Trachycarpus princeps (Stone Gate Palm)

Rare and choice, this beautiful palm grows on sheet limestone cliffs in the Yunnan province of China near the Tibetan border. Please contact us for stock availability and sizes.

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This rare and beautiful palm tree is a relatively recent cultivar, and I’m really excited that we now have a collection of them growing-on under the protection of our polytunnels. Mr. Martin Gibbons, modern-day plant hunter, is credited with its discovery. He found them growing on sheer limestone cliffs in the Yunnan province of China near the Tibetan border. This palm has an intriguing geographical range. If you’re a plant geek like myself, this is a bit of a ‘must have’ for the collection. 

When young, the leaves, slightly glaucous-green in colour, are held generously away from the fuzzy trunk to create a very confident and pronounced hemisphere. The first difference between this rarer discovery and similar palm varieties is the mature leaf form. The leaf divisions are more numerous and create a stately fan which comes tantalisingly close to meeting the stem and completing a full rounded shape. Almost but not quite. A mature incarnation might hold these leaves aloft at around 9m on our home shores but there's a considerable wait as they grow pretty slowly by many accounts. But as it heads towards its desired height you begin to get a clear view of the bold silvering on the underside of the leaves.

In cultivation for less than 20 years, reports vary on hardiness. It has proved at least as hardy as Trachycarpus fortunei, but can be considered more vulnerable as a young plant, definitely needing protection from hard frosts and strong winds. These palms thrive in full sun, but will take a little more shade in locations with drier conditions. A growing Trachycarpus princeps requires regular and monitored watering with sharp drainage.


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It is an absolutely wonderful treasure trove for any plant lover and we will be back (frequently!) The plants are all in superb condition, with an enormous variety to choose from. The staff are very professional and knowledgable, but also friendly and helpful.