Blue Ribbon Awarded Palm July,2000
Fiji Fan Palm: Pritchardia pacifica
"Bali H'ai will call you; come to me! Come to me! Here am I your special island...Come away; come away!" When Richard Rogers wrote those words for the play: "South Pacific", around 1950, an aura for the South Pacific was solidified, that James A. Michner's "Tales of the South Pacific" introduced into American's collective psyches! I was one of those Americans who fell under the "spell" of the South Pacific!
Swaying in the delicious and seductively moist breezes of this region of the world, along with coconut palms: (which have always captured and enraptured me with their special, hypnotic beauty), have been Fiji Fan Palms (prichardia pacifica)!
Their incredibly lush fans, stiff yet supple, bend like sails in the wind! A mature specimen proudly unfurls new fan fronds that are easily over five feet wide. Their colourations are a rich lime green, with a yellowish midrib. The result is striking, indeed. Fiji's (actually, more accurately, native of Tahiti), can be difficult to establish but the exotic effect is, in the wise gardener's opinion, unduplicated by any other palm specimen! (And therefore, worth the effort!!)
The Fiji Fan Palm, for me, has represented the greatest challenge! They are most definitely LETHAL YELLOWING-prone here in South Florida; they shiver at temperatures below 45 degrees F.; they need constant moisture, but will rot out most certainly without a "brief" period for their roots to dry out "just a tad"! What a daunting task, to be sure!
Garden friends, after 2 previous failed attempts, for several reasons to which I can pinpoint, Fiji Palm attempt #3 in a facing-Southeasterly garden location "seems" to be a happy resident! It has added its fifth frond (each larger than the last), and has a rich, healthy colouration of frond: both leaf and midrib! I hope for the best, but I am definitely enjoying it however long it CAN remain in residence!
Ah, yes! Fiji Fan Palm deserves this month's BLUE RIBBON Palm of the Month Award!
Paul,"The Wise Gardener!"
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