Socratea exorrhiza or Stilt Palm is a large species of monoecious palms native from Central America to the Amazon Rainforest. They are sometimes called Walking Palms because of their prominent stilt-like roots. If the light is better on one side of the palm, the roots will grow into the lighted area and roots on the low light side tend to die off. Thus, the palm itself moves more into the light. In nature, stilt palms will reach about 65 feet (20 m) tall. The dark green, pinnate leaves will reach up to 6 feet (2 m) in length, with the tubular sheaths forming a conspicuous crownshaft. The crownshaft is often bluish-green. Stilt palms are fairly easy palms to grow in containers and are hardy in the landscape in USDA zones 11.
Blooming: Our stilt palms have yet to bloom after 8 years of growth.
Culture: Socratea exorrhiza need full sun to partial shade with moist soil. We grow our under 25% shade all year long. In the greenhouse, we use a soil mix consisting of 2 parts peat moss to 1 part loam to 2 parts sand. The soil mix is kept constantly moist all year long. We fertilize the palm monthly during the spring and summer months with a balanced fertilizer. During the winter months, we do not fertilize them. In containers, the palms are fairly slow growers and they need to be repotted every couple of years. The stilt roots will sometime grow outside of the container, giving it a unique look in the greenhouse. I don’t know how much longer we will be able to grow our specimen, as it will soon outgrow the limited height of our greenhouse.
Propagation: Socratea exorrhiza is propagated from seed. Fresh seeds germinate in 45-60 days at 75°F (24°C).
Socratea exorrhiza was featured as Plant of the Week May 25-31, 2007.
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Cal's Plant of the Week was provided as a service by the University of Oklahoma Department of Microbiology & Plant Biology and specifically the late Cal Lemke, who used to be OU's botany greenhouse grower and an avid gardener at home as well. If the above links don't work, then try the overview site. You may also like to look at the thumbnail index. ©1998-2012 All rights reserved.