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Ravenea glauca. Flickr
Recommended for your garden in the south of Spain: Ravenea glauca
Gardening

Recommended for your garden in the south of Spain: Ravenea glauca

It is a small to medium-sized palm native to dry forests and ravines in Madagascar. It is one of the hardier palms, withstanding full sun, dry winds, short periods of drought and some frost once established

Denise Bush

Malaga

Friday, 19 April 2024, 17:22

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Ravenea glauca is a small to medium-sized palm native to dry forests and ravines in Madagascar. It is one of the hardier palms, withstanding full sun, dry winds, short periods of drought and some frost once established. The 'once established' is important as for the first couple of years it will need some shade and regular watering until it becomes well settled in. It is also unfussy about soil, along as it is free-draining.

Not a large palm, it will grow between three and five metres tall. It will grow fast in ideal conditions and develop a thin trunk. In areas less ideal its trunk will be thicker. The graceful, finely divided leaflets can be two metres long and are bluish-green, sometimes lighter underneath. The base of the new leaves are covered with a thick white or brownish tomentum (very fine, downy hairs that look like felt).

Ravenea glauca is dioecious meaning you need male and female plants to produce seed. The resulting fruits turn bright yellow when ripe and hang in racemes from the leaf

There are two species of Ravenea glauca, R. glauca Andringita and R. glauca Isalo, reflecting the areas of the island in which they are found growing naturally. They are sometimes called by the common name mini-majesty palm, due to their resemblance to R. rivularis which is known as the majesty palm, although the latter will not survive without copious watering.

Ravenea glauca is commonly sold as a house plant but is ideal for Mediterranean gardens and small patios, especially if given a little care while it is getting established.

Propagation is by seed. The ripe fruit needs to be opened and the brown seed removed and cleaned. It should be soaked for 24 hours and then wrapped inside a damp paper towel and placed in a plastic bag. The bag needs to be kept somewhere warm for about three weeks for germination.

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