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Palms planting and growing

Palms. - No more graceful plants for room decoration can be found than well-grown specimens of some species of palms. Most florists' palms are well adapted for this purpose when small, and as the growth is usually very slow, a plant may be used for many years.

Palm plants thrive best in partial shade. One of the frequent causes of failure in the culture of the palm is the overpotting and subsequent overwatering. A palm should not be repotted until the mass of roots fills the soil and preferably when it is active; then a pot only a size larger should be used. Use ample drainage in the bottom to carry off excess of water. Although the plants need a moist soil, water standing at the roots proves injurious. Withhold free use of water when the plants are partially dormant.

A soil composed of well-rotted sod, leafmold, and a little sand will meet the requirements.

Under ordinary living-room conditions, palms are subject to much abuse. Water is allowed to stand in the jardinière, the plant is kept in dark corners and hallways, the air is dry, and scale is allowed to infest the leaves. If the plant begins to fail, the housewife is likely to repot it or to give it more water, both of which may be wrong.

Among the best palms for house culture are arecas, Cocos Weddelliana, latania, kentia, howea, caryota, chamærops, and phœnix. Cycas may also be regarded as a palm.

The date palm may be grown from seed of the common commercial date. Seed of the other varieties may be purchased from leading seedsmen; but, as the seed germinates only under favorable conditions, and the palm is a very slow-growing plant while young, the best plan is to purchase the plants from a dealer when wanted.

When the plants become weak or diseased, take them to a florist for treatment and recuperation, or purchase new ones. Sometimes the florist places two or three small palms in one pot, making a very satisfactory table piece for two or three years.

It is well to set the palms out of doors in the summer, plunging the pots nearly or quite to the rim. Turn or lift the pots occasionally so that the roots will not strike through into the earth. Choose a partially shaded place, where the hot sun will not strike them directly and where the wind will not injure them.