Become an expert in palms and cycads

Throughout this course you will learn to distinguish between the characteristics of different types of palms and cycads.
Learn the general cultural practices required to grow palms and cycads including propagation and appropriate pest and disease treatments.
Discover how to choose palms and cycads to suit different climatic situation; how to use them in the landscape and their various commercial applications.

Learn to Growing Palms and Cycads


There are eight lessons in this course as follows:

1. Introduction

2. Culture

3. Propagation

4. Selecting Suitable Palms and Cycads

5. Pests & Diseases of Palms and Cycads

6. Using Palms and Cycads

7. Commercial Applications For Palms & Cycads

8. Special Assignment

Duration: 100 hours

Course Aims:

  • Distinguish between the characteristics of different types of palms and cycads.
  • Determine general cultural practices, including propagation, for growing palms and cycads.
  • Choose palms and cycads to suit different climatic situations.
  • Determine treatments for palms and cycads suffering various health problems.
  • Specify appropriate landscape applications for palms and cycads.
  • Explain different commercial applications for palms and cycads.


Here are just some of the things you may be doing:

  • Distinguish between different plant families, including: *Arecaceae *Zamiaceae *Cycadaceae.
  • Distinguish between different major groups which the Arecaceae (Palmae) family is divided into.
  • Compile a resource file of sources for information on palms and cycads.
  • Prepare a herbarium collection of many different palms and cycads.
  • Explain different ways to plant different specified palm or cycads plants.
  • Compare growing palms in the ground with growing them in a pot as an indoor plant.
  • Explain appropriate techniques for watering palms and cycads in a specified garden, or collection of container plants.
  • Develop guidelines for preparing a specified soil for planting a palm.
  • Make a potting media suitable for growing palms or cycads in a 300mm container.
  • Evaluate the chemical analyses of different types of fertiliser to determine their suitability for use on palm and cycad plants.
  • Prepare a maintenance program for a palm plantation which, includes: *Soil management *Pest and disease control *Weed control *Pruning *Irrigation *A twelve month work schedule.
  • Write a procedure for propagating palms or cycads.
  • Summarise common causes for seed failure when propagating palms and cycads.
  • Perform tasks associated with propagating a palm from seed, including collecting and germinating seed.
  • Identify different environmental zones, which are suitable for growing palms selected from a provided list of twenty species.
  • Determine palm and cycad species which are particularly hardy and adaptable different environmental zones.
  • Determine different species of cold tolerant palms and cycads.
  • Develop lists of palms and cycads, suited to grow in different situations.
  • Determine the pests which commonly occur on palms and cycads.
  • Determine a range of diseases which commonly occur on palms and cycads.
  • Develop a checklist of things to inspect when making an assessment of the health of palms and cycads.
  • Evaluate the health of different palms or cycads using a plant health checklist, developed by you.
  • Specify treatments for different pests which are common on palms.
  • Specify treatments for common diseases which affect palms.
  • Specify treatments for common problems which affect cycads.
  • Compare alternative (ie. non-chemical) methods of treating common palm or cycad health problems.
  • Select different palm species which have spikes on the foliage.
  • Select different palm species which have no spikes on the foliage.
  • Determine palm varieties which have distinct foliage colours other than green.
  • Determine self-cleaning palm species.
  • Determine palm species which are not self-cleaning.
  • Categorise different palm species according to the texture of the foliage, including: *Broad leaves (e.g. fan palms) *Fine textured feather palms *Coarser textured feather palms.
  • Evaluate the use of palms/cycads in a garden which incorporates at least different varieties, commenting on both aesthetics and function.
  • Draw a landscape plan, demonstrating aesthetic impact, for a garden bed, where palms and cycads comprise 75% of the total number of plants used.
  • Evaluate the use of palms in a commercial interior (e.g. office or shopping complex).
  • Develop a procedure for the production of a palm plant in a wholesale nursery, from germinating the seed to the time it is ready for sale.
  • Determine how a specified palm needs to be treated differently when grown in a greenhouse.
  • Describe commercial farming of palms including the production of coconuts, dates and palm oil.


Making a Career out of Palms

Thousands of people around the world have made their passion for palms into a full or part time job. Some have done this by breeding and selling rights to new varieties or collecting and selling palm seed, others have established a plant nursery , some have gone into publishing books or magazines; and yet others have set up a landcaping business or and indoor plant hire company that specializes in palms.

The benefit of a course like this is often that it helps provide you with a balanced perspective on the subject. Many people who come to palms as an amateur enthusiast, will learn to grow a variety well; but may miss developing certain areas of knowledge (eg. a business sense, an understanding of post harvest treatment, a knowledge of certain problems that occasionally occur). Though they may grow great palms for an amateur collection; turning a hobby into a career can often be a very different thing. Working systematically through a course and getting some mentoring from a professional horticulturist/tutor can sometimes make the difference between success and failure.