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Sandy Loam

Livistona Saribus vs. Livistona Decora

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Sandy Loam

If I have to choose between Livistona Saribus and Livistona Decora, which one will give me a trunk that people can seriously walk underneath within five or six years of growth from a 3 gallon pot? 

I far prefer the look of Livistona Saribus, but I am worried about the nasty teeth on those petioles when children are around.  Eventually the leaf bases can be removed from the trunk, but not until the tree has some height and the dangerous parts are well overhead.

Also, how likely is it that a Livistona Saribus frond will fall on a person below?  Isn't it a tree that really has to be pruned manually before the old fronds will detach from the tree?....or will a little wind send them falling down on the people below?   I am just really nervous about those nasty teeth.

Finally, do you know of any vendors in Florida that sell the green petiole variety of Livistona Saribus (supposedly more cold-hardy than the purple or black petiole type).

Thanks to anyone who can answer these questions. 

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Sandy Loam

Let's add Livistona Nitida to this comparison as well because I have a lead on some of those too.  Thanks.

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Ben in Norcal

Nitida or Decora.  Saribus are slugs.

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Phoenikakias
5 hours ago, Ben in Norcal said:

Nitida or Decora.  Saribus are slugs.

Not in the tropics though. I have same experience like you with a saribus seedling in my cold frame. It receives a lot of warmth and heat but can not do much with air moisture. Maybe latter is the crucial factor for a faster growth.  Maybe in not frostfree Florida saribus performs equally well or better than other two mentioned spp. Decora has the least spiny habit among the three candidates, but unfortunately it sheds leaves and old flowerstalks after a certain size. Flower stalks are imo more suitable for causing a damage, than old, dead fronds. 

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Ben in Norcal
6 hours ago, Phoenikakias said:

Not in the tropics though. I have same experience like you with a saribus seedling in my cold frame. It receives a lot of warmth and heat but can not do much with air moisture. Maybe latter is the crucial factor for a faster growth.  Maybe in not frostfree Florida saribus performs equally well or better than other two mentioned spp. Decora has the least spiny habit among the three candidates, but unfortunately it sheds leaves and old flowerstalks after a certain size. Flower stalks are imo more suitable for causing a damage, than old, dead fronds. 

Interesting.  Sandy is up in Gainesville though, so pretty cold.  Heck, why not just get all three?  I have. :lol:

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krishnaraoji88

I have all 3 in Ocala (just south of Gainesville).

- The fastest is decora by far, they always look good and put on trunk very quickly. They don't give much shade though. It will give you that trunk people can walk under and they sound nice in the wind

- Saribus grows like a faster chiniensis (but by no means fast). They have a similar look. In gainesville you will have to wait a while for trunk

- Nitida grows at a reasonable pace but nowhere near as fast as decora. They have a similar look to washies when young so a whole different look than decora. 

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PalmatierMeg

Decora is fastest growing for sure and has a shimmering fountain effect in a breeze. I've found nitida to be slowest of the lot. Maybe it has issues with my alkaline soil. Saribus is somewhat faster than nitida but has those nasty teeth. One of mine looks really good, the other about 30' away struggles with nutritional issue in the spring. I don't think falling fronds are much of an issue. My decora fronds didn't start falling until it had 8' of trunk, then they were so dessicated they have almost no weight. I would say if growth speed and looks matter most, go with decora.

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TexasColdHardyPalms

Decora and Saribus are quick for me and Nitida is slower. Can't go wrong with Decora or Nitida.  Saribus look cool once they get tall enough to walk underneath them. 

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RedRabbit

@Sandy Loam

Have you considered Livistonia drudei or Livistona benthamii? These are the two I'm most interested in myself. I saw a drudei last weekend and liked it a lot; it closely resembles Saribus rotundifolius, but it is much more cold tolerant. I've not seen benthamii in person, but the pictures I've seen look good. 

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Sandy Loam

RedRabbit, you have piqued my curiosity, so I checked out those two palms on Palmpedia. Livstona Drudei looks quite nice, as least based on the photos. I wonder where I could find four of them that are actually in plant form, not seed. I will have to do a little research.  In my experience, rare palms are only commercially available for sale down south in the Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties.  Palmpedia lists livstona drudei as zone 9b, but I am in zone 9a.  Maybe that palm would be a risk way up here in northeastern Florida, whereas livstona saribus, Decora, nitida, mariae, rigida, chinensis do just fine here.

I already have one Livstona Decora, actually, but it has not been an especially fast grower since I have it planted in deep shade.  After six years in the ground, it still has no trunk and likely won't for some time soon.  It is planted in an area where rain drains downward (plenty of water) and has relatively fertile soil ----- for Florida, at least.

 

I have two livstona nitida as well, but they have not been especially fast either and the one growing in shade is almost dead.  I am shying away from that species in case it doesn't like my soil or something.

I have a lot of livstona chinensis, but it won't fit the bill for where I will be planting these trees (I need speed and ten feet of trunk....soon)

I would also go for livstona mariae, but they are hard to find around here.  I already have one pure mariae and another livstona that is a hybrid mariae/decora.

My last livstona is livstona rigida, but the decora is definitely growing more quickly.  I can't help but notice because they were both planted at the same time.

Based on the comments on this thread, I think I have decided to buy four livstona decora unless someone on this thread can talk me out of it.

 

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RedRabbit
2 hours ago, Sandy Loam said:

RedRabbit, you have piqued my curiosity, so I checked out those two palms on Palmpedia. Livstona Drudei looks quite nice, as least based on the photos. I wonder where I could find four of them that are actually in plant form, not seed. I will have to do a little research.  In my experience, rare palms are only commercially available for sale down south in the Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties.  Palmpedia lists livstona drudei as zone 9b, but I am in zone 9a.  Maybe that palm would be a risk way up here in northeastern Florida, whereas livstona saribus, Decora, nitida, mariae, rigida, chinensis do just fine here.

I already have one Livstona Decora, actually, but it has not been an especially fast grower since I have it planted in deep shade.  After six years in the ground, it still has no trunk and likely won't for some time soon.  It is planted in an area where rain drains downward (plenty of water) and has relatively fertile soil ----- for Florida, at least.

 

I have two livstona nitida as well, but they have not been especially fast either and the one growing in shade is almost dead.  I am shying away from that species in case it doesn't like my soil or something.

I have a lot of livstona chinensis, but it won't fit the bill for where I will be planting these trees (I need speed and ten feet of trunk....soon)

I would also go for livstona mariae, but they are hard to find around here.  I already have one pure mariae and another livstona that is a hybrid mariae/decora.

My last livstona is livstona rigida, but the decora is definitely growing more quickly.  I can't help but notice because they were both planted at the same time.

Based on the comments on this thread, I think I have decided to buy four livstona decora unless someone on this thread can talk me out of it.

 

I read here both drudei and benthamii have survived 19f:

http://www.palmtalk.org/forum/index.php?/topic/40159-aaa-florida-general-palm-hardiness-data/

I'm not sure where to find either one unfortunately. 

 

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TexasColdHardyPalms

Livistona Mariae have grown well for me as well.  Faster than Nitida.

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krishnaraoji88
1 hour ago, RedRabbit said:

I read here both drudei and benthamii have survived 19f:

http://www.palmtalk.org/forum/index.php?/topic/40159-aaa-florida-general-palm-hardiness-data/

I'm not sure where to find either one unfortunately. 

 

The drudei survive low temps but get defoliated. I ripped mine out as I didn't find it to be worth a brown palm every year given how long it took to get a canopy.

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Ben in Norcal

L. fulva is another pretty one, though I can't comment on speed at this stage, and never expect to test its hardiness (I would hope!)

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Fusca
15 hours ago, TexasColdHardyPalms said:

Livistona Mariae have grown well for me as well.  Faster than Nitida.

Maybe I should have purchased mariae instead of nitida.  :rolleyes:  Interesting that so many have commented other Livistonas faster than nitida since Palmpedia commented that nitida is likely the fastest and most cold hardy of the Livistonas.  Maybe it's just the most cold hardy of the group...

Jon

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TexasColdHardyPalms

Mariae is not very leaf hardy when small.  A zone 9b palm for sure. 

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Sandy Loam

... but it depends where you are located.  TexasColdHardy Palms is located in a place that gets much colder than where I am in northern Florida.  I think Livistona Mariae will be fine here.

My hybrid livistona mariae x livistona Decora (which came indirectly from Nature Girl on PalmTalk) was right out in the open during our two nasty January freezes this year (coldest weather in eight years).  That tree was not affected in the least by the cold.  It has a look that is more Mariae than Decora, I'd say.  It was COLD for a few days.... And then another few days a week later. 

My pure Livistona Mariae has not been tested. It was only planted in about late January this year. We had no real cold weather after the third week of January.  I will provide updates, but I am optimistic.

Bottom line ---- Depending on where you are located, don't give up on Livistona Mariae.  I have read on PalmTalk that the late Dr Merrill Wilcox regarded Livistona Mariae as quite cold-hardy, if not the most bud-hardy of all livistonas.

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Fusca
2 hours ago, Sandy Loam said:

My hybrid livistona mariae x livistona Decora

I think my nitida will do well here, but that hybrid sounds interesting.  Hope it does well for you - from what I'm reading here it will probably grow pretty fast.

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Sandy Loam

Well, if you are interested in that particular hybrid, there is a whole discussion about it here:

 

Within the link above, I got mine from "NorthFlPalmGuy" as a small palm (one gallons size perhaps?) In January of February 2016, but I don't know whether he has any left.  You could try to contact him perhaps.  You might also wish to contact "Nature Girl" from the same thread above.  She was the original seed source for "NorthFlPalmGuy.". Good luck!

 

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TexasColdHardyPalms

I have about 100 of the Mariae x decora hybrids floating around somewhere.  I saw them the other day as I forgot that I had them.

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iwan

Rigida is slow for me, but doesn't seem to show any damage until about 22F as a small palm.  I have one nitida and it is a slug, but I probably need to give it more water.  Decora is faster than either of these here.

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Sandy Loam

Livstona Rigida is also a rather slow grower for me too, but it has never been damaged by cold snaps up here in Gainesville (northern Florida).  I have had it since about 2012 and the coldest temperature that it has ever experienced was late one night this past January (dipped to somewhere between 23.4 and 24.4 Fahrenheit).

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howfam

Sandy Loam:

I know I'm late on this discussion, but have you  tried the PlantAnt website yet? It will give you all the nurseries nation wide that grow a particular palm with sizes, pics and prices shown. I was surprised to see so many species of palms, once unheard of, now being grown in so many nurseries, Livistonas included./howfam

 

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Laaz

Decora is not very hardy in my opinion. Every Decora in my area was killed last winter. I had three in my yard, all with 6+ foot of clear & all were killed.

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Sandy Loam

In that case, Laaz, perhaps Livistona Decora is not a good choice for Charleston, but they seem to do fine here in Gainesville, FL (northeastern Florida).  We have not had any snow flakes here since 1989, despite what flurries may have hit the panhandle not too far away. 

A mature, 20 foot tall Livistona Decora around the corner from my house is in a colder spot than me (down the hill in a valley) and it seemed to be undamaged by the nasty 2009-2010 freezes.  Those freezes were exceptional.  If I recall correctly, one was a hard freeze.  Yet, however bad they were, January 2018 must have been worse in Charleston, South Carolina.

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Steve in Florida

Charleston experienced at least 14-18F lows at three locations in January .

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RJ
6 hours ago, Steve in Florida said:

Charleston experienced at least 14-18F lows at three locations in January .

Steve, is correct. Charleston reported a low of 14 and a fair amount of frozen precipitation as well. Certainly not a 9a winter. 

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Laaz

It bottomed out at 16F @ my house other more exposed locations in North Charleston were a bit lower. Downtown Charleston didn't drop below 20F.

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Xenon

We have L. decora lining a section of freeway (I-45) in Houston that went through 19-20F. Probably 95% of them survived, with most of them making a full recovery/flowering by late summer. 

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tank

Nitida likes mucky soil and will grow VERY fast if given full sun and wet/mucky conditions.  Same with Decora and Saribus.  Decora seems to grow well in drier conditions.  Nitida will crawl in dry soil. 

As Krishna noted, Drudei (and benthamii)  probably always look bad in north Florida if they survive at all.  They do not take frost at all and will probably get killed outright with lows towards 20F.

I've had success with mariae, nitida, australis, decora, chinensis and saribus in Gainesville, FL.  I've also had success with rigida and muellerii in protected spots with muellerii being the least cold hardy.  I have killed drudeii and benthamii due to freezing temps in the teens.  I've killed lanuginosa and inermis but these were more due to driver error.

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_Keith

Last winter, our coldest in 28 years, both of my L. saribus bit the dust.   Both of my L. decora are unhappy but will recover fine.   That's it for me.

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howfam
On ‎1‎/‎4‎/‎2019 at 5:15 PM, _Keith said:

Last winter, our coldest in 28 years, both of my L. saribus bit the dust.   Both of my L. decora are unhappy but will recover fine.   That's it for me.

How cold did you get? And, were your L. saribus the green or the red variety?

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_Keith
On 1/16/2019 at 6:11 PM, howfam said:

How cold did you get? And, were your L. saribus the green or the red variety?

We got down to 16 in the first freeze and to 19 in the second.   They had been down to 19 in 2 previous winters, but recovered fully.   I am guessing 16/17 degrees is probably their bottom in a wet climate.   After a mild decapitation, one of the two did try to push a couple fronds, but they didn't get past 6 inches before the whole palm died.

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Sandy Loam

Keith, that is a shame indeed.  I have never planted a Livistona Saribus, not because it would not survive in my region, but because those teeth look deadly.  I almost bought one, but then started thinking about how children and dogs could get mauled by those huge teeth.  For a Saribus to be safe, you'd have to: (a) wait for the crown to be well overhead (years); and (b) remove all of the boots on the trunk constantly, at least to an overhead height.  Only then would I be comfortable having a Livistona Saribus. 

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