Can a baby needle palm seedling survive any sort of frost?

mcgyvr2009i(Schenectady, NY 5b)October 8, 2012

As you already know, I have a needle palm seedling. It appears that the fibers are starting to harden and become pointy(better be careful from now on), it has no suckers, or fan shaped fronds, and none of them are separating. It is about 7" tall, and 7 1/2" wide. It's probably about a year or 2 old. Can it survive any degree of frosts as a baby as small as it currently is? Thanks in advanced.

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No. Protect it or it will die

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 4:42PM
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It can survive a light freeze without problems. Dont let it see anything much colder than the low 30s though because remember that things in pots freeze much faster than things in the ground so it wont take much for the roots to be frozen solid and at a young age like that, it can do some harm. For the record though, I had a young queen palm seedling outside during a light snow and a temperature of 27F and it had no damage (and is alive and much bigger nowadays!). My silver european fan palm is still considered a seedling, but it's probably about 4 years old from seed now and it was outside for much of the winter last year! It only went indoors 4 or 5 nights, when temperatures were below about 22F.
Good luck!

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 5:39PM
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LagoMar(USDA 8/AHS 7)

I think some folks are forgetting that these plants are native to the southeast, including areas that drop down to 20 F in the winter (Alabama, South Carolina). If they are native to these areas, they most certainly can withstand frosts. Just keep in mind that a potted plant is far less resistant to cold than one in the ground, where roots are protected.

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

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 11:35PM
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I agree with Lago. They do naturalize in those areas. I posted photos a few weeks ago of some naturalizing in a garden in Bethany Beach, Delaware. Apparently they did fine last winter. It was mild with no snow, but we did see mid teens a few nights. We'll see how they do this year. But Alex is right, in pots their tolerance is far less. Let them get some cold air to toughen them up, but don't let the pot/soil freeze.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 12:20PM
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If you look closely at the leaves,you can see when they return to normal coloring...
if there is any area that doesn't it's damaged.

You can gauge the plants tolerance this way but you have to be careful.

As mentioned,the roots will be less hardy than the foliage.

I have found with Sabals/Needles that seedlings are fine down
to 20F but you will see damage below that quite often.

If there is rainfall before the to keep them dry.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2012 at 10:32AM
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I would be careful with it. Alot of its hardiness will depend on where the seed came from. And how the palm was grown.

Also, if you use normal weather forecast to judge how cold its going to be then be more cautious. Where you live could be 5 degrees colder than where temps are taken. Before you start planting palms you should learn your microclimates. I would place more than one high low thermometer around your house. Proper planning will benefit your palm in the future.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2012 at 11:17AM
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