Florida cold snap + will 45F kill a coconut embryo?

rhizophora(8)December 28, 2010

Finally made it to the keys for a holiday, but it appears I've come just in time for another cold snap, it's so cold! Anyway, managed to pick up a freshly fallen coconut just now, but temps last night could have gone down to about 45. Would that have killed the embryo? The trees themselves look fine but I don't wanna risk customs and take up luggage space hauling a dead coconut 5000 miles back to England! Got some thrinax seeds though, and some pandanus, looking forward to growing those! Tonight it's supposed to drop to 40 according to Yahoo, heard locals talking about it going down to 29, could be the coldest recorded temperature in the keys...

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The all time record low for Key west is 42F and it looks like the mid to upper 40sF are possible tonight. The keys are way below average for this time of the year as is most of Florida. This is their 2nd cold winter in a row! Its Definitely very cold by the locals standards, but I dont think its cold enough to kill a coconut embryo. The only problem you might have is getting a coconut to root indoors. They need a LOT of heat and humidity to root. Where in the Keys are you? Key west and the Dry Tortugas area will be much milder than Key Biscayne and coconuts from Key west will probably germinate perfectly, but the ones in Key Biscayne might not as easily.
Good luck!

    Bookmark   December 28, 2010 at 2:14AM
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garyfla_gw(10 Florida)

Think the record for Key West might have toppled in the last cold front. What has been the Killer in my area is the failure to warm up the following day ,set two records for that!!
Don't know if the temps will kill the embryo but all the local coconuts have dropped the fruit from the last front. Whatever,can't be good for them lol Coconuts seem to be the most cold sensitive of palms
How do you get them on the plane?? Last flight I took they confiscated my shampoo!! lol Good luck with whatever you decide !! gary

    Bookmark   December 28, 2010 at 6:28AM
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I think it can sprout as long as it hasn't been that cold for too long. I have seen some people manage to grow them from store bought coconuts. I do not know how cold they have actually gotten though.

At what temp do they start to drop fruit? I hope they don't drop fruit unless temps are at most about 35f. I want some fruit here someday :)

    Bookmark   December 28, 2010 at 11:36AM
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garyfla_gw(10 Florida)

Last January sey a record as the lowest average temps in 60 years . I have no coconut palms(small lot ) but I'm surrounded with them along with foxtails,royals Bismarks. bottles Dates Noted that the ONLY fatalities were coconuts. and then only young ones. Not sure of the exact temps at which they dropped the fruit but certainly below 35. Most people remove the fruit before ripening same is true for frost damage One neighbor has 7 coconuts which he completely ignores so really the only examples of how they do react to cold over time. Most commercial sites will replace damaged palms within a couple of weeks and fruit is removed before setting. So you never get to see what happens long term.lol have seen coconuts that germinated on their own near the canals so you know the seed is viable.
Have never tried to germinate coconut because you can buy seedlings at the box stores for under 10 bucks.
Good luck with yours gary

    Bookmark   December 29, 2010 at 4:15AM
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brooklyngreg(7a NYC coastal plain)

Yup its been cool to cold some nites/days but as you see by now temps are recovered to the 70s in the FL Keys. Currently tonite Key West at 63 degrees. It takes much more than a few cold nites to kill a palm or its coco embryo. The coconut should be kept above freezing as you travel. Warmer is better. H.Depot sells them spouted already here - you may have that in the UK?

Tampa FL has had real record cold and some of there coco palms could be in danger and there's been a new cold line establishing southward currently.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2010 at 10:37PM
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I flew back last night just as temperatures began to pick up. Saw lots of cold damaged cocos in Miami! Managed to pack two coconuts amongst some ravenala seeds, red + black mangrove seedlings, sea grape seeds, a couple of sea beans, pandanus seeds and loads more. Hoped to visit Fairchild but I was really ill on my last day so I didn't manage to :/ I think I the coconuts were from a tall type palm but I couldn't really tell.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2010 at 6:15PM
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garyfla_gw(10 Florida)

You'ree a vey brave person going ANYWHERE in florida over the holidays not only from the possibility of coldfronts but the outrageous prices and the gazillions of snowbirds. Too bad you missed Fairchild one of the VERY few admission parks worth the money imo. The Keys are famtastic for scuba and heavy drinking though. Try spring or Nov next time or skip them altogether and go to the Caribbean lol Avoid hurricane season though lol
Good luck with your seeds!!! gary

    Bookmark   January 1, 2011 at 7:37AM
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Just a quick update:
One of the coconuts has germinated so far! The other one seems to be doing nothing. The last photo was taken this morning, while the second to last photo was taken the day before yesterday.

The mangroves have sprouted:

The seabean I found (Mucuna urens) has sprouted too:

My Coccoloba seedling:

    Bookmark   April 9, 2011 at 6:34AM
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Wow, thats awesome! Im glad that they germinated for you! You must have them by a very warm window indoors! Keep us updated on its progress! I guess the record cold in the Florida Keys wasn't cold enough for the coconut palms!

    Bookmark   April 9, 2011 at 11:29AM
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Just thought I'd update my coconut seedling:

It's grown so quickly! It's currently putting out it's 5th frond, which has split into some leaflets! And there are some 'windows' too. It's great to finally have a good experience with a coconut palm. If grown from seed, they are quite adaptable.

The new frond also seems to be developing jagged edges as well as windows.. Is this normal? It almost seems like a beccariophoenix seedling! I always thought coconuts split cleanly with no windows.
Jagged edge:

My coccoloba seedling has grown well, as well as my Nypa seedling which I received with two spikes in May. Last photo is veitchia merrillii which is 2-3 years old from seed. Its neglected but still grows steadily. I recently repotted it and moved it to a brighter window and growth rate is

Sorry if the spelling or wording is a bit off, I'm really tired and I wrote this on my phone!

    Bookmark   October 5, 2011 at 6:04PM
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Thanks for updating! Im really glad that it's doing well for you and I remember when you first posted about these coconut palms! 5 fronds is really impressive, especially for a place like England! My coconut palms only put out 3 or 4 fronds this year and summers are very hot.
All your other plants are looking great too! I agree, coconut palms are really adaptable. Mine was small when it saw its first winter indoors and it had no problems at all, not even a bad frond when spring came. Im hoping it does well again this winter indoors. My cocos are still outside, but they will probably be going inside in just a few weeks.

Thanks again for updating! And I think the way yours is splitting its fronds is very normal. Mine didnt split very cleanly if I remember right. You will definitely have adult fronds by this time next year!

    Bookmark   October 5, 2011 at 6:48PM
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Awesome looking coconut palm and other plants :) How much light do they get and what temp do you keep indoors? I think my coconut palm is about the same age as yours, its also starting to split its fronds and has windows. Yours looks like the green variety?

- US_Marine

    Bookmark   October 6, 2011 at 9:42AM
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Growth has slowed down to about 1cm every 2 days. Up until a week ago it was in a sunless window, but now I moved it to a window which gets sun in the afternoon which should give it a boost during winter. Air temperatures are around 17-24 degrees C and the heat mat gives the palms roots a boost! I think it's a Jamaican Tall. There's a photo on the Internet that shows a 10 y/o tall variety coconut indoors, looking healthy!

Here's the palm in its new position (taken last week on a cloudy day)

    Bookmark   October 25, 2011 at 7:52AM
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