Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Pygmy Palm Tutorial

Pam (PCakes) on the Greenleaf forum has taken a look at my blog and loves my Pygmy Palm. She asked if I would tell everyone how it was made. She is also from Florida and would like to add some Floridian touches to her dollhouse... palm tree seems perfect to me!

Well I made it at a workshop, so I haven't got the supplies at home to make another one with step-by-step photo instruction - sorry. But I'll do my best to describe how we made it. It really was quite simple once you got the hang of it.

We started with foxtail grass seed heads (see photo). The teacher says she just collects from from the side of the road.

Select 7 to 11 fronds (7 for a smaller palm, 11 for a larger one). If you're doing a larger palm, select larger seed heads, for a small palm, smaller seed heads.

Gather the stems together and wrap the very bottom of the seed head with floral tape (keep the stalks on the heads - these will become the trunk of the palm). Spray the seed heads with green spray paint - I believed we used 'Basil' color ('Olive' was used later for highlighting).

Cut a piece of wire the length you would like the trunk to be. Wrap the stalks and the wire using BROWN floral tape (or green, and then painted brown). Keep the trunk as thin as possible.

Create a 'bulge' under the fronds by wrapping more tape using a figure of 8 patten around the stems. Keep it small and smooth.

Cover trunk with Fast-Grab Tacky glue and coat with ground pepper corns.

Cover the bulge with Fast-Grab tacky glue and coat with 'fluffy' textured mix. We used a mix of seed pods and other natrual matter. Just needs to be a bit more coarse than the ground pepper corns. Trim off any 'fluff' that sticks out too much.

Use a curling tong (plugged in and hot!) to bend the fronds. You probably won't want to use the tongs on your hair after you've done this!!! The tongs will flatten out the fronds and give them the distictive palm leave curl. Use different size curling tongs if you have them so the fronds are different.

Spritz the palm fronds (being careful to cover the trunk) with Olive green spray paint to add depth.

Now either plant in a pot for a 'Palor Palm' or into a straight into your landscpaing. We used pots and I put ground tea leaves as the 'soil'. Other people used lentils of different colors to look like tiny stones on the top of the pot - very affective.

People that don't live in the tropics are normally surprised to find out there are so many different types of palm tree! Pygmy palms are particularly small - normally no more than 4 or 5 feet tall. They normally grown in groups of 2 or 3 trees. they bend out slightly from each other at the base, but share the same root ball. The lower part of their trunks from thinner and slightly smoother, they bulge out just below the fronds and are quite rough there.

Hope this helps! Sorry for the lack of photos!


  1. Great! Looks like it won't be too hard to do. Thanks again!


  2. Very nice...looks real.

    BTW I've given you an award..just come over to my blog to pick it up.

  3. Your instructions were very clear so the phots weren't really needed. That is a terrific tutorial and I appreciate you sharing it . Thanky very much.

  4. Thank you for sharing this with us.