Return to the Palms & Cycads Forum | Post a Follow-Up

 o
Trachycarpus Fortunei and Musa Ice Cream

Posted by NYHamptons Zone 7a/7b (My Page) on
Sun, Sep 30, 12 at 10:58

Ok, so I bought a Trachycarpus fortunei for about 100 dollars and it is 5 feet tall from a local garden center. I plan to plant it out here and going to put Burlap and Mulch on it. It will be near my pool and so is my Musa Ice Cream. My question is, should I go ahead and plant the Windmill Palm, or wait till spring? My Musa Ice Cream was planted a few weeks ago and I would like to know how much mulch I should use and when. I am in Southampton, NY close to the tip of long Island. I would like to know what other tropicals I cold grow here. I will put pics of my Musa Ice Cream and Trachycarpus later. One more question, I might buy a Musa Basjoo, but if I do, will I need to protect that at all?


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
RE: Trachycarpus Fortunei and Musa Ice Cream

I would hold off on planting the Trachy until the Spring--say early May. Grow it containerized and leave it outside until it starts getting frosty--usually around early to mid November. Then, move it somewhere cool but frost free. A bright garage works well if available. It should even start growing for you. I especially urge this if you bought your palm bare-rooted. Trachys can be temperamental from bare-rooted purchases and a winter stress would not help.
Basjoo should be mulched and perhaps protected from excessive winter precip.

Other tropicals? Yuccas, Chinese yellow banana, loquats, Magnolias, Aspidistra, Kiwi, hardy gardenias, camellias, confederate jasmine, Sabal and Needle palm as long as summer heat is present , Mediterranean fan palm is worth a try too. Depends how you define ' tropical '. There are also hardy cacti and a few agaves. Depends on the look you want. Most ferns give a very tropical feel but are very cold hardy if not even evergreen.


 o
RE: Trachycarpus Fortunei and Musa Ice Cream

njoasis, thank you for your reply. The problem for me is, this is my second home, I live in the city, and the garage I have is not bright, it has no windows. So my best bet is to keep in on my deck, or indoors. I also bought a Musa Ice Cream a few weeks back, any tips on how to protect it? (it's already planted).Also, when should I start protecting the Musa Ice Cream for the winter? I will definitely think of buying a sabal minor as long as it needs minimal to no protection because it is sort of a shrub.


 o
RE: Trachycarpus Fortunei and Musa Ice Cream

Also, my Trachy was bought in a container, not bare root.


 o
RE: Trachycarpus Fortunei and Musa Ice Cream

I don't knw about ice cream bananas, but don't believe I ever have seen them on cold hardy bananas, so you probably should cut off the foliage after they are hit by frost, then bring the corms inside for next year.

Containerized Trachy will be good on the deck until it gets too cold. In my area I would have to worry by December, November may see some frosts but not too bad for most of the hardier subtropicals in containers. I have some more tender species of Trachys and they get protected by early Dec. usually, the fortunei are mostly in the ground (but have a number of containerized backup fortunei in the event of any loss). Once you do eventually plant the Trachy in the ground, you might protect with some burlap for a couple of winters, depending on what our crazy climate does. But they, as ANY plant gains in cold hardiness through the years. Good luck!


 o
RE: Trachycarpus Fortunei and Musa Ice Cream

Thanks! But there is an area on my deck where there is cover from the top. So there may be a chance for it to be over there for the winter? If not I'll just bring it indoors. Also, does Sabal Minor need any additional protection? And will the Chinese Yellow Banana need any additional protection. The needle palm I think won't need any in our zone. But you know more so could you confirm that? Also the pindo palm, should I plant that too?


 o
RE: Trachycarpus Fortunei and Musa Ice Cream

Trachycarpus Fortunei.


 o
RE: Trachycarpus Fortunei and Musa Ice Cream

Musa Ice Cream


 o
RE: Trachycarpus Fortunei and Musa Ice Cream

How do my two tropicals look? I have lots of Yuccas around my pool and have been planted for 3 years. Haven't lost any so far, unprotected! They're developing stems. Tell me if these are looking good.


 o
RE: Trachycarpus Fortunei and Musa Ice Cream

Not sure what you mean by cover to the deck. But if left in a container, it will need protection from prolonged exposure to freezing temps--in the ground and established, it's a very different story. I think your Trachy looks terrific! Was the banana recently put in? Should be lusher at this time of year if not. I would leave it until frost gets to it and bring the corm inside. Chinese Yelllow (Lasiocarpa chinensis) is said to cold hardy to 0 F., basjoo is slightly hardier. One of my favorites though is Musa Sikkimensis, Himalayan banana. Leaves have a maroon tone to their undersides, leaves are large and tropical, but would probably need protection in Zone 7. Mekong Giant is another hardy banana if you can find it--probably as hardy as Chinese Yellow.

I would protect Needles as well in your area. Small, unestablished ones are less cold hardy. Butias are wonderful palms, I am inundated with them! They grow fast despite what you frequently hear. I lost one two winters ago in the winter from hell with all it's record snow, rain and prolonged cold.
They don't like it wet in the winter, but if you can keep it protected from snow and rain, would probably make it and they are cheap enough to experient. You might also want to experient with Washingtonia, Calif. and//Mexican fan palms--cheap, fast, easy even from seed. They might take a hit from winter even if protected but many people seem to get them through the winters in much colder zones! I have two next to the house that are gonna be test cases. I will put large containers over them once it really gets cold.


 o
RE: Trachycarpus Fortunei and Musa Ice Cream

Thanks for you reply, I'm going to give the Butia a try by putting it naer the south wall and see what happens. Maybe a little protection. Also what I meant by cover was there is sort of a roof on top of my front porch possibly protecting it from frost and cold winds. It is facing south and the only winds that can hit it are the ones coming from the south.


 o
RE: Trachycarpus Fortunei and Musa Ice Cream

Beautiful trachy! I wouldnt plant it in the ground this late in the season. While the USDA zone map considers Southampton a zone 7b, I personally have seen that the temperatures there are much colder than the rest of Long Island and NYC because of the pine barrens and sandy soil. It's almost disappointing considering that Southampton is in a great location for a mild climate zone since it has a lot of ocean influence.

As far as I have seen, young needle palms can only handle temperatures around 15F, but established palms can handle much colder, down to near 0F and after a few years they shouldnt need protection in your climate.

Trachys will probably always need protection to look their best, but there are several in my area (Im in NYC, but not Manhattan) that recieve minimal protection and still look great after every winter. Last year I did not protect my trachy and it survived with minor damage (it was a mild winter though). The year before was a cold and incredibly snowy winter and I only protected it from rain, no additional heat and it survived but with some minor damage). So trachys are pretty hardy, but my nicest looking ones get protected and are in a good microclimate.

I have had a lot of success with Butias, but I protect mine and they have not seen below 20F.

Ice Cream bananas are only hardy to a light freeze so bring that one inside. Musa Basjoo is reliably hardy and come back for me without protection.

Good luck with your palms! I plant my palms from mid March to late May, never later than early June though!

-Alex


 o
RE: Trachycarpus Fortunei and Musa Ice Cream

Thank you for your reply Alex, so where exactly do you buy your Basjoo and your Butia Capitata. Also where should I keep this Windmill Palm if it isn't planted? For two-three years I will use Burlap and Mulch to protect my Windmill starting next year. Also, I plan to heavily mulch my Ice Cream, throw a garbage bag over it, and then put more mulch on it. It might survive... njoasis stated some cool palms to plant and try, but do you know any others too? Mostly Bananas and Palms.


 o
RE: Trachycarpus Fortunei and Musa Ice Cream

If you have to plant your trachy now, then it is possible to pull it through winter if you protect it with lights, burlap, plastic, etc. I planted one on the south side of my house in Michigan, zone 6b, in early november. It survived with protection undamaged.

That being said, it would probably be better to keep it in the house until spring, but I would not bring it in the house just yet. I leave my potted trachys out until nighttime lows start getting into the low 20s. Mid to upper 20s don't seem to affect them. Sabal minor shouldn't need extra protection in your area other than extra mulch.

As for the Ice Cream, they're not considered one of the hardier bananas, but if you use enough mulch, it might pull through. I would load up on lots and lots of mulch, and then cover it with a tarp to keep it dry. The only thing I would be concerned about other than the hardiness of Ice Cream bananas is the fact that it hasn't been in the ground for the entire season and probably isn't established, which can affect hardiness.


 o
RE: Trachycarpus Fortunei and Musa Ice Cream

The idea of the garbage bag over the banana will do more harm than good. It will get too hot with the sun and will turn to mush, die right to the ground. You're better off digging up the corm if it is not a hardy banana. With the Trachy, I would plant it now, because the ground is still warm and good for root growth, but also because I wouldn't be patient enough to wait until spring.

Interesting that you get colder out there because of sandy soil and "pine barrens"? I'd like to hear more about that, Tropical Zone 7. I wonder if our Oceana Virginia Beach location suffers from the same problems. I just always thought their sensors were inacurrate, but they do have very sandy soil and it's all pines. A local meteorologist gave me the same theory.

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


 o
RE: Trachycarpus Fortunei and Musa Ice Cream

About 3 or 4 years ago, I planted a Trachy in mid November. After a few weeks I built a leaf cage around it and let it sleep for the winter. Today it is flourishing.

Deck or ground, you have to protect it. Which will be easier? Containerized plants are more vulnerable to cold. I say it is fine to put it in the ground, but get ready to install a protection reginme immediately.


 o
RE: Trachycarpus Fortunei and Musa Ice Cream

NYHamptons, I got my basjoo from a local nursery (I saw some at Hicks during the summer which is in westbury on Long Island). the Butia was from ebay but the seller doesnt exist. It was only 15 dollars for a 3 gallon and it is now at least a 7 gallon size, well worth the price!
If you have the money for it and the room, Monkey Puzzle trees are awesome plants that shouldnt need protection by you. They look really tropical and exotic and are hardy to about 0F. I hear the largest (or at least the oldest) Monkey Puzzle tree in the eastern US is somewhere on Shelter Island between the North Fork and South Fork of Long Island. It was planted almost 100 years ago, but I have only found written evidence of its existence.
I agree with Islandbreeze, mulch and a garbage bag will definitely promote rot. I never use garbage bags, they dont let any air in or out and plants need to breath.

Cannas are another cool plant to try. Mine were unprotected last year and not only survived, but are all over the yard even in areas where I didnt plant them. I see why people in the south consider them invasive. Usually it's best to mulch them a few inches in our zone.

LargoMar, I bet that the pine barrens near your weather station are also responsible for the cooler temperatures. I visited the weather station in the Hamptons once and the amount of pines were incredible and the soil was as sandy as a beach! Definitely a bad combination for warm winter temperatures!

Good luck NYHamptons!
-Alex


 o
RE: Trachycarpus Fortunei and Musa Ice Cream

How do, pines and sand affect temperature? Also, I need a confirmed answer on whether i shouls plant now or spring, some are saying it'll be OK now. I may buy a basjoo and butia capitata. Sabal minor too. Jacklor. I will use Burlap and Mulch for protection. Also, I meant garbage bag over the mulch for Ic cream banana. I will not use, Plastic or chrismas lights for trachy. But you guys tell me if it is necesary.


 o
RE: Trachycarpus Fortunei and Musa Ice Cream

Also, tropicalzone7, how do you protect your Butias?


 o
RE: Trachycarpus Fortunei and Musa Ice Cream

I vote no on planting now, definitely wait till spring in my opinion. early August is the latest I would recommend anyone planting palms in borderline zones and even that is very late.

I use christmas lights, a frost cloth, and a plastic garbage bin (not bag) for protection for most of my palms. Nothing special, I only put the lights on when temperatures drop below 25F which isnt too often. During cold days I will keep the lights on all day long, but that didnt happen last year (I only protected my most sensitive palms a total of a week the most since the winter was so mild).

My butias have never been damaged with this protection method. One of my butias was completely unprotected last winter and it surprised me when it actually survived the winter (new fronds were smaller than normal, and it did get some damage, but it was incredible that it survived!)

Here is how my protected Butia looked when I planted it June 2011, Just 15 months ago (underneath it is a hardy variety of gardenia called "Frost Proof" that gets no protection and blooms in early summer).
Photobucket

Here it is a week ago! Next year the big tree to the left of it will be cut down and replaced with a Livistona decorum, giving the pindo palm a LOT more room although probably not enough since they are really fast growers when given a nice warm spot!
Photobucket

And here is my Sabal Minor that I planted in 2009. It surprised me by being really cold sensitive it's first 2 years. I got damage from it even WITH protection. If you get a sabal make sure you get it from a place that lets them see cold every winter, not from a place like Florida where they do not see freezes. After a few NY winters, my sabal has been a lot hardier and it hasnt been damaged the past 2 winters (with protection).
Here it is a week ago
September 15, 2012
Here it is in 2009 right after being planted (the shrub to the left is a good scale to compare the size of the 2.
Sabal minor
It's been a fast grower for me considering how slow they grow for some people.

Good luck!
-Alex


 o
RE: Trachycarpus Fortunei and Musa Ice Cream

WOW, nice palms! My Windmill is far too big for a garbage can though, so my best bet is burlap and mulch. The Butia I will use maybe a cardboard box. But of course thats next summer. Do you mind posting pics of your windmills and Musa Basjoo or any other bananas and palms you're growing? I will hold of on planting Trachy till next year spring, early march maybe.


 o
RE: Trachycarpus Fortunei and Musa Ice Cream

Also, should I buy a needle palm? Some people say it's hardy but not as nice as some other palms.


 o
RE: Trachycarpus Fortunei and Musa Ice Cream

Thanks! My trachy and butia are also too big for garbage bins this year so I will be getting some concrete bricks (like the ones used to make planting beds) to put around the plants under where the garbage bin would go over.
My Basjoos had trouble growing last summer when I planted them in the ground, so they are not too impressive this summer (but they are alive and hopefully will make a nice comeback next year!)

Here is my Trachy in 2009.
windmill palm with yucca and ostrich fern

Here it is last week (buried under lots of other tropicals though at the moment. It will look much bigger in a few weeks when the other plants around it die back from a freeze).
September 15, 2012

And here is my livistonia, planted in the ground in Spring 2010, it survived 2 winters with protection. It will also look a lot bigger once the foliage above it dies back...
Photobucket

And here is a look at the foliage that is covering my palms. It's a mix of elephant ears, cannas, gingers, and purple hearts. The Purple hearts and cannas came back on their own, I dug up the ginger and elephant ears. Some of the ginger did survive outdoors though so that may be hardy as well.
Photobucket

Photobucket

September 15, 2012

Hope this helps give you some ideas!
-Alex


 o
RE: Trachycarpus Fortunei and Musa Ice Cream

Wow! Nice trachy and tropicals! I'm ordering my basjoos today. But I didn't see your basjoos very clearly, do you mind showing me a closer pic? Also, do you mulch or protect it at all? And should I plant it now?


 o
RE: Trachycarpus Fortunei and Musa Ice Cream

Wow! Nice trachy and tropicals! I'm ordering my basjoos today. But I didn't see your basjoos very clearly, do you mind showing me a closer pic? Also, do you mulch or protect it at all? And should I plant it now?


 o
RE: Trachycarpus Fortunei and Musa Ice Cream

The short answer to your question is wait until spring to plant the trachy and the Musa Ice Cream probably won't make it if left outside for winter. The rule of thumb is always plant hardy tropicals in marginal areas in the spring so they have the whole growing season and fall to become established.


 o
RE: Trachycarpus Fortunei and Musa Ice Cream

Thanks NYHamptons. The Basjoo is not too impressive so I dont have any pics of it this year. It probably wont look nice again until next year because it had a problem with spider mites and/or aphids during the year that I stored it indoors. All I did to protect the plants was a big pile of dry leaves. The cannas that did not receive any protection also survived though so the mulch was not necessary last winter.
Definitely wait till spring for any planting of borderline hardy things.
-Alex


 o
RE: Trachycarpus Fortunei and Musa Ice Cream

NYHampton:

I now use burlap for my Butia which has outgrown its termp greenhouse. I first tie the fonds and then wrap the burlap. I then add a burlap potato sack treated with Scotchguard. Finally, I cut about 75% off of a garbage bag and place the remainder on top to keep the burlap from getting soaked. I have Xmas lights at the ready but never needed them during last winter as it was very warm.

I think lots of burlap and mulch will protect yours. Put it in NOW.

In the past I used leaf cages, mulch, and tarps for my Trachys. Worked fine. I no longer protect them other than mulch.


 o
RE: Trachycarpus Fortunei and Musa Ice Cream

Well I'm getting two different opinions here on when to plant it. It looks to me as the chances of it surviving if I plant it in spring are better, but I also have no where to put the HUGE palm in my house. My house is 4,000 sq ft but each corner has a tree, so it will be difficult for me planting it in spring. Also, I have one layer of Burlap its 4 meters. I am buying the Sabal Minor "McCurtain" and the Musa Basjoo. I will Also look into the needle Palm as well as the Jelly Palm (Butia Capitata). But does anyone have any idea on where in my house I should put it? I can put it on a sheltered Balcony from the top. It will still be outside but will be protected from frost but still see the cold. Do you guys think that will work? One more thing, do you think it is an almost assured thing that it will survive?


 o
RE: Trachycarpus Fortunei and Musa Ice Cream

I dont think an exposed balcony will be good enough for the palm. In fact, it would probably be even colder than if it was in the ground since cold air would be passing over it AND under it too!
Trachycarpus are not that finicky indoors so you can put it anywhere with decent light and it will do fine. The chances of it surviving in the ground are not too great if planted this time of the year since it wont grow much this late in the season. Palms hate being transplanted in the ground since they are very sensitive to root stress to begin with, so the stress of a cold winter would probably be too much for it.
-Alex


 o
RE: Trachycarpus Fortunei and Musa Ice Cream

NYH:

I too would normally counsel a Spring planting. However, if there is truly nowhere to put it except on a balcony, then I think putting it in the ground now is a no brainer. If you have a decent spot in the house, put it there.

I think TZ is right to some extent. However, based on my own experience, admittedly only one November planting, it is far from a death sentence if done right.

Once again, if there is no place in the house for it, then IMHO get it in the ground NOW and heavilly mulch it. Get your protection scheme ready too. We are barely into Fall and any deep freezes are probably not iminent.

Worst thing is it croaks. If so, take it as a learning experience and time your purchases so that you avoid planting after July.

Trachys like a bit of cold. It is not as if you are in the Yukon or Siberia. I have seen them in the Italian Alps covered in snow and loving it.


 o
RE: Trachycarpus Fortunei and Musa Ice Cream

Yea, I will look again for a spot indoors for my trachy. Also should I plant the Musa Basjoo now? Or wait?


 o
RE: Trachycarpus Fortunei and Musa Ice Cream

I'd probably wait on that one too for now. They're pretty hardy and winter over well, but I'd wait. Many people in colder areas dig them up and cut them back to just bulb and stems to put them into dormancy and winter them over in a cool, dry basement. They aren't real happy as a growing as a full plant indoors, but it won't hurt them.

After they are in the ground next spring and have a full growing season behind them, you can leave them in the ground for winter. When the first frost or hard freeze gets them, their leaves will burn and wilt. Cut their stems (it will likely have a few pups by end of growing season) flush with the ground. Let them remain exposed to the cold night air for a week to signal it to go into dormancy. Then you can mulch them in with a few inches of mulch ( don't use compost, it'll rot the stems). The colder your area, the deeper the mulch. I use about five or six inches for my warm 7b winters. As spring approaches, you can start removing some of the mulch to ease the emergence of the pups. You should have multiple pups from each bulb. They look best in groups. Good luck.


 o
RE: Trachycarpus Fortunei and Musa Ice Cream

Thanks guys, that really helps, I appreciate it. Just one more question, does the Musa Truly Tiny ever fruit? I have one in a pot.


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!


Return to the Palms & Cycads Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.


Learn more about in-text links on this page here