Jump to content
topwater

Beccariophoenix alfredii cold hardiness

Recommended Posts

topwater

Has PT reached a consensus about the cold hardiness of alfies, the "cold coconut" is it 9a, 9b, or, God forbid 10a where you can grow the real deal anyway?  My initial impression was that it was easy 9b, maybe even 9a.  Since then it seems that their cold tolerance was perhaps over rated.  I'm increasingly getting the impression that it can survive 25f, but with a heavy frost it may well succumb to the upper twenties. I'm starting to wonder if the "cold coconut" reputation comes from the fact that it grows well in CA, which could well mean that it is cool hardy, but not necessarily more cold hardy than a nucifera. Thanks 

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
GottmitAlex

From what I have read and have concluded, the Alfredii is a solid (guaranteed) 10a in climates where it's a hit and miss with Coconuts like Socal. And it will also grow in 9b zones but will take a frost/cold beating.

9a zones : It will eventually die.

   

 

 

Edited by GottmitAlex
  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Zeeth

It can grow in 9b in Florida and California. Apparently 9b temperatures in Louisiana are too damp for it though, so maybe there's something about wet freezes that it doesn't like. 

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
RedRabbit

There's no question it is more cold tolerant than a coconut. This winter all the local coconuts took damage from 32f and my B. alfredii still looks perfect.

Based on what I've read young ones seem to be able to take around 24f before they die... What I'm curious about is what a mature B. alfredii could tolerate and I don't think anyone will have a definitive answer to that.

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
topwater

Thanks for the replies.  Anyone in TX having any luck?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
topwater
33 minutes ago, RedRabbit said:

I thought Tampa was 10a, you grow coconuts in 9b FL?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
GottmitAlex
4 minutes ago, topwater said:
42 minutes ago, RedRabbit said:

I thought Tampa was 10a, you grow coconuts in 9b FL?

Walt is in a zone 9B. He has a fruiting Malayan dwarf coco.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
topwater

Right, but my understanding is that Walt goes above and beyond to his protect his during winter. I've been a 100% Darwinian gardener, thus far. I have little doubt I could get a dwarf coconut to fruit if I were to protect it 1-2 nights every 2-3 years, but there's to much easy fun stuff to grow! 

Edited by topwater

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
RedRabbit
15 minutes ago, topwater said:
53 minutes ago, RedRabbit said:

I thought Tampa was 10a, you grow coconuts in 9b FL?

Some of Tampa is 10a, some isn't. My part of town isn't all that warm unfortunately... I understand there were some fruiting coconuts in my area before the 2010 winter killed every last one of them. :( 

They're sold at every Lowes and Home Depot so a lot of people have them in the nearby vicinity despite them not being long term survivors here. 

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
topwater

I fully empathize.  9b is just warm enough to grow some really cool stuff, but solid 10a FL is unreal. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mohsen

I am growing a small Alfredii for 2 years now, my main question is :what is my local cold hardiness Zone ? 10a or 9b ?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
GottmitAlex
45 minutes ago, Mohsen said:

I am growing a small Alfredii for 2 years now, my main question is :what is my local cold hardiness Zone ? 10a or 9b ?

I think Sydney is a 10a/10b. You'll have no issues with your Alfedii zone-wise.

Edited by GottmitAlex
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mohsen
6 hours ago, GottmitAlex said:

I think Sydney is a 10a/10b. You'll have no issues with your Alfedii zone-wise.

Thanks Alex

the issue with Sydney is that it's a huge city... Sometimes Temperature could be 10 degrees cooler or warmer depending where you are ...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Lou-StAugFL

I have had one in the ground for the past two winters and it has done great, but we have had two very warm winters.   I don't think we have gotten below 37 degrees F here. Not sure how it will do long term.  Our climate is just a little warmer than Texas City.  I have family that area. 

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Chris Chance

I'm in a zone 9b area and so far I haven't had any problems. I believe these palms get hardier with age too. Probably have to try it out and see. Mine actually survived a freak snow storm a few years ago when it was still in a pot. surprisingly had very little damage. 

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
PalmatierMeg
10 hours ago, RedRabbit said:

Some of Tampa is 10a, some isn't. My part of town isn't all that warm unfortunately... I understand there were some fruiting coconuts in my area before the 2010 winter killed every last one of them. :( 

They're sold at every Lowes and Home Depot so a lot of people have them in the nearby vicinity despite them not being long term survivors here. 

No Cocos nucifera can survive 9b in FL.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Jdiaz31089

I have strap-leaf seedlings that I grew from seed myself, as well as a couple of plants (of perhaps 1 year of age) that I ordered from a seller on ebay, and most recently, acquired a 15-gallon, 6-foot tall, 3 year plant from a local grower. The one I ordered from online was planted late in summer, and stressed a bit from the bare-rooting, as well as from the change in humidity levels (it went from humid, central FL, to dry, central CA). It then went through our winter, saw lows in the mid-30s and low-30s and a handful of relatively heavy frosts. This specific plant looks terrible now - although it is still alive and actively growing. The strap-leaf seedlings went through the same weather conditions and were unfazed, except perhaps for a couple of spots on the leaves. These are tough palms, I didn't think the mail-ordered plant would survive all of those things in quick succession - the bare rooting, shipping, change in humidity, frost, cold rainy season....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
sonoranfans

its been quite a while since tampa bradenton had a real 9B winter, maybe 5 years.  I say keith has it right, its a 9B palm that doesnt like frost and doesnt like continually wet roots.  My largest one, out in the open with no overhead, survived 2 frosts and 28,30F lows in 2010 as a seedling and was entirely defolliated but it came back.  I thought it was dead fur sure, almost nothing green above ground.  Glad I didnt give up on it, it took 3 months to show it was alive but today its close to 20' overall.  Again lots of evidence that frost will at least partly defoliate these, but in dry radiative cold areas I recall people saying theirs survived 25-26F.  But dont confuse a short radiative event with a longer advective event as they have in louisiana and northern florida.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
sonoranfans

LOL coconuts in 9B are annuals!  Cocos are a warm 10a palm.  In florida the zone heavily depends on water proximity as the water warms the cold only so far inland depending on wind direction and velocity.  Tampa has some 10a near the water, but most is 9B or used to be.  the next 10 year USDA update should be interesting.  The last 4-5 years have been a solid 10a near my place(35 minimum), but 6 years ago it hit 28F, and before that you could tell the zone like as the presence of big royals and foxtails disappear moving inland.  When my place 7-10 miles inland hit 28F, anna maria island  on the coast hit 38F, same as miami.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Jdiaz31089

For what it's worth. Here is my experience with them in a zone 9b, Mediterranean climate. 

Seedlings - 7 months old or so, grown outside. multiple nights with low 30s, handful of heavy frosts. The dry tip is from summer drought, not winter damage. The spotting on the leaves is from winter weather. 

20170314_132844.thumb.jpg.672218a26b0787

 

Larger seedling - bare rooted during transit in summer, planted in late summer, subjected to same conditions as the seedlings above. Heavy defoliation from root disturbance, sunburn, drought and frost. Still alive though, and actively growing. The soil here is very sandy, as you can see in the picture - so fast draining, but also difficult to keep moist. 

20170314_130202.thumb.jpg.a02fac467b7207

 

Edited by Jdiaz31089
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Stevetoad

Mine saw 26f with frost when it was a freshly planted out 1 gal and did fine. It also saw many many nights of 26-32f temps with frost. Only minimal damage at most. It's now about 8 feet tall and looks great. 

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Tyrone
10 hours ago, Mohsen said:

Thanks Alex

the issue with Sydney is that it's a huge city... Sometimes Temperature could be 10 degrees cooler or warmer depending where you are ...

What's the coldest you've ever seen in your garden. Have you ever seen ice near where you've planted your alfredii. If not, your alfredii won't know that it's not in the mountains of Madagascar. 

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Walt

With respect to my zone 9b, my two B. alfredii palms have never been hurt (so far) after being in the ground four years now. They don't even show K deficiency like my coconut palm does.

As warm as this winter has been my coconut palm went into K deficiency, but not as bad as the last three winters. I dipped below 40 degrees F only once this winter, back in January, when my low was 37 degrees F. But aside from that, this winter overall has been the warmest in the past 20 years I've lived here. It will surely go into the record books. However, with the current cold front coming in as I write this, I could actually have my lowest temperature Thursday morning (March 16, 2017). If so, that will also be a record low for that date.

Coconut%203-14-17_zpswdetwh3i.jpg

Above photo: My coconut palm as of 3-14-2017. I've already removed four lower fronds that went totally dead from K deficiency. You can see some K deficiency on the lowest fronds.

B.%20alfredi%202%203-14-17_zpseu6bxkw5.j

Above photo: One of my B. alfredii palms growing in partial shade.

B.%20alfredi%203-14-17_zpsgfvtvjcr.jpg

Above photo: My other B. alfredii growing in slightly less shade.

 

 

 

  • Upvote 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
GottmitAlex

Nice pics Walt. How old are your Alfredii?

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
topwater

I had a hard freeze in January and I also had the flu and left a bunch of seedlings in pots in a bad place, 28f with 35-40 mph wind.  Normally I would have put these under a covered patio but I was too sick to care.  Several alfies got left outside, all the old leaves burned off and the tips of the new fronds burned.  My all time low in 27 years was 25f during the horrible 2010 freeze, so I feel my area is fairly solid 9b, but I still wonder if these guys will be solid here or marginal.  Hardly anyone in Texas grows uncommon palms so I'm dependent on advice from y'all FL, CA people, thanks for help! 

IMG_0329.JPG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
RedRabbit
9 hours ago, PalmatierMeg said:

No Cocos nucifera can survive 9b in FL.

Yeah, definitely not and I'm not bothering to try one here. They'll live in 9b for a decade or so between hard freezes, but it is just a matter of time. I agree with sonoranfans on them being warm 10a palms. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
topwater
2 hours ago, RedRabbit said:

Yeah, definitely not and I'm not bothering to try one here. They'll live in 9b for a decade or so between hard freezes, but it is just a matter of time. I agree with sonoranfans on them being warm 10a palms. 

Exactly, I recently went 6 years without a freeze, but the next year could be in the twenties. I guess the only way to find out is to plant the alfrediis  and see if they like Texas.  I suspect the closest thing to my climate is central FL, 10 months of hot and humid then 2 months of occasional stupid cold. And coconuts, no.  Best circumstance I could get one to go 5-6 years and then have my heartbroken. And the whole point of my thread is really to see if B. alfredii is 9a, 9b, or 10a in Florida.  I gather it's good in 9b, so I suspect I can grow it here too. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
GottmitAlex
4 minutes ago, topwater said:

And the whole point of my thread is really to see if B. alfredii is 9a, 9b, or 10a in Florida.  I gather it's good in 9b, so I suspect I can grow it here too. 

^^THIS^^

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
RedRabbit
36 minutes ago, topwater said:

the whole point of my thread is really to see if B. alfredii is 9a, 9b, or 10a in Florida.  I gather it's good in 9b, so I suspect I can grow it here too. 

I'd say warm 9b barring a catastrophic freeze. Gsytch is on the warm end of 9b and reported losing one in 2010 so they're not exactly bulletproof.

Freezing cold aside, it is worth mentioning that alfies do exceptionally well in Florida. A lot of my palms have struggled to make it through the hot summers, but alfies thrive here. They're low maintainece all around great palms so I'd highly recommend trying one.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Xenon
55 minutes ago, topwater said:

Exactly, I recently went 6 years without a freeze, but the next year could be in the twenties. I guess the only way to find out is to plant the alfrediis  and see if they like Texas.  I suspect the closest thing to my climate is central FL, 10 months of hot and humid then 2 months of occasional stupid cold. And coconuts, no.  Best circumstance I could get one to go 5-6 years and then have my heartbroken. And the whole point of my thread is really to see if B. alfredii is 9a, 9b, or 10a in Florida.  I gather it's good in 9b, so I suspect I can grow it here too. 

Sorry to nitpick but I doubt you have enough general heat/warmth in the winter to sustain a coconut, avg highs in the low 60s is too cool even without a freeze. Probably more similar to coastal Jacksonville...much of central Florida has avg winter daytime temps ~10F warmer which is more in line with Deep South Texas (where there are fruiting coconuts). 

Doubt it's worth anything but my B. alfredii seedlings froze to death at 17F. So probably not 8b :P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mohsen
5 hours ago, Tyrone said:

What's the coldest you've ever seen in your garden. Have you ever seen ice near where you've planted your alfredii. If not, your alfredii won't know that it's not in the mountains of Madagascar. 

2 years ago i have -2 last year -1 between 5-7 AM( but only fore maximum 2-3 hours and then during the day it would be back at least up 10) , and I see some frost on the grasses...still not sure about my zone though ?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
topwater
14 minutes ago, Xenon said:

Sorry to nitpick but I doubt you have enough general heat/warmth in the winter to sustain a coconut, avg highs in the low 60s is too cool even without a freeze. Probably more similar to coastal Jacksonville...much of central Florida has avg winter daytime temps ~10F warmer which is more in line with Deep South Texas (where there are fruiting coconuts). 

Doubt it's worth anything but my B. alfredii seedlings froze to death at 17F. So probably not 8b :P

Agreed.  Like I said earlier, there's too much cool stuff to grow without obsessing over coconuts.  Also, didn't Galveston hit a low of 15f during the eighties?  Or is dementia setting in?  You'd probably appreciate this, a guy had 3 fruiting papaya trees in TC.  The 28f smoked them but I'm waiting to see if they'll survive.  

Edited by topwater

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mohsen
9 hours ago, sonoranfans said:

LOL coconuts in 9B are annuals!  Cocos are a warm 10a palm.  In florida the zone heavily depends on water proximity as the water warms the cold only so far inland depending on wind direction and velocity.  Tampa has some 10a near the water, but most is 9B or used to be.  the next 10 year USDA update should be interesting.  The last 4-5 years have been a solid 10a near my place(35 minimum), but 6 years ago it hit 28F, and before that you could tell the zone like as the presence of big royals and foxtails disappear moving inland.  When my place 7-10 miles inland hit 28F, anna maria island  on the coast hit 38F, same as miami.

 

I think I am sure coastal region of Sydney should be 10a maybe even 10b ( with at least this definition https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hardiness_zone ) , still I haven't seen any Coconuts or never heard anyone saw one even in past? I don't know the reason though ? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Tyrone
5 hours ago, Mohsen said:

2 years ago i have -2 last year -1 between 5-7 AM( but only fore maximum 2-3 hours and then during the day it would be back at least up 10) , and I see some frost on the grasses...still not sure about my zone though ?

Your microclimate has a greater effect than the actual zone. Your garden will likely have different microclimates that could vary by 2 or 3C. Anyway B alfredii doesn't seem to mind frost on it's leaves. I've recorded a −1.3C here and they just kept growing through winter like nothing happened. Hail on the other hand with strong winds can give the leaves a spotted appearance, but nothing fatal. Just a bit of cosmetic damage that new growth eventually fixes.

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Tyrone
5 hours ago, Mohsen said:

I think I am sure coastal region of Sydney should be 10a maybe even 10b ( with at least this definition https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hardiness_zone ) , still I haven't seen any Coconuts or never heard anyone saw one even in past? I don't know the reason though ? 

The reason coconuts aren't everywhere in Sydney is the winter maximum highs are on average too low. If winters averaged for 3 months around 20-22C as a max then they would be everywhere but Sydney is a bit too cool during the day. The Goldcoast and further north don't have an issue with that though.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Walt
12 hours ago, GottmitAlex said:

Nice pics Walt. How old are your Alfredii?

 

I don't know how old my alfredii are from seed. I bought them as 7.5 gallon sizes about four years ago. They aren't super fast growers, but they are faster than my B. madagascariensis (windowless) which I have planted under high carrotwood tree canopy, that really gets too much shade, but also has never been cold/frost damage.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Eric in Orlando

My thoughts are that it is a solid zone 9b palm. It is more tender than Syagrus romanzoffiana and slightly hardier than Phoenix rupicola. I have 2 planted in my yard in Altamonte Springs, about 12 miles NW of Orlando. They have been in the ground 2 and 3 years but haven't seen below 35F yet. But Altamonte Springs can be 4-6 degrees colder than Orlando on cold nights.

We have over a dozen planted out at Leu Gardens, in sun and shade. The oldest ones were  planted in 2007. The survived the 2009-10 winter with no damage. The coldest night was at 28-29F. That night it was below freezing for almost 12 hours and very heavy frost. One specimen is in an open location and had a heavy layer of frost on it. Frost didn't melt off until about 10AM that day. It is growing outside the front gate and is now reaching 7-8ft tall. Lots of comments from people on how we have a nice coconut palm out front.

  • Upvote 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
sonoranfans

I had (3) 2' tall (just) pinnate seedlings in the ground in Dec 2010, low 28 F, heavy frost, next night 30F lighter frost.  the one out in the open was 95% defoliated, the 2 in back saw no frost as one was close to the house and a live oak and the other was under a couple live oaks.  Only one saw frost and it was the only one that was damaged.  Yeah it was under 32F for 8-10 hours the first night and the frost was at least 2mm thick.  In the old freeze section here many experiences with BA frost events were given and frost damage were shown.  An interesting caveat on mine is that the one that was defoliated (and gets the most sun) is easily my biggest today.   It carries 15 leaves at near 20' while the other 2 in half day shade are ~ 14'  overall and carry about half the leaves.  I think its a solid 9b with a  vulnerability window while young as the bud is close to the ground.  In a dry cold even it may go even lower.  But the problem with zone ratings is that a dry cold and a wet cold are not equally lethal.  I lived in arizona for 10 years, 9a but the cold snaps were very short.  I routinely saw palms exceed their temp ratings in AZ, including a mature royal that withstood 18 degrees(lost all but 1 leaf and the spear), but briefly.  by noon that day in phoenix it was 55F. so length of cold tolerance and frost matters as well..

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Lou-StAugFL

Here is one of mine that is in the ground.  It may get down to 34 degrees here tonight. Might get frost but I don't think so because it has been very windy.  I'm not going to protect it.  I have another one I had since it was a seedling that is in a container.  It is much smaller I guess due to being in a container.

BA1.jpg

BA2.JPG

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×