Arenga engleri

Taiwan sugar palm
Slow clustering growth with short trunks, fragrant flowers. Exotic foliage for warmer gardens. Hardy to frost. Good in pots.
Arenga engleri
height 5–12
width 6–14ft
tolerates Coast, Cold, Heat, Pots
Water regularly and deeply when the top layer of soil is dry (down to an inch or so) to establish over several years and then every week or two during dry months. Prefers good drainage.
exposure Part Sun – Full Sun
drainage In Ground: Cactus Mix, In Pots: Cactus Mix, Tolerates Sandy Soil
fertilizing Fish Emulsion, Palm Fertilizer
origin Taiwan
9, 12–16, 18–H2

Sunset Zones Map

Outdoor Exposure Guide


Full Sun
Six or more hours of sun beams directly landing on the plant's leaves.

Part Shade
Three to five hours of sun beams directly landing on the plant's leaves.

Part Sun
One to two hours of sun beams directly landing on the plants leaves.

Full Shade
The plant is never fully lit by sun beams, but is in a bright spot or has dappled sunbeams playing over the leaves throughout the day.

Deep Shade
The plant never has dappled light on the leaves, and is in a place that feels dim, even on a nice sunny day.


Growing Notes

Faster growth in warmer summers. Remarkably cold-hardy but languishes in the coastal fog belt of Northern California. However, OK in banana belts around SF Bay, Santa Cruz, southward and thrives inland. Coastal tolerance in Sunset zone 24.
In warmest valley areas, looks better with midday or afternoon shade. Shade key to success in the low desert.
Do not disturb rootball when planting. Cover any visible roots with soil or mulch. Add organic matter to improve drainage in clay soils and to increase moisture and nutrients in sandy soils. Good near lawn, among other irrigated plants, but is not exceptionally thirsty. Can grow indoors in bright indirect light.
Fertilize in March, June, and September for best performance.
Prune off lower fronds and flower stalks at their base when they begin to brown. Once a stem completes its flowering and fruiting cycle, cut it at the base to groom the clump. Avoid skin/eye contact with sawdust by wearing gloves and safety glasses.
Do not handle caustic fruits without gloves and keep young children and pets from ingesting them. Remove developing fruit stalks to protect toddlers and pets from this hazard.

Special Interest

One of the hardiest palms for a tropical look. Great in a pot. Fronds with luminous silvery undersides and clipped-edge leaflets . An exceptional foliage plant with great durability. Flowers produce a pleasing fragrance that carries in the garden. Deserves greater use where temperatures rarely drop below 24F but summers are balmy.

More Info

Individual stems grow foliage for years, then reach flowering age, produce fruit, and die, not unlike a clustering agave. Removing dead trunks over the years maintains its appeal as new shoots continuously develop from the base and keep it full.
Also called Formosa palm. A smaller, closely related species, Arenga ryukyuensis, from Japan’s Ryukyu Islands, looks similar and has the same requirements and growth habit.