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Rhopalostylis Sapida Cold Tolerance/Hardiness - Any info appreciated!

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JasonD

Rhopalostylis baueri grows in a slightly stunted form at the McBryde unit of the National Tropical Botanical Garden, at low elevation on the leeward side of Kaua`i, where it's hot - probably 75F lows and 87F highs from June to October. But baueri is also more frost-tender than sapida...

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Mauna Kea Cloudforest

Do you have any royal or foxtail palms? Much more likely to have several mild winters than a cold summer...

I agree with that recommendation, a foxtail or a royal will thrive in Houston's heat. But I am curious, isn't Houston USDA zone 9a, which means it can drop into the upper teens to low 20's? That would definitely kill a royal and a foxtail, and it will kill a rhopie as well. At least the royal would thrive the rest of the time so it would just need to get protected on those really cold nights.

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JEFF IN MODESTO

Ok, You've heard the rest... now you get to hear from the King of Climate stretchers!

:mrlooney:

I have grown 2 R. Sapida's here in my frost hollow.

First one was about 15 years ago before my side yard had a big Lychee tree canopy.

I planted a nice healthy ( Hawaii sized ) 5 gal R. Sapida.

It did ok the first summer, winter came, 25f, killed it dead. Even though it was in a protected spot between two houses.

Number two, I bought at the IPS meeting at Glenn's house a couple of years ago. It was a 1 gal I believe.

It has been nipped by temps as low as 26f. I think the first year it lost half its leaf surface to frost.

The last 2 years it has been looking nice ... but it is slowwww.

Maybe a little faster than my Dypsis Decipiens, but definitely more frost tender.

Contrary to what I've been told, the heat doesn't seem to bother it. And we see a lot of summer days above 100-108f and nights above 70f.

Lots of higher than normal dew points this summer as well.

I'd say give it a try, but don't expect it to survive out in the open below 25f or so.

If you want the look, without the frost tenderness, try a dypsis decipiens.

But below 20f, I think even this guy would be a gonner.

Here is my Rhopie today.

Jeff

attachicon.gifrhop.jpg

Jeff, your heat in Modesto is still "Mediterranean". There's a really big difference between hot Modesto and hot and humid Southeast. See http://www.wrcc.dri.edu/cgi-bin/cliMAIN.pl?ca5738, your average Summer minimum is actually 60F even if you get some nights with lows higher than that. Your house is hot in the Summer and probably keeps temps slightly higher than the weather station location. (This is not the Airport.)

Rhopies actually do fine even in parts of Southern California where temps don't drop below 68F in the Summer, but it's still quite a bit drier there than in Houston. They'll take daytime heat if grown in shade.

I think we've discussed this once our twice before so it aint worth going over. :badday:

You can pretty much take your pick of weather stations around town... never get the same reading.

One even has our average summer high and lows 88/55f ... huh? Both those figures are low, in reality, this summer was a pretty average

July/August 2013. with an average of 95f and a low of 63f

This month so far, our average has been 93f/63f

Yes Mediterranean". But hotter than florida during the day, just nice cooler sleeping weather in the AM here. No summer rain!

We rarely see many 50's lows during the summer.

Theres a guy with a pimped up weather station about 2 blocks from me. He posts on weather underground.

Since his records temps almost same as I get with my cheapo, I trust his.

look it up.

Ok let me finish ready my paper! :interesting:

Jeff

Jeff, potato or potatoe, haggling over whether your low is 60F or 63F is totally besides the point, the lows aren't that relevant, you could even have an average low of 68F and it would still not matter, it's the humidity that matters. Go hang out in Miami and Houston in the middle of Summer one of these days, it will give you a new appreciation for how nice and dry Modesto is. As much as we'd all like to imagine our little neck of the woods is tropical, California is Mediterranean, and that's what the rhopies prefer.

I'd say our climate is desert summer, cloud forest winter. Nothing even close to tropical, that's for sure.

Then again its the weather in my town... What do I know?

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Xenon

Do you have any royal or foxtail palms? Much more likely to have several mild winters than a cold summer...

I agree with that recommendation, a foxtail or a royal will thrive in Houston's heat. But I am curious, isn't Houston USDA zone 9a, which means it can drop into the upper teens to low 20's? That would definitely kill a royal and a foxtail, and it will kill a rhopie as well. At least the royal would thrive the rest of the time so it would just need to get protected on those really cold nights.

Houston has a lot of microclimates...urban area is borderline 10a...we can go many years without seeing a hard freeze. There used to be some nice foxtail and king palms near me that lasted several years...this was in the colder western part of town.

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palmsnbananas

Foxtails will die for sure in any serious moderate houston winter, but I have one anyways.

You are right it does get down to low 20's routinely and verrry rarely high teens.

I don't know about 10a, that's just luck of the draw i saw lows of 18F 2 years ago which is 8b but last year I don't know if I even saw 30F meaning 10a, the usda zone tells you average cold, even downtown the dypsis decaryi didn't even survive. The microclimates do help, but when you have arctic wind blowing for days continuously the heat island effect or canopy means nothing. That's my opinion!

This poor R oceana is sure in for a rude awakening though

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Mauna Kea Cloudforest

Foxtails will die for sure in any serious moderate houston winter, but I have one anyways.

You are right it does get down to low 20's routinely and verrry rarely high teens.

I don't know about 10a, that's just luck of the draw i saw lows of 18F 2 years ago which is 8b but last year I don't know if I even saw 30F meaning 10a, the usda zone tells you average cold, even downtown the dypsis decaryi didn't even survive. The microclimates do help, but when you have arctic wind blowing for days continuously the heat island effect or canopy means nothing. That's my opinion!

This poor R oceana is sure in for a rude awakening though

The USDA zone is calculated by taking the absolute lowest temperature each year and everaging that out over many years. The problem you have in the Southeast starting with Texas is that there just aren't any Mountains between you and the North pole. The law of averages dictates that arctic air masses commonly make it all the way to the Gulf of Mexico without any moderation thanks to the midwest plains. I never cease to be amazed that even Central Florida is only USDA 9b, and that's below 30N. In Europe, areas south of the Alps at 45N will have higher extreme low averages than much of Texas.

I think much of Tasmania at 42S has less freezes than Houston.

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palmsnbananas

Exactly, and the only mountain ranges are longitudinal, its like a funnel of arctic air coming down the great plains.

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Xerarch

Foxtails will die for sure in any serious moderate houston winter, but I have one anyways.

You are right it does get down to low 20's routinely and verrry rarely high teens.

I don't know about 10a, that's just luck of the draw i saw lows of 18F 2 years ago which is 8b but last year I don't know if I even saw 30F meaning 10a, the usda zone tells you average cold, even downtown the dypsis decaryi didn't even survive. The microclimates do help, but when you have arctic wind blowing for days continuously the heat island effect or canopy means nothing. That's my opinion!

This poor R oceana is sure in for a rude awakening though

The USDA zone is calculated by taking the absolute lowest temperature each year and everaging that out over many years. The problem you have in the Southeast starting with Texas is that there just aren't any Mountains between you and the North pole. The law of averages dictates that arctic air masses commonly make it all the way to the Gulf of Mexico without any moderation thanks to the midwest plains. I never cease to be amazed that even Central Florida is only USDA 9b, and that's below 30N. In Europe, areas south of the Alps at 45N will have higher extreme low averages than much of Texas.

I think much of Tasmania at 42S has less freezes than Houston.

Ya, Texas and even Florida are pretty ripped off climate wise. Equivalent latitudes on the coast of Australia and elsewhere in the world never see temps below freezing. Meanwhile Brownsville TX, at 26* latitude has a record low of 12* F in 1899, sure this is exreeeeeeeemly rare, but seriously? That's a climate rip-off!

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Tassie_Troy1971

" I think much of Tasmania at 42S has less freezes than Houston."

Tasmania has many unique micro climates . I am about 20 km inland from the ocean but right next to a saltwater estuary ! My coldest ever temp was -0.5 c or 30 F about the same as coastal Orange county area . But as you go further inland say 40 -50 km the valley areas receive many winter frost usually never any colder than - 5 C 21 F but some area right in the middle have experienced -12 C !

Being able to grow Archontophoenix alexandrae outdoors to trunking size in a latitude that is comparable to New Hampshire is something that i don't take for granted !

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Mauna Kea Cloudforest

" I think much of Tasmania at 42S has less freezes than Houston."

Tasmania has many unique micro climates . I am about 20 km inland from the ocean but right next to a saltwater estuary ! My coldest ever temp was -0.5 c or 30 F about the same as coastal Orange county area . But as you go further inland say 40 -50 km the valley areas receive many winter frost usually never any colder than - 5 C 21 F but some area right in the middle have experienced -12 C !

Being able to grow Archontophoenix alexandrae outdoors to trunking size in a latitude that is comparable to New Hampshire is something that i don't take for granted !

Troy, I am puzzled by how mild your climate is. How old are your climate records? The 1940's featured record cold aross California, I wonder what happened in the Southern hemisphere during those years. Is it the fact that it's such a small island? Even Coastal Orange County has records in the low 20's. See for example http://www.wrcc.dri.edu/cgi-bin/cliMAIN.pl?ca4647. 21F in 1949 is the record low for Laguna Beach. Even though the average for most coastal Socal locations is 10a or above, there are plenty of record events over the years in the upper 20's with some colder spots like Laguna getting into the low 20's. My location is USDA 10a, but it was 27F in 1998, long enough to do some serious damage, and altough I don't have any records going farther back, local records suggest this place has seen at least one low 20's this Century if not more. Most locations in New Zealand at lower latitude than yours also get colder than you do.

Most of us in California have to contend with the possibilities of a real freeze. While it's more rare to see it in thermal belts, it can happen even in the best of microclimates.

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palmsnbananas

I think clearly the fact that he's on an island and I think there's some moderation as well due to the tiny East Australian Current

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Axel Amsterdam

Rhopies are by far my best growing palms, growing like weeds as if they belong here. That's probably because my Summertime overnight lows are 44-58F. Like Troy my lows rarely make it over 60F. Rhopies just do not like warm nights and high dew points are a deal killer. You might be able to get them to survive, but if you combine that with cold spells that drop much below 26F, they're going to be very, very unhappy. Under canopy they can take lower than that without damage.

As far as the absolute kill temperature is concerned, I know of at least one r. sapida growing in a frost hollow in Santa Cruz where it survived the 1990 freeze at 19F when it was frozen to the ground when it still didn't have a trunk but it regrew from that most likely because the heart of the palm was still below ground. It got 80% frond damage in 1998 at extended (>12 hours multi-night freezes) at 24F, at which time it had no trunk but had an already emerging crownshaft, but it grew right out of it. Today it's blooming. In this frost hollow where it grows, it sees temps in the 25-27F for short durations every Winter from which it just gets leaf tip burn at the very top. Apparently the super vertical orientation of the fronds greatly minimize frost exposure. It is able to handle cold because of the speed at which it grows during the Summer. It just loves the cool Summer nights, and judging from how they grow in San Francisco's foggiest neighborhoods, the peak metabolism range is probably 55-65F with a wider thriving range of 45F-75F.

I don't think there is any difference in actual tissue hardiness in the various rhopies. The ones with more horizontal leaf exposure (for example chatham islands) just get more frost damage than the super vertical shaving brush growing ones. But I have noticed growth speed differences. Oceana is a rocket, these things are probably the fastest of all the rhopies.

Axel, how fast are the fastest rhopies in your garden? 3 fronds a year like Troy, or more?

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Tassie_Troy1971

" I think much of Tasmania at 42S has less freezes than Houston."

Tasmania has many unique micro climates . I am about 20 km inland from the ocean but right next to a saltwater estuary ! My coldest ever temp was -0.5 c or 30 F about the same as coastal Orange county area . But as you go further inland say 40 -50 km the valley areas receive many winter frost usually never any colder than - 5 C 21 F but some area right in the middle have experienced -12 C !

Being able to grow Archontophoenix alexandrae outdoors to trunking size in a latitude that is comparable to New Hampshire is something that i don't take for granted !

Troy, I am puzzled by how mild your climate is. How old are your climate records? The 1940's featured record cold aross California, I wonder what happened in the Southern hemisphere during those years. Is it the fact that it's such a small island? Even Coastal Orange County has records in the low 20's. See for example http://www.wrcc.dri.edu/cgi-bin/cliMAIN.pl?ca4647. 21F in 1949 is the record low for Laguna Beach. Even though the average for most coastal Socal locations is 10a or above, there are plenty of record events over the years in the upper 20's with some colder spots like Laguna getting into the low 20's. My location is USDA 10a, but it was 27F in 1998, long enough to do some serious damage, and altough I don't have any records going farther back, local records suggest this place has seen at least one low 20's this Century if not more. Most locations in New Zealand at lower latitude than yours also get colder than you do.

Most of us in California have to contend with the possibilities of a real freeze. While it's more rare to see it in thermal belts, it can happen even in the best of microclimates.

Hi Axel

Here is a seaside town on Tasmania's East coat . The all time record low is -0.6 C or 31 F !

http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/averages/tables/cw_092003_All.shtml

Hobart's recorded low from 150 yrs of records is - 2.8 C or 27 F back in 1981 .

http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/averages/tables/cw_094029_All.shtml

Coastal areas down here are very mild for our latitude and unlike North America we do not have any land mass that is connected to the poles and that makes all the difference .

Troy

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Axel Amsterdam

" I think much of Tasmania at 42S has less freezes than Houston."

Tasmania has many unique micro climates . I am about 20 km inland from the ocean but right next to a saltwater estuary ! My coldest ever temp was -0.5 c or 30 F about the same as coastal Orange county area . But as you go further inland say 40 -50 km the valley areas receive many winter frost usually never any colder than - 5 C 21 F but some area right in the middle have experienced -12 C !

Being able to grow Archontophoenix alexandrae outdoors to trunking size in a latitude that is comparable to New Hampshire is something that i don't take for granted !

Troy, I am puzzled by how mild your climate is. How old are your climate records? The 1940's featured record cold aross California, I wonder what happened in the Southern hemisphere during those years. Is it the fact that it's such a small island? Even Coastal Orange County has records in the low 20's. See for example http://www.wrcc.dri.edu/cgi-bin/cliMAIN.pl?ca4647. 21F in 1949 is the record low for Laguna Beach. Even though the average for most coastal Socal locations is 10a or above, there are plenty of record events over the years in the upper 20's with some colder spots like Laguna getting into the low 20's. My location is USDA 10a, but it was 27F in 1998, long enough to do some serious damage, and altough I don't have any records going farther back, local records suggest this place has seen at least one low 20's this Century if not more. Most locations in New Zealand at lower latitude than yours also get colder than you do.

Most of us in California have to contend with the possibilities of a real freeze. While it's more rare to see it in thermal belts, it can happen even in the best of microclimates.

Hi Axel

Here is a seaside town on Tasmania's East coat . The all time record low is -0.6 C or 31 F !

http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/averages/tables/cw_092003_All.shtml

Hobart's recorded low from 150 yrs of records is - 2.8 C or 27 F back in 1981 .

http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/averages/tables/cw_094029_All.shtml

Coastal areas down here are very mild for our latitude and unlike North America we do not have any land mass that is connected to the poles and that makes all the difference .

Troy

Hi Troy,

That's an incredible mild climate indeed. Is the arcontophoenix alex fast in your climate?

I have grown two bangalows for two years here in Amsterdam (protected) and i was pleasantly surprised how well they took off after planting out, especially during mild and wet spells, they seemed fast.

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Mauna Kea Cloudforest

" I think much of Tasmania at 42S has less freezes than Houston."

Tasmania has many unique micro climates . I am about 20 km inland from the ocean but right next to a saltwater estuary ! My coldest ever temp was -0.5 c or 30 F about the same as coastal Orange county area . But as you go further inland say 40 -50 km the valley areas receive many winter frost usually never any colder than - 5 C 21 F but some area right in the middle have experienced -12 C !

Being able to grow Archontophoenix alexandrae outdoors to trunking size in a latitude that is comparable to New Hampshire is something that i don't take for granted !

Troy, I am puzzled by how mild your climate is. How old are your climate records? The 1940's featured record cold aross California, I wonder what happened in the Southern hemisphere during those years. Is it the fact that it's such a small island? Even Coastal Orange County has records in the low 20's. See for example http://www.wrcc.dri.edu/cgi-bin/cliMAIN.pl?ca4647. 21F in 1949 is the record low for Laguna Beach. Even though the average for most coastal Socal locations is 10a or above, there are plenty of record events over the years in the upper 20's with some colder spots like Laguna getting into the low 20's. My location is USDA 10a, but it was 27F in 1998, long enough to do some serious damage, and altough I don't have any records going farther back, local records suggest this place has seen at least one low 20's this Century if not more. Most locations in New Zealand at lower latitude than yours also get colder than you do.

Most of us in California have to contend with the possibilities of a real freeze. While it's more rare to see it in thermal belts, it can happen even in the best of microclimates.

Hi Axel

Here is a seaside town on Tasmania's East coat . The all time record low is -0.6 C or 31 F !

http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/averages/tables/cw_092003_All.shtml

Hobart's recorded low from 150 yrs of records is - 2.8 C or 27 F back in 1981 .

http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/averages/tables/cw_094029_All.shtml

Coastal areas down here are very mild for our latitude and unlike North America we do not have any land mass that is connected to the poles and that makes all the difference .

Troy

Troy, that's simply amazing! I would grow a whole forest of rhopies if I were you, they'll be bullet proof for you.

I've been puzzled why your bismarckia didn't succeed, but after looking at your climate data and seeing you have an average high of 50F high in the Winter and the average high is below 59F for 4 months, it now makes sense. But I think you should try again.

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Alicehunter2000

Anybody tried rhopies in coastal areas of North Florida. Do you think our lower highs and higher lows along the coast along with saltier air might make a difference?

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Alicehunter2000

How are the Rhopies handling the cold this winter?

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JEFF IN MODESTO

My Rhopie has about 50% leaf damage in a protected spot in my garden.

My low was in the 24f-26f range.

Jeff

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Sandy Loam

PalmsnBananas, do you have an update on how your Rhopalostylis Oceana has held up in Houston since 2013? 

Jeff in Modesto, is your a regular Rhopalostylis Sapida or is it the Oceana (Chatham Island) variety?

Does anyone else have an update on their Rhopalostylis' survival in a hot, humid or cold climate?

Thanks. 

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RedRabbit
1 hour ago, Sandy Loam said:

PalmsnBananas, do you have an update on how your Rhopalostylis Oceana has held up in Houston since 2013? 

Jeff in Modesto, is your a regular Rhopalostylis Sapida or is it the Oceana (Chatham Island) variety?

Does anyone else have an update on their Rhopalostylis' survival in a hot, humid or cold climate?

Thanks. 

I'm wondering the same thing. I was just researching this palm earlier today, I'd love to give it a try here if heat and humidity don't kill it... Apart from that though, I think it might be very challenging to find one in Florida. 

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Sandy Loam

I am going to try one in extreme deep shade where my temperatures stay cooler year round. I should be trying R. Bauri instead (more heat tolerant), but I will likely give R. Oceana a go instead because it has the best cold-tolerance, even though it will hate my summer humidity.

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Sandy Loam

I am not aware of anyone selling these palms in Florida. They are strictly available from California, at least in the US (as far as I can tell).

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Albey
On 13/09/2013 1:00:17, Alberto said:

I have some growing here for a few years now. R.sapida from Akaroa (slow growing)

Hi Alberto

Just curious:  How did an Akaroa Nikau end up in South America ? - That type is only sold in one shop in Christchurch and nowhere else in the Country. It is not a widely grown form.

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Albey
On 14/02/2016 3:30:16, Sandy Loam said:

PalmsnBananas, do you have an update on how your Rhopalostylis Oceana has held up in Houston since 2013? 

Jeff in Modesto, is your a regular Rhopalostylis Sapida or is it the Oceana (Chatham Island) variety?

Does anyone else have an update on their Rhopalostylis' survival in a hot, humid or cold climate?

Thanks. 

My 7x Rhopalostylis seedlings tolerated 24°f last Winter and i lost none to the cold. The form i have is R. chathamica "pitt island" - which is from a small exposed island off the south coast of Chatham island.

Edited by Albey

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Albey
On 24/01/2014 7:43:36, JEFF IN MODESTO said:

My Rhopie has about 50% leaf damage in a protected spot in my garden.

My low was in the 24f-26f range.

 

Jeff

Hi Jeff

Any photos of your Rhopalostylis please ?

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Alberto
6 hours ago, Albey said:

Hi Alberto

Just curious:  How did an Akaroa Nikau end up in South America ? - That type is only sold in one shop in Christchurch and nowhere else in the Country. It is not a widely grown form.

They were sent to me by Mr. Malcolm Thomas

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Alberto
On 14/02/2016 01:37:18, RedRabbit said:

I'm wondering the same thing. I was just researching this palm earlier today, I'd love to give it a try here if heat and humidity don't kill it... Apart from that though, I think it might be very challenging to find one in Florida. 

I think that in your climate the only possible Rhopalastylis are the Kermadec form.

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Sandy Loam

Albey, does the Pitt Island form look any different from the Chatham Island form?  Pitt Island appears to be quite close to Chatham Island.

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JEFF IN MODESTO

Hard to get a good shot

image.jpg

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Albey
15 hours ago, Sandy Loam said:

Albey, does the Pitt Island form look any different from the Chatham Island form?  Pitt Island appears to be quite close to Chatham Island.

Similar - but it may have a slight edge in cold hardiness, because of the much smaller and more exposed island they live on.

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Albey
8 hours ago, JEFF IN MODESTO said:

image.jpg

Awesome Jeff

I am surprised it takes your hot summers so well ?

Out of curiosity how many frosts would you get each Winter ?

 

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Albey
On 14/02/2016 4:37:18, RedRabbit said:

I'm wondering the same thing. I was just researching this palm earlier today, I'd love to give it a try here if heat and humidity don't kill it... Apart from that though, I think it might be very challenging to find one in Florida. 

The only forms that may work in your heat and humidity would be:  R. baueri "norfolk island" / R. baueri "raoul island" ( Kermadec ) / R. sapida "Great barrier island"

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Sandy Loam

Yet, the three that you have listed above are all extremely slow-growers, aren't they?  Isn't the Chatham Island ("Oceana") the only fast-growing Rhopalostylis?

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Sandy Loam

Also, davesgarden.com lists R. Sapida as tolerating "full shade" whereas it show R. Bauri as tolerating only "light shade". I am hoping to plant these in very deep shade (Sapida sub-types will allegedly tolerate this more) due to the difference in temperature (cooler). Deep-shade planting has worked for me in the past with a couple of palms that supposedly were going to hate the heat of northern Florida, but have survived.

Is the growth rate of this type of palm going to be diminished significantly by the deep shade?  I presume so.

 

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Albey
17 hours ago, Sandy Loam said:

Yet, the three that you have listed above are all extremely slow-growers, aren't they?  Isn't the Chatham Island ("Oceana") the only fast-growing Rhopalostylis?

The 3 types i listed above are all fast growers if given heat - they are only slow in cool climates.

The fastest growers in a cool climate are: R. chathamica ( Oceana ) and R. pittica ( pitt island )

Troy in Tasmania - who is a member on this forum has R. chathamica ( Oceana ) - which is his fastest growing Nikau. He also has R. baueri which is not as fast, but if given more heat than his climate allows it will be quicker. R. baueri for me is also not that fast either. But in the north island of New Zealand R. baueri can grow as quick as a Bangalow Palm.

As far as shade is concerned, i am not sure. But i assume the mainland varieties will be best in deep shade.

Growth rate will be slower with deep shade.

Edited by Albey

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JEFF IN MODESTO
On February 15, 2016 at 11:13:20 PM, Albey said:

Awesome Jeff

I am surprised it takes your hot summers so well ?

Out of curiosity how many frosts would you get each Winter ?

 

We get on average less than 10 sub 32f mornings

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palmsnbananas

My poor Rhopie survived the winter fine and got burnt to a crisp in the summer, it was in 60% sun. 

I will try a more heat tolerant Rhopie in 100% shade this year we will see how that works!

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Dave-Vero

It amazes me to see photos (including Google Street View) of Rhopalostylis around New Zealand, including South Island at the same latitude as central Oregon (Cape Foulweather and Cape Foulwinds are both at nearly the same latitude, and both named by Capt. Cook).   My part of Florida seems to have some overlap in cultivated plants with Auckland and Northland, notably bromeliads, but a nice recent book on vegetable gardening from Auckland really underlines the differences.  They just don't have our heat, except on those black sand beaches.   

I wonder if Nikau palms thrive at Brookings, Oregon.  The local coastal climate keeps them somewhere around 50 F all year.  

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