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King Palm Tree

King palm tree in the landscape.

The King Palm Tree, scientific name Archontophoenix cunninghamiana, is one of the most popular palms in tropical and subtropical climates. The King palm looks very nice when planted in a grouping of 2 or 3. This sun-loving palm is mostly used outdoors, but it also makes an excellent house plant if given the right environment.   While the King palm is young, it can be kept inside in the container to avoid cold exposure.

King Palm Tree Info

Scientific name: Archontophoenix cunninghamiana

Common names: King Palm is also known as Alexandra Palm and Alexander Palm. It is native to Australia.

Family: Arecaceae

Origin: The King Palm Tree is native to Australia.

Appearance: Archontophoenix cunninghamiana has a single smooth grey brownish trunk ringed by the scars from the fallen frond. The trunk is a little wider at the base, about 1ft in diameter with a beautiful crownshaft at the top. Crownshaft is generally green, but occasionally can be brownish.

The King Palm has about 15-20 arching evergreen fronds that emerge from the crownshaft forming a graceful crown. The leaves are bright green above and below, although there can also be brown scales on the paler green undersides. They have about 100 to 150 leaflets that are 6-12 inches long.


Flowers/Fruits: In mid-summer, the King Palm produces pink flowers that are held by 2-3 ft long branched inflorescence, growing from below the crownshaft. Male and female flowers are on the same inflorescence. Flowers are followed by attractive berry-like green fruits that turn red when ripe. Fruits are round and about 1/2 inches in diameter and hang in clusters.

Growth Rate: Archontophoenix cunninghamiana can grow up to 40 ft tall and 10-15 ft wide.

Outdoor/Indoor Use: Both.


Cold Tolerance: Young palms can be killed by cold if the temperature gets below 25F. This palm is great for USDA Zones 9b (25 to 30 F) to 11 (above 40 F).

Light Req: Partial shade to Full sun.

Water Req: Moderate. It grows best in moist well-drained soil.

Maintenance: Easy. To prevent nutritional deficiency, apply good quality palm fertilizer that has continuous release formula twice a year during the growing season.

Insects and Diseases: The main pests problem for King Palm are spider mites. When King palm is young it can suffer from leaf spots. Like a lot of other popular palms, King palm can get root rot if the soil is not well-drained. To find out how to prevent all these problems click here Palm Tree Insects.

Propagation: Propagated by seeds. Seed germination is quick and easy. Germination occurs in 6 weeks to 3 months. It is best to sow seeds fresh in the spring.

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