So, this is a palm, and so is that and that and that but not that one

Some time ago, I mentioned that one of the plants in the back yard seemed to be growing a brain, and in an attempt to get a small measure of control over all the green things in the new yard and with no small amount of curiosity “did the former owner hate flowers?”, we photographed them all and trotted over to our local nursery to get some help.

Disclaimer, I’m only conveying what we were told. I took notes, but I do not vouch for any of this information.

This is a Sago Palm:

Sago palm photo

and yes, it’s supposed to look like that. According to our expert, it’s slow-growing, very expensive, and needs nothing in the way of care. Just leave it alone.

This is a bottle palm:

Bottle palm photo

So-called because of that big bottle-looking bottom. It’s also terribly root-bound and splitting its wooden container. I contracted a helper to come and re-plant it for a few reasons:

  1. I want some damn flowers around this house, and
  2. It really needs a bigger space, poor thing.

So, it’s been relocated the the back yard in the big empty space:

Bottle palm much happier

See how much happier he is there? Trust me, he is way happier. Also, this requires nothing unless we’re in a severe drought and according to the guy at the nursery, that’s not often. Just leave it alone.

This, according to our expert, is ‘just another palm’ (I think he was getting tired of us asking questions at this point):

Just another palm

Except, he’s also root-bound and he’s always looking a little dry and unhappy to me. So, he’s been relocated to another corner of the back yard where I also relocated this thing, which it turns out is a bird of paradise tree and you would not believe the ugly black bird-headed shaped things this thing can produce under the right circumstances, i.e., not being jammed under the eaves of my house. I’ll try to get photos when I can – so ugly, trust me.

Bird of paradise tree

I didn’t like this thing from the start. I find the bird of paradise trees to be creepy, but Mr. Man has this thing about killing plants – even the ones I don’t like so it’s been relocated here.

Bird of paradise tree

Barry the bear doesn’t know what to think about it, but it’s certainly spreading out and far happier over there. It had also dug its way through the bottom of its barrel and the roots were headed straight for our foundation, so I’m super glad we moved it quickly. Dastardly devil.

Now for this big thing – it’s a¬†philodendron¬†and every time I try to write that word, I have to check the spelling.

Huge philodendron

This one was at least 5 feet tall and terribly root-bound – so badly we had to drill holes into the base of the pot to drain the gallons of water in it. Standing water is bad and it gets stinky. Plus this thing really needed to be in a space where it could expand and continue to grow and I don’t have that much space. So, it was re-homed to another person’s lawn using craigslist. He needed a big fluffy plant and I had one to share. All is well and no plants were harmed in the exercise.

So, now you know all that I know about palms and other palm-looking things. I will definitely be filling in the gaps between these palms with something that flowers to have a little color, but for now, this portion of the work is handled. It was worth every penny.


fourteenergirl Written by:

A mother, sister, wife, and daughter who writes, knits, hikes, and practices yoga on the west coast. Loves a zippy chardonnay or a tart margarita!


  1. Melanie
    February 26, 2013


    When did you move? Where to?
    Frank and I and the dog are now settled in Round Rock. New LYS and making connections after 2 1/2 years. So miss those Rockies and the snow!!! We’re in mid-spring already for which we smile and give thanks that it isn’t July, yet.

  2. Melanie
    February 26, 2013

    ps: that bowl at the bottom of the palm picture: we called that the pony-tail palm — only mine was an indoor plant in Colorado and much, much smaller.

  3. March 3, 2013

    Hi Melanie,

    We had to move to California due to Steve’s job … it’s a nice area. The central coast – Santa Barbara. It’s lovely, but it’s not home. It’s very lonely out here. Working hard to make new friends, but time is still limited because of all the house settling we’re trying to do. My fingers are crossed that things will get easier, but I still cry at least once a week. *sigh* I love a lot about this place, but miss my family and friends badly. I am glad you and Frank are together. It would have been hard for all of you to be apart for long. Hang in there through the summer months!

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