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tropicals in the Houston area

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Saw this beautiful Erythrina crista-galli today in Richmond, TX. Feel free to use this thread to share other pictures of tropicals in the greater Houston area.

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That tree looks pretty nice! Apparently they're rated at 9a, but I wouldn't have guessed that from looking at it.

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Here are a couple of images of tropicals in Houston.

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Ed in Houston

 

 

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6 hours ago, necturus said:

Saw this beautiful Erythrina crista-galli today in Richmond, TX. Feel free to use this thread to share other pictures of tropicals in the greater Houston area.

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:greenthumb: Impressive specimen Ed. Nice to see these looking as well as they can in California there near the Gulf Coast. One of my favorite of the hardy Erythrinas. Wonder how E. coralloides might do there? Another spectacular and modestly hardy Coral tree species.

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I don't have any pics, but on a recent trip I noticed that I-45 was landscaped with some very nice Livistona decora which were in bloom. It seemed like all the palms I saw looked very good (Washingtonia especially looked better than here), and were used tastefully instead of overplanted like they often are in Florida. That Erythrina is stunning.

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this erythrina is fabulous:yay:

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Breaking from the topic a little. This is a Hong Kong orchid tree spotted at a nursery in San Antonio last fall. Unfortunately, we missed seeing the tree in full bloom, which  would've been an amazing sight. Folks at the nursery reported that the tree froze to the ground at one point. You couldn't hardly tell from these pictures.

You don't see many of these in Houston. Bauhinia purpurea is much more common. I have one in the ground that bloomed fantastically this winter. Forgot to photograph it, alas. Hopefully they will become more common over time.

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During my last visit to Houston I was amazed not only by the palms planted all over town, but the tropical foliage in some of the inner town neighborhoods. I saw large bird of paradise , and plumerias seemed very popular. When I lived there in the 80s, there were very few "tropicals" to be seen anywhere.

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Ed, are those Arenga engleris?  Whatever it is, I want! 

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Do you all have any luck with Zone 10 palms in the Houston area? Perhaps Royals?

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56 minutes ago, RedRabbit said:

Do you all have any luck with Zone 10 palms in the Houston area? Perhaps Royals?

There used to be some decent sized royal palms, foxtail palms, and king palms before the 2010 freeze (there was a decade long string of mild winters). I wonder if any survived in the warmest pockets (inner city area)...I think it only got down to around 25F during the 2011 freeze. That area (roughly the I-610 loop) is zone 10 most years. Pygmy date palms were extremely common in the 2000s - they were killed off in the colder suburbs but most in the inner city and towards the south/southeast survived. The Houston area spans zones 8b/9a (northern suburbs like Conroe and the Woodlands) to 9b/10a (Galveston...bayfront areas like Kemah and parts of Clear Lake are also probably quite mild). There are some nice royal palms in Galveston. Someone on this board also posted a picture of a tall Carpentaria there and also a Satakentia (doubt either survived the freeze a few years ago but they did look good while they were alive). Tropical plants like hibiscus are used extensively. There are also some small tree sized Ficus. Ficus macrophylla seems like it would do well there - didn't seem to have much freeze damage after the 2011 (unlike F. elastica). 

Bismarckia should be used more often - there is one near me that survived two years of back to back freezes in the high teens/very low 20s. Looked like it was nuked for a while but it is now holding a full crown of leaves! If it survives in Katy, it should grow well in the warmer half of the Houston Area. 

Bismarckia in Katy, TX (check out the photo history)

 

Edited by Xenon
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Jonathan, do you know where the Satakentia was growing?  I gather it was around Mario's on the seawall but I'm not sure. I've looked a couple of times, thinking I could find the big Bizzie growing next to it. The house had several other 10a palms and I'm really curious what is left of them.  

 

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Nice to see a Bizzie in Katy. This is my biggest one. 

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3 hours ago, topwater said:

Jonathan, do you know where the Satakentia was growing?  I gather it was around Mario's on the seawall but I'm not sure. I've looked a couple of times, thinking I could find the big Bizzie growing next to it. The house had several other 10a palms and I'm really curious what is left of them.  

 

I've never seen it in person - here is the post: Satakentia in Galveston

Nice Bizzie (and foxtails)! :greenthumb:

I also noticed Kemah Boardwalk added some Bismarckia and Archontophoenix.

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Here is (was?) a mango tree in Kemah:

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(not my photo...think it was originally posted on the Hardy Palm and Subtropical Forum)

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5 hours ago, Xenon said:

There used to be some decent sized royal palms, foxtail palms, and king palms before the 2010 freeze (there was a decade long string of mild winters). I wonder if any survived in the warmest pockets (inner city area)...I think it only got down to around 25F during the 2011 freeze. That area (roughly the I-610 loop) is zone 10 most years. Pygmy date palms were extremely common in the 2000s - they were killed off in the colder suburbs but most in the inner city and towards the south/southeast survived. The Houston area spans zones 8b/9a (northern suburbs like Conroe and the Woodlands) to 9b/10a (Galveston...bayfront areas like Kemah and parts of Clear Lake are also probably quite mild). There are some nice royal palms in Galveston. Someone on this board also posted a picture of a tall Carpentaria there and also a Satakentia (doubt either survived the freeze a few years ago but they did look good while they were alive). Tropical plants like hibiscus are used extensively. There are also some small tree sized Ficus. Ficus macrophylla seems like it would do well there - didn't seem to have much freeze damage after the 2011 (unlike F. elastica). 

Bismarckia should be used more often - there is one near me that survived two years of back to back freezes in the high teens/very low 20s. Looked like it was nuked for a while but it is now holding a full crown of leaves! If it survives in Katy, it should grow well in the warmer half of the Houston Area. 

Bismarckia in Katy, TX (check out the photo history)

 

Thanks Xenon, it is interesting how variable the climate is there. I'd be really impressed if Carpentaria or Satakentia could make it there long term, but royals make sense in the warmest parts. 

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I'm really not a big zone pusher, I thought foxtails were 9b hardy when I planted them. They're going to have a come to Jesus moment one of these years. Thanks for the link. 

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Here are some more Houston tropical plantings.

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Ed in Houston

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I love rubber plants. 

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9 hours ago, Ed in Houston said:

Here are some more Houston tropical plantings.

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ferns.jpg.5d27e1a19a8884f79fe4ce5e863eda

 

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Ed in Houston

I bet white birds do great there, they're tough plants.

Is that monstera deliciosa in the last pic? 

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13 hours ago, RedRabbit said:

I bet white birds do great there, they're tough plants.

Is that monstera deliciosa in the last pic? 

Yep, both have their leaves frozen back during cold winters but come back well.

 

Here is a Hawaiian Schefflera.

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Ed in Houston

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So nice to see a more tropical Houston. It was my dream when I lived there in the 70s and 80s.

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2 hours ago, Ed in Houston said:

Yep, both have their leaves frozen back during cold winters but come back well.

 

Here is a Hawaiian Schefflera.

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Ed in Houston

Very interesting, I thought Monstera was more of a zone 10 pant. There is some in Tampa here and there, but it isn't common anywhere around here.

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7 hours ago, RedRabbit said:

Very interesting, I thought Monstera was more of a zone 10 pant. There is some in Tampa here and there, but it isn't common anywhere around here.

I grow them both here in zone 9B and the Giant bird is more frost sensitive. The Monstera didn't even blink at below freezing temps (for a few short hours under a canopy). In fact it didn't even lose a single leave all winter.

Edited by NorCalKing
Spell fail :)
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Next door neighbors place. 

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One of the older Shefellera around town, and a 30 + year old white bird. It's only enemy is a machete. 

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Here is an Angel Trumpet. These do OK in Houston bit it sure does not take much cold to freeze them back to the ground, around 30F. They bloom almost continually even in winter if it stays above freezing

Ed in Houston

 

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On May 14, 2016 at 9:25:10 AM, Ed in Houston said:

Here is an Angel Trumpet. These do OK in Houston bit it sure does not take much cold to freeze them back to the ground, around 30F. They bloom almost continually even in winter if it stays above freezing

Ed in Houston

 

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I had good luck with these even during the ice ages of the 80s. They would get frozen back to ground level every year and by October they had fully recovered and were in full bloom.I love the scent of the white variety the most.

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Some more pictures. The first, a large rubber shrub (Ficus elastica) not far from NRG Stadium. The second, a large Schefflera actinophylla growing near the med center. Unfortunately, it lies behind a brick wall within a gated community, so we can only see the top of it. I've read and heard there use to be a large one that flowered near downtown by Loaves and Fishes, but it's been gone for at least the last two years. A casualty of freezes or development, who knows. 

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And finally, Thunbergia mysorensis in bloom at Zone 9 Tropicals, a real treat.

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"House of Dereon" installed some foxtail palms...judging by google photos, looks like they've been there since spring 2015. Have a feeling they will last for more than a few winters in that microclimate. 

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Really enjoy seeing these tropicals growing in Houston.

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20 hours ago, necturus said:

And finally, Thunbergia mysorensis in bloom at Zone 9 Tropicals, a real treat.

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:greenthumb::greenthumb: Mysore Clock Vine is easily one of the most spectacular vines in cultivation. Nice to see it growing there in the Houston area, even if it is kept protected there at the nursery. 

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As mentioned above, plumeria are popping up everywhere. Most are in pots, of course. There are a few in the ground, including this large, multi-trunk plant.

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Jacaranda mimosifolia is commonly available in 1 g pots around here. I have seen a scraggly looking, multi-trunked plant in the Heights in bloom, but I have yet to see any large single trunk plants. This is one of the largest ones around. 

Cordia boissieri is also increasingly common. I have actually seen a few planted in the suburbs as street trees. I hope these become more widely planted.

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Here is my bird of paradise in Houston.

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Ed in Houston

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The small (Orange) BOP are way more cold tolerant, then their GBOP cousins. Here in my 9B climate, the small ones don't even blink an eye in the winter. While the GBOP always loses most it's leaves to frost, but comes back quickly in the spring.

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Two recent sightings. A Madagascar palm in the ground in the Montrose area and two large Ceiba speciosa planted as street trees in the Second Ward.

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4 hours ago, necturus said:

Two recent sightings. A Madagascar palm in the ground in the Montrose area and two large Ceiba speciosa planted as street trees in the Second Ward.

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Very nice! Silk floss trees are a rarity around here.

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2 hours ago, RedRabbit said:

Very nice! Silk floss trees are a rarity around here.

Yeah, they're not very common here either. I've only seen them for sale at a couple of nurseries off the beaten path. We have one in the ground that's about ten feet tall now. These ones are big enough that they've clearly seen some fairly cold winters, especially 2010-2011.

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