Paurotis Palm

Acoelorrhaphe wrightii

The clustering paurotis palm forms a tropical oasis of slim trunks, fan leaves and a casual, "naturalized" Florida look.

young paurotis palm

The paurotis is often called "Everglades Palm" because it's a native that grows there in dense stands.

The tall, slender trunks retain leaf bases (called "boots") and fiber, for a soft crusted look that complements the bright green fan-shaped leaves.

If this palm thins out - with fan leaves clustered only at the top - the look can be skimpy.

Leave some suckers (young shoots) to fill in with leaves in at different heights.

When kept well-trimmed, this is one palm that can look spectacular with nightime uplighting.

Plant specs

The paurotis is an easy-care palm, cold hardy throughout South Florida including Zone 9B.

It grows slowly in sun to part shade, and can eventually reach a height of 25 feet.

This moderately salt-tolerant palm spreads to form a large cluster, so plant in a spot where eventual spreading will be restricted (edged by sidewalk, patio, house).

These are deer-resistant palms, though nothing is really deer-proof.

Plant care

No soil amendments are necessary for this palm.

Even though these are native palms for South Florida, fertilization is necessary for the paurotis's health and good looks.

Apply a good-quality granular palm fertilizer with micronutrients 3 times a year (spring, summer and autumn).

Trim off browned fronds for a cleaner look. You can cut off emerging shoots at ground level to keep the palm's width in check, but leave some for a prettier, more ornamental look.

You'd think a palm that grows wild in the Everglades could handle poorly drained soil and swampy conditions. Not the paurotis. In spite of what many sources may tell you, it needs well-drained soil, and though it's moderately drought-tolerant, it prefers a regular watering.

Plant spacing

Because this is a clustering palm with some height, you'll want to situate it 4 feet (or more) from the house to keep it away from eaves and roof lines. Along a fence, however, it can be planted as close as 3 feet out.

If you're using paurotis palms for screening or to grow in a row, plant 3 or more feet apart.

The paurotis is not a good choice for a container palm.

Landscape uses for paurotis palm

  • as a "hedge" along the property line
  • accenting the corner of the house
  • to add interest along a blank wall
  • stand-alone specimen for the yard
  • tall, tropical backdrop for other plants
  • as a privacy screen for pool or patio areas
  • architectural accent plant near the entry

A.K.A. (also known as): Everglades Palm


COMPANION PLANT SUGGESTIONS: Plumbago, gold mound, snowbush, ligustrum sinensis, fountain grass, or other plants that form "clouds" around the palm's base.

Other palms you might like: Chinese Fan Palm, European Fan Palm

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