Palmetum in Tenerife – Europe’s best palm trees

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When our team member Helen headed to the Canaries, she couldn’t resist visiting Santa Cruz’s Palmetum in Tenerife. This botanical garden includes specimens of the coconut trees that we use to make our coir-based compost. Here’s her verdict:

Where is the Palmetum in Tenerife?

“You can’t miss the Palmetum if you’re in Santa Cruz. Its 400-plus palm species crown a green hill just a 10 minute walk from the city centre. The 12 hectare site covers an artificial hill more than 40 metres high. It’s built on a landfill site that closed in the 1980s.

View of the Palmetum in Tenerife from the Auditorio
View of the Palmetum from the Auditorio opera house

A chequered history

The land was claimed from the sea and originally named “˜The Lazaretto’. A lazaretto is the name for a quarantine station for maritime travellers and others suspected of having contagious diseases. It was probably there during the battle where Nelson lost his arm.

Palm trees at the Palmetum palm trees
Specimens of the palm trees our coir comes from

20 years in the building

It was the agronomist Manuel Caballero who suggested a botanical project to transform the rubbish dump. Engineers built paths and turfed over debris and installed a gas extraction system. In 1996 biologist Carlo Morici imported specimens of palm trees and collected seeds from across the world. The site now includes 2,000 plant species including 70 endangered species.

Spain’s first sustainable public park

It’s heartening to know that the Palmetum went “˜green’ back in 2007. It doesn’t use herbicides or pesticides. Their water is reclaimed from municipal sewage and they use organic mulch. Hats off to Aurea Baena and Maria Flores of the Department of Parks and Gardens for pushing for this. Birdlife is thriving, with long-eared owls breeding there.

Around the world in 472 palm trees

The Palmetum is very green and lush, with plenty of shade. There are great views out to sea and across the city. You’re given a map so you can navigate yourself “˜around the world’ of 14 geographical regions. These include New Zealand, Hawaii, the Canaries and Africa. The silver-grey Bismarckia nobilis was particularly stunning. Its seeds were once spread by giant extinct birds.

bismarckia nobilis palm - the Palmetum in Tenerife
Bismarckia nobilis – copyright Kate Marzillier
Palmetum in Tenerife - sea view
Sea views south from the Palmetum in Tenerife

Jurassic Peninsula?

The central Octagon with its waterfalls and rivelets was really atmospheric. Its sunken garden did remind me a little of the Indominus Rex enclosure of the “˜invisible dinosaur’ in Jurassic World. But then I have a rather overactive imagination!

Palmetum in Tenerife - the Octagon
The Octagon – centre of the Palmetum

Exit through the gift shop

There were a few palm-related treats in the gift shop including palm honey. As we wanted to get to the municipal swimming pool before it closed, we skipped the interpretation museum part, but it looked very impressive. It was also good to see in person the star of our Interview with a coconut.

Cocos nucifera display at the Palmetum
Cocos nucifera display

Tips for visiting

Opening times and prices

The Palmetum is open all year including Sundays and Public Holidays from 10am to 6pm. Gates close at 5pm.

It costs 6 Euro per adult and 2,80 Euro per child (correct as of April 2019)

Palmetum in Tenerife - view over Santa Cruz
View over Santa Cruz from the Palmetum

You can buy a joint ticket for here and the Parque Maritimo César Manrique. This is the city’s municipal outdoor pool with lots of sunbeds, changing rooms and curving pools with islands to swim around. You just need to take your swimming costume and a towel.

How steep is it?

There is a lift to the top of the hill. Although the hill looks steep, the tarmacked paths loop up the side so it’s not too tiring. However do wear sensible shoes as there’s quite a bit of walking. There are toilets near the entrance to the Octagon on the top of the hill.

A great spot for coffee and culture nearby

The Palmetum doesn’t have a café. I’d recommend heading to the terrace at the Auditorio opera house. This is about a 10 minute walk away. It has amazing icecreams, cocktails, waiting staff who speak excellent English and views back over the Palmetum.”

Ordering coir compost in Europe

Although The Canaries is out of our range, we do deliver our coir-based compost across mainland Europe including Spain, Austria and Germany. Take a look at our online shop at www.fertilefibre.com

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