Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Dwarf Sugar Palm, Formosa Palm
Arenga engleri

Family: Arecaceae (ar-ek-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Arenga (aw-REN-guh) (Info)
Species: engleri (ENG-ler-ee) (Info)

One vendor has this plant for sale.

8 members have or want this plant for trade.

Tropicals and Tender Perennials

8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)
10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)
12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)

6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)
8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)
10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)
12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun
Sun to Partial Shade
Light Shade
Partial to Full Shade

Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:
Gold (Yellow-Orange)

Bloom Time:
Mid Summer

Grown for foliage

Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Flowers are fragrant
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings
This plant is monocarpic

Soil pH requirements:
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:
From seed; germinate in a damp paper towel
From seed; germinate in vitro in gelatin, agar or other medium

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us

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3 positives
No neutrals
2 negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive Fires_in_motion On Jan 30, 2011, Fires_in_motion from Vacherie, LA (Zone 9a) wrote:

There's a nice big clump growing in the palm section of the City Park botanical garden, and one about a block from my alma mater Country Day school in Metairie (at that lavishly-landscaped house with all the Medjools, Bismarckias and olive trees). I was not happy to learn today that this species is monocarpic, but I still hope to get one, mainly because I love silvery plants. This one only has silver undersides on its leaves, with dark green on top. This species holds its leaves up so stiffly that you actually see the undersides much more than you see the green tops, hence I consider it an honorary member of the elite Silver Plant Club.

Negative Equilibrium On Feb 26, 2005, Equilibrium wrote:

The A. engleri is native to islands south of Japan, including Taiwan and the Ryukyu Islands. This palm can cause severe allergic reactions so best to consider wearing gloves when handling seed or fruit.

Very easy to propagate from seed. Seed bank can be viable up to two years. Propagation can also be achieved by division as well as by removing the suckers.

The plant is viable in sub tropical as well as temperate (reports it is hardy to Zone 7) climates which is most probably why it is popular for those attempting to achieve a "tropical" look in their landscape.

Negative coolricks On Sep 28, 2004, coolricks from Tijuana
Mexico wrote:

excelent looking palm, but no mater what you think about the fruit DO NOT eat them, they are kind of toxic!!!!

Positive Kylecawaza On Aug 23, 2004, Kylecawaza from Corte Madera, CA (Zone 10a) wrote:

This is one of the best palms you can grow in San Francisco, they grow slowly but beautifully in cool coastal climates, although they would like the hotter sumers. They handle downn to 24 F, but occasionally down to 18, as one did in Seattle, but it rotted in the summer.

Positive palmbob On Aug 17, 2003, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

This is the most commonly grown palm of this genus in the US. It is a clumping palm that does very well in many of the southern states in the warmers areas (like here in So Cal). It can handle frosts down to about 24F... maybe even a bit colder. It is very drought, wind, sun and shade tolerant when mature. In the sun it tends to stay more compact and shrubby, but in shady conditions it develops longer, lankier trunks and becomes an elegant palm. It is a slow poke, though, at least when young.

As noted, it is a monocarpic palm, but since it is a suckering palm, only the flowering stem dies. It has one of the best odors of all flowers in the palm world, and very potent. It also has nice looking flowers (often an insignificant part of a palm). In Southern California it is a prolific seed producer, and seeds are generally pretty easy to germinate. Native to Japan and Taiwan


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

Merced, California
Oceanside, California
Reseda, California
Santa Barbara, California
Santa Rosa, California
Temecula, California
Thousand Oaks, California
Visalia, California
Altamonte Springs, Florida
Bradenton, Florida
Brandon, Florida
Orlando, Florida
Palm Bay, Florida
Tampa, Florida
West Palm Beach, Florida
Brunswick, Georgia
Hana, Hawaii
Metairie, Louisiana
New Orleans, Louisiana
North, South Carolina
Austin, Texas
Houston, Texas

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