Travelers Palm

Travelers Palm

Travelers Palm


Travelers Palm

With its exceptionally beautiful leaf display the travelers palm would make a great addition.

It will turn any yard into a little slice of paradise.

Even though they aren't a member of the palm family... I have included them because of their common names and close association to them.

Appearance and Plant Family

They are actually members of the bird-of-paradise plant family.

The traveler palm is more closely related to the banana tree family than the palm tree one. The reason is because of the shape of the leaves and it is such fast grower.

The little one we have in our yard was just planted not long ago and in less than six months it has more than doubled in size.

Their leaves are almost exactly like that of the banana tree, and not like a palm at all.

They don’t have branches either just the large leaves that first appear like a new green stick, then once they are full size-they unroll themselves.

Unfortunately these trees don’t grow any kind of edible fruit but they have one of the coolest leaf patterns going.

Travelers Leaf Pattern

Banana Leaf (above)

Travelers Leaf


The wonderful travelers palm trees require a lot of sunlight and only grow in tropical and sub-tropical climates.

They could not withstand freezing.

They thrive in well drained soil, with some fertilizer applied every 2 months or so.

They need a fair amount of water but their roots should not be left standing in water.

Great for landscapes but they get too big, too fast to have as a container or indoor palm.

The traveler palm grows much the same way as the sago palm, it starts out it is just a bunch of leaves coming straight out of the ground. 

You won’t see the trunk of the young tree until it is big enough around to support a good size “top”.

They look beautiful, but a bit funny too-as you could have a trunk about eight to twelve inches around that’s only 6 inches high.

You’ll have no trouble being able to tell a male from a female version of the travelers palm tree.

The males are a single tree with no flowers or pods growing out of the middle of the fan.

The flowers are shaped just like the bird-of-paradise flowers but are green in color.

The females have all that and sometimes end up growing a second or third complete fan from the same trunk.

The double fan picture shows the flowers too.

They will also get sucker plants just like the banana tree.

If you don't want multiple trees you will need to prune off the suckers as they emerge from the ground.

Quick Info

Scientific name: Ravenala madagascariensis

>25-35 ft tall, up to 20 ft wide, multi trunks unless suckers are trimmed out

>minimum temp 32 F,    zones 10-11

>needs full sun and lots of space

>grows in any well drained soil with some organic matter added

>salt but not drought tolerant

Landscape Groupings

The travelers palm is a favorite for landscapers and those who appreciate the symmetrical shape of these beautiful plants.

They make great arrangements in gardens, and they are an excellent tree for blocking the view of your backyard. At least until they get too tall.

When left alone and if they stay healthy they can grow just as tall as the coconut palm, and "fans" on them can be extremely large!

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