First Flowering: Pandanus cookii

This summer my fifteen year old specimen of Pandanus cookii flowered. It was collected from Cape York by Yuruga Nursery in the Atherton Tableland, where I bought it.

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Like all Pandanus, they are intolerant of frost and grow best in sub-coastal gardens in full sunshine in an open position with excellent drainage. I watered my plant six times to get it established when I planted it in September 2004. When it starts growing in summer it gets a small amount of poultry manure.

It has been growing strongly in my front garden where I planted it beside my stormwater soakaway pit. This means it gets an occasional deep soaking, and by placing it alongside the pit’s retaining wall I’ve encouraged its spined dropper roots to descend to the bottom, making them into more of a feature.

The yellowish flowering bracts only lasted a few days before going brown. The fruit are now swelling but since the flowers could not be pollinated, I don’t expect it to set viable seed.

Largely trouble-free, the only pest to watch out for are grasshoppers, which in winter can settle in to the crown and ruin a few leaves.

Jerry Coleby-Williams
4th May 2010