Washington DC area and North....what are you overwintering?

the_virginian(Zone 7 NoVA)September 15, 2005

What plants in Zones 6-7 are you all overwintering? I am especially interested in Palm trees, bananas, cannas and elephant ears. Post pictures and tell us your secrets.

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JohnnieB(Washington, DC 7a/b)

I've overwintered Musa basjoo 3 winters in a row, with nothing more than a big pile of leaves & mulch on top; it dies all the way to the ground but you can see how well it recovers:

I've also overwintered some hardy palms, including dwarf windmill palm, Trachycarpus wagnerianus:

and a supposedly hardy strain of windmill palm, Trachycarpus fortunei "Taylor form":

Both of these palms have survived single-digit temperatures with a minimum of damage with very little protection, primarily a good mulch and lots of leaves piled up around them; the spear pulled on the "Taylor form" in early March but it recovered rapidly and has put out several leaves this year; the waggies have never once had a spear pull. I do benefit from the heat island effect of living in the city, but my garden is on a north-facing slope that gets no sun all winter, so it's about the coldest microclimate you can find within the city limits!

If you're interested in meeting up with other palm & tropical afficianados in the area, send me an email!

    Bookmark   September 15, 2005 at 8:13PM
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the_virginian(Zone 7 NoVA)

I would definitely want to meet up with some other DC Area tropical gardeners. I will send you an email soon. I am going to try to post pictures of my plantings ASAP. Glad to hear the palms did well with minimal damage. I expect some come spring, but hitting them with fungicide and fertilizer will help get them on the road to recovery. I am growing seedlings of a hybrid Trachy, fortunei and wagnerianus. I won't put them out in the ground for a few years, but supposedly the guy I got them from in Canada said they are more cold hardy than the T. fortunei. I am also growing T.takil and have been told it is much more cold hardy than either T.wagnerianus or T.fortunei. Has anyone found this to be true?

    Bookmark   September 16, 2005 at 11:02AM
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Las_Palmas_Norte(Zone8)

These T. fortunei x wagnerianus seeds you have won't become any hardier than either of the parent plants.
Another thing to consider is the domanance factor. If the seeds are from a female wagnerianus, it will show more traits of the wagnerianus species. If the seed was harvested from a female fotunei, then there will be almost no difference (much fewer traits) than regular fortunei.
I'm from the area that those seeds, in all likelyhood, came from. I know most of the guys involved in hybridizing palms in this region.

Cheers, Barrie. (Vancouver Island, British Columbia)

    Bookmark   September 16, 2005 at 12:25PM
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the_virginian(Zone 7 NoVA)

Is it true that the T.Wagnerianus is a more hardy palm than the T.Fortunei? What happens if hybrids are bred together with the same type of hybrid? How has T.Takil been in BC? Is it a more cold hardy form?

    Bookmark   September 16, 2005 at 1:42PM
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Las_Palmas_Norte(Zone8)

T. wagnerianus varies greatly in hardiness. Some are as tough as nails, others are wimps. As for hybrids crossed with hybrids, there's every reason to believe that the same type of palm as the parent hybrid, would be expected. however certain genetic traits could emerge at anytime. I've had plants start from all the same seed harvest. Amongst these seedlings are some that are truely different from the others. Trachycarpus has been allowed to mix freely over many generations, producing many characteristics that may show up in any seed lot.
T.takil has proven to be reliably hardy here, although it's not cold enough in winter to put it to the true test against fortunei. Word is that takil is hardier, but probably not a heck of a lot, maybe 5 degrees Fahrenheit or so. The hardiest forms of any palm (takil included) are from the coldest areas that they grow.

Cheers, Barrie (Vancouver Island)

    Bookmark   September 16, 2005 at 2:33PM
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Arl_Tom(z7A VA)

I'm growing two t. takil in the backyard (total darkness in winter). Both lost their spears last year even though it didn't get that cold (11 degrees F minimum). One takil recovered well and the other one didn't. I also have several rhapidophyllum hystrix (needle palms). The needle palms have never had any winter damage after 7-8 years. In DC, there is a particularly nice example of r. hystrix at the national arboretum, and there is also one in the front yard of a row house on 14th st, nw (near P st).

    Bookmark   September 17, 2005 at 7:36PM
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the_virginian(Zone 7 NoVA)

Total darkness? Is that from the cold protection you are using? How large are your T.takils? Did the other die or is it still recovering? I am less worried about the needle palms as they seem to be doing well and there are many established specimins in our area. Are you growing any other palms?

    Bookmark   September 19, 2005 at 1:51AM
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Arl_Tom(z7A VA)

Yes, the takils are located in a spot in my backyard that is completely shaded by the house in winter. I sprayed the leaves with anti-desiccant, but no other protection. Might try burlap this year. The good takil really took off this year and the other one is barely alive. I'll try to post some pictures later this week if I can.

I also tried to grow sabal minor "McCurtain" (from McCurtain County, OK) but it died due to a mishap not related to the weather. The leaves on the sabal minor are not glossy and dark green like needle palms, so I'm not sure that I would try it again.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2005 at 7:53PM
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the_virginian(Zone 7 NoVA)

Arl Tom,

You are refering to full shade otherwise your palm in total darkness would be a total mushroom given enough time.:') Anyway, I was going to try Wilt Pruf and soem leaves, mulch and burlap for my new T. Fortunei palms this year. I am growing from seed some T. Takils and see how they do in a few years. I am curious, what happened to your Sabal Minor? Did you plant any that were sucessful? Have you tried needle palms as well?

    Bookmark   September 20, 2005 at 12:15PM
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thistle5(z7 VA)

From my tropical garden this year, the majesty & dwarf pygmy date palms, ficus lyrata, asstd. hibiscus, & orchids will move inside & I'm going to move the potted figs & windmill palm to the ground (hope it's not too late)near a s/e small brick wall-I'm going to leave the cannas in the ground, but remove the ones in pots. I'm also going to try & save 'Mr. Banana'-not a musa basjoo, a humble grocery store 'Banana Splitz', I think ensete ventricosum (Red Abyssinian banana), purchased last Feb. as an 8" plant, almost died on me, after planting outside, it's about 4' now. After the frost hits it, I'll pile leaves on it, & hope that it makes it...

    Bookmark   September 25, 2005 at 5:01PM
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the_virginian(Zone 7 NoVA)

One thing I learned when transplanting in the fall or just getting the plants ready for winter is don't be afraid to fertilize them until mid October so they have a strong root system. Most garden advice is to stop in the middle of August which is incorrect as the plant is not drawing as much nutrients and is storing sugar for the winter.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2005 at 3:06PM
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ljrmiller(z7 NV)

I'm not on that coast, but I'm definitely Zone 7. I'll be trying to overwinter my new Alocasias (both x amazonica), my Colocasia 'Illustris', my tender Fuchsias (F. boliviensis and one other), my Aloes and Agaves (the non-hardy Agaves, that is), my cane Begonias and a Rhapis Palm indoors in a sunny window.

I'll try to overwinter dormant corms/rhizomes/bulbs of my Cannas, Agapanthus, Dahlias and Tuberous Begonias in a fridge in the garage I'm buying just for that purpose (well, that and stratifying seeds and forcing bulbs).

I'm sure I'm missing things, but right now I can't think what they are.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2005 at 4:28PM
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the_virginian(Zone 7 NoVA)

I am getting ready for winter by raking up tons of pine straw to store until needed in the dead of winter in case very low temps are encountered. I am also putting down a nice layer on the beds to keep the palms, bananas and cannas insulated at the root level. I am going to add another 3 inches or so this weekend.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2005 at 3:09AM
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thistle5(z7 VA)

What's the best way to overwinter cannas that are planted in pots-take them out, dry them out, & stick them in the garage? I have some in the ground that I will just leave, but I don't think the ones in pots will make it (they're making a brave showing now, with the remnants of ipomaea & blue basil-I still have bees!) but I want to replant the large pots w/ tulip bulbs to try & thwart the squirrels...

    Bookmark   November 8, 2005 at 3:07PM
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the_virginian(Zone 7 NoVA)

I would either let the pots dry out ans store them in a cold garage or basement, or take them out of the pots and pack them in dry peat moss in a bag and keep them in the same cold place in the house. Next spring, you can try planting them in the ground again. I would mulch those that you do plan on leaving in the ground for the winter as added protection.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2005 at 11:34AM
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paul_tropics

Read some of your postings ...... I have been growing palms and yucca trees in the northern tidewater area of Maryland for a couple years .... several large needle palms, waggies, takils, sabal minors, sabal louisianas, yucca rostrata, Yucca brevifolia ssp.jaegeriana , Yucca campestris ,Yucca faxoniana ( a monster tree ), Yucca aloifolia,Yucca thompsoniana ...... biggest struggle for me is the moisture, learn to keep the ground high and somewhat dry or atleast quick draining and these plants will take the cold ... I'll post some pictures once I have completed a plant shuffle in my yard and it looks the way I want it.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2006 at 12:32AM
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the_virginian(Zone 7 NoVA)

Paul:

That sounds great as I would like to see pictures of your successes and any more tips you have for growing them in our area is appreciated.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2006 at 1:28AM
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paul_tropics

No problem ...... I have been moving some stuff around so give me a week or so, my yard looks like a nursery site with things out of place ..... I moved some larger Needle Palms, sabals and yuccas .... I'll get out there and get some PICs, don't mind my mess, its work in progress ... hope I don't kill anything by transplanting, talk to you soon........ PS, not sure if you have ever seen a Yucca Faxonia but they have huge diameter truck ( I consider them the Chilean Wine Palm of the Yucca World, they are actually nick named Yucca Palms ), there is a home about 8 miles from my house that has one that is atleast 10 feet tall if not more, very massive and very impressive.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2006 at 1:00AM
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the_virginian(Zone 7 NoVA)

Wow, I'd love to see and maybe try to plant one of those yuccas.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2006 at 3:45AM
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paul_tropics

I am trying to post the PICs but I can not paste to this message board .... how did the DC guy do this ....?

    Bookmark   April 23, 2006 at 9:30PM
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tombootom_gmail_com

Looks like this is a dead posting, but just in case, I have overwintered (in the ground)successfully:

-Tuberous (100%)
-Dahlias - multiple varieties - 95%
-Cannas - multiple varieties - 90% - my lesson with these guys is to not try to move them around in the fall. Every time I have monkeyed with them late in the year and left them in the ground, I have lost them.
-Butterfly Ginger - 100%
-Black Magic Elephant Ears - 50% - These are my hardest as I can't seem to control rot on the big mother corms, but I always get volunteers to come up.
-Traditional (green) Elephant Ears - 75% - Similar problems as above with the rot.

My process is to cut back the plants prior to our last frost and then pile traditional hardwood mulch over the plant while the ground is fairly warm. For certain plants I place a piece of tarp inside the mound to keep moisture (and frost) from permeating down to the soil. Where I have spring bulbs, I avoid the tarp and just carefully begin pulling the mulch away when winter starts and the danger of a deep freeze starts to pass. Works great and I have been able to grow tulips next to dahlias with no problems.

I live in the Annapolis area and this year I have added Philo's, a Chinese windmill, a needle palm, and two kinds of lantanta to my trials. I'll put up another post this Spring with results. Cheers!

    Bookmark   February 12, 2009 at 10:13PM
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thistle5(z7 VA)

Hopefully, not dead (that's what I say about my plants this time of year). I'm waiting to see how my elephant ears & ginger do this year, because I didn't have enough time to dig them up last year. I had one ginger, 1 dahlia, 1 calla lily, & 1 lantana overwinter last year, as well as most of the palms & bananas.

I don't think it was a rough winter this year, despite the odd temp. swings. I hope to see a lot of spring growth soon...

    Bookmark   February 19, 2009 at 4:09PM
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