The Karyota Palm Is The Legendary “fish Tail”. Home Care. Photo

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The Karyota Palm Is The Legendary “fish Tail”. Home Care. Photo
The Karyota Palm Is The Legendary “fish Tail”. Home Care. Photo
Video: The Karyota Palm Is The Legendary “fish Tail”. Home Care. Photo
Video: Hardy Palm Heaven aka Plant Delights Nursery Pt. 2 2023, February

One of the most unusual indoor palms, the caryote, boasts the original contours of the leaf blades and a surprisingly dense, spectacular, lush crown. And although this beauty, which is easy to distinguish from any other representative of palm trees, cannot shine with a special variety of species and varieties, this does not prevent the cariota from retaining the title of one of the most spectacular and fashionable indoor giants. Growing this plant is easy enough. Difficulties can arise only with providing high humidity, comfortable for a palm tree. Otherwise, caring for the plant does not require any tricks. And the older the karyote becomes, the less hassle there will be for its care.

Caryota tender or soft (Caryota mitis)
Caryota tender or soft (Caryota mitis)


  • "Fish" greens of caryotes
  • Cariota care at home
  • Diseases and pests of karyote
  • Common Problems in Caryote Growing
  • Reproduction of karyote

"Fish" greens of caryotes

The unusualness of the karyote becomes apparent even from a distance. But the unique leaves characteristic of this palm tree can boast of special spectacularity when the shapes and sizes of the leaf plates fully reveal the asymmetry that is bizarre and atypical for the representatives of the palm family. Cariotes are inhabitants of tropical climates who love humid conditions. But their main feature at the same time still remains endurance, unpretentiousness and amazing foliage density: the appearance of this palm tree is really special.

These are evergreens, represented only by large plants of palm trees, which in nature can reach tens of meters, and in indoor culture they are limited to 1.5-2 m in height. Cariotes can grow both in the form of a single-stemmed tree, and develop in the form of bushy plants with numerous trunks, which eventually form full-fledged thickets. Leaves are double-pinnate and large. The most attractive feature of this palm is undoubtedly the original shape of the leaf blades. The intricately dissected leaves of this beauty attract not with classical lanceolate lobes, but with peculiar wide feathers - asymmetrical, oblique wedges, in which the top is truncated, as if the top was torn off.

Irregular triangles with "broken" edges and uneven serration seem weightless, quivering and light due to the rather long petioles. It is almost impossible to achieve flowering of karyota in indoor culture; it is considered a rarity even in botanical gardens. In nature, flowering occurs at least at the age of ten and lasts only 5-7 years, but continuously. True, the caryote blooms in ideally humid conditions. The branched ears of inflorescences seem unusual due to their large size and hundreds of drooping branches, somewhat reminiscent of the shape of a horse's tails.

Inflorescences develop in the axils of the leaves from the top of the crown to its base, first appearing in the axils of the upper leaves, and then gradually the flowering wave descends. At the same time, while the bottom of the palm tree is blooming, the fruits are already ripening at the top. A key feature of this palm is the dying off of shoots after fruiting. Mature trees with a single trunk die completely, and bushy forms of karyotes are renewed thanks to basal processes. Inside, the fruits hide needle-shaped crystals, which are very unpleasant to the touch and can leave damage to the skin.


Iscariot (Caryota) - bushy palm trees, tangled in a variety of which is practically impossible. Since these plants are prone to spontaneous crossing of various species with each other, it can be very difficult to determine which particular karyote appeared to your eyes in nature. So, despite the fact that dozens of species are distinguished in karyotes, they are all so similar to each other that specific features and species name are not significant, even their requirements for conditions are similar. But in room culture, the opposite is true. Of all the natural species of karyotes in room culture, only 2 have become widespread, and they are very easy to distinguish:

  1. Caryota tender, or soft (Caryota mitis) - multi-stemmed plants, in nature capable of growing up to 9 m, and in room culture are limited to a height of 1.5 m, but retaining their ability to grow mainly in breadth. Due to its growth form, this karyote makes it easy to get new plants by splitting. The leaves of this palm are large, unevenly wedge-shaped, with lobes of an asymmetric shape with a serrated edge and a tip that is more than half dissected. Each triangular leaf is 12 cm wide and only slightly longer. Cuttings from 30 to 50 cm long are quite graceful. The inflorescence stem is 60 cm long, the red fruits are round, about 1 cm in diameter.
  2. Iscariot burning, or wine palm (Caryota urens) - Single-palms with asymmetric triangular lobes leaves, and a cut top and slightly narrower leaves. Hanging multi-flowered inflorescences are powerful, in nature they can reach several meters. The fruits are larger and also red.

Cariota care at home

Bushy, densely growing, with original leaves that really resemble fish tails in shape, the caryote has rightfully earned the title of a special palm tree. Her character also differs from her brethren. In nature, a plant surprisingly easy to grow does not change its character in pots, and in a room culture it pleases with its unpretentiousness and endurance. Unlike many other forms, the cariota feels great during a warm winter and is able to forgive some care mistakes. The only thing that it makes really strict requirements for is the mode of humidity of the air and substrate. But growing a karyote isn't difficult at all, even if you don't have much experience. Moreover, this palm tree allows you to get new plants by vegetative methods and is easy to propagate.

Caryota burning, or Wine palm (Caryota urens)
Caryota burning, or Wine palm (Caryota urens)

Lighting for cariota

Cariota belongs to the light-loving, but not very well tolerant of direct sunlight. Sunny locations lead to serious damage and burns, so this beauty can only be grown in diffused lighting. Direct sunlight can be especially harmful to the plant in summer. At the southern windows, the karyote is not displayed on the windowsill, but in the interior, or a shading screen is specially provided. But on the eastern or western windowsills, the palm tree will be quite comfortable.

When placing a karyota, it should be borne in mind that it does not like overheating of the root system and prefers to be located on the floor or on low stands - so that the lighting is directed from above (but this requirement is not critical). Unfortunately, this beauty cannot put up with even a slight shade, in any insufficient light, she immediately slows down her growth and gradually loses her attractiveness.

Comfortable temperature

A living environment that is comfortable for a person is perfect for this palm tree. Cariota, unlike many of its fellows from the palm family, does not need a cool winter and reacts very badly to any temperature drop, even up to 18 degrees. Lower air temperatures in autumn and winter can lead to plant death. But warm and hot conditions work equally well for this palm. But when choosing the mode of keeping, it should be borne in mind that the higher the air temperature, the greater the need of the karyote for its high humidity. At the same time, indicators from 22 to 24 degrees are considered the optimal temperature range for a karyote.

This palm, unlike the rest, does not respond well to outdoor seating. Kariota does not like drafts and abrupt changes in the regime of detention. For a fishtail, it is better to choose conditions with stable lighting and temperatures in the rooms. And the large size of the palm does not allow it to be constantly moved. In addition, if you take it out on the terrace, balcony or garden, the cariota can suffer from pests and drafts.

Caryota tender or soft (Caryota mitis)
Caryota tender or soft (Caryota mitis)

Watering and air humidity

It is quite easy to select the soil moistening mode for karyote. This plant needs to be provided with as stable conditions as possible with a light substrate moisture. Kariota does not like waterlogging or drying out of the soil. Moreover, the latter always leads to partial loss of leaves and significantly harms the decorative effect of the palm tree. Therefore, it is advisable not to allow the complete drying of the substrate for karyote. Watering for the plant in spring and summer is carried out quite actively, allowing the soil to dry out only in the upper layer. In autumn and winter, the karyote is transferred to a more restrained watering regime, carrying out the procedures only after the upper 3-5 cm of the soil dries out. After the procedure, regardless of the season, it is advisable to immediately drain excess water from the pallets.

High humidity is the only thing that can be troublesome when growing this palm tree. Since the caryote loves a humid environment, it is necessary to take constant measures to improve the usual room performance. But you should not rush to install industrial humidifier devices. Cariota - albeit moisture-loving, but friendly to growers, a culture that can be content with regular, ideally daily spraying. Installing artisanal humidifiers (pallets) for such large plants is ineffective. In addition to spraying, this palm tree loves and regular wiping of the leaf plates with a damp sponge to get rid of dust.

Both for irrigation and for spraying, you can use only soft, settled water. But at the same time, for watering, you should also control the temperature. Kariota prefers that the procedures use water with a temperature of 20 to 25 degrees Celsius.

Top dressing for cariota

Plants need fertilizers exclusively in spring and summer. Moreover, the frequency of procedures - about 2-3 times a month - is quite standard. The only thing that should be given special attention is the choice of the type of fertilizer. For cariota, it is advisable to use special complex fertilizer mixtures for palm trees, rather than universal fertilizers. For karyota, the content of micronutrients and the balance of nutrients are very important.

Boron, fluorine, calcium, nitrogen, copper, manganese and many other trace elements are equally valuable for a plant, a lack or excess of these substances can lead to a serious disruption in the development of a palm tree. Therefore, for cariota it is better to choose fertilizers intended for palms and containing a perfectly balanced composition of trace elements. In winter and autumn, this palm is not fed. Foliar karyote methods are not suitable, as are long-term fertilizers.

Compound fruits of karyota
Compound fruits of karyota

Transplant and substrate

Any universal, high-quality indoor plant substrate is suitable for karyota. In fact, this plant is undemanding to soils, provided that it is sufficiently air and water permeable, it can put up with almost any soil. A ready-made substrate for palms is considered ideal in composition, but you can also use a universal soil mixture and independently compose a soil mixture from turf, sand, humus and compost in equal parts.

Containers for karyota must also be selected very carefully. This palm tree will develop normally only in containers, the height of which exceeds the width (and this is despite the growth of multilateral karyotes precisely in breadth). This palm tree has strong and deep tap roots that require access to free soil. The capacity is increased by an average of 5 cm compared to each previous one.

Plants are transplanted only as needed. Even at a young age, Kariota prefers a transplant with a frequency of 1 every 2 years, and it is better to transplant adult specimens with an interval of 3-4 years. At the same time, for the karyote, it is necessary to carry out transshipment with almost complete preservation of the old earthen coma (it is possible to remove only the contaminated top layer of the soil, trying not to touch the roots). Injuries to the rhizome of this palm can kill the plant. When transplanting to the bottom of the container, you need to lay a powerful drainage.

Diseases and pests of karyote

The karyote cannot be called an invulnerable plant, but usually problems arise only if care is not taken. This palm is often affected by mealybugs, spider mites, scale insects, mottling and various rot. Some types of wilting, including late blight and fusarium, are also dangerous for karyota. It is necessary to deal with any lesions on plants using combined methods, adjusting conditions or care as quickly as possible, washing the leaves of the plant with soap solutions, resorting to biological infusions and, if necessary, removing damaged parts. In parallel with the usual methods, it is necessary to start spraying the plants with insecticides or fungicides.

Caryota tender or soft (Caryota mitis)
Caryota tender or soft (Caryota mitis)

Common Problems in Caryote Growing

  1. loss of decorativeness of leaves with a lack or excess of certain microelements (the appearance of necrotic spots on leaves with a deficiency of zinc; the release of small leaves with necrotic stripes, traces of chlorosis with a deficiency of manganese; the appearance of translucent pink spots, drying out, curly leaves, yellowing with a deficiency of potassium; pale leaves with a deficiency of nitrogen; browning and dying off of the tips of the leaves with an excess of boron, copper or fluorine, chlorosis with a deficiency of magnesium, etc.);
  2. dying off, yellowing of leaves with too little watering;
  3. the appearance of dark leaves with excessive watering;
  4. the appearance of light yellow, brown spots on the leaves and curliness of the leaf blades with excessive lighting;
  5. chlorosis of young leaves with insufficient feeding;
  6. whitening of the lower leaves and inhibited plant growth in poor lighting and low temperatures;
  7. wilting and darkening of leaves in too low air temperatures or in drafts;
  8. drying of the tips of the leaves with insufficient air humidity;
  9. sagging, drooping leaves with insufficient watering.

Reproduction of karyote

Unlike most palms, karyota can be obtained not only from seeds, but also by vegetative methods. True, the latter is suitable exclusively for bush plants, specimens of soft karyota.

The most time-consuming method of reproduction is the division of adult clumps of strongly overgrown palms into several plants. In this case, it is possible to obtain full-fledged large forms in a shorter time, but the risk is greater. The separation is traditionally done during transplantation. In this case, the main goal is to cause as little damage to the rhizome as possible and to provide a period of adaptation in conditions with very high air humidity.


Cutting is another and more reliable method for cariota. Stem and leaf cuttings will not work for this palm, but rooting the offspring is very effective. As soon as at least a few independent roots appear on the root growth of the mother plant, the processes can be separated from the main bush. The offspring are rooted in clean sand under a hood at a temperature of about 20-25 degrees. For successful rooting, it is necessary to provide this palm with frequent spraying and protection from direct sunlight. Once effective rooting has taken place, the plants can be moved to their familiar caryote conditions and grown with normal care.

But seed propagation in this palm is far from being so effective. The thing is that seeds very quickly lose their germination, and germination lasts from 1 to 3 months and may not bring any result at all. Sowing seeds is carried out in the spring, in a soil disinfected with fungicides with a light texture. Before sowing, the seeds must be soaked for 24 hours in a growth stimulant solution. They are buried to a level of 1-1.5 cm in flat containers filled with substrate (the maximum height should not exceed 15 cm). Seeds can germinate only at temperatures above 25 degrees under film or glass with daily ventilation. In this case, germination is carried out in the dark.

After emergence, the container is transferred to a place with diffused bright lighting. Plants are not touched until they release the first true leaf. Only after that, young karyotes can be more carefully, trying not to touch the roots, transferred to small individual pots with a diameter of about 5 cm. Young seedlings are grown in the first year, even in winter, under the same conditions, hotter than for adult crops.

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