Are there any palms for Central/Eastern Kentucky?

AustinGarden(6B)May 2, 2013

I love, love, love palms but since I'm moving to KY...I don't know of any palms/tropicals that can live there! :( Can anyone guide my through it? I can do hybrids, look-alikes, any sort or tropical looking tree/plant.


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what part of KY? there are a few of us that grow them here and also a few different palms if your willing to do a little work.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2013 at 7:31PM
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cliff98(z6 OH)

I attempted to grow a few species of a palms in a 6a/6b location of Southern Ohio for 10 years. Here are my thoughts.

Without protection of some kind, no palms can survive 6a/6b winters consistently. Yes, a few species like Sabal minor and the Needle palm can survive brief dips below zero, but not consistently. Artificial protection will be key to keep the wind and rain/ice/snow and cold off the palms for the most part. If you are in a zone 7a, then your situation is quite different. In that case then several palm species will work for you with minimal protection and a few others like Trachycarpus fortunei and Sabal birmingham, and Sabal texana will survive with some artificial protection.

There are people here on this board that build quite elaborate structures to protect their palms. I could not dedicate such effort consistently. Instead i choose to plant bananas, cannas, ginger, elephant ears, papayas, etc. to create a tropical feel with minimal work and protection. What can't stay in the ground over winter was lifted and stored in the garage.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2013 at 1:07PM
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I am a zone 6B and the last 2 or 3 winters have been little to nothing. my needle and musella banana went through winter with a mesh feed bag over them and no leaf burn..the banana has a new leaf already. most and I say most cold hardy ( butia, euro fan, needle, sabal and a few others will do fine in 6B with minimal protection 6A and higher your going to have to build some sort of enclosure. If winters stay like they have then an unheated enclosure will be fine. also a larger more established palm will be much easier to get past winter than a seedling or somthing small

This post was edited by miketropic on Fri, May 3, 13 at 20:08

    Bookmark   May 3, 2013 at 8:06PM
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Disagree about Butia and Med Fans. They are both closer to 8b palms. I lost two small med fans and my pindo this winter. We had two nights that hit 12, had four days in a row that stayed below freezing, and several light snows. Not a horrible winter, but apparently below pindo and med fan tolerances. The pindo was well wrapped and in its second winter. Last year was mild, and even wrapped it still had damage. I'm in high 7b, bordering on 8a at the beaches. There are large pindos here, but they are elaborately wrapped and/or heated. You'll need more than "minimal" protection for those in 6a/b.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 2:49PM
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guess it all depends on the palm its genetics and micro climates. I have some pindo seedlings that naturalized here from a mature specimen about 15ft tall in louisville so maybe they are a bit tougher than others. the med fans are a hit and miss some can really take a beating other die with the slightest cold. again I guess genetics plays a part. how far your willing to protect is up to you but for the original question there are plenty of palms in KY.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 10:48PM
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mksmth zone 6b Tulsa Oklahoma(6b)

just my experience so far. I have 2 pindo, a needle and a sabal minor that have overwintered to years in a row here in Tulsa. No protection at all. this past winter we had many nights in the 20's and many days that never got above freezing. It was bit drier than normal and Im sure that help a lot.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2013 at 10:30AM
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cliff98(z6 OH)

Mike, the past two winters did you even hit zone 6b temps because in Cincinnati, we did not? Zone 8 two years ago, and zone 7b last winter. Both are hardly tests for needle palm, sabal minor, musa basjoo, etc.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2013 at 1:11PM
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the_virginian(Zone 7 NoVA)

Needle palms and Sabal minors should be rock hardy once established after a few years in the ground. Windmill palms should be too most winters, but in long periods of subzero cold, they will benefit from some protection.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2013 at 12:10PM
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cliff I think my lowest temp for 2 night was 8F other than that it was mid 20's for lows and just about every day was above freezeing. your right not a 6B winter but it toughens them up and lets thr roots get settled in. If a nasty winter does come I think they can handle it with a little straw and some coverage

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 8:54PM
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Thanks for the help guys! :)

    Bookmark   May 12, 2013 at 7:48PM
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Remember too that a dry cold is usually better for palms then wet cold, which is most of the problem I experience here in 6b. If the very least you do for your palm throughout the winter is try and keep it dry when it's going to freeze, then you stand a much better chance of survival.

For instance Washingtonia Robusta has been known to survive temps in the low teens for short periods in drier climates as opposed to about 20 degrees when wet.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2013 at 8:28AM
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k4idx(7 -GA)

I have a Med palm on the south side of my garage that still gets cold winter west winds and its growing like crazy! It's actually the wife's fave palm we have. I am in a 7A in far NE GA, but I have 5 Trachys that only get a floodlight-type light on those nights when it rarely drops into the low teens. Other than that they think they're in paradise! My largest one is flowering this year actually. I also have sabals & needles that get no protection. My most delicate is a Chinese Fan that gets a custom built bubble wrap & 6 mil plastic tent built around a hog wire enclosure but it also thinks its in the tropics!

    Bookmark   June 3, 2013 at 4:37PM
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With protection there are a lot of options..without you still have a handful of good ones to pick from. Anything other than that I would pot plunge and bring in for the winters. I'm bringing home a bottle and a foxtail that I will overwinter inside.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2013 at 10:11AM
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With protection Pindo's and T Fortunei (Flowering this year) will do just fine anywhere. I have a 5' pindo(OH) in ground along with an 11' Windmill, a small 2' waggie, a couple needles, 4 Sabel's and Musa's and they pull through the winter fine with proper protection. I've planted a new 7' T Fortunei this year as well.

We had a colder winter this year (more of a true winter) and everything pulled through just fine. I lost one Musa however but I don't think it's totally gone so I replanted it out of the way and I'll wait to see if something pops up.

This year I'll try Pygmy Date's in the ground as well.

Mike from Montreal also winters Canary Island Date's and a couple other varieties in ground with protection. He even has seedlings that while covered in snow make it through the winter as well.

I'll post some pictures of mine when I get back in the country. I'm currently in Hawaii enjoying the palms they have here.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2013 at 3:30PM
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