We are now frost free here in the Richmond area, today (April 10) was supposed to be our last possible frost date until Fall, although the last time we had a frost here was in late March, and it was very patchy. Our lowest lows are in the mid to high 40s, highs are mid 70s, a few low 80s this week. This morning it was 48 out, but it felt warmer (it was very sunny, no wind). We already had some days in the 80s. I'm ready for Summer, but will enjoy the nice comfortable tempatures while they last! But I still love the heat.
By Ben OK
So 18 months after I moved in, I am finally getting around to putting some more of my potted palm collection in the ground. I have a large L-shaped bed that goes around two sides of my garage. So here's what I've got so far (mulch to come tomorrow)
The North side has four azaleas alternating with 3 needle palms. On the East side I've got a small yaupon holly, two trachycarpus wagnerianus (with little zebra grass clumps still dormant in between them), and my larger birmingham sabal on the Southeast corner. I included some closer shots of the individual palms. All are probably happy to get in the ground after years in their pots.
I’m thinking about trying Trachycarpus Fortunei again this year. I’ve tried 3 before. The first winter had a low of about 12° in which 1 spear pulled (but made a full recovery), 1 died, and 1 was fine. I mulched the bases and wrapped them all in burlap for that winter. The more damaged ones were planted out in the open and the one that was fine was planted in the open but next to an evergreen shrub on the Northwest side. The next spring/summer I added a Wagnerianus. The next winter was much harsher with a low of 5° and ice storms. I was preoccupied and pretty depressed during that period and didn’t have the motivation to protect any of them. They all croaked (I even had a Sabal minor ‘McCurtain’ that bit the dust after almost no damage the previous winter).
Anyways, I’m hoping to try a Fortunei again this year. I’m thinking about doing somethings different to insure success. I’m getting my Fortunei from Plant Delights in a cultivar called ‘Greensboro’ which is reported to be a hardier strain. I’m also thinking of planting it closer to my house on a Southwest wall with a stone/concrete (not entirely sure what the material is to be honest) foundation.
I’m curious to know what are the experiences y’all have had with Fortunei in the Mid-Atlantic zone 6-8. I’ve seen huge specimens grown in DC and the surrounding areas. Especially at the home of some guy named Panama John. I saw a huge windmill in Alexandria, VA (zone 7a) online which has to be about 2 stories tall. If Fortunei’s can grow in DC and Northern VA, they should be able to grow in the Southeastern Baltimore region. Their climates should be roughly the same (Though being slightly further north, Baltimore could even be a little warmer due to the influence from the Chesapeake Bay as during winter storms, my area is usually below the freezing line and gets a wintry mix or rain).
So for my area (For the past 20 years, 6 Winters have been 7b, 1 has been 7a, and 14 have been 8a), what precautions would I need to take to aid a Fortunei? My native soil doesn’t drain the best and is usually soaked for a day after a rainfall (I’m going to do the Soil mason jar test on my soil for a more accurate picture). I was thinking about putting a huge bucket over the palm during freezing precipitation. Would I need to apply heavy protection to the palm? I’ve heard they don’t like being overprotected so I don’t want to smother them. Do they get hardier with age? (I’ve heard the younger ones are wimpy). Sorry for all the questions, I’m just in a pickle haha.
Cheers from Massachusetts!
By Pal Meir
Trachycarpus wagnerianus seems to be another ideal bonsai palm.
Here an 8 years old palm which got transplanted into ground in 2014:
And onother one 12 years old in a Ø12cm x H10cm plastic pot:
The latest leaf of that now 16 years old palm: