Exotic looking palms for zone 9a/8b?

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Im on the border of zone 9a and 8b. The USDA map puts me in zone 9a, but I’d feel more comfortable with a palm that can handle at least 8b winters. To me windmill palms and needle palms are not attractive, so those are out the picture. I have a mule palm, but it’s not doing it’s best thanks to my dog who decided it would make a good chew toy. Does anyone have any suggestions for a palm with a little more of a tropical flare than say a sabal palm, but still hardy in my zone? 

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Here are some idea's

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, ShadowNight030 said:

Im on the border of zone 9a and 8b. The USDA map puts me in zone 9a, but I’d feel more comfortable with a palm that can handle at least 8b winters. To me windmill palms and needle palms are not attractive, so those are out the picture. I have a mule palm, but it’s not doing it’s best thanks to my dog who decided it would make a good chew toy. Does anyone have any suggestions for a palm with a little more of a tropical flare than say a sabal palm, but still hardy in my zone? 

I'm in a similar zone border but not as humid as you.  Mules do very well for me and have handled 8b winter temps just fine with no damage, but mine may have more Butia traits.  I would suggest a Brahea clara "icy blue" which is reported to grow well in central Florida humidity and has some really nice color.  I have seen a nice Brahea armata in humid Corpus Christi, TX but the clara is supposed to be more tolerant of the humidity.  I recently planted one and am really happy with it.  I'm also growing Livistona decora and nitida which I think would do well for you.  I've also planted Copernicia alba which I really like and it survived 20ºF in its first winter and is coming back strong.  These options are much nicer than Washingtonias in my opinion and my L. nitida is almost growing as fast!

Jon

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30 minutes ago, Fusca said:

I'm in a similar zone border but not as humid as you.  Mules do very well for me and have handled 8b winter temps just fine with no damage, but mine may have more Butia traits.  I would suggest a Brahea clara "icy blue" which is reported to grow well in central Florida humidity and has some really nice color.  I have seen a nice Brahea armata in humid Corpus Christi, TX but the clara is supposed to be more tolerant of the humidity.  I recently planted one and am really happy with it.  I'm also growing Livistona decora and nitida which I think would do well for you.  I've also planted Copernicia alba which I really like and it survived 20ºF in its first winter and is coming back strong.  These options are much nicer than Washingtonias in my opinion and my L. nitida is almost growing as fast!

Jon

Really? I’ve always heard livistona are very slow growers. I used to have many of them in my neighborhood, but now about 3 are still here. All at once they all turned yellow and died. Are arenga engleri good choices? Or is it too cold? I have a live oak canopy if that would help. For a few years I had success with majesty and Pygmy date palms. Majesty palms are still occasionally used in residential landscapes here. They seem to do better than queens in my experience, but after this winter none of them survived. 

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I've attached my personal list of palms that should handle 8b.  I took my 9a list and filtered it to remove the 9a palms temporarily.  You can add them back in by un-filtering the zone column.

As far as tropical, I'm guessing you mean feather/pinnate palms.  This would include a lot of the butia genus along with their hybrids with either jubea or syagrus.  Arenga is probably a little tender for that area unprotected, even with canopy. 

For fan leaves, if you don't care for needles, sabals, or trachycarpus, you probably won't like chamaerops either.  If you're into livistona chinensis, there are some that are hardy down to the high teens that might make it for a while.  If you get a brahea, make sure that you get one of the more moisture and humidity tolerant species.

Hope this will help.

9a8b_palms.xlsx

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1 hour ago, kinzyjr said:

I've attached my personal list of palms that should handle 8b.  I took my 9a list and filtered it to remove the 9a palms temporarily.  You can add them back in by un-filtering the zone column.

As far as tropical, I'm guessing you mean feather/pinnate palms.  This would include a lot of the butia genus along with their hybrids with either jubea or syagrus.  Arenga is probably a little tender for that area unprotected, even with canopy. 

For fan leaves, if you don't care for needles, sabals, or trachycarpus, you probably won't like chamaerops either.  If you're into livistona chinensis, there are some that are hardy down to the high teens that might make it for a while.  If you get a brahea, make sure that you get one of the more moisture and humidity tolerant species.

Hope this will help.

9a8b_palms.xlsx

I actually like chamaerops and next spring I have plans on getting one. Regarding the wax palms on your list, those wouldn’t like my warm summers would they? They are so beautiful. I’m also thinking about an Everglades palm. 

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Just now, ShadowNight030 said:

I actually like chamaerops and next spring I have plans on getting one. Regarding the wax palms on your list, those wouldn’t like my warm summers would they? They are so beautiful. I’m also thinking about an Everglades palm. 

Regarding the list, there are probably a few on there that wouldn't like our hot, muggy summers.  The list was pretty much just a data dump from a list I generated a while back for a person requesting a similar list.  I keep a SQLite database that has general "zone" recommendations on hand.  Everglades palms would probably work, at least for a while.  If you get a nasty freeze there is always a chance they'll come back from suckers.  If you like phoenix, you can feel free to PM me and request some phoenix theophrasti.  I don't think they made the official list, but Canary Island Date Palms and some varieties of true date palms would probably also make it there, at least for a good while.

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20 minutes ago, kinzyjr said:

Regarding the list, there are probably a few on there that wouldn't like our hot, muggy summers.  The list was pretty much just a data dump from a list I generated a while back for a person requesting a similar list.  I keep a SQLite database that has general "zone" recommendations on hand.  Everglades palms would probably work, at least for a while.  If you get a nasty freeze there is always a chance they'll come back from suckers.  If you like phoenix, you can feel free to PM me and request some phoenix theophrasti.  I don't think they made the official list, but Canary Island Date Palms and some varieties of true date palms would probably also make it there, at least for a good while.

I like Phoenix palms. In my area canary island, medjool, and Sylvesters are pretty common. Sylvesters seem to hate the cold most, medjools do fine, but canary island dates thrive. How would the Phoenix theophrasti do? It’s an attractive palm. 

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1 hour ago, ShadowNight030 said:

I like Phoenix palms. In my area canary island, medjool, and Sylvesters are pretty common. Sylvesters seem to hate the cold most, medjools do fine, but canary island dates thrive. How would the Phoenix theophrasti do? It’s an attractive palm. 

Theophrasti is like a more compact and spiny version of dactylifera 'Medjool'.  The positives of theophrasti are that they are more compact and faster growing, faster than dactylifera for sure and possibly faster than CIDP under the right conditions.  The big negative is that every single leaflet is relatively stiff and pointed, so you have to plant it out of the way and wear safety glasses, long sleeves, and long plants when you trim them.  I guess that is pretty much the trimming protocol for other phoenix, but this one it's a must to protect yourself.

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1 hour ago, kinzyjr said:

Theophrasti is like a more compact and spiny version of dactylifera 'Medjool'.  The positives of theophrasti are that they are more compact and faster growing, faster than dactylifera for sure and possibly faster than CIDP under the right conditions.  The big negative is that every single leaflet is relatively stiff and pointed, so you have to plant it out of the way and wear safety glasses, long sleeves, and long plants when you trim them.  I guess that is pretty much the trimming protocol for other phoenix, but this one it's a must to protect yourself.

Very interesting. It’s a beautiful palm from photos I saw on google. Now what temperature will it defoliate? 

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8 hours ago, ShadowNight030 said:

Very interesting. It’s a beautiful palm from photos I saw on google. Now what temperature will it defoliate? 

Not a question I can answer concretely from experience, but in the southeast they perish somewhere between 12F and 20F.  Where you are at, you'll want them somewhere shielded from the north and northwest winds, with some canopy cover if possible.  If you have an area on the south side of your house that you don't want anyone nosing around in, you have the perfect palm.

Probably the worst problem I have with them is graphiola leaf spot.  If they are grown with adequate sunlight, it's much less of an issue.  Dactylifera also have this issue in central Florida.

I've sent a few to Las Cruces, NM and to the Carolinas.  The ones in Las Cruces will probably perform better hardiness-wise because it is a lot closer to their native habitat.  

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13 hours ago, ShadowNight030 said:

Really? I’ve always heard livistona are very slow growers. I used to have many of them in my neighborhood, but now about 3 are still here. All at once they all turned yellow and died. Are arenga engleri good choices? Or is it too cold? I have a live oak canopy if that would help. For a few years I had success with majesty and Pygmy date palms. Majesty palms are still occasionally used in residential landscapes here. They seem to do better than queens in my experience, but after this winter none of them survived. 

L. nitida is very slow in my climate. Even L. chinensis grows faster. 

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Good list! Thanks!

Edited by Manalto
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14 hours ago, ShadowNight030 said:

Very interesting. It’s a beautiful palm from photos I saw on google. Now what temperature will it defoliate? 

Mine did @ 16F last winter. They are fine @ 20F in my climate.

Edited by Laaz
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Another one you want to add is C. radicalis, mine didn't even burn @ 16F with zero protection.

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19 hours ago, ShadowNight030 said:

Really? I’ve always heard livistona are very slow growers. I used to have many of them in my neighborhood, but now about 3 are still here. All at once they all turned yellow and died. Are arenga engleri good choices? Or is it too cold? I have a live oak canopy if that would help. For a few years I had success with majesty and Pygmy date palms. Majesty palms are still occasionally used in residential landscapes here. They seem to do better than queens in my experience, but after this winter none of them survived. 

 

5 hours ago, Cikas said:

L. nitida is very slow in my climate. Even L. chinensis grows faster.

Some are very slow - in my experience Livistona chinensis has been slow.  I've not understood why so many others say that L. nitida is slow, but perhaps it's a function of size.  I purchased a strap-leaf liner back at the end of March and planted in the ground.  Six months later it's showing 7 character leaves and getting beefy.  I planted a similar sized L. decora around the same time and it is just pushing out its second character leaf.  Same general area in the yard with same sun exposure.  I've read here how fast L. decora is compared to L. nitida, but perhaps others are comparing speed of trunking palms.  At least as a juvenile it appears that L. nitida is faster for me.

Jon

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Here is SE Georgia, I live on the border of an 8b/9a area. 

I've planted robusta's, European Fan Palms, Mules, and I've even got away with planting Sylvesters and Chinese Fan Palms with no issues. Pygmy Palms have survived but don't necessarily look healthy or full. Queens have survived, and depending on strain and location, some have come through winter with no damage at all. Sabals Palmetto bushes are native here, and Pindo Palms have become naturalized. 

My neighbors and even people further inland plant Canary's and they do great here also. Dactlifera seem to do good here, and I've even seen high plateau coconut palm nearby. 

Edited by GaDawg
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5 hours ago, Laaz said:

Another one you want to add is C. radicalis, mine didn't even burn @ 16F with zero protection.

C. radicalis is a nice-looking palm, but some lists rate it 9a, which is marginal for me (and yet reports such as yours suggest that may be too conservative). I've noticed that there are other, more hardy Chamadoreas that are rated 8a and 8b; are any of these garden worthy and suitable to the southeast's hot, humid summers?

Edited by Manalto
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4 hours ago, GaDawg said:

Here is SE Georgia, I live on the border of an 8b/9a area. 

I've planted robusta's, European Fan Palms, Mules, and I've even got away with planting Sylvesters and Chinese Fan Palms with no issues. Pygmy Palms have survived but don't necessarily look healthy or full. Queens have survived, and depending on strain and location, some have come through winter with no damage at all. Sabals Palmetto bushes are native here, and Pindo Palms have become naturalized. 

My neighbors and even people further inland plant Canary's and they do great here also. Dactlifera seem to do good here, and I've even seen high plateau coconut palm nearby. 

Queens just don’t survive here. Even when our lows are just 23 degrees F. We can get 3 winters in a row of really warm temps and then we have a hard freeze that whips them all out. Majesty palms have survived the low 20s with frost. They don’t look pretty but they survive. Pygmy dates are iffy. Some survive and some do not. Sabals are also natives in my area in Louisiana, but at this point they are just weeds in my garden as they sprout everywhere. Mexican fan palms do good here. I wouldn’t mind planting one, I just would rather save my room for other things that are not as common. I’m tempted to just go to Lafayette and buy a mature mule palm. 

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44 minutes ago, ShadowNight030 said:

Queens just don’t survive here. Even when our lows are just 23 degrees F. We can get 3 winters in a row of really warm temps and then we have a hard freeze that whips them all out. Majesty palms have survived the low 20s with frost. They don’t look pretty but they survive. Pygmy dates are iffy. Some survive and some do not. Sabals are also natives in my area in Louisiana, but at this point they are just weeds in my garden as they sprout everywhere. Mexican fan palms do good here. I wouldn’t mind planting one, I just would rather save my room for other things that are not as common. I’m tempted to just go to Lafayette and buy a mature mule palm. 

I love my Mule Palm. I bought it for about $200. It has about 5' of trunk, 15' talk and about 15'-20' spread. I got a real good deal. 

You cant go wrong with them. Lady Palms do descent here as well. 

Edited by GaDawg
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Just now, GaDawg said:

I love my Mule Palm. I bought it for about $200. It has about 5' of trunk, 15' talk and about 15'-20' spread. I got a real good deal. 

You cant go wrong with them. 

I have a mule with about a foot of trunk, but it’s really suffering since my dog ripped it out the ground and chewed it up. 

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I don't know about availability and price (and the ones available are probably going to be small), but the [Jubaea x Butia x Syagrus r.] and [Jubaea x Syagrus r.]  hybrids look quite exotic and should be appreciably hardy in 8b.

Acrocomia totai-  I know that TexasColdHardyPalms was selling a possibly 8b hardy variety at one point.

Chamaedorea microspadix- smaller in stature- a great 8b hardy palm that looks very tropical- very underutilized in the Gulf Coast.

Thrithrinax brasiliensis or acanthocoma is 8b hardy

Nannorrhops ritchiana 8b

Arenga ryukuensis (very similar to A. engleri but truly 8b hardy)- although I don't think this one is very easily found in the trade

Sabal uresana- even though you said you weren't terribly keen on Sabals- if you get the really silver blue form of this, it is almost like a Bismarkia substitute and really stands out- much faster grower than regular Sabal too

 

 

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With the large number of Syagrus r. showing up in places like Lake City, Fl. and throughout 8b-9a (I hate USDA Zone classes) territory, why not Queens. I understand that there are non-mule varieties that are cold tolerant. Everglades Palm is good idea. Pseudophoenix sargenti is a SF native that seems strong. Also, Bismarkia noblis should be a consideration. What about Washingtonia filifera, which is a stunning palm that I am surprised I do not see in SF?

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30 minutes ago, bubba said:

With the large number of Syagrus r. showing up in places like Lake City, Fl. and throughout 8b-9a (I hate USDA Zone classes) territory, why not Queens. I understand that there are non-mule varieties that are cold tolerant. Everglades Palm is good idea. Pseudophoenix sargenti is a SF native that seems strong. Also, Bismarkia noblis should be a consideration. What about Washingtonia filifera, which is a stunning palm that I am surprised I do not see in SF?

Mexican fans palms are common in my area, but I’ve never seen a filifera here. Bismarckia I’ve been told are more of an at least solid 9a palm, and even there can struggle, at least on the gulf coast. I would love to plant one, but I want to stay away from palms that don’t have very high survival rates. 

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Washingtonia filifera are fabulous Palms indigenous to California that are stocky, beautiful, and take very low temperatures. They should be grown throughout the southland, where they flourish.

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1 hour ago, bubba said:

Washingtonia filifera are fabulous Palms indigenous to California that are stocky, beautiful, and take very low temperatures. They should be grown throughout the southland, where they flourish.

I've heard they don't like humidity. Not true? It's a steambath most of the year down here, you know.

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15 hours ago, Manalto said:

C. radicalis is a nice-looking palm, but some lists rate it 9a, which is marginal for me (and yet reports such as yours suggest that may be too conservative). I've noticed that there are other, more hardy Chamadoreas that are rated 8a and 8b; are any of these garden worthy and suitable to the southeast's hot, humid summers?

I believe Radicalis is the most hardy of them all. Even my Microspadix got burnt back, but the fully exposed Radicalis were not burned at all.

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8 hours ago, Manalto said:

I've heard they don't like humidity. Not true? It's a steambath most of the year down here, you know.

I’ve heard that also. And they don’t like wet winters I’ve been told which is what we have. It’s very humid and rainy year round. 

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I treated myself to buying 2 arenga engleri. They’re too pretty in my opinion to not try, and won’t grow huge anytime soon I don’t think. I’ll plant them in the spring under my live oak. I hope they can be a good replacement for my Pygmy dates that didn’t survive this last winter. 

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i agree Arenga engleri is a beautiful palm; I like their deep green color and showy blooms (people say they're fragrant, too). They're supposed to top out at 10' or so, right? Did you find a good source for your plants?

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I recommend Parajubaea cocoides or any other Parajubaea (if you can even source them).

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