Trachycarpus princeps cold hardiness

garryendson(6-9)January 17, 2010

So far, there is no conclusive summing-up about the cold hardiness of Trachycarpus princeps as even the biggest cultivated one is no less than half meter trunk , too early to test its maximum hardiness and few available ones are planted out to present a solid demonstration.

Some say it got damage at 15F but small plants have been tested from -9.5C in UK to -15C(5F) in Alabama ,USA and Netherlands and Germany without any problem.

See the links

"Discussion on Cloudforest forum"

"Discussion on Dutch forum"

The following is a screen shot from the Dutch forum.

A German guy grew the seedling directly in the ground and as I was told they survived the cold as -12C with only sawdust covered around it.

Sounds crazy to the German bitter winter.

"see the German recording of T.princeps"

T.princeps grows on the cliffs of 1600-2100m above the sea level and the snow could be up to knees in winter as I was told when traveling there. My assumption is that they could be as hardy as T.fortunei if not more. It takes time to test this idea.

But some other factors may play a role in its hardiness of T.princeps

First of all, high humidity in winter may worsen the cold harm.

Second, at younger age, all Trachycarpus are not that cold hardy as adult ones and The current available T.princeps are mostly seedlings and so it is natural that we did see some report about the cold damage to it while learning good news about its surprising hardiness.

Thirdly, whether the plant is strong and healthy makes a difference in the cold resistance.

Anyhow some Americans have been growing T.princeps possibly for years

May you guys share your own growing experience so that we could have a full picture of this elegant palm.

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josephine_sc(7/8 Clemson, SC)

I just posted (Good New, Bad News) my update on my Trachycarpus princeps which is about the size of the one in the bottom photograph. We recently had a week of of 10-15 F nights. Mine suffered no damage at all.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2010 at 11:48AM
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I think Princeps is right up there with waggies and windmill palms. A really nice palm to try, but I dont have any experience with them yet, but maybe soon!

    Bookmark   January 17, 2010 at 12:17PM
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trachyhead(z8b SE England)

I plan to plant out a couple of my princeps this year, but to be honest i will not let them see -6 or -7c until they have established themselves (maybe 3 or 4 years) as i just can't see the point in risking them. I'll let others do the testing for now as they are rare as hens teeth to buy them at a reasonable size not to mention that you would need to re-mortgage the house to pay for it if you did get one.

Garry, one of your wild princeps has just germinated 1 year after sowing, so i now have hope for the rest. Trachycarpus fortunei these are not!!! One of the reasons these are so sought after apart from being very hardy and extremily atractive is thet they are not easy to germinate and getting them much past seedling stage without a fungal infection and rotting off is prooving to be difficult for many growers both amateur and professional.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2010 at 4:03PM
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I'm going to plant one of mine out too Vic!
It will definitely raise the minimum temp I let my palms see wherever it is planted.I would probably try for a min of 15(F).

BTW Garry

If you have a bigger pic of that Princeps in the second picture you cold post that would be awesome!
That is one of)if not)thee most beautiful Trachys(palms)I have ever seen! I love the way the old petioles fold down and make an armored skirt-way cool!

    Bookmark   January 17, 2010 at 5:10PM
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Josephine, your experience makes T.princeps quite promising in its cold hardiness for even a seedling.
Vic,it is normal that T.princeps germination takes 6 months up to 3 years. It happens mostly in Spring and sporadically anytime throughout the whole year. I got around 30% germination ,but a German guy named Peter wisbar obtained 80% from the same batch of seeds. Big difference in the germination.
limited availability,the difficult germination and hard to please, good cold hardiness and uniquely elegance make it worth its name , princeps - the prince of palms.
:) just kidding.
Did you just sow the seeds in the ground or sprout them using the zipbag method?
If in the ground, the temperature could be too low to sprout them.I also read they need somewhat higher temperature than regular trachycarpus.
Jim, I saw your princeps which is awesome .How old is it now?

    Bookmark   January 17, 2010 at 11:53PM
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mcgyvr2009i(Schenectady, NY 5b)

So, am I safe in assuming that it is so far a zone 7b plant if it survived temps down to 5F?

    Bookmark   July 17, 2013 at 6:55PM
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Hardiness could be close to Fortunei but(esp when small)Princeps is less moisture tolerant.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2013 at 8:12PM
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Definitely need to grow them up some and then protect until they have some size. I just planted my small one this year so I'll be testing its hardiness with no external heat. Although ever princep planted at plant delieghts nursery died.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2013 at 8:45PM
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