The Adonidia Palm, commonly known as the Christmas Palm, is a native to the Philippines and has been very popular in southern Florida for over fifty years. It is a dwarf version of the Royal Palm, only reaching about 15 – 25 feet tall. Recently, this palm has had its scientific name changed from ‘Adonidia merrillii’ to ‘Veitchia merrillii’ but it is still largely referred to as the Adonidia.
Adonidias have single trunks, but are typically grown in clusters of two, three or more in the nursery. This palm is noted for its self-cleaning fronds that do not leave boots on the trunk giving it a nice, neat appearance. Its pinnate (feather) leaves are glossy, arched and grow to about 5 feet long. Unlike many other palms, Adonidias do not have thorns on their petioles. During the summer, Adonidias produce cream-colored blossoms. In December, the flowers are followed by green oval fruits that turn into a rich red as they ripen – similar to ornaments on a Christmas tree. The fruit does not attract animals.
This palm thrives in warmer weather and is not cold hardy. Care should be taken during the winter months since it is sensitive to frost and freezing temperatures. It prefers well drained soils, full sun and is moderately salt tolerant. It will tolerate periods of drought but not if prolonged.
In South Florida, Adonidias are commonly used as accent trees in the landscape. In northern climates, they are often used as annuals, or as indoor potted plants.
Christmas Palm, Manila Palm, Dwarf Royal, Veitchia Palm, Kerpis Palm
Hardy Range: 10A – 11
Mature Height: 15 – 25’
Growth Rate: Medium
Adonidia Palms have a smooth, slender, grey trunk with leaf scar rings and a swollen base. The fronds are arched and about five feet long. They have single trunks but are grown in nurseries as doubles or triples. It produces flowers near the crownshaft of the palm which will mature into green fruits one inch long. During late fall, the fruits will ripen into a dark red.
Soil: Wide range as long as it is well drained soil
Drought Tolerance: Moderate
Exposure: Full sun, partial shade