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RaychHasDatePalms

I got a coconut palm in a pot! Help to survive sunless winter?

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RaychHasDatePalms

Hi all! I've been waiting for my local big box to bring these back; they get about 5 a year and I wasn't expecting to see them till a few months from now..... but lo and behold, the coconut palms were back this week, and so I nabbed one! I love it...... only thing is, I am battling Michigan winter. Obviously the coconut palm lives inside (!!) and we keep the house warm. The tag says it's from Florida and hardy up to something like 30 degrees f? I thought cocos couldn't go below 70 degrees f, but you know better than me at this point. I also have a humidifier that I run whenever I feel it's getting too dry, and I like the same conditions as a coconut palm, so it gets run fairly often. The one thing I'm worried about is the sunlight. We do get sunlight, but it's weak, cloudy, and through a window. (It's a cheap complex so I am sure they didn't spend money on UV-blocking window panes, at least.) If I actively attempt to keep it near a window every day, do you think that will be enough, or should I find a way to bring my grow light and other plants upstairs? I can't take the coconut down to the grow light and other plants, because it's just too chilly down there for him. (My chicago fig and hen and chicks are doing fine.) Thoughts? 

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RaychHasDatePalms

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RaychHasDatePalms

It's also a little brown at the tips, and quite rootbound....... what should I do proactively to keep it happy/make it happier? What size pot would you recommend? Do they like smaller pots like date palms do? 

 

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kinzyjr

They are tricky indoors.  Keep it as warm as possible; any extra heat from a heat mat or other method is appreciated.  They do like all the sun you can give them, but don't let the fronds touch the glass of the window.  Misting them once or twice a day helps the humidity level around them up and tends to keep the mites at bay.  Don't overwater it during the cold periods.  A deep watering once every two weeks or so is probably sufficient unless the medium dries out really fast.  They like somewhat large pots, but I wouldn't repot it until summer time.  If you put it in a large pot and it looks like it will be too heavy to lift, sometimes it is easier just to put the pot on a small wagon to move it around.  Just my $0.02.

Down here, they start taking damage around 40F-45F and perish somewhere between 25F-35F depending on genetics,whether the freeze is advective or radiational + the duration of the freeze.  I have four outdoors at this point.

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jimmyt

Like kinzyjr said: Brightest light and warmness.  I would not repot up until you can take it outside again for the season. Keep it on the dryer side during the cooler and darker winter. Mine tolerates temps down into the mid 30’s F even in the greenhouse. It is not phased. I am in central TX, coconuts are not meant to be here either.

jimmyt

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ActualTrachycarpus
1 hour ago, RaychHasDatePalms said:

Hi all! I've been waiting for my local big box to bring these back; they get about 5 a year and I wasn't expecting to see them till a few months from now..... but lo and behold, the coconut palms were back this week, and so I nabbed one! I love it...... only thing is, I am battling Michigan winter. Obviously the coconut palm lives inside (!!) and we keep the house warm. The tag says it's from Florida and hardy up to something like 30 degrees f? I thought cocos couldn't go below 70 degrees f, but you know better than me at this point. I also have a humidifier that I run whenever I feel it's getting too dry, and I like the same conditions as a coconut palm, so it gets run fairly often. The one thing I'm worried about is the sunlight. We do get sunlight, but it's weak, cloudy, and through a window. (It's a cheap complex so I am sure they didn't spend money on UV-blocking window panes, at least.) If I actively attempt to keep it near a window every day, do you think that will be enough, or should I find a way to bring my grow light and other plants upstairs? I can't take the coconut down to the grow light and other plants, because it's just too chilly down there for him. (My chicago fig and hen and chicks are doing fine.) Thoughts? 

Maybe buy a whole separate grow light just for the plant? I had a coconut perish this winter because it just couldn't get enough sun, even in the sunniest location in my house. Make sure you are spraying the fronds as well.

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RaychHasDatePalms

Thank you, everyone! We do keep it at 70 or above at all times, so I hope that won't be an issue. I'll definitely go out and get a water spritzer for it as well! If all of that doesn't work, I'll get an additional grow light. Here's hoping! 

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PalmatierMeg

Your dark, chilly, dry house is a challenge for your palm. Do not run a dehumidifier to dry out your already dry house. Coconuts want heat and sun (and they love high humidity). Fussing with a spritzer is not particularly effective. It would enjoy being put in the bathtub and given a tepid shower. And after you've steamed up the bathroom with your own hot shower, place the pot in the tub and let the palm enjoy its own steam bath.

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NC_Palms
6 hours ago, PalmatierMeg said:

Your dark, chilly, dry house is a challenge for your palm. Do not run a dehumidifier to dry out your already dry house. Coconuts want heat and sun (and they love high humidity). Fussing with a spritzer is not particularly effective. It would enjoy being put in the bathtub and given a tepid shower. And after you've steamed up the bathroom with your own hot shower, place the pot in the tub and let the palm enjoy its own steam bath.

Wow I never thought about giving palms a warm steam bath. Great idea! 

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Rickybobby

One tip I do for indoor is stake a few spots around the palm and I wrap plastic around it. Basically making a miniature greenhouse to keep it humid and warmer. I have an oil radiator in the room and it sits above so the pot gets warmed very well and the heat radiants up into the enclosure. 

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JEFF IN MODESTO

Lol, I’ve grown one as an indoor winter /outdoors summer palm for the past couple years.

number one thing is soil... make sure you plant in a sandy - cactus type potting soil.

then put it outdoors in semi shade when days are fairly uniformly warm, like 70/50f .

slowly move into the full sun as spring progresses to summer.

watering regularly. Fertilize a couple of times while pushing new leaves.

then in the fall when nights start dropping below 50f, water very deeply one last time allow excess water to drain away and bring indoors for the winter.

A single led daylight bulb 100 watt equivalent is all that needed to keep a young coconut going till you put it back outside in the late spring .

i water once every 3 weeks during the winter and then only if soil feels dry.

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RaychHasDatePalms
On 1/28/2019 at 4:19 PM, NC_Palms said:

Wow I never thought about giving palms a warm steam bath. Great idea! 

I don’t even use a dehumidifier in the drippingly humid Michigan summer, and my skin cracks and peels here in the winter.... I naturally strive for humidity at the levels a palm would appreciate. ;) Definitely thanks for the tip! 

I let it hang out in the shower room when I showered last night and it’s still there (now to move it to where there’s sunlight). It is fortunately small enough that I can move it around to whichever place is best at the moment. 

Thank you!!

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RaychHasDatePalms
On 1/28/2019 at 5:20 PM, Rickybobby said:

One tip I do for indoor is stake a few spots around the palm and I wrap plastic around it. Basically making a miniature greenhouse to keep it humid and warmer. I have an oil radiator in the room and it sits above so the pot gets warmed very well and the heat radiants up into the enclosure. 

Great idea! Thanks! 

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RaychHasDatePalms
On 1/29/2019 at 12:43 AM, JEFF IN MODESTO said:

Lol, I’ve grown one as an indoor winter /outdoors summer palm for the past couple years.

number one thing is soil... make sure you plant in a sandy - cactus type potting soil.

then put it outdoors in semi shade when days are fairly uniformly warm, like 70/50f .

slowly move into the full sun as spring progresses to summer.

watering regularly. Fertilize a couple of times while pushing new leaves.

then in the fall when nights start dropping below 50f, water very deeply one last time allow excess water to drain away and bring indoors for the winter.

A single led daylight bulb 100 watt equivalent is all that needed to keep a young coconut going till you put it back outside in the late spring .

i water once every 3 weeks during the winter and then only if soil feels dry.

Wow, thanks! Lots of great tips! When I repot, should I use straight cactus soil or mix with something else? Which sorts of fertilizers do you suggest? I will have to check and see which lightbulbs we already have in, above the table where the cocos tupically lives. Do these differ from a typical lightbulb? Why did I think you need a special one? 

Thank you so much!

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PalmatierMeg

You want a very well draining soil for a potted palm. I start with a coarse palm/cactus mix, then add additional perlite or, in the case of a very rare, tricky palm, pumice. Water sparingly - too much water is worse than too little. Your potting mix should never get soggy or mucky. Let excess water drain away after watering. Never let pot sit in a tray of water. Also, I suggest when you water, use tepid/warmish water, not cold water straight from the tap during winter. Coconuts and other tropical palms have roots very sensitive to cold and your house is not particularly warm at 70F or below for long periods.

As for light, you can use full spectrum lights or invest in a grow light or bulb intended for green plants. The setup in your photo is not adequate for a palm that wants full sun or very bright light. If your lights put out huge amounts of heat make sure they don't get close enough to burn the leaves. I can't tell you more because I don't grow plants indoors under lights.

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RaychHasDatePalms

Yesterday I moved the plants around and ended up putting the cocos, chicago fig, and grow light in the third floor hallway. The cocos is right next to a heater and the shower, so by far the best place in the house for a palm. There are also nice windows in each room on the ends of the hallway, so when I am able and it’s a nice, sunny day, I open those blinds and keep the doors open for extra sunlight/greenhouse effect. 

 

Here’s the current setup. Yes, IK the fig is leaning disgracefully and I should turn it around, but it will have to stay that way till it warms up this spring and I can turn it away from the heat/light to continue to rectify that issue:

CC6E4406-EA4A-4950-BD4B-A90A1AEA2BB9.jpeg

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RaychHasDatePalms

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JEFF IN MODESTO
On 1/30/2019 at 6:40 AM, RaychHasDatePalms said:

Wow, thanks! Lots of great tips! When I repot, should I use straight cactus soil or mix with something else? Which sorts of fertilizers do you suggest? I will have to check and see which lightbulbs we already have in, above the table where the cocos tupically lives. Do these differ from a typical lightbulb? Why did I think you need a special one? 

Thank you so much!

I only use miracle grow and then only mid summer.

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