Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: King Palm, Bangalow Palm, Piccabeen Palm
Archontophoenix cunninghamiana

Family: Arecaceae (ar-ek-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Archontophoenix (ar-kon-toh-FEE-niks) (Info)
Species: cunninghamiana (kun-ing-ham-ee-AY-nuh) (Info)

One vendor has this plant for sale.

9 members have or want this plant for trade.


over 40 ft. (12 m)

12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun


Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Mid Summer


Other details:
Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings
Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From seed; germinate in vitro in gelatin, agar or other medium

Seed Collecting:
Seed does not store well; sow as soon as possible

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7 positives
4 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive Palm1978 On Aug 6, 2012, Palm1978 from Bonita Springs, FL wrote:

This easy grower is fairly uncommon in Southwest Florida, though it is more commonly planted than the A. Alexander. Seems to do better in partial shade as it can experience sunburn when temperatures are in the 90s. I conjecture that you need to special order this palm from the Homestead nurseries because I have yet to see it available at retail.

Neutral CoconutFreak1 On May 11, 2011, CoconutFreak1 from Central Coast, NSW
Australia (Zone 10b) wrote:

Although most plantings of this palm look terrible, a well grown, sturdy Bangalow Palm can be quite attractive. They require high moisture and is best grown in shaded position, although they can tolerate full sun if given lots of water.

Neutral AZJeff On Aug 4, 2010, AZJeff from Sahuarita, AZ (Zone 9a) wrote:

I just saw some 1 gal.size King palms at a garden center at one of the Target stores in my area. It was reduced in price to $3, so I bought one today. I have never seen them sold anywhere lately. I don't know how it will do here in southern Arizona,but I will try it. I already have a Majesty palm. The King palm looks similar in its fronds,but maybe in time it will look more different than the Majesty palm. I'm thinking it might do better in shade,as it looks like the the hot sun here,during our late spring and summer months may burn the leaves. I have a huge pot,that holds over 10 gallons of dirt with nothing in it except a small Meyer lemon tree that's barely 2 inches tall that I will transplant somewhere else. The pot I intend to plant it in gets mid to afternoon sun. I won't plant it in the ground on this hill I live on cause the soil is so bad,and the roots may not grow down enough,due to the caliche(hard-pan) that's below the top soil. I think I may have spotted a huge King palm in Tucson next to an office building. The palm sort of looks like a Queen palm but yet looks different. I'll have to check into that later on. I think years ago I planted a King palm I obtained from a nursery,but it died. I may buy another King palm to plant below the hill on my property,cause the soil is better,a more sandy base,and no caliche.

Neutral tempetreehugger On Jan 9, 2009, tempetreehugger from Tempe, AZ (Zone 9b) wrote:

I bought 5 king palms from Target stores.One survived.It's 3 ft. in height..It gets afternoon shade. It survived a 118 degree summer day..and a few frost..maybe this one will grow tall.

Positive leeboi76 On Sep 24, 2007, leeboi76 from Sydney
Australia wrote:

These palms are native to SE Australia and are some of the most popular accent trees in use around Sydney and Brisbane. To give you an idea of the extent they are utilized you can buy a 2 ft specimen at Ikea for $2.50, this also demonstrates their growth speed. We have 2 in the garden one 8 ft and the other 3 ft tall. This past winters low temp was 28 f and no damage was observed. Many gardeners have taken to planting Bangalow palms as they are natives with several bird/insect species using the blooms/fruits. This has resulted in less demand for washingtonia, queen palms and livistona. There is a town in New South Wales called "Bangalow" that is the Aboriginal word for this palm. Named as this tree covers the hillsides.

Positive scottstang On Apr 9, 2006, scottstang from Palmdale, CA wrote:

I have seen this growing at one house in my area. This house has 3 maybe 4 growing under a canopy of queen palms. I myself have some in pot on my patio. It gets in the 20's here in winter.

Positive koolkatken On Feb 16, 2006, koolkatken from Auckland
New Zealand wrote:

The bangalow are grown a lot here in Auckland, NZ. In fact Auckland council is considering labelling them as a "pest" and outlawing them due to their ability aparently to spread so much. Now, that would be terrible- beautiful palms like these all % The bangalow grow faster it seems with brown trunks, while the King is slower, but tougher in the wind with a nice light grey/white trunk. My favourite.

Positive BayAreaTropics On Sep 27, 2005, BayAreaTropics from Hayward, CA wrote:

I have seen full grown ones in here in Hayward that were beauts.Dark green fronds,whitish, ringed trunks.They might be the best looking palms to grow in the Bay Area. Hard to get Kentias that lush of a green. I have noticed that they are not as common at the Home improvement stores like they used to be.They seem to have been replaced by Majesty palms.
EDIT 2007: Wouldn't you know it,the box stores have began selling them again -and at larger sizes. Unlike most plants, large King palms are worth the extra money. Adjusting to being planted in ground faster and making an almost instant impact. Mine took the 07 freeze very well-the largest with no frost damage even with a week of 32 ,more or less,temps.
A small trio also look perfect under the protection of a very large Schefflera.

Positive silverwolf359 On May 24, 2004, silverwolf359 from Antioch, CA wrote:

I live in the East Bay Area of San Francisco and have two small King Palms. I live in Zone 9B and they survive the winter here last year and our dry hot windy summers. They are in full shade, during the after noon. I had some King Palms in full sun ounce and they fried in the hot weather here. Hopefully, they will do well in the years to come.

Positive laspalmasdesign On Dec 29, 2003, laspalmasdesign from Los Altos, CA wrote:

Here in the warmer areas of the SF Bay Area, King palms grow and look fantastic. I have 29 of them on my property in Los Altos ranging from 3' to 20' and they're about the easiest palms to grow. Just give them regular watering and feed them if you want but they are not fussy. We don't get those hot dry Santa Ana winds like they do in SoCal so the leaves don't get desicated and brown tipped. They seem to grow equally well in full sun and full shade.

Neutral palmbob On Jul 26, 2003, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

The King palm is probably the 5th most commonly planted palm in Southern California. Unfortunately it is rarely watered enough and most planting don't look all that great. But for general tropical look, it is the most commonly planted palm that gives that 'tropics' feel.

One of the things that separates the King Palm from other commonly planted palms is its crownshaft, the smooth, encompassing leaf bases that surround the trunk just below the leaves. It's is the crownshaft that makes this palm look so tropical, though the nice green color and ringed trunk add to that tropical look.

One of my complaints about kings, other than their being overplanted but poorly maintained, is they are weed factories. A happy, well watered king can produce thousands of new Kings under it every year. And if you have a nice carefully weeded tropical garden below, this is a real pain. And then there are the falling leaves. Large specimens drop their leaves onto the poor, innocent plants below, often crushing everything in their path. An adult king can shed leaves that weigh several pounds and these are hard to stop falling. Pruning them early however, looks terrible and sets up the palm for infections. Just don't plant anything delicate are hard to weed around below them.

If you are planning on planting this palm in a drier climate like So Cal, please give it lots of water or it will never look good. Underwatered Kings tend to yellow, have skinny, weak trunks and only hold 3-4 leaves at a time. Once established as a tall, sturdy tree, their water needs seem to diminish. They are a fast-growing palm and can create a canopy in just 4-6 years under which more tender tropicals can be planted. It is not itself a very hardy tree, burning at temps in the mid to high 20sF, but usually surviving unless hit by a freeze are really nasty frost.

There are at least 4 other species of Archontophoenix worth growing in So Cal, all actually more attractive than this one. So if you like the look of the kings, find a palm grower and get some other species. They all have similar hardiness (maybe some a tad less cold hardy), but most have better color.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Sahuarita, Arizona
Tempe, Arizona
Brentwood, California
Chowchilla, California
Garden Grove, California
Granite Bay, California
Hayward, California
La Verne, California
Los Altos, California
Martinez, California
Oceanside, California
Perris, California
Rancho Cucamonga, California
Reseda, California
Rialto, California
San Diego, California
San Francisco, California
Santa Ana, California
Santa Barbara, California (2 reports)
Simi Valley, California
Valley Center, California
Venice, California
Vincent, California
Visalia, California
Whittier, California
Boca Raton, Florida
Bonita Springs, Florida
Naples, Florida
Orlando, Florida
Port Charlotte, Florida
Saint Petersburg, Florida (2 reports)
Houston, Texas

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