success depends on many different factors; nevertheless, these experiences will hopefully aid you in your effort to get the best germination results from our seeds and the best growth results from your plants.

We recommend:
The Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms

The Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms
by Robert Lee Riffle, Paul Craft, Scott Zona

2nd edition
Completely revised and updated

Hardcover - 528 pages
11 x 8.5 inches

Our rating:
Suitable for: all

The Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms is the definitive account of all palms that can be grown for ornamental and economic use. Palms are often underutilized as a result of their unfamiliarity—even to tropical gardeners. To help introduce these valuable plants to a new audience, the authors have exhaustively documented every genus in the palm family.
825 species are described in detail, including cold hardiness, water needs, height, and any special requirements. Generously illustrated with more than 900 photos, including photos of several palm species that have never before appeared in a general encyclopedia, The Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms is as valuable as an identification guide as it is a practical handbook. Interesting snippets of history, ethnobotany, and biology inform the text and make this a lively catalog of these remarkable plants.

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