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joined:June 15, 2001
Here in South Florida, Royal Palms command a nice price and every year or so I get a landscaper type, offering to remove mine (after he claims it has some exotic fungus) for a small fee.
The last time he made the offer, I told him that if he needed grocery money, I would help him out, but I didn't appreciate the offer to steal my tree.
In other words, I guess, can you start a palm from a cutting? I know a lot of succulents can start new plants fairly easily (so I'm told) from cut-off limbs...
joined:June 15, 2001
Since the plant isn't going to cost you anything I say go for it :D
That is what I had in mind too. Can you keep it inside for the winter? Some 14 hours a day artificial light cycle (400 watts metal halide lamp), stimroot hormones, and warm soil could not hurt making it through the winter. Otherwise I believe you risk to stress it too much.
P.S. I am no palm tree specialist.
Being in a pot will also give it a chance to develop the dense root ball it needs before it gets put in the ground. Make sure the pot isn't too huge, your laocal gerdening center should be able to advise. Mine doesn't like direct sunlight (the leaves sun burn easily) but prefers filtered light through a net curtain. At the same time it grows better with regular light rather than in a dark corner. Being inside will also allow you to ensure it's not too dry or too water logged, either of which will stress it. I personally haven't had much luck with rooting hormones ever and I'm not sure they'll help a palm anyway (the ones I've seen here are aimed at hardwood plants not monocots) but it certainly wouldn't hurt. I use specific palm food too (it comes in a little stick you put in the soil and forget) which it seems to like.
There are many books around about growing palms, and since they are somewhat hard to care for (apparently, I have very green thumbs) a quick trip to the local library may be helpful.
I use a heat shield for sensitive plants under metal halide lights. Heat shield is a clear 'plastic' film made by 3M. It cuts 75 % of heat from any light source. It can be hung on windows too. A great diffusor film is Rosco # 216. It will make any direct light look like Scottish sky. Both can be found at motion picture lighting rental shops.
Fluorescent tubes can do good too, but the efficient radius is short. (about a foot) Combined with a timer, it is the cheapest thing to use.
I gave up looking for a species for my big one after a year or so because it grows so well and I don't have any trouble taking care of it, so I figured it doesn't matter.