Hawaiian Palm--Brighamia insignis

greenelbows1(z9--so LA)May 11, 2006

Yesterday we had a meeting at the home--well, mostly in the yard!--of a lady with a great passion for plants and enough space and money to indulge it. I don't know if I'm jealous--I think a little--but she has so much land she has to have several people helping, which I would not like so much. Anyway, one of the interesting plants she had--actually, two matching pots, were of a plant she knew only as Hawaiian Palm. Very interesting looking caudiciform, obviously not a palm. So I had fun last night surfing for an identity, and also got some great information. It is indeed from Hawaii, and was near extinction when some intrepid and dedicated plant people started climbing up and down on ropes to get to the few remaining populations and collect and distribute pollen, and collect seeds so there are now more plants in botanical gardens and collections than in their native areas. Another common name, much more descriptive than 'Hawaiian Palm', is 'Cabbage on a Stick', which doesn't sound as attractive. It has a full rosette of shiny foliage and yellow fragrant flowers. Have any of you seen it, or are you lucky enough to have it?

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jon_d(Northern Calif.)

Hi Nancy,
I see it every once in a while for sale at cactus and succulent shows. I had one once but managed to rot it. I think it is not terribly hard to grow but needs mild indoor conditions. It is not cold tolerant, and needs careful watering and a loose open media. I remember seeing a photo of a plant growing at the top of a vertical cliff, just out of reach of the photographer--a very striking and wonderful, unique plant.


    Bookmark   May 13, 2006 at 2:08PM
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I have one of these plants. I actually just washed off what appeared to be a spider mite infestation, and I stumbled across this web site trying to figure out what it is exactly. It was bought at a Whole Foods market in Redondo Beach, CA. Right now it is pretty happy sitting in front of a sunny west facing window.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2006 at 12:02AM
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nanw_4wi(4/SW WI)

I *had* this one, too, and it's not hard to grow, as Jon stated, but spider mites absolutely adore it.

Mine got 'stuck in the back' of a shelf of plants last fall during the mad dash to get plants in before the first frost (I'm such a procrastinator) and I forgot to water it, so she's gone.

Easy to grow, with good light, but watch the humidity on this one....spider mites were very difficult to keep away from it!!

    Bookmark   June 21, 2006 at 11:30AM
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tropicalfreak(z10b Ft Lauderdale)

i have one on screen porch..is doing well despite the mites...is root bound...need to repot, as i do alot of stuff...lol

    Bookmark   June 21, 2006 at 1:41PM
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Mine is about 5 years old. This was the first year it had cold damage to the tip of the plant. This summer it has started to send out branches below the damaged portion. Each branch is growing its own cluster of leaves. It kind of looks retarded but its still cool.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2006 at 10:29PM
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I am seeking a pair of Brighamia insignis plants, preferably seed-grown rather than tissue cultured. If you have any information on availability or a referral, send them to me, and thanks!!!

Dr Peter Harrington
Baton Rouge, Louisiana

    Bookmark   August 14, 2007 at 5:01PM
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I bought Brighamia today, and reppoted it in soil for cactus (I thought Brighamia is succulent, so it is ok). Afterward I read this somewhere on the web:

Culture: -Pot in a lightweight, well-drained, acidic soil (e.g. carnivorous plant mix)

Can in grow in soil for cactus, or should i reppot it (again) in other soil?

    Bookmark   September 15, 2007 at 3:46PM
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I have two B.insignis and 3 B.rockii. They very easy to grow, cold tolerant but not heat. I've killed more from temps over 90deg than temps in the 20s. Any soil will do as long as it's fast draining. My insignis is covered with buds, should flower in a month or so.

Took this photo at a nursery in So. Ca in March

Link is photos I took in Hawaii 2002

Here is a link that might be useful: Brighamia insignis

    Bookmark   October 13, 2007 at 11:30PM
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greenlarry(UK 8/9)

I saw these for sale yesterday in Home base (see the C&S forum). It was just labeled Hawaiian Palm and i had to find out what it was. There's info on it at Bihrmann's Caudiciforms,its actually related to Campanula!

Here is a link that might be useful: Bihrmann's Caudiciforms

    Bookmark   October 14, 2007 at 7:30AM
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I bought one of these palms a week ago. All the leaves are turning yellow and dying. I have cleaned them with water. There appear to be no mites. Does anyone know what I can do to stop the plant dying. I have placed it on my window sill, the temperature is approx. 20C.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2007 at 3:51AM
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Whoohooo!!! So glad I found this site. I purchased mine at WalMart yesterday and was shocked to discover today that my dear husband had removed the care tag. :-P We live near Escondido, CA and would love suggestions on whether it should be primarily indoor/outdoor.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2008 at 11:24PM
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P.S. Does anyone know the name of a nursery in SoCal where I could find these? Thank you!

    Bookmark   September 14, 2008 at 11:28PM
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Missmaia, I just bought one at Lowe's in San Clemente.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2008 at 2:53AM
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Hi. I bought one of these beautiful plants about two months ago. When i first got it it had lots of leaves and seemed to be doing fine.

When i brought it home, all the leaves started turning yellow and dying. Since then, I've tried about everything. More sun, less sun, waterings etc. I haven't repotted it yet, it's still young and in the soil it came in originally. Does anyone have any advice? I don't know what to do, it seems to get only about 4 leaves, then they all turn yellow and die.

How do can I tell if it has mites? I can't see anything...

    Bookmark   October 27, 2008 at 5:37PM
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these guys will sometimes go dormant for a couple months at a time. if the leaves all fall off dont freak out and throw it away. very cool plants with spiral phyllotaxy.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2009 at 8:19PM
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Constantino Gastaldi

Yes, a new plant, a new breeze on the old ones. What amazes me is the fact that the information is all at our disposal. Imagine some years ago, we would be all in the dark.Here we find the best information. Yes I just got one and mine is a big three headed plant. Yes, and I am not in Hawaii I live in Brazil. I simply could not resist and the plants looked good and cheap, something like Twenty Us Dollars. They are flowering young adults and mine looks like a three lettuces on trunks. As I live in South the climate is just perfect.
If you like weird plants and also exotic and tremendously beautiful ones take a good look at this:
Blog Dyckia Brazil

Here is a link that might be useful: Dyckia Brazil

    Bookmark   May 19, 2009 at 1:52PM
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Hi I just bought one of these plants a few weeks ago mail order. It didn't come with any care instructions. Re potted the plant in House plant compost, and watered it. The leaves are turning yellow and dying. Even a couple of the new leaves that seen to be coming through are not surviving. Can someone help me please? I have not had many house plants so I'm kinda new at this, and the last thing I want is another dead plant after all my outdoor ones were killed by excessive rainfall!

    Bookmark   March 22, 2010 at 5:41AM
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penfold2(4b, MN)

Sounds like root rot. These plants will do best in a very porous medium. Think grit, not soil. A mix of gritty ingredients like conifer bark, perlite, pumice, scoria, granite (whatever you can find in your area) will work much better than standard potting soil.

I'd remove all the old soil from the plant, cut off any rotten roots, and check the trunk for soft spots. If the trunk is healthy, let it dry out for a day, then repot in a more appropriate mix.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2010 at 4:06PM
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Hi , Can anyone help? I have a Hawaiian palm, potted in orchid compost i.e. fairly free draining. It is inside , on a South facing windowsill as we aren't so lucky with the weather in the UK! However the leaves keep turning yellow & dropping off, almost faster than new ones can be produced. What am I doing wrong? How much sun does it need? How much water? HELP! Jenny

    Bookmark   July 27, 2010 at 4:14PM
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I've had two of these for a year only, so most of what I know is from what I've read elsewhere. Take that into account.

A small leaflet was attached to mine when I bought them. It says:
"The Hawaiian Palm needs sufficient yet indirect light. Be sure the plant is put in a reasonably sheltered position. Avoid over-watering. A regular but measured dose is preferable (with plant food every now and then)."

Your plant might actually be getting too much sun, as strange as that sounds for something Hawaiian. It's possible the new leaves will be accustomed to the strong sun, but I don't know. Mine sit out of direct sun below a south facing window and don't seem to mind, but an east-facing window might be a good alternative. I don't have one or I'd try it out myself.

You don't mention if the new leaves fall off as well, but if they're mostly okay, I don't think you need to worry too much. This is a hardy plant as long as you don't over-water, but both of mine have lost a bunch of their leaves several times, probably from the stress of repotting or significant changes in their growing conditions. As a result, they're not as lush as when I bought them, but they've always grown new leaves and even a single flower once.

To illustrate how hardy they are, my 1' tall plants went five months without water (NOT recommended, circumstances just worked out that way) and got very sunken trunks, but it only took watering twice for them to look full again. Basically, they're pretty forgiving plants in my experience, so if it's not rotting I don't think you're about to lose it.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2010 at 3:48PM
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Hi everyone!

I have a question.I had already 2 Hawaiian Palms now and both seems to be rotting.

The first plant I now I gave to much water but now the second I realy took vareoff.

I wanted to try something but don't know if it will work,by cutting the rotten part off.There's about 10-15cm over from the trunk that is not soft.

Does any one have experience with cutting a Hawaiian Palm succesfully?


    Bookmark   March 12, 2015 at 10:27AM
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