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Trachycarpus nanus

Yunnan Dwarf Palm

The smallest member of the (Trachycarpus) genus, and one of the most sought-after, this diminutive, very adaptable and extremely cold hardy palm does not grow a trunk, or at least, only an underground or a shortly emergent one. From Yunnan, in western China, they are pretty palms, not unlike Chamaerops at first glance, and are often an attractive blueish colour. A further interesting feature is the fact that the inflorescences are held upright, an adaptation to keep them off the ground. Unfortunately this makes them very vulnerable to the goats, with which the area is over-run; consequently very few plants set seed. For many years there were none; this year there are a few; next year? Who knows. For the story of our rediscovery of this unique palm, after 100 years, see Principes April 1993 Vol.37, 64-72.

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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 average to germinate and need up to 3 months to sprout.
Seed was cleaned and lightly scarified before soaking; soaked for three days with daily water changes. Seeds were then planted in moist germination mix (peat/vermiculite/perlite) in clear plastic bag; bottom heat from grow lights during the day (approx. 27 C/80 F) cooler at night. First germination noted at 18 days, 50% germination by 75 days; reached 73% germination at 120 days. Further germination may occur - remaining seeds appear viable. Seedlings put out 'sinker', best wait until first leaf appears before transplanting (some 30-60 days after germination!); seedlings transplanted before leaves appear tend to rot or be eaten by pests. Seedling growth slow.
Submitted on 20/12/2009 by E. Ulaszek

... are very easy to germinate and need up to 1 year to sprout.
I sowed my seeds in a communal pot in one of my borders at the end of summer 2008. I had germinated many of these seeds using the baggy method but always lost them to rot shortly after germinating but after being in the communal pot outside all winter they all germinated this summer (2009) and are all still growing away very well. I know of many people who have lost T. nanus seedlings shortly after germination so think that sowing them directly outside in a communal pot or where they are to grow seems to be the way to go. I also did the same with T. princeps seeds in the border in my greenhouse and got 100% germination, they too were sowed in 2008 and germinated in 2009.
Submitted on 30/09/2009 by Darren

...very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
Use ziplock bag method. Put the moistened peat moss in the bag with seeds and put at room temperature 21-25C max , a large tap root appear within 3 weeks. put in individual pot with well drained medium.
Submitted on 18/02/2004 by phil C trachycarpus@swing.be

...easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
Easy to germinate, not easy to stop them rotting afterwards! Lots of drainage needed to keep the young seedlings healthy. I got 19 out of 20 seeds to germinate but lost 9 to rot.
Submitted on 15/01/2004 by one of our visitors

...very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
Out of 11 seeds received, 2 germinated at the same time after 1 month of sowing. Standard "baggie" method, peat and temperature around 20 C. All rest seeds appear good and being kept for further germination. Seedling growth is very slow.
Submitted on 14/05/2003 by Sergei Leonov serileonov@hotmail.com

...easy to germinate and need up to 3 months to sprout.
I recently recieved 1,000 T.nanus seeds from a friend who ordered them from your company. He gave them to me to germinate. I decided to use the zip-lock baggy method with this species. In each baggy I placed damp peat moss mixed with perlite. I placed the baggies on the bottom shelves of my greenhouse. I am very pleased with the results. Within two months the first nanus are sprouting.My greenhouse is quite warm in the day with temps. sometimes rising into the 40 degree celcius range for short periods. I have many other rare palm species that came from you, and I am happy with all of them. I look forward in doing business with your wonderful company in the future. I definately recommend you to other palm enthusiasts that like to grow from seed. Cheers, Banana Joe
Submitted on 07/07/2003 by Banana Joe bananajoe@saltspring.com

...difficult to germinate and need up to 3 months to sprout.
Soaked in water for two days and packed in plastic bags in cocohum. The first one sprouted after six weeks, put in a pot after seven weeks. The remaining 10 seeds still (after 8 weeks) show no signs of sprouting, are still being kept at room temperature.
Submitted on 27/03/2003 by one of our visitors

...difficult to germinate and need up to 3 months to sprout.
seed just germinateing after six weeks ten seeds potted only three growing temp 27c seed was soaked for 24 hours in warm fish tankgowing to leave seeds another 6 weeks then pre chill and try again
Submitted on 11/04/2003 by one of our visitors

...very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
Very quick germination after only one week. I soaked the seeds in warm water for 48 hours and then put them in a plastic box filled with a mix of peatmoss and coarse sand. The mix has to be well watered. Then I put the box in another box to keep it dark and put it on top of an radiator about 25-30degrees celcius.
Submitted on 03/02/2003 by Jonas Grund i1jongru@alfa.stud.slu.se

...not rated.
The trachycarpus nanus seed was planted 1/4" below the surface of peat moss and vermiculite mixture mixture is in plastic nursery trays sitting on top of propagation mat day and night temps right at 80°F first seed sprouted in 14 days.
Submitted on 01/02/2003 by Jim Harris Northwestpalms@aol.com

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

Plants from this species ...

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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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