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CincyLonePalm

Palm Tree purchase recommendations requested (Cincinnati)

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CincyLonePalm

I've been trying to purchase a cold hardy palm tree for a few months now, without success. I can't find a distributor or retailer for a Chinese Windmill Palm Tree. I've gone through the big box shops, local tree farms, local greenhouses, local nurseries and even specialty home builders, tree services and landscapers.

What's the best way to purchase a cold hardy palm in the midwest?

I'd love to get a tree 6+ ft tall but the shipping costs for trees that size and larger are pretty significant. I thought i'd reach out to this board on this topic since I'm a tree novice, this will be my first purchase.

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Funkthulhu

Sorry, CincyLonePalm,

You're in zone 6, there is no palm you can buy that can live outdoors in your area unprotected and live. You can get creative with your winter insulation and whatnot, we have a member in Iowa who's front yard looks like ice station zebra every winter with the domes and the heating lights.

My suggestion from personal experience is to obtain seeds or seedlings (which are very easy to send through the mail) and try growing them "from scratch".

If you insist on getting a full sized tree, I suggest contacting a reputable grower (see the subforum) and arranging for shipment. It won't be cheap, but it may be the only route available to you unless you can get a special order through one of your big box stores or a nursery, even then you're just getting another middleman.

Good luck!

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Cindy Adair

Welcome Cincylonepalm! I spent 4 years in cold Ohio a few decades ago but my skin must have been thicker then.

Before I built a greenhouse (and many years later, property in the tropics), I enjoyed growing things that weren't supposed to live in Virginia. Even ultratropicals like Theobroma cacao (chocolate trees) can grace your home, but not outside all year.

Admittedly it was a lot of work using winter protection for some and crowding others inside under skylights and windows. Sometimes the challenge makes success all the more worthwhile!

Anyway, if you want some free seeds or seedlings of Trachycarpus fortunei (windmill palm), we have many volunteers growing in Virginia and would be glad to mail some to you if you PM me.

I'll defer to others on this forum about how to manage outdoor palms in Ohio.

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CincyLonePalm

I'll be sure to take you up on the offer apaandssa, soon as i get to my home computer this evening i'll send a PM. It will be fun to try to grow a windmill from seeds! But, i'm pretty sure i'm going to pony up for a fairly mature tree to be shipped to my residence, too.

I was working with Dr David Francko who had great success with planting tropical plants outdoors in Oxford, OH (Miami University). That's about 20-25 miles west as the crow flies from my residence and he is pretty confident i can have success in my region with cold hardy palm trees. He wrote a book on the topic (just google his name) and here is a link to an article re: that experience in Midwest Living from a few years ago.

http://www.midwestliving.com/garden/ideas/palm-trees/page/0/1/

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Mauna Kea Cloudforest

I'll be sure to take you up on the offer apaandssa, soon as i get to my home computer this evening i'll send a PM. It will be fun to try to grow a windmill from seeds! But, i'm pretty sure i'm going to pony up for a fairly mature tree to be shipped to my residence, too.

I was working with Dr David Francko who had great success with planting tropical plants outdoors in Oxford, OH (Miami University). That's about 20-25 miles west as the crow flies from my residence and he is pretty confident i can have success in my region with cold hardy palm trees. He wrote a book on the topic (just google his name) and here is a link to an article re: that experience in Midwest Living from a few years ago.

http://www.midwestliving.com/garden/ideas/palm-trees/page/0/1/

I have that book, and the book will steer you towards tropical plants that either die back to the ground in the Winter with roots surviving under mulch, or survive in pots that you bring into your garage in the Winter. As far as palm trees are concerned, stick with the palms that maintain underground trunks (needle palm and sabal minor) and that you can mulch heavily and protect in the Winter. Getting a 6 feet trachy isn't really a very good move unless you plan on wrapping it with xmas lights, blankets and whatnot, not an easy feat for a large palm tree. Alternatively keep it in a pot and move it indoors in the Winter.

Look for Sabal tamaulipas, that might have a fighting chance in Ohio. There's another sabal minor cross from Texas, Sabal x brazoriensis 'Brazoria' that's supposed to be possibly even hardier.

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Hammer

Hey Cincy,

Axel and Funky are pretty right on IMHO. If you personally haven't grown palms before, I would ease into it. Try the seed and seedling approach, bringing them indoors in winter. While it may be technically possible to grow palms in your area, but before you do it is wise to learn and make mistakes on small ones first.

I can tell you from first hand experience that the chances of successfully growing a palm (that is marginal at best) on my own is far worse than an experienced grower who grows in my same area/climate zone...and I'm in a far easier climate zone than you. I've gardened for years, but palms take a different touch, IMO. There are many factors you will want to get properly dialed in just right before winter sets in. If your palm isn't at the peak of health and location you will lose it when the mercury drops if it is in the ground and exposed. And even if everything is perfect, you still may lose it.

Something to consider.

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CincyLonePalm

Great info, everyone. I appreciate y'all taking the time and effort to reply to posted comments and coach me in the fine art of palm ownership.

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Mauna Kea Cloudforest

First step is to find someone in Ohio that is growing palms and see what they've succeeded with.

Check out http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/162971/ and scroll down for the comments from tropicsofohio, which appears to be someone from Hilliard, OH that has grown Sabal x brazoriensis 'Brazoria' successfully in Ohio. That's where I would start. If you succeed with it, then move on to more challenging palms. Maybe you can track this person down and see what else they've succeeded in growing.

Here is another person in Ohio, see http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/ohioval/msg011632159274.html.

And the fellow you originally mentioned has published in the palm Journal, see http://www.palms.org/palmsjournal/2002/ohio.htm.

If you're ready to drop some serious money, then contact www.chillypalmtree.com or call 704-527-8478. I am sure he'll sell you some big palms and ship them to you as well.

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kahili

Far be it for me to tell you how to spend your money! Go for it, if thats what you want. But as to where to get a Trachy, I would imagine that your local folks would not have any being as it is going to be a struggle some winters keeping it alive. I would start googling on line and find someone who will ship it to you, or you drive to get it. Look under 'cold hardy palms for sale' etc and start from there. I have a feeling that if you can get a smaller one and protect it during really cold spells while it is in the ground, that it will do a better job acclimating to your winters. I would get a few smaller ones (3' high or so) and the shipping will not be so bad on that size. Better yet, if you know Dr. Francko-then ask him what source was for the palms that he planted at Miami Univ. By the way, are they all still alive there?

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Hammer

Great info, everyone. I appreciate y'all taking the time and effort to reply to posted comments and coach me in the fine art of palm ownership.

Pay it forward! :)

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DoomsDave

Cincy:

Welcome to our group.

As you can see, we live to help.

THere's another member who's also in Sin City (do a search).

I'm from Cleveland, Ohio, and palms are tough to manage in Ohio. We had a bar owner in Willoughby who did a "beach club" for years in the 1990s, with Washingtonias planted outside, but I'm sure he brought them inside in the winter. Too cold for too long otherwise.

There are a lot of palms that will grow indoors for years, too. If interested, send me a PM.

dave

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WestCoastGal

CincyLonePalm, if you haven't checked out Wxman's Wisconsin thread in this forum area, you might want to take a look. He's a zone 5 and goes thru quite a bit but his yard looks like tropical palm heaven! Have you found a source for your palms yet? Maybe the answer would be to ship a smaller sized palm (to keep costs down) and grow it up from there. At least it would have some maturity behind it rather than starting from seed. I wonder if a place in Texas or some where that gets cold winters might make sense to order from, thinking the young palms might be a bit more aclimated to colder temps. Do you have a garage or other set up to use until the young palm would be ready to go in the ground?

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JakeK

Cincy,

I'm from Cincinnati too and tried for many years to grow palms in the Nasti. My reco is this. If you are set on growing palms then nobody can stop you. Check out the chilly palm tree company or something like that. I bought a few Trachycarpus from them a long time ago. I believe they ship. If that is a no-go then take the 6-7 hour drive to Atlanta and pick up some Sabals and Trachys.

You need to be prepared to protect them, which I did until I didn't want to keep building a momument around them each year. It became too much of a hassle and so I switched to growing palms seasonally indoors which I've had great success and satisfaction with.

You can do it if you protect them every winter. Stick with Trachycarpus fortunei, Rhapidophyllum hystrix, and Sabal minor. Those are pretty tough and can take the cold wet soil we have all winter long pretty well.

Good luck!

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indianapalmguy

CinciLonePalm,

I know this is too late to be of help this year, but here in Indiana there are a few places that sell them. In fact, I just got a nice four-foot windmill on sale for $53 last week in Terre Haute (far west side of the state). Pic attached. That was purchased at The Apple House, and they had two left. They also still have about 5 five-gallon Mediterranean fan palms left. Closer to home, for me at least, Rosie's Garden carries lots of palms, including windmills, but those sold out early. I got four 3 gallon windmills for $35 in May. They also sell Chinese fan palms, triangle palms, spindle palms, pygmy date palms and tall Christmas palms. (Still several of these left) I believe most are used locally as perennials at the numerous mini-mansions in the northern suburbs of Indianapolis. I have been to nearly every nursery within 100 miles of Indy and know what most sell if you have any questions next year.post-7794-0-33368100-1376139410_thumb.jp

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Keith N Tampa (ex SoJax)

Needle Palm, Rhapidiophyllum hystrix, has a fighting chance without protection. My parents have one in Smithton, IL. Its been in the ground since March 2007 and never protected. It grows slowly but its never defoliated. Has been covered in frozen precipitation for 30 days at a time. Sabal minor, the provenance from SW Oklahoma (McCurtain County to be particular) seems to be another decent option. Trachycarpus fortunei are going to be tricky every winter, but should survive with minimal protection. They are hardy to 5f, as long as it doesn't stay below freezing for more than a day or two. They are not close to has hardy as Needle or the hardiest Sabal minors, however. FWIW, I've seen T. fortunei damaged in Charlotte NC with temps between 5 and 10, but I've also seen them lose their spear leaf at 30F when in active growth during April. The specimen above (in indianapalmguy's post) is really nice. Look for a specimen with those stiff leaves. Its often an indicator of cold tolerance (though its no guarantee).

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