Travellers Palm (Ravenala madagascariensis)
A beautiful tree from the Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia) family which produces big banana-like foliage. Foliage arranges itself in a fan-shaped form. Though technically not a palm tree, it is often called one because of the short palm-like trunk & foliage. It grows 7-15m tall.
The Travellers Palm produces white flowers, followed by brown fruits. Seeds are a wonderful blue colour. It derives its name ‘Travellers Palm’ from the fact that it collects and holds rainwater in its leaf folds and flower bracts. Thirsty travellers knew to seek out this tree to collect water.
Ravenala madagascariensis is a stunning tropical plant and would act well as a feature plant, or as back drop for other tropical plants. It is often used to line driveways and property entries, for which the fan shape lends itself very well.
Growing Travellers Palm
Ravenala is best grown in full sun to part shade, in moist but well draining soil. Although it is adaptable to soil type, it grows best in a soil which is rich in nutrient, so add lots of organic matter. Fertilise regularly with a high-nitrogen slow release fertiliser, or use a liquid fertiliser every month or as instructed on the packaging. Mulch well to keep moisture in the ground where it is needed.
The Travellers Palm is said to handle temperatures to 0 ºC, but cannot handle full frost. It can be grown indoors or in a green house in cooler climates. It grows well in containers and could be moved to a protected spot when frost is likely to appear, before returning to a warm outdoor spot.
The Travellers Palm can be propagated from seed, or offsets which pop up at the base of the tree. Offsets can be allowed to grow, producing a more ‘shrub-like’ tree, or removed and replanted elsewhere.
Travellers Palm, Travellers Palm, Travellers Tree
Travellers Palm plants for sale
Approx 40cm tall. These plants are best in the ground as they are fast growing. Protect with plenty of mulch and shade protection initially especially in the current extreme weather.