more cold hardy...A foxtail or Royal palm???

jason_2010March 20, 2010

Does anyone know which tree is more cold hardy?? A foxtail or Royal palm???

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Based on my observations they are roughly equal in cold hardiness. The thick trunk and height of a mature royal palm may give it a bit of an advantage though.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2010 at 11:25PM
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I think maybe a royal palm may be a little more cold tolerant, but not that much more. I've seen them grow with ease in Central Florida (then again I have also seen very nice foxtails in central florida but I went there before this winter). But royal palms do get taller much faster so if you want a palm easier to protect, I would go with a foxtail.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   March 21, 2010 at 12:10AM
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thanks, like i said before, i am one of the pushers when it comes to palms. i live in Jacksonville, and i already have a 12ft foxtail i planted about a month ago. I have a 16foot queen palm in my front yard that i think is dead. the core is even brown. alot of queens up here died this past winter or look dead. The ones that survived, look completly heathly. very weird. I was thinking about taking my queen palm out and replacing it with a royal palm. i would protect all winter of course. just like my foxtail i planted. hopefully this winter will not be like this past one

    Bookmark   March 21, 2010 at 11:47AM
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I think its worth a try. Protect it when temps go below 32 and it will be okay for sure. My theory is any palm (except for the most picky) will survive at least 2 or 3 zones lower with the right protection and since royal palms are zone 10a, you are only pushing them by one zone which isnt too bad during mild winters.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2010 at 12:31PM
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Funny you started this, because I purchase a small Royal in St. Augustine today for $50. It's trunk is bout 4ft tall, but to the tip of the newest frond it is about 7-8ft.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2010 at 4:14PM
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After a royal gets about two foot of trunk or so its definitively more cold hardy and less likely to get fungus in the crown. Foxtails burn easier from frost too. Foxtails are about like a coconut to me or maybe slightly more cold hardy but not much.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2010 at 9:20PM
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jaxboro, i went to that nursery in St. Augustine the other day. Leonardi's. they did have alot of bigger tropical trees. Including a huge royal and foxtail that were burnt, but still very much alive. The owner there even said that they were outside the entire winter there with zero protection. i know it got down well below freezing many times up here this past winter. that i thought was amazing. i didnt buy anything that day, but i might call him back one of these days and have him get me a huge royal palm from miami and purchase it then

    Bookmark   March 21, 2010 at 9:35PM
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joey_powell(8b (15.1F) USDA 2012)

I have a nice Cuban Royal in the ground here in SE Alabama. It's almost 8ft tall now, and it's been in the ground (with protection!) since February of 2008. It's looking pretty good right damage from this winter. And I know it saw temps of about 25 for a short period of time. But during that I had it protected from wind and rain/snow.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2010 at 10:36PM
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Wow, very happy that it survived for you. Royals in alabama are unheard of, but you proved that it is possible with protection. Based on that, I dont think Jacksonville will have a problem with royals either with some protection.

Thanks for the update, and good luck everyone!

    Bookmark   March 21, 2010 at 11:53PM
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I would say that royals are generally hardier, however, having said that, cold tolerance in foxtails appears to be quite variable. In this winter, I have seen completely, 100% fried foxtails, even right out by the beach (right next to untouched royals i might add), which is usually much warmer than inland. While there were a few specimens in the much colder inland areas that are not damaged while royals around them are fried.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2010 at 10:14PM
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Royals are no doubt much more reliable palms for florida because they are native, and are usually much better at handling frost than foxtails, but palms seem to vary a lot and there are exceptions.
Also there are so many microclimates in florida between the heat island effect of the southeastern cities, the many lakes and rivers in the state, and along the coast. Not to mention microclimates in peoples backyards. Florida had a horrible winter this year, so I think people will really learn what they can grow without problems in there neighborhoods, and it really varies from one neighborhood to the rest.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   March 26, 2010 at 11:28PM
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joey powell, can u send a pic of your royal???? i really want to see it!

    Bookmark   March 29, 2010 at 4:16PM
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I would like to comment that I think it insane to see the numbers of Royal Palms that are today being planted in Central Florida. THEY ARE NOT HARDY HERE!

Anyone recommending planting -- or even worse - wasting their money to plant Royals themselves anywhere north of Vero Beach is either a Florida newcomer or has totally forgotten the freezes of the 1980's. But by the time 1990 rolled around, there was not a living Royal anywhere in Brevard County or the Orlando area.

Someone needs to remind people that they are NOT HARDY HERE!! Don't waste your money.

Cold winters are not at all unusual in Florida and they will happen again. Especially with all the data now indicating that any semblance of global warming is over and we have entered into what looks as if it will be an extended (at least 50 years) period of global cooling.

Wake up people, and look at past history! DonâÂÂt waste your money on Royals. Figure out what is cold hardy and plant them instead.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2013 at 12:46PM
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I have a friend who is a palm grower in the Orlando area, and though he is quite aware of the freeze potential, it certainly does not keep him from growing stuff that is gonna die when in freezes.. he refers to them as 'annuals', but the good thing about that area is the freezes only come now and then so your 'annuals' can sometimes not only make it to maturity but make plenty of off spring. I have seen coconuts, royals, spindles etc. growing there.. it's a great climate for palms like that since the palms grow so fast there compared to out where I live in California... you can grow a Royal to maturity in just 6-7 years while it would take about 20 here. So my friend has hundreds of 'annuals' growing in his yard and loves them... knowing they are all history someday (but then all annuals are). Once the freezes hit that kill them off, he will just grow more... palms are so incredibly cheap in Florida, too, compared to California it's just not fair!

    Bookmark   October 14, 2013 at 9:43AM
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Billheink, I see what you are saying and in general you are correct. Inland central Florida does not tend to be hospitable for royal palms (Roystonea regia). I feel Royals in coastal locations from Merritt Island on the east coast and Clearwater on the west coast are safe from all but the worst freezes. Even in 1989, I am sure there were some immediate coastal specimens still alive from and south of the aforementioned locations. Metro Orlando has been progressively built up during the last 50 years, continuing in earnest during the past 20 years. While average temps are lower than south FL, extreme minimums in the metro area in recent years tend to be more consistent with South FL locations such as Fort Myers and West Palm Beach (in some cases a bit higher). The urban heat island has a PROFOUND effect on winter lows in Orlando and I have watched many would-be freezes only bottom out at 33-35 in metro Orlando, while outlying areas, even to the south, reach well below freezing.

I have two large royals (regia and borinqueana) and a large foxtail in-ground here in the northern Orlando suburbs. All were defoliated but had no problem pulling though the 25F we had early (and again in late) 2010. The executive airport, meanwhile, did not drop below 28-29F during any of the 2010 freeze events. I even feel that the city should frequently use Roystonea regia as a mainstay landscaping choice downtown, as I don't see this area getting cold enough to kill a royal more than once or twice a century now. Central FL microclimates adjacent to large bodies of water have similar results with royals and other 10a palms and those in these areas who want to attempt to grow such palms should not feel discouraged. My point is, these palms can survive and thrive for many years in coastal, metro and lakeside areas of Central FL.

Coconuts are more marginal and anywhere in Central FL other than the immediate coast and large lakes in southern Central FL will have a difficult time with long term success. I do, however, know of a Coconut palm near Orlando that survived 2010.

This post was edited by williamr on Wed, Oct 16, 13 at 1:14

    Bookmark   October 16, 2013 at 12:58AM
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