It only takes a glance at a Sylvester Palm (Phoenix sylvestris) to make you feel like you're in Calcutta. A native of India and Pakistan, this lovely palm tree is smaller in stature, giving it an advantage over its larger look-alikes, the Canary Island Date Palm. Also known by its other common names of Silver Date Palm, Wild Date Palm, Toddy Palm, and India Date Palm, It is an excellent option if you're short on room, but still want that subtropical look to your landscaping.
The Sylvester Palm Tree fairs well in most soils, and can even tolerate some salt. It does, however, appreciate a little acidity to its soil, so amending its growing medium with peat or top soil can help it thrive. It can tolerate lower temperatures than many palms, making it a strong contender in more temperate climates. If you live in growing Zone 9, or above, this tree will do remarkably well. The Sylvester Palm will do best when watered regularly (despite it's moderate drought tolerance) and fertilized three or four times a year with a palm fertilizer. When fully mature, these trees can reach a height of 40 feet, but they're very slow-growing and will provide a high level of subtropical appeal to any property.
The Sylvester Palm Tree has thick, pointy fronds with spikes along their lengths and a stout trunk. As it grows, the trunk develops a beautiful leaf-base scar pattern. The foliage is a silvery-green, allowing it to contrast pleasingly with other flowers and landscaping plants. It develops flowers and then fruit that is traditionally used to make wines and jellies. These flowers and fruits can easily be pruned away to keep pests such as birds and rodents from snacking on the ripe fruit. Because of its rather sharp, spiky nature, it's not well-suited as a container palm, but will do beautifully accenting a circular drive, or set further into the landscaping. We recommend keeping it 5 - 6 feet away from walkways, porches and sidewalks.
Because of its predictable growth pattern and beautiful appearance, the Sylvester Palm has become a popular choice for golf courses and other venues that need slow-growing trees that don't shed excessively. In fact, this palm hardly sheds its fronds at all, and the waning fronds can be trimmed back to keep the tree looking nice and neat.
The Sylvester Palm can provide the perfect backdrop for your shorter subtropical landscaping or vines such as bougainvilleas, jasmines and trumpet flowers. It provides moderate shade, especially when young and shorter, allowing the more tender plants in your landscaping to thrive underneath it.
We here at Quality Palms believe in providing only the best specimen and landscape trees and plants. Each and every tree is carefully inspected and nurtured from the moment it arrives here until it is planted in your landscape. If you have questions or would like more information about the Sylvester Palm Tree, or any other tree or plant we carry, please don't hesitate to contact us. We are always happy to offer expert advice on the best choices for your home and landscape.