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Potted young palms vs zone 9 winter* advise please ASAP

Posted by smittee central florida ( on
Sat, Nov 28, 09 at 19:25

In the fall, I purchased a 18 seedling palms, most of them are all different . They are now all planted in 1 gallon containers. The weather is getting very close to 40 at night. I live in Polk county /Central Florida that is in Zone 9 ( I havent figured out the 9a vs. 9b.). HERE are my questions;
* I have an unheated shed, I dont believe it freezes in there. Should I move my potted palms into the shed until spring?
*If I do should I cover them, for added protection?
*Will they go into a dormancy?
*Will I need to water them?
*Should I take a chance since they are all supposed to be Cold Hardy and leave them out.
*Should I cover them when It looks like the weather temps will dip below 40 degrees.

Last year I bought 20 palm seedlings. I lost 19 of them. I have to admit I did not pay attention to the zones
I am from Washington and my mind set was Florida doesnt get cold. Get real. It took one winter her to blow that fantasy out of my mind. That is why I bought all Cold Hardy varieties this year.

I have been a member of Garden web for years. One thing I have learned over the years If you need a straight answer of expert advice from reputable gardeners you go to GW.
The weather is changing quickly and I need to make a decision ASAP.

SO any and all advice is totally appreciated

Thanks Ssmittee

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Potted young palms vs zone 9 winter* advise please ASAP

Your palms should be fine in your shed. If these palms are truely cold hardy then they will have no problem in a shed that doesnt freeze. Zone 9 is usually a pretty mild zone that doesnt get too many hard freezes anyway, so your palms will be fine. My queen palm has handled 25F in a pot and has come back, and those are considered "cold hardy" to a person in a zone 9. If the forecast calls for anything lower than 25 you might want to bring them indoors since seedlings are very sensitive to cold.

good luck

RE: Potted young palms vs zone 9 winter* advise please ASAP

yes i agree the main thing is when it gets cold if its rainy and wet... makes the palms feel that much colder and maybe rot/wilt... being in the shed will maintain the dryness from the rain they will need. 40* is nothing if they are cold hard varieties. you will be surprised its been 36, 37, 38, and 40 many times it hasnt affected my bananas at all. im very surprised they are just fine, but soon im sure will be getting hit with the cold soon. hasnt yet frosted here yet either which is a lot. so i would say around 35* and wet time to move them even 30* when dry. all depends on how warm and sunny the next day is... hope we could help.

RE: Potted young palms vs zone 9 winter* advise please ASAP

I have 25 Pindo palm seedlings in 1 gallon pots lined up along the wall behind my house, the overhang from the roof pretty much keeps the rain off of them. It got down to about 30F a few nights ago and so far so good.

My only concern is that they warm up during the day due to the sun on the black plastic pots, and then get cold at night. I don't know if the fluctuations will hurt them or not.

RE: Potted young palms vs zone 9 winter* advise please ASAP

Ok thanks so much.
*I will move them into the shed tomorrow.
*I'm guessing from your response that I dont need to cover them in the shed.
*Now what about watering them during the winter months?

Oh I know what the calendar says, but the calendar in Washington reads the same as in Florida. Up there I have planted as late as the first of June and the weather was still iffy. So if yall were to make a educated guess how long do you think I will need to leave them in the shed?

Thanks, I appreciate each and every one of you who take the time to stop and answer my questions and advise me.

RE: Potted young palms vs zone 9 winter* advise please ASAP

Suggest you do some reading on the florida climate ,particularly your own area. There are at least 4 major zones plus dozens of micro climes. All of florida gets below freezing on a regular basis. Except for the Keys even there it's dropped into the 40's
I guess that myth is perpetuated by tourists boards?? lol
Anyway , Prepare yourself to at least get to 32 several times during winter depending on where you are.
Most palm can handle that with ease in fact much better than a dark shed. Get them into full sun and keep them on the dry side . Do you intend to plant them out or keep potted??
Don't worry about any temps above 32. Even coconuts handle that with ease.. The coldest months are just like the rest of the US. Jan, Feb, Main difference it's not as cold nor for as long nor not necessarily every year.
Do some reading on plants that interest you and plan accordingly. Until you get some experience I'd stick with the cold hardy species. Look around what are other people growing and how??
WOW Washington to Florida Cool and damp to warm and damp lol Relax if you worked around that climate this one will be a snap!!! gary

RE: Potted young palms vs zone 9 winter* advise please ASAP

Gary, thanks so much for all that info.

This is my third year here. Now and I am a bit wiser by experience.

I do need to study up on the florida weather zones. I live between Lakeland and Winterhaven in a little town called Auburndale.

I was advised to let them get a little age on them before planting them into the ground, which is my primary intention. My very friendly grower/ dealer suggested that palms are tender until established and would even benefit from partial shade until they have a years growth out of the greenhouse, as in a pot.

I find asking AND following the advise of the wiser is the only way to go.

Hmm now I have to admit I am somewhat confused as to wether I should put them in the shed or not. Other then the warmth of our mobile they have no protection. The mobiles don't have overhangs or gutters.

I have lost 2 coconut palms one during each of the first two years I was here. The first one I left in a pot and the second one went into the grown. Both died.

Now onto the living palms.

Someone mentioned something about the rainy season causing them to get to much water.

OK maybe my concerns are a bit on the side of overkill. Like i said Last year I lost 19 seedling palms. I bought 3 or 4 each month at approx 5 bucks a piece plus shipping and handling, any way I lost between $150 and $200 and that was last year..

This year I bought less often and smaller quanities and ALL were listed cold hardy. I just dont want to loose it all. I am also guessing that I should NOT fertilize till spring.

RE: Potted young palms vs zone 9 winter* advise please ASAP

What kind of palms are they?
If they are Trachys and Sabals you should not have to worry about them AT ALL,unless they are very small,like one or two straps.
How about some pics?

Click for Fairfield, Iowa Forecast

RE: Potted young palms vs zone 9 winter* advise please ASAP

Your zone is 9B. Rain and cold is bad for palms, but it is important to water the soil in the pots before it gets freezing. Watered palms survive better that dry soil.

Here is a link that might be useful: Search your plant hardiness zone by ZIP code

RE: Potted young palms vs zone 9 winter* advise please ASAP

  • Posted by kinzyjr Lakeland, FL 9a (My Page) on
    Fri, Nov 23, 12 at 19:09

Welcome to zone 9 smittee. Just an FYI on coconuts, they aren't truly hardy in Central Florida. You'll have to protect them if you want them. Typically, a blanket and some Christmas lights on a cold night is sufficient.

If the palms are date palms (Phoenix), cotton palms (Washingtonia), Jelly palms (Butia), Queen palms (Syagrus), Needles (Rhapidophyllum), Cabbage Palms (Sabal), Mediterranean Fan Palms (Chamaerops), or Saw Palmettos (Serenoa) they will be perfectly hardy for our area. Some marginal species would be Bismarck Palms (Bismarckia) or Royal Palms (Roystonea).

I'm very close to you, and one thing I can say about Auburndale is that it is prone to have colder lows than other areas here in Polk, with the possible exception of Lake Wales. When in doubt, a blanket over top with a few Christmas lights will get you through.

The winter you are referring to was one of our worst regarding duration of cold. We do have lower temperatures for shorter durations in our worst case. While our current zone is a 9b, we are a very reliable 9a.

RE: Potted young palms vs zone 9 winter* advise please ASAP

There are definitely areas of Florida that are freeze free. Palm beach south on the coast you're safe with coconut. Central Florida where you are you need to stick with palms that tolerate frost and occasional freeze.

RE: Potted young palms vs zone 9 winter* advise please ASAP

Really all depends on what kind of palms you have. Zone 9 is mild enough for any I would consider "cold hardy" to not require any protection--despite occasional cold plunges.

Regarding Florida climate and cold, I know that you even see big differences in the Greater Miami Area. Distance from the water make a big difference. Even traveling south and west from balmy Miami, it was shocking to see how temps can plunge at night under clear skies in the southernmost part of the peninsula (sandy soils contribute to rapid chill down at night). Close your eyes and for a moment you might feel as though you were somewhere in the Great Plains.
P.S., You moved from Washington State or D.C.?

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