Behind the name Livistona hides a genus that belongs to the palm family. The plants are mainly found in Southeast Asia. In the north it is found in the Himalayas. In the south, the species occur in Indochina, New Guinea and Malesia. There are some habitats in Australia and the Horn of Africa where Livistonia species thrive.
- Dry leaves on the fan palm, bot. livistona rotundifolia, cut off
- Livistona is not poisonous
- Properly care for the leaves of the calla
Their habitats are very different. The species known as umbrella palms colonize swamp and mountain forests or areas near rivers and streams with fresh water. They occur in the undergrowth of tropical and subtropical rainforests and shape the dry woody vegetation in the savannah. Livistona species also grow in desert canyons that have continuous water.
The plants grow as single-stemmed palms, the height of which varies greatly. Some species remain dwarfed, while other generic representatives reach heights of several meters. Their trunks are formed by leaf sheaths that are stacked on top of one another and dry up over time. In potted plants, the ornamental plants usually grow as stemless shrubs.
Livistonia develop leaves that give the plant an exotic character. They are divided into a fan-shaped incised leaf blade with stiff or slightly drooping leaf sections and a stem that can be prickly or bare. When the leaves wither, they stay on the plant. The dead leaves form a kind of dress around the trunk. The leaf blade can be up to 60 centimeters long, depending on the species.
The flowers are densely packed in inflorescences. They grow from the leaf axils and can branch up to five times. Umbrella palms are hermaphroditic. Only a few species develop purely male and female plants. The individual flowers are very small and mostly cream-colored. Livistonia bloom several times a year. Plants cultivated in the room rarely develop flowers because the room conditions do not correspond to the natural conditions.
After flowering, the inflorescence is covered with small, spherical fruits. Their coloration differs depending on the species. The color palette ranges from scarlet red and green to blue-green, blue-black and dark brown to black.
Livistonia adorn potted gardens on balconies and terraces during the summer months. They are only suitable for planting in pots and beautify living rooms, winter gardens or light-flooded passageways. In combination with other exotic plants, a tropical atmosphere is created.
Livistonia feel comfortable between these plants:
- Coconut palm
- A leaf
Is Livistona Poisonous?
Umbrella palms do not contain any toxic substances and can therefore be cultivated without hesitation in households with children or pets. The pointed leaves and spiky petioles of some species pose a risk of injury. Place the bucket out of the reach of small children, cats or dogs. Fallen leaves should be disposed of quickly.
Which location is suitable?
A bright location offers livistonia optimal growth conditions. The plants can withstand several hours of direct sunlight, provided they are not exposed to the blazing midday sun. The darker the location, the slower the palm grows. In sunnier areas, the plant should be sprayed regularly. It thrives optimally at temperatures between 18 and 25 degrees Celsius.
What soil does the plant need?
Livistonia species should be cultivated in a well-drained soil mixture that offers slightly acidic conditions. A mixture of potting soil, compost and sharp-edged sand is ideal. For improved permeability, you can alternatively use gravel, lava granulate (€ 10.95 on Amazon *) or expanded clay (€ 17.50 on Amazon *). You should avoid pure peat and humus soil. The substrate sags over time, so that the roots are no longer adequately ventilated.
Umbrella palms can be propagated from seeds from mature fruit stands. You can get the seeds in special shops for Mediterranean plants and palms. Place the grains in a shallow bowl of lukewarm water and let the seeds soak for 24 hours. During this time the outer shell will soften and the seeds will germinate more easily.
Germination takes place at different speeds. It can take up to four months for the first shoot tips to appear. It is favored by a temperature of 25 degrees Celsius.
Livistona in the pot
Livistonia require a sufficiently large clay or terracotta bucket with enough drainage holes. If you use a plastic container with a planter, you should cover the bottom of the pot with stones. The irrigation water collects here and poses no danger to the roots. The water evaporates and creates a moist microclimate.
This is how the right planter is made:
- deep so that the tap roots have enough space
- difficult to ensure stability
- larger than the root ball
During the summer months, the umbrella palm enjoys an outdoor location. It should slowly get used to the outside conditions, because the intense UV radiation on the balcony and terrace can damage the leaves.
For the time being, put the bucket in a sheltered and shady place and bring it back in in the evening when the temperature drops below ten degrees Celsius. If the thermometer stays in the double-digit range, the plant can also stay outside at night. After two weeks, the leaves have developed a natural protection against the sun's rays, so that the umbrella palm can move to a sunnier place.
Livistonia have a medium water requirement between spring and autumn. Water the palm evenly so that the root ball neither dries out nor stands wet. It should be soaked to the bottom. Let the soil dry slightly between watering. If the summer months are very hot, you should check the substrate every two to three days.
During the cool winter time it takes longer for the surface of the earth to dry. During this time, it does not harm the plant if two thirds of the substrate has dried off.
Good to know:
- Livistonia can also tolerate low humidity between 40 and 60 percent
- in winter place a bowl with water next to the bucket
- soft and stale tap water or rainwater is ideal
Fertilize Livistona properly
If you have bought a new umbrella palm or repotted it, you no longer have to fertilize in the same year. The plants are satisfied with the nutrients present in the ready-made substrates. From the second year on, you can feed the plant with a special fertilizer for palm trees every two weeks or monthly between spring and autumn. Alternatively, you can use fertilizer sticks (€ 1.45 at Amazon *), which are stuck into the substrate in spring and summer.
Cut Livistona properly
Pruning measures damage the plant as it has only one vegetation point. Dead leaves can be removed regularly. Wait until the leaves are completely dry. This saves the plant stress, because it draws excess nutrients from the fronds. Cut off the dead leaf near the base and leave a piece of the petiole. This makes the trunks appear thick and even.
How do I transplant properly?
Repotting is recommended every two to three years to give the roots more space. This measure takes place between March and April before the new growth phase begins. Put the root ball in a slightly larger container. Replace the substrate completely with fresh soil.
From October the resting phase begins, in which the livistonia hardly grow. The buckets can be placed in an unheated room where bright conditions prevail. Most umbrella palms can withstand a temperature drop to ten degrees Celsius during this time. Livistona rotundifolia needs temperatures between 13 and 15 degrees Celsius. Adjust the watering to the temperature and refrain from fertilizing. From February you intensify the watering rhythm and supply the plant with nutrients again.
If the site conditions are suboptimal, Livistona species can be attacked by pests.
Upon closer inspection, these pests can be easily identified. The lice live under a hardened shield that is built up from secretions. Scale insects stay in one place and suck plant sap from the leaf veins. Only when there is a strong infestation can clear signs be seen on the plant. Their leaves wither and slowly die off.
Systematically effective poisons are necessary to combat scale insects sustainably. These are available in stick form or as liquids and are absorbed by the plant. The active ingredients spread in the plant sap and kill the pests effectively.
If the air in the room is too dry, thrips occasionally spread on the leaves of livistonia and damage the plant. It shows stunted growth and silvery white spots on the leaves. If the infestation is severe, the leaves will die. Agents that are absorbed by the plant and distributed in the organism via the plant sap have proven to be effective. To prevent infestation, you should pay attention to high humidity, especially in winter.
If the umbrella palm is placed directly in the sun after showering, the leaves, which are still wet, quickly develop brown spots. Instead of a shower head, use a fine spray bottle to wet the plant with water. The leaf tips turn brown when the plant is too wet or too dry.
Livistonias are sometimes referred to as fan palms, but you shouldn't confuse the palms with the related Washingtonia species.
- Chinese umbrella palm: leaves cut almost to the base. Up to 12 meters high, lower than a container plant.
- Australian umbrella palm: Robust species with a gray-brown trunk, covered with fibers. Leaves incised to the base. Up to 15 meters high, smaller in the bucket.
Palm 'Livistona Rotundifolia' approx. 40 cm high 20.59 EUR Buy at baldur Palm 'Livistona Rotundifolia' 12.7 EUR Buy at baldur COMPO® Palm fertilizer & palm 'Livistona Rotundifolia' 21.57 EUR Buy at baldur