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Posted:  18 May 2012 23:45  
What would you guys use? I have the opportunity to bid on this pretty great Atrium and they are really looking for WOW factor, they currently have ficus benjamina, but not too happy with them. I've thought other ficus variety or olive trees. I'm looking for them to be 13-17 feet tall. Any insight would be greatly helpful!

thanks in advance !
Posted:  19 May 2012 02:58  
Black olives will require a LOT of understanding on the part of your client about the leaf drop issue.  They will refoliate in time, but most clients didn't sign on to be nursemaids to stressed-out trees at those prices, so I'd probably pass on the olives.

Ficus 'Spire' will give you a unique look, narrow and large-leafed as opposed to the typical spreading canopy of F. benjamina.  If you can find them big enough, I heartily recommend them.  Look to the larger specimen nurseries for guidance about other possibilities, but it depends on how many you'll need.

Posted:  19 May 2012 06:30  
What about 16-18' Kentias (20" pot). No leaf drop and minor maintenance problems. Don't know where you are so getting them to you might be a problem, but they are less than half the price they were a year ago.

Rick Wilcox
Keeline Wilcox
Posted:  21 May 2012 15:43  
Clem is correct about the method of choosing the big specimen plants. In the 70's and 80's, there was a lot of diversity in large plant material.  Now the selection has become more limited, as the investment is a long-term one by the growers.  You will be better off asking them and working around availability, unless you can work large, tall planters into the plant so that smaller plants can be used.

Remember, replacement plants must be available for down the road, in case there are problems.


Posted:  24 May 2012 07:00  
What about Fish tail Palms?  Good luck I hope you get the job and the wow factor is so important, other advise here is very good.
Posted:  24 May 2012 16:32  
Fishtail palms are beautiful for about three months...then the spotting, tipping, yellowing and mites happen, and it's Katie-bar-the-door.  You will need to invest time and money cleaning/spraying/applying predators to keep the mites under some sort of control, but Fishtails (like Adonidias) are like candy to mites.

Posted:  02 Jun 2012 00:56  
I've always had good results with fishtails, and I'm in Fla where the mites are in the air all the time.  A nice spray with soap and water at each service seems to do the trick; and getting the water right, of course.  Re plant suggestions, would bird of paradise work for you?
Posted:  04 Jun 2012 14:52  
Strange.  We rarely have problems with mites on Fishtails.  The tipping is usually a watering problem.  You are correct about the color issues.  We just make sure that we watch them and address the issue when it occurs.  Because they are heavy water-users, leachable nutrients are usually the issue.

To me, the biggest downfall is that they are vigorous growers.  We have to replace them more often that some other plants, due their quick-growing habits....but, for the same reason, are good for spaces that require "big show/little dough."  They are also tolerant of less-than-perfect light levels...even 125 f.c.

Posted:  04 Jun 2012 17:40  
I've avoided Fishtails like the plague for years because of the mite issue.  We rarely if ever get mites anymore in our greenhouses, but if I were to bring in a Fishtail Palm, they'd be gorging on it in a matter of days.  Same goes for accounts...we see mealybugs on Chams and other palms more nowadays (too much use of imidacloprid without proper rotation of other pesticide classes), but hardly ever have a mite problem in our accounts anymore.


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