The red sealing wax palm is much loved by many, especially by the people from the West. The Singapore Botanic Gardens even used this palm in their emblem! Over here, this palm is so popular that can be seen all over Singapore and it has probably earned itself the ‘national palm’ status. It has become too ‘common’ that the people here do not want it anymore in their gardens.
Botanically known as Cyrtostachys renda with a synonym Cyrtostachys lekka, it is a palm that is native to this part of the world. It grows in the lowland coastal swamps because of this, this palm needs a lot of water. It can be grown in outdoor areas with semishade to full sun.
Very slow-growing, this palm will eventually reach a height of about 6 m. I would prefer shorter plants about half this height so that the vividly coloured red crownshafts can be easily appreciated. It is also a clustering palm as many side shoots will emerge from the base to form a colony, which gets bigger with age.
Recently, in one of the display plots in HortPark located near the back of Singapore’s newly opened gardening hub, I saw a couple of stands of sealing wax palms that feature orange coloured crownshafts, which is unlike the screaming red colour that is so commonly seen nowadays.
This colour is more subdued and less glaring on the eye! These plants with the orange coloured crownshafts have actually been around for quite some time and therefore cannot be considered as something that is very new. But it is a palm that is worth considering for growing in your garden if you want something different.