Seed Swaps

Problems with Triangle Palm ‘Dypsis decaryi’

Triangle Palm ‘Dypsis decaryi’, of about 30 years old.
I have just noticed a unusual plant, plants growing out of the trunk and not sure what to do.
There are two and one is infected with ladybirds so they maybe scale or aphids there.

I hope you can tell me if I should treat or remove the growth?

Posted about 1 year ago

Looks like its flowering.

Posted about 1 year ago


Folia Helper

United Kingdom8a

Hi, Seaview, they may indeed be flowers. Have a look at the photos on the page at this link:

It’s a VERY technical page but if you scroll down you will find there are lots of photos. A few seem similar to your photo.

Posted about 1 year ago

Hello Seaview and welcome to Folia.

Yes, Ananasbanana is correct, it is a flower spike. They develop direct from the trunk. The spike will flower, then will be followed by large, hard and woody seed pods. The spike will become quite heavy and woody and will eventually drop from the palm. Once the flower spike is finished and has dried on the plant you can sometimes gently wiggle it back and forth until is separates from the trunk, in much the same manner as the fronds do before they eventually fall. You could also trim the finished flower spike from the trunk in the same way of sawing through spent fronds. My triangle palm drops seeds every year, and this year I’ve noticed a couple of seedlings have sprung up beneath it. So it is really a matter of deciding if you want to collect the seeds, or have seedlings germinate at the foot of the palm, or if you prefer to keep the palm looking neat and tidy. I tend to let fronds and flower spikes remain on the trunk until they naturally fall, but that is only because I find it too hard a job to saw off the spent parts. I sometimes rake up the fallen seeds, but I have also been known to mow them down along with the grass.

The insects at the base of the flower stalk look very much like scale insects. If the palm is not showing any signs of distress and it is over 30 years old, then it is probably quite resistant to the scale. A younger or more fleshy plant might succumb to their sap-sucking practices, but I would guess that at that age and corresponding size of the palm, the scale will most likely have little impact. They have probably been there year after year. I find them more active in some seasons than others, usually in spring and autumn when the weather is neither too hot, nor too dry. They will be spread by ants. Ants herd them like cattle, taking them out to pasture, protecting them from predators, and harvesting the scales’ honeydew, the secretion from sucking on all those juicy plant tissues.

Some simple remedies if you want to be rid of the scale are:

Spray a solution of dishwashing detergent onto the effected area. The detergent will kill most ants on contact, but my personal experience is that it takes a heavy coating of the detergent to kill those large, biting, tropical Green Tree Ants. So, if you’ve got Green Tree Ants be very generous with the quantity of solution you spray onto them. The consistency, if you are wondering, is to mix up a solution about the same as you would use to wash the dishes.

To kill the scale, mix up a paste of plain flour from your kitchen and a little water, then go outside and dab it thickly onto the scale infestation. You want to coat them in a moderate layer of flour paste as this will cut off their supply of air and suffocate them. It is also possible to dilute the paste to a just sprayable consistency and spray it onto your plants, but I’ve always found the paint-it-on-direct approach more effective. I keep an assortment of small artists brushes for these purposes.

Hoping this helps you some.

Posted about 1 year ago

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