The Cuban royal palm tree, Roystonea regia, differs from its close relative; the Florida royal palm, Roystonea elata in just one respect. Its columnar trunk bulges in the middle.
Some gardeners consider it to be more interesting and attractive than the Florida royal because of this shapely trunk.
This tree produces a head of foliage which can span a 25 foot width in a mature specimen. The feathery fronds grow to a length of 10 feet or more.
Intensely fragrant white flowers emerge from the crown on 4 foot long branched stalks.
Oval-shaped fruit follows the flowers and turns bright red or purple as it ripens. The fruit differs from that of Roystonea elata in that it is flat on one side. In its native Cuba, it is used as pig feed.
The 1/4 inch royal palm tree seeds can be planted to grow new trees.
Royal Palm Tree Trimming
Buy an 18′ Cuban Royal – Large Palm Tree
The dead fronds will fall off on their own. This is why these trees tend to have such a neat appearance unlike that of a Mexican fan palm which hangs on to its dead fronds.
Palms do not need pruning the way some other trees do. You can actually harm your palm tree if you remove fronds unnecessarily.
Palms eat through their fronds. The fertilizer you spread on the ground beneath them helps, but most of their nourishment comes by way of photosynthesis.
The national tree of Cuba has only about 15 fronds at maturity. Remove a healthy one and you’ve just put your royal palm tree on a diet. This will slow its growth.
The best practice is only to remove dead or damaged fronds.
The flower stalks are another matter. Removing these will not harm the tree. In fact, it may strengthen it because it won’t have to devote energy to flower and fruit production.
Which Roystonia is Best?
Florida Royals growing in Bradenton, FL.
Even though the Cuban royal palm tree is native to Cuba, it is more often planted in Florida than the Florida royal palm tree.
The two trees perform equally well in Florida’s humid summers. But if I were planting one in the desert, I would plant Roystonea regia as it is the more drought tolerant of the two.
Both are moderately salt tolerant and fast growing.
All royal palm trees are hardy down to the mid 20s F.
Royal Dwarf Palm Tree
Buy a 7′ Multi-stemmed Christmas Palm Tree
This is not a Roystonea but it looks much like one.
This is the common name of Veitchia merrillii syn. Adonidia merrillii which is also known as the Christmas palm tree because its inch long ovoid fruit turns scarlet in December.
It grows to a height of 20 feet with a 10 foot frond spread.
If you like the look of the Cuban royal palm tree but need a shorter palm this is it.