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tropicals in the Houston area

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I've visited the Keys and S. Florida (up to Ft. Lauderdale) in the summer and never noticed much of a difference between there and Houston. Wish we had those daily convective thunderstorms though. 

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42 minutes ago, Xenon said:

I've visited the Keys and S. Florida (up to Ft. Lauderdale) in the summer and never noticed much of a difference between there and Houston. Wish we had those daily convective thunderstorms though. 

The graphic of South Padre tops out at miserable 70% of the time due to humidity, that beats out Key West which tops out at 60%.

Even if Key West is miserable more often than Houston I don't think the maximum discomfort is any better in Key West, after all, it's location limits how hot it can get, Houston, or really anywhere near the Texas coast gets hotter, while still having very high dew points. 

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8 hours ago, TexasColdHardyPalms said:

Yes, might as well throw March and December in there too.

March can be one of the most pleasant months of the year, December is unpredictable but usually way better than August. 

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2 hours ago, Xenon said:

I've visited the Keys and S. Florida (up to Ft. Lauderdale) in the summer and never noticed much of a difference between there and Houston. Wish we had those daily convective thunderstorms though. 

Seems like when I was a kid in the seventies we did.  We would often get random rain storms during the summer, 15 minutes later the suns out and all is well. Things have definitely changed, the summers seem much drier now.  I grew up in the Spring/Tomball area, it was solid 8b, snow was not uncommon, palm trees were pretty much unheard of.  When I moved to the Galveston area in 1990, it looked like a palm paradise in comparison, I was floored. First thing I did was plant a ton of Washies at my office, 2 CIDPs at my house. Those were the only two palms that I knew existed.  

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I agree about Houston in the summer- one of the most miserable places in the US for humidity.  I much prefer Central TX and Dallas although the mid summer highs are often hotter there than Houston, the lower humidity is more comfortable.  

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IMG_9780.jpg

Spotted this today down near Seabrook. I have never seen one blooming this well around here. Wish I could've got a better picture, but it was in a backyard along a road with no sidewalk. There is a large kapok tree at the Houston Zoo which may be larger than this one, but I've never seen it bloom. It's in a very shady spot.

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On 10/14/2017, 9:54:49, necturus said:

IMG_9780.jpg

Spotted this today down near Seabrook. I have never seen one blooming this well around here. Wish I could've got a better picture, but it was in a backyard along a road with no sidewalk. There is a large kapok tree at the Houston Zoo which may be larger than this one, but I've never seen it bloom. It's in a very shady spot.

Aweeee :wub: Irma took down my two Ceiba speciosa! :rant: They were blooming VERY well. This is about the time I'd start to see their buds forming..:crying:

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On ‎8‎/‎13‎/‎2016‎ ‎4‎:‎21‎:‎33‎, necturus said:

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.

I'd like to see updates on the floss silk trees in your area. I have a dream of growing one in my location. It's just the freezes to 17-22 deg. it'd have to work around here. Maybe a protected area against some walls would do it.

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On ‎8‎/‎26‎/‎2017‎ ‎4‎:‎08‎:‎13‎, topwater said:

Seabrook really is pretty, same with the places on the west side of Trinity bay, pine trees all the way to the water. And I've caught tons of trout up there in October, November.  Actually, my place bottomed out at 28f too.  I can't get a good pic, but my Foxtails, didn't like it, a few still have a burned frond from last winter.  

IMG_0038.JPG

Wow, that is quite a planting of foxtails. Would love to see an update on them. I'm thinking the results are not gonna be good though. :unsure:

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R.I.P. foxtails, P. robelleni, Hong Kong orchid tree, mango, rubber plants, monstera, Schefflera, plumeria, jacaranda, Madagascar palm, crown of thorns, papaya.... :wacko:

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That silk floss tree is probably fine. They saw in the 24-26 range. Once they get that kind of size on them they can take it.  The problem is getting them established if you regularly see those temperatures. I don't think they stand a chance where you live, it would require heavy duty protection.

I agree the foxtails are probably toast. Most of the other plants you highlight were toast after last years freeze, although some came back. A decent number of foxtails, monstera, established schefflera, the smaller crown of thorns. It'll be interesting to see how the large Bismarckia do.

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21 minutes ago, necturus said:

I don't think they stand a chance where you live, it would require heavy duty protection.

Agreed. Heck, people are thrilled if they can grow them in Orlando.

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2 hours ago, Opal92 said:

I'd like to see updates on the floss silk trees in your area. I have a dream of growing one in my location. It's just the freezes to 17-22 deg. it'd have to work around here. Maybe a protected area against some walls would do it.

I have one in Ocala and thats pretty much the limits of its hardiness. I would not plant it anywhere near a wall. These have very aggressive roots that will buckle built structures.

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2 hours ago, krishnaraoji88 said:

I have one in Ocala and thats pretty much the limits of its hardiness. I would not plant it anywhere near a wall. These have very aggressive roots that will buckle built structures.

I'd still try it... My dream house would be to have a bunch of sizeable courtyards where I could grow more tender stuff.

Edited by Opal92
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4 hours ago, Missi said:

Agreed. Heck, people are thrilled if they can grow them in Orlando.

Ummmm.. there are several large specimens at Disney that have seen as cold or colder than 24-26 deg... And with the slew of zone 10 winters they have been having, I'm sure no one has real problem growing them in that area as of late.

Edited by Opal92
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5 hours ago, necturus said:

That silk floss tree is probably fine. They saw in the 24-26 range. Once they get that kind of size on them they can take it.  The problem is getting them established if you regularly see those temperatures. I don't think they stand a chance where you live, it would require heavy duty protection.

I agree the foxtails are probably toast. Most of the other plants you highlight were toast after last years freeze, although some came back. A decent number of foxtails, monstera, established schefflera, the smaller crown of thorns. It'll be interesting to see how the large Bismarckia do.

24-26 deg is quite generous- that was some of the warmest microclimates that area could provide and by no means the norm. So I would like to see how the other floss silks did with temps at least in the 9a range.

Edited by Opal92
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1 hour ago, Opal92 said:

Ummmm.. there are several large specimens at Disney that have seen as cold or colder than 24-26 deg... And with the slew of zone 10 winters they have been having, I'm sure no one has real problem growing them in that area as of late.

Then I guess the people in that region that I've talked to about them lied to me ;) 

Bruh, Disney doesn't count.

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44 minutes ago, Missi said:

Then I guess the people in that region that I've talked to about them lied to me ;) 

Bruh, Disney doesn't count.

And I guess my eyes were lying when I saw multiple sizeable specimens in person around Orlando (not just Disney)??? Also, Disney World isn't that much warmer than much of the greater Orlando area. It got about as cold in Disney as areas north of there like Winter Park in the recent freeze.

Edited by Opal92
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Interesting thoughts regarding Silk Floss tree..

Fairly commonly seen across S. Cal. and occasionally around the Bay Area and here around Phoenix.. mainly due to the false, "too tropical for us" crowd.  Would also tip my hat at mid/ low 20s being an average range of cold tolerance, though I believe there are still specimens back in San Jose that survived 19f back in 1990, let alone younger, more recently planted ones that survive the occasional, more recent dips into the 20s. There are also Floss Silks that have survived similar cold ( ..or more) in Tucson and in the Central Valley.

As far as placement, while I myself would give them some room, a gentleman id exchange plants with back in San Jose had two larger ones in curbside cut outs on his property without any apparent issues to the sidewalk from what I remember while looking them over. A nice complement to his Cassia leptophylla further back in his front yard.

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1 hour ago, Opal92 said:

And I guess my eyes were lying when I saw multiple sizeable specimens in person around Orlando (not just Disney)??? Also, Disney World isn't that much warmer than much of the greater Orlando area. It got about as cold in Disney as areas north of there like Winter Park in the recent freeze.

Cool story bro ;)

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Here is a drive-by photo of a fruiting floss silk tree in Cupertino, California. It is a shock for me to see these Kigelia-like fruits for the first time.5CF8F07A-FE21-485C-A0D1-CC021AC278CF.thu

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I accidentally stepped on a root of a silk floss tree at USF that went all the way through my shoe.  I have hated these trees ever since.  

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@topwater Like others are asking, how do those foxtails look now after this crazy winter? 

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On 1/31/2018, 7:16:21, PalmTreeDude said:

@topwater Like others are asking, how do those foxtails look now after this crazy winter? 

I’ve been in a total state of depression for the last month.  My almost 5 year old foxtails are smoked. I also lost 3 P. kuhlii, and probably all 3 R. rivularis.  I even had a C. renda in my atrium do a slow motion croakage about 2 weeks post freeze.  Total bummer.  Everything 9b marginal died, I think we hit a low of 23.5, which is the coldest I’ve seen since I moved here in 1990.  However, I’m slowing getting psyched for spring, lots of Alfies to plant, though I fear for their lives now. :badday:

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37 minutes ago, topwater said:

I’ve been in a total state of depression for the last month.  My almost 5 year old foxtails are smoked. I also lost 3 P. kuhlii, and probably all 3 R. rivularis.  I even had a C. renda in my atrium do a slow motion croakage about 2 weeks post freeze.  Total bummer.  Everything 9b marginal died, I think we hit a low of 23.5, which is the coldest I’ve seen since I moved here in 1990.  However, I’m slowing getting psyched for spring, lots of Alfies to plant, though I fear for their lives now. :badday:

Man, that is a bummer... Spring is coming fast though! We are already feeling it here, days in the 60s and 70s. Also rain! Good luck with your garden, I hope the best for it in the future. 

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Thanks, currently 80f and sunny here, first time it’s been halfway warm this year.  I think I’m getting seasonal affective disorder, the lack of sun really gets me down anymore. 

Edited by topwater
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20 hours ago, topwater said:

I’ve been in a total state of depression for the last month.  My almost 5 year old foxtails are smoked. I also lost 3 P. kuhlii, and probably all 3 R. rivularis.  I even had a C. renda in my atrium do a slow motion croakage about 2 weeks post freeze.  Total bummer.  Everything 9b marginal died, I think we hit a low of 23.5, which is the coldest I’ve seen since I moved here in 1990.  However, I’m slowing getting psyched for spring, lots of Alfies to plant, though I fear for their lives now. :badday:

I lived in Houston during the mini ice age of the 80s. There was ice covering Galveston Bay on several occasions. I think it is wise to plant your garden with about 75% cold hardy bullet proof zone 8B- 9A plants, 20% 9B and 5% 10A. It is devastating to see your entire yard destroyed in a matter of hours. 

I know it is possible to create a beautiful tropical looking landscape in Houston without having the heartache and winter blues.

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On 1/29/2018, 2:44:04, Opal92 said:

And I guess my eyes were lying when I saw multiple sizeable specimens in person around Orlando (not just Disney)??? Also, Disney World isn't that much warmer than much of the greater Orlando area. It got about as cold in Disney as areas north of there like Winter Park in the recent freeze.

There are lots of Floss Silk around Orlando now. Most have been planted since the 1989 freeze as they are much more commonly available in the nursery trade (especially in the last 10-15 years). Young trees are sensitive below about 27-28F, mature trees don't really show damage until prolonged temps below about 26F. The killing 12/89 freeze caused severe canopy damage or killed most back to the roots around here.

Disney has lots of Ceiba speciosa planted around, even some Bombax ceiba and Ceiba pentandra. Back in the '89 freeze they would have had heaters running under them.

 

 

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Well, I lost a lot of stuff, mostly due to inaction. I had plans to go big on my cold protection but came up short on time. Oh well, you live and learn. I had some surprises, mostly negative ones - an A. engleri covered in frost cloth got toasted and had spear pull, for example. I think this one was especially bad due to the freezing rain. Several of my cactus that sailed through last year's freeze with similar lows bit the dust this time, the only difference being the freezing rain that enveloped them.

One small surprise was a small Dypsis pembana. I have on the south side of the house. It had pine needles surrounding it and was covered by a frost cloth. Its leaves were already burnt from the last freeze, but it managed to survive this freeze and has grown at least an inch since then.

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On 2/15/2018, 2:25:13, scottgt said:

I lived in Houston during the mini ice age of the 80s. There was ice covering Galveston Bay on several occasions. I think it is wise to plant your garden with about 75% cold hardy bullet proof zone 8B- 9A plants, 20% 9B and 5% 10A. It is devastating to see your entire yard destroyed in a matter of hours. 

I know it is possible to create a beautiful tropical looking landscape in Houston without having the heartache and winter blues.

Almost all of my big trees are Washies, Sabals, CIDP, Bizzies, and Livistona spp. so I still have plenty of green.  I thought Bismarckia was solid 9a but I doubt it now, a couple of big, trunking dudes burned like 75%. I knew the Wodyetia would buy the farm sooner or later, but ouch, it still hurts.  BTW, I’m in 100% agreement with you as far as the planting ratios go, I’m kind of there via pure serendipity.  

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On 2/14/2018, 5:18:05, topwater said:

I’ve been in a total state of depression for the last month.  My almost 5 year old foxtails are smoked. I also lost 3 P. kuhlii, and probably all 3 R. rivularis.  I even had a C. renda in my atrium do a slow motion croakage about 2 weeks post freeze.  Total bummer.  Everything 9b marginal died, I think we hit a low of 23.5, which is the coldest I’ve seen since I moved here in 1990.  However, I’m slowing getting psyched for spring, lots of Alfies to plant, though I fear for their lives now. :badday:

Your Rivularis should pull through. I’ve seen them return from 20 degrees with hard snow and ice and spear pull. It may be mid summer but they have a chance. They won’t look good for a year or two so if you have a problem with that you may want to replace them. 

Edited by ShadowNight030
I had forgotten a part of what I had written and thought it was important to inform about
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On ‎2‎/‎16‎/‎2018‎ ‎7‎:‎54‎:‎09‎, Eric in Orlando said:

There are lots of Floss Silk around Orlando now. Most have been planted since the 1989 freeze as they are much more commonly available in the nursery trade (especially in the last 10-15 years). Young trees are sensitive below about 27-28F, mature trees don't really show damage until prolonged temps below about 26F. The killing 12/89 freeze caused severe canopy damage or killed most back to the roots around here.

Disney has lots of Ceiba speciosa planted around, even some Bombax ceiba and Ceiba pentandra. Back in the '89 freeze they would have had heaters running under them.

 

 

On my recent trip to Orlando I collected a bunch of Floss silk seeds underneath trees at the Polynesian resort. I got some from the oldest looking one hoping it might have better hardiness. They are already sprouting.

Just as I was collecting the seeds, a family came up and was marveling at the trunk(s) with all the thorns. I was happy to see them interested, and I showed them the cotton like filaments the seeds are in. They thought that was really cool.

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IMG_1268.thumb.JPG.57f4d306a7996cff835c9

IMG_1324.thumb.JPG.2f7d2452680a1ca592cc1

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