Hardy palm trees

bill_ri_z6b(Zone 6B)June 22, 2010

Is anyone growing any hardy palms in New England? I've heard a lot about the Trachycarpus, in particular the wagnerianus. Has anyone grown these (or ANY hardy palms), and if so, what, if any, protection do you give them?

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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Well Bill, did you ever find more information on Palms? Are you thinking of trying this?

    Bookmark   July 4, 2010 at 5:29AM
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bill_ri_z6b(Zone 6B)

Ann,

Briggs has Windmill palms (Trachycarpus) ($135) so a little pricey to experiment with. It's tricky too, because these are sometimes listed as zone 7, or even 6. But Briggs got theirs from Monrovia, and they are usually quite conservative about the zones, so they are tagged as zone 8. On the other hand, there are different provencances of seed sources, and there are actually some trees that are more hardy than others because of where the seeds originated (presumably from some individual palms that just happened to be more hardy and survived in colder areas than others - google Polar palms of Bulgaria as example). I don't know if I can find some of these latter ones, but I might take a gamble on one of those if I can find one.

Framers Daughter also has Needle palms (Rhapidophyllum) that are generally rated for zone 6 when established. But they told me they are marginally hardy here, and again the grower's tag only rated them for zone 7, probably being a bit conservative. In any case, the Needle palms are too bushy for the spot I have in mind.

Meanwhile, my new front yard and cactus garden are finally taking shape! I'll post photos as soon as it's complete. And once they are all in place I can send you the prickly pear cactus pads. I haven't forgotten.

Happy 4th!

Bill

    Bookmark   July 4, 2010 at 10:09AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Hi Bill, Sounds like since it's not certain how hardy they would be, it would be great if you found a source for seed. $135. is quite expensive, although I'm sure they were a good size and maybe they grow slowly. Is this a plant you are planning for your new front bed?

I figured you were busy with your front bed. I'm very curious to see what you've been up to. Photos will be great. I had forgotten all about the cactus pads...lol. Do not give it a second thought. It's so hot ! Do you work in the heat? I have basically wrapped up garden projects until the fall and down to the basics while it is hot. Watering, watering, watering and weeding some too and that's about it. I just finally finished my one large pot and one Hay Rack for the summer and have the cushions on the outdoor chairs and think it can basically manage by itself out there until we get some cooler, drier weather.

Happy 4th to you too!

Ann

    Bookmark   July 4, 2010 at 12:40PM
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bill_ri_z6b(Zone 6B)

Ann,
The palm would make a great centerpiece for the new planter that was incorporated into the corner of the new wall. The planter is 6'x6' and a small-ish palm would be the perfect shape. It's evergreen and not so big as to block the house, etc. and because the leaves are at the top, I could plant some nice groundcover roses or similar around it to fill the planter. But it's a challenge here, so my quest for the perfect plant continues.

In the hot weather I do some weeding (early AM or at dusk) and watering, and for the past week or two, have been busy with the new front area, planting new things and transplanting other stuff that I had moved from the front during construction. Then I've spread crushed stone as a mulch on Friday, and have the smaller area to finish when the sun is not blazing, but no rush. I will post photos as soon as it's done. It's a HUGE difference out there!

You can plant the cactus now and they will root and be fine before winter sets in. And anyway, if they die I have about 1,000 more I could send! LOL!.

Bill

    Bookmark   July 5, 2010 at 2:52AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

It's nice to hear you so excited about your new plantings. :-) Looking forward to photos. I do love palms when they look nice and healthy. You haven't decided to add one yet, have you?

    Bookmark   July 5, 2010 at 10:28AM
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bill_ri_z6b(Zone 6B)

Ann,

I'm almost certain that I won't be planting a palm there. As perfect as one of them would be in that spot, it probably wouldn't survive the winter without some form of protection. I'm not willing to do all that work every fall and spring, and I don't think I'd like some hideous box or plastic wrapping out in front of the house for several months. So, until they develop arctic palm trees, I'll look for some other centerpiece for the new planter.

Bill

    Bookmark   July 5, 2010 at 11:26AM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Bill: If you really, really want a palm, you can construct a nice-looking protective structure like this one I saw at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden a while ago. That little square window is at about eye level so you can get an idea of the size.

I posted this on some thread a few years ago and someone, Richie (javaandjazz) ? knew the story behind it.

Claire

    Bookmark   July 5, 2010 at 12:02PM
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bill_ri_z6b(Zone 6B)

Claire,

Yes they have been growing hardy palms at the BBG for several years now. The interest in hardy palms is one of those things that is just really slow to catch on. Add to that the general inexperience and lack of any solid knowledge base (since this is still relatively new) and then top it off with some confusion as to correct names where one species is mistakenly named as another and also the fact that the seeds from different provenances can have very different hardiness, and you can see what a challenge this is! I know that I could build a protective structure every winter, and maybe even one that isn't too hideous out front, but I just don't have the energy for that nor to disassemble it every spring. I'll have to go to Canada and find a palm tree that's thriving and ask the owner for seeds! :-)

The slowness of this to catch on is like that of the hardy Camellias. There are dozens of perfectly hardy ones for zone 6 now, but most people aren't aware of this fact, and so there aren't many grown. Why? Because they never were known in this area. Slowly, people are learning that these wonderful plants exist, and they are appearing here and there. And the nurseries don't carry them often, because the demand isn't there, but then the shoppers don't see them there so they don't know that they SHOULD be asking for them, so like and endless loop.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2010 at 8:22PM
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mad_gallica(zone 5 - eastern New York)

So when you are claiming these camellias are hardy to zone 6, that means they survive -10°F without any trouble? And you know this first hand? Because when you are making zone 6 claims, that is what you are really saying. Over the years there have been waay too many plants making exaggerated hardiness claims for most people to be comfortable with something like hardy camellias.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2010 at 9:26AM
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bill_ri_z6b(Zone 6B)

MG,

I live in Providence which us USDA zone 6. I have posted photos of my camellias in flower before, but here are some again. The oldest is about 12 years old and blooms in spring. It is called "April Remembered". There are two others that are only 3 years old but are doing fine. "April Rose" and "April Dawn". Another one is about 11 years old and is a fall bloomer called "Snow Flurry". None of them get any protection here. They are planted in a bed that is along a south-facing stone wall, except for the "April Remembered" that is against a south-facing wooden fence and partially under a blue spruce tree. In the EXCEPTIONALLY cold January of 2004, where many plants were damaged (not just camellias but others, some of which were 40+ years old), "April Remembered" was killed back to pencil-thick stems, but the "Snow Flurry" was untouched. The damaged plant was back to it's full glory in two seasons and is now approximately 4'x4' in size.

Camellia "April Remembered"

Camellia "Snow Flurry"

Camellia "Snow Flurry"

    Bookmark   July 6, 2010 at 5:21PM
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bill_ri_z6b(Zone 6B)

MG,

First of all I am in zone 6B where I am and that's a minimum of -5ºF rather than -10ºF. But I haven't seen that temperature since January of 2004. The USDA zones are guided by minimum temperatures which, if experienced a few nights during winter, would not be considered unusual. But that doesn't mean that you should expect every night in every winter season to get that cold. And in fact it doesn't get that cold every night, nor even every year. Bottom line is my camellias are growing, thriving and blooming........here in zone 6B.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2010 at 5:31PM
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bill_ri_z6b(Zone 6B)

Ann,

I sent your cactus plants off today via Priority Mail. You should have them tomorrow or Thursday I'd say. A couple of them are rooted and the rest will root easily. Don't be put off by their dismal appearance. They have been dug up and disturbed for over a month during the construction out front, but trust me they will look great once they start new growth, probably next spring. And they will get even more shriveled and darker when it gets cold, but that is completely normal for these hardy cacti.

Hope you enjoy them. Just plant them atop a rise or on a slope so that water won't sit around them in winter.

Good luck!
Bill

    Bookmark   July 6, 2010 at 5:36PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Bill, wow! How nice to have a happy surprise coming in the mail! :-) I will keep a look out and get them planted as soon as they get here. I'll start figuring out a place to plant them. My son who especially enjoys cactus and succulents will get a big kick out of them. Thanks a lot! I'll let you know when they get here.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2010 at 9:40PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Bill, that was fast, they arrived today! Can you email me through GW?

    Bookmark   July 7, 2010 at 5:33PM
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javaandjazz(z6 CT)

I'm on vacation in Chicago right now but when I get home I am considering buying a windmill palm off ebay for $6.99 plus $15 shipping and trying it out.

Here is a link that might be useful: ebay link

    Bookmark   July 9, 2010 at 10:12AM
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bill_ri_z6b(Zone 6B)

J&J,

Thanks for the link! I may buy one or two myself!

    Bookmark   July 9, 2010 at 4:21PM
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