Hardy Palms in Virginia

the_virginian(Zone 7 NoVA)October 9, 2008

I am in Loudoun County and growing hardy palms like the Sabal Minor or Dwarf Palmetto, the Needle Palm and the Windmill Palm. Anyone else having luck with hardy palms?

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bubba62

I've been growing about 15 species and varieties of hardy palms here in Newport News, which is probably a bit warmer than your location, for over 10 years now. They all do well, but the Trachycarpus species have been the most rewarding, since they tend to grow faster than the others. Needles and Sabal minor are healthy, but very slow to put on any growth. Trachy. takil, wagnerianus, latisectus, and nanus all seem perfectly hardy here, and I have small plants of three other species (princeps, mauritianus, and oreophilus, I think - don't quote me on the spelling!) for which I'm providing some winter protection until they attain a bit more size.

Sabals of several species are growing well, too, but will take years before adding much to the landscape. Chaemerops humilis in the normal and "blue" variety show some leaf dieback when temps drop into the teens, but always return when the weather warms. Butia capitata has done well for several years, but we haven't been below 10 degrees since they've been planted, so the jury is still out. I'm trying Phoenix theophrasti, Trithrinax campestris, Brahea armata, and a couple of Chaemedora species this winter, so we'll see how they do. The trick seems to be to protect the young plants for several years (I use 'walls-o-water' stuffed with pinestraw) to allow them time to build up a thick enough trunk to protect the growing point.

A great book on the subject, written by a horticulturist in Ohio, I think, is "Palms Won't Grow Here". He gives great ideas for winter protection and a complete breakdown of possible varieties for zone 6, believe it or not!

I put one picture of some "teen-aged" Trachycarpus in my last blog entry if you're interested:

Here is a link that might be useful: The Transitional Gardener (blog)

    Bookmark   October 11, 2008 at 5:15AM
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divahethr(7b)

I have a mexican fan palm I grew from seed in 2004. it's been in the ground since 2005. The trunk is about 3 feet. The base of the trunk is impressive. So far the winters haven't been too bad here in Newport News. One day I will have to protect it when a bad one comes through. By then maybe we will be zone 8? These are some other palms I am growing butia yatay, butia eriospatha, Trachycarpus wagnerianus, trachycarpus takil, mazari silver and green, brazoria sabal, louisianna sabal, blue dwarf palmetto, and no id (no idea either)sabal palm.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2008 at 6:48PM
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bubba62

It's interesting to hear from another gardener growing such a variety of palms in Newport News; wish I had room to try as many as you have. BTW, on the newest USDA zone maps, my area of NN (Harpersville Rd. area) is now classified as zone 8, rather than 7b. I still remember some very cold snaps though, including a couple of winters when all the camellias in the area died back to the ground, so I'm not taking anything for granted. There was a high of 5 degrees F on the day we bought this house in 1994!

    Bookmark   October 22, 2008 at 3:49AM
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acstraley(7b)

Hey there, I live in Hampton, off of Hampton Roads center pkwy. I have a windmill, b. capita, canary island date palm, sabal minor, needle palm. They are all in pots in my sunroom but I am planning to plant them all this spring except the canary island date palm. Nice to hear I have people growing palms so close. Would like to stop by someday and check your yards out and see what you got growing.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2008 at 10:17PM
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bubba62

Hi AC-

Not far from you at all - I'm off Harpersville Rd. Let's get in touch in a couple of months when things start to warm up a bit and I'm past the holiday rush at both of my jobs. Would be glad to show you around the "jungle" at some point.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2008 at 4:10AM
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Dave in NoVA • 7a • Northern VA

Bubba,

The photos in your blog are gorgeous. My inlaws live in Williamsburg and we get down there a lot. We often take trips to Anderson's Nursery and to McDonald's on Pembroke. We purchase a lot of plants there that we can't find very easily up here (Northern VA).

    Bookmark   December 16, 2008 at 9:41AM
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bubba62

Thanks, Dave - the blog has been a fun project this year, but time has gotten away from me lately, so I haven't done much with it. I spend a lot of time at Anderson's and McDonald's as well, but there's not much more room here for plants anymore. I really enjoy going to Green Springs in Alexandria when I'm up your way - I've gotten some cool things very inexpensively in their plant sale area.

    Bookmark   December 25, 2008 at 5:15AM
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palmaholic

Hello Iam from Central Virginia (Charlottesville area)and growing 3 Pindos, 2 Windmills and a Queen Palm (alot of winter protection). This year Iam going to plant a Sabal "Birmingham", Sabal "Louisiana", Sabal "Brazoria" and several Sabal "McCurtian". All have been in the ground for three years except the Queen, its been in the ground for 2 years.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2009 at 11:47AM
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boogshead(7)

have you heard of Rhapidophyllum hystrix (needle palm)? is hardy to -10 F (when established) -- but there's a huge one growing in the national arboretum here in Washington, D.C. (zone 7).

    Bookmark   May 2, 2009 at 11:46PM
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the_virginian(Zone 7 NoVA)

Yes, there are some growing in DC, MD and all over the eastern half of Virginia. I wish palms were more popular here and more folks grew them in public places. For those of you who have palms, how did they do this winter with the snow? How have they done in the dry summer we have had so far?

    Bookmark   September 9, 2010 at 2:24PM
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the_virginian(Zone 7 NoVA)

boogshead: To answer your question, the two that have been in the ground for about 40 years at the National Arboretum have seen many sub-zero events and survived no problem.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2010 at 7:07AM
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cece_virginia

Search for Bocajoe or Joe Seamone for a wealth of information about growing tropicals in non-tropical locales.

Here's a little web article I did on the subject. If the link doesn't come through you can go to www.mainlinegardening.com and find it under the "learn" section with the title "A Tropical Garden Anywhere"

http://www.mainlinegardening.com/previews/index.php?itemid=370

    Bookmark   March 10, 2011 at 3:05PM
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the_virginian(Zone 7 NoVA)

Boca Joe is one of the founding members of the Virginia Palm Society and we have a Facebook group that anyone is free to join whether or not you are from Virginia or not. It is an informal group where we share knowledge and have lots of fun.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 8:28AM
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skipalmbum

I live on the east side of Dulles and I have a have a 6 foot windmill in the ground for 10 years and another 7 foot windmill in the ground for 6 years. The younger tree gets an hour more sun than the older tree every day. This year I planted two more smaller windmills and have them bordered by banana trees. Looks amazing from the pool deck.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2013 at 11:25AM
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skipalmbum

I live on the east side of Dulles and I have a have a 6 foot windmill in the ground for 10 years and another 7 foot windmill in the ground for 6 years. The younger tree gets an hour more sun than the older tree every day. This year I planted two more smaller windmills and have them bordered by banana trees. Looks amazing from the pool deck.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2013 at 11:26AM
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river_city(7b)

I'm growing a pindo palm (jelly date palm) successfully in Richmond.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2013 at 2:06PM
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the_virginian(Zone 7 NoVA)

Awesome that you all have had success and I invite you to feel free to join our group on Facebook. We have local events, get palms planted in public places, plant swaps and garden tours. We welcome anyone from anywhere to join.

Here is a link that might be useful: Virginia Palm Society on Facebook

    Bookmark   October 2, 2013 at 12:25PM
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gastone21

Both of my trachys have spear pull after this wonderfully cold winter we've had. The older one has been in the ground for 3+ years and the younger for 2+.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 1:43PM
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