Tropical Michigan mid-summer pics

islandbreezeJuly 19, 2012

I don't post pictures on here very often, so I decided to go all out. Warning: LOTS of pics. Feel free to ask if anybody has any questions. By the way, it just rained!!! I was like a kid on Christmas morning when I woke up and saw the ground wet outside. Enjoy the pics!

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Wow-everything looks really great!

Is that E,glaucum with the Abyssinian??-sweet

Click for weather forecast

    Bookmark   July 19, 2012 at 6:42PM
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catkim(San Diego 10/24)

Amazingly tropical look in what has to be challenging conditions, congratulations.

Which palm is rotting at the base? That's a shame, it looks pretty good size.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2012 at 6:45PM
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Thanks you guys.

Jim- Yeah, I actually have two Glaucum in the same bed, one is a double trunk and the other is a larger single trunk, along with 2 Abyssinian, one larger and one smaller. There's a pure filifera planted next to the largest Abyssinian that seems to hate Michigan all year round LOL.

Catkim- It's usually only challenging overwintering the bananas in the garage through winter, but the Musa Basjoo and Mekong Giants along the house come back every year and are way easier. However, with the drought this summer, it's a pain having to water every single day.
The palm rotting at the base is no longer rotting, but the damage is done. It's actually a really healthy, fast growing windmill in the 5th, 6th, and 8th pictures from the bottom. It's been in the ground for the past 5 summers, and is finally putting out a new frond every 2 weeks or faster. It doesn't seem to be affected by the rot at the base.

I did have captions with every picture, but for some reason they didn't post.

If anybody can identify the cacti, please let me know.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2012 at 7:27PM
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Looks great. How long have you had that cordyline?

    Bookmark   July 19, 2012 at 9:25PM
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Thanks Statenislandpalm! I've had the Cordyline for probably 5 years. It isn't very old for the's about 6 feet tall with 1 foot of clear trunk, and I can't even make my fingers meet when I put my hand around the trunk. It's grown at least a foot so far this season alone. They're very fast growers once established, and it's been through 2 winters in ground already.

It started out as a potted accent plant in a flower pot, and I decided to keep it at the end of the season. The next season it started to get pretty big, and actually outgrew the pot, so I threw it in the ground. It grows way faster than any palm I have.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2012 at 10:06PM
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catkim(San Diego 10/24)

Would that be Beaucarnia recurvata? (not Cordyline?)

I'm no cacti expert, but thinking Opuntia of some sort.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2012 at 11:37PM
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I would call it a dracaena, it was sold as Dracaena or "Spike".

There are definitely two types of Optunia, one being prickly pear, but I'm thinking the other is Cow Tongue maybe?? And there is another type of cactus there, very small, that is not Optunia. It's almost shaped like a bean.

Just an FYI to Jim...The washingtonia down by the lawn next to the deck is the one I got from you, and it's doing great. The other on the white pool deck is from another source.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2012 at 4:45AM
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LagoMar(USDA 8/AHS 7)

The Adam's Needle stay inground all year, I'm guessing. Maybe even Needle palms and Prickly Pears. But the rest of those plants don't look suited for Michigan. What do you do with them in the winter? Do you have a giant warehouse? That's a LOT of plants! Especially the bamboo, which are quite large.

Here is a link that might be useful: Virginia Beach Weather

    Bookmark   July 20, 2012 at 9:03AM
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Wow, lots of palms!! Looking good, keep up the good work!

    Bookmark   July 20, 2012 at 10:22AM
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Thanks Mastiffhoo!

LagoMar- The Adam's Needle yuccas do stay in the ground all year, along with the cacti, needle palms, sabal minor, and windmills. Any palms planted in the ground will stay in the ground. I protect the palms to varying degrees. Needles and the windmill planted in a row in front of the house(with red lava rock) only get a burlap wrapping with some Christmas lights as an emergency heat source if temps drop into the single digits. Lights were used only 1 night last winter. Sabal minor got a styrofoam rose cover as protection last year, nothing more.

Cacti, yuccas, Southern Magnolias and bamboo all go unprotected. The bamboo does so well that it starts to become invasive and needed to be contained with a trench and edging this past spring.

The Magnolia is 9 feet tall and over 6 feet wide, so outgrew protection size.

The larger 3 windmills are protected with a structure, and again, Christmas lights as emergency if temps drop into single digits.

The row of bananas alongside the house are Musa Basjoo and Musa Mekong Giant. They stay in the ground and came back surviving the winter. The oldest banana I have in that group has been in the ground for 6 years or more.

All potted plants, ensetes, elephant ears are dug up and stored in my insulated, but unheated attached garage.

Some new in-ground palm additions this year(in the pictures) are Washingtonia Filifera, which did horrible as a potted plant, a Butia, Sabal birmingham, Trachycarpus Nainital, which outgrew its pot, and a couple more needle palms. I had way too many potted plants, so I started planting some stuff in the ground. The philodendrons will probably be left as annuals.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2012 at 1:00PM
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Not bad. The Tikis are a nice touch. A few of them reside in my jungle as well.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2012 at 1:54PM
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Awesome pics! It definitely doesnt look like michigan to me! How long have you had the queen palm for? I've had mine for years, but it never does seem to get a full crown like yours!
Everything looks really nice! Glad you got some rain. We are getting plenty today, right now at 3:30PM it's raining and the coldest it's been all month, only 64F!!
Thanks for sharing!

    Bookmark   July 20, 2012 at 3:30PM
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Looks great, you should post pics more often. Do you overwinter that philo in the ground?

    Bookmark   July 21, 2012 at 10:18AM
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BTW, you have a crapload of palms, how do you protect so many? It seems some of the trachies have fared better then others, do you protect differently? Is that butia first year in the ground? Will the sagos stay in the ground?

    Bookmark   July 21, 2012 at 2:04PM
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What species of Bamboo is that? Its so amazing. Ive been wanting bamboo other than Fargesia. Your yard is GORGEOUS btw! Good to see people growing tropics in our beautiful state. Kyle

    Bookmark   July 21, 2012 at 3:10PM
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Thanks again everybody!

Tropicalzone7- I've had the queen palm for probably about 5 years. When I got it, it had large strap leaves and was about 5 feet tall. I thought it was a coconut seedling at first until the leaves started to feather out. It doesn't always have a full crown, but I'm hoping as it gets older and larger, it will have a more consistently full crown.

Bradleyo- No I don't overwinter the Philodendron in the ground. I actually have 3 and I dig them up in the fall. I'm thinking about sacrificing 2 of them and keeping the one developing the trunk just to reduce numbers. I have too many potted plants.

The Butia is first year in the ground. I got it as a blue pot palm from Kmart, along with 4 sabal minors and 2 needles. Those are all new additions this year, and I'll probably protect all of them with styrofoam rose covers. My one sabal minor did great with that method. No heat needed. The larger 3 trachys and Dracaena are protected with structures and christmas lights. The 3 needles and trachy planted in the lava rocks against the brick survived winter with only burlap wrapping due to good siting.

The reason the Trachys look different health levels is because the plastic bag I use in the winter tore in strong wind, letting cold air into the structure, killing the foliage back on one of them. The largest one was purchased from a member who had it in ground and it defoliated, so it's still recovering and establishing itself. The smallest of the 3 looks the best(the one that had trunk rot) because it's been in the ground 5 or 6 years and it's established and now growing new fronds fast.

Plantsaremylife- Thanks for the compliment! The bamboo is Yellow Groove bamboo. The pictures don't really do it justice, it's probably 12-14 feet tall and grows like a weed. I also have a few Fargesia Rufa, but they take forever to get any size to them. I use the Yellow Groove to screen out the neighbors. There are other varieties of running bamboo you can grow, Bissetti is one I can think of, but I think yellow groove gets bigger canes.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2012 at 12:46AM
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Hey thanks Ryan

I was going to ask you about the Washy-I thought I recognized it by
that last cruddy leaf it has on it from when I had it(-:

Those E.Glaucum are really nice,the trunks are really coloring up!
I tried one last year and it was frozen,hailed upon,then dried
out and burned-from 106F-(nearly)to death,it sat all winter as a stump
1" high but it started growing better this year and is over waste high(-:

Your Trachys have really grown-esp-the Nainital we both got around the same time.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2012 at 8:48AM
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so whats the plant in the second picture?! i'm very interested in looking for one for my yard! Thanks!

    Bookmark   July 23, 2012 at 5:50PM
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so whats the plant in the second picture?! i'm very interested in looking for one for my yard! Thanks!

    Bookmark   July 23, 2012 at 6:49PM
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Jim- That Washy is really putting out some strong new growth now, and it even put out another leaf since I took these pics.

The Glaucum definitely seem to do better in high heat than the Abyssinians. The larger one is about 4 feet high, the double trunked one is about 3 feet.

I should have planted that Nainital in the ground a lot sooner than I did...yours is way bigger and grew much faster. I'm sure the pot slowed its growth.

Richard- It's a Dracaena or Spike, very commonly sold in nurseries and garden centers. Most people use them as annuals, but I brought it in during the winters, and planted it when it got big. I think they're hardy to zone 8 or so.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2012 at 6:52PM
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Tommyc(Mich 5-6)

Now that's truly amazing. Fantastic Job. Alot of work, I'm sure. I have alot of work just with the little stuff I have. I can only imagine. You should open a Flickr Accout and show off your wonderful pics.

Here is a link that might be useful: Click on the slideshow.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 12:30AM
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Everything looks great, keep it up

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 12:13PM
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Thanks guys, yes it is a lot of work, but it's what I enjoy to do, and I like the end result. I appreciate the kind words. I just figured out what I'm missing....Crape Myrtles. Not much room to plant anything else though...

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 11:47PM
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