Just wondering, according to plantmaps it is zone 8b-9a
La Nina patterns or cooler equatorial sea surface temps from the Central Pacific through to the Easter Tropical Pacific are occurring right now. These patterns often lead to dry and clear Autumn and Winter weather patterns here in Southern California where I live. The west coast just experienced a typical La Nina weather pattern last weekend with an inside slider storm coming down the coast with strong winds and leaving us now with cool dry nights and no marine layer. I hope that this isn't a sign of what is to come as we get deeper into Autumn and enter Winter. With clear skies, I bottomed out at 39 degrees last night, and even the weather station at Moonlight Beach right on the ocean was reading 43 degrees this morning at first glow.
The leaves on my banana plants got pretty beat up, and the Encephalartos laurentiaunus below which is flushing had some leaflets ripped off in the strong winds. Everything below the wall was protected, while everything above the wall felt the full force of the wind.
So how are you and your garden doing this during this La Nina Autumn?
While perusing a few threads referencing the 1835 freeze, 1894-1895 freeze and the 1899 freeze, there were a few mentions of this book. There are used copies available on Amazon for less than $20 so I decided to order it. After reading it, I’d certainly recommend it. While the content is presented primarily from the point of view of someone interested in commercial citrus growing, the information about each of the events is certainly relevant to palm horticulture.
The book was a welcome relief from staring at a screen all day after working a job that typically centers around doing the same. There are a lot of references and to the small cities throughout the state since they are typically where citrus is grown, and the weather data is obviously of interest to anyone growing palms since the same freezes are typically what impacts what is long-term or bulletproof in an area.
The book contained weather records and quotes from the various growers as well as descriptions of the weather before and after the freeze. Some of the quotes are humorous in spite of the fact that these folks likely lost a lot of money due to these events. Almost all areas are at least represented in the weather records, including Key West in some cases.
There are actually two freezes from California noted in the book (1937 and 1990). In my case, the book does provide some weather readings from Lakeland City Hall rather than the airport, and has some weather readings from Bok Tower to compare to the Mammoth Grove area in Lake Wales to illustrate the difference elevation makes during a radiational event vs. an advective event. There is also information on a few of our early and late season frosts that have the potential to impact tropical plants and citrus alike. There book also covers an inverted freeze, where north and central Florida were not impacted as harshly as south Florida.
The cover photo actually came from our local newspaper, The Ledger.
As the book was released in 1997, the 1996 freeze is the last one fully covered. If you want a screen break and you like the data on the weather forums - give this one a read.
Book Information: A History of Florida Citrus Freezes by John A. Attaway, Ph.D. (June 1st, 1997)
Amazon Listing: https://www.amazon.com/John-Attaway/dp/0944961037/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=A+History+of+Florida+Citrus+Freezes&qid=1599060452&sr=8-1
Some links posted by @richtrav @tropical1 and @Matthew92 referencing this book:
A biig thanks for @Matty B for showing us in California what is possible. Maybe he will chime in and reveal his sorcery…. I mean growing experiences.
Not wanting to hijack Bubba’s Satekentia in California post. I hope other growers in other non-tropical localities share their experiences and pictures.
My experience so far…
In January Winter of 2016 / 2017 I bought 2 small, yellowish one gallon Satekentia from KW Palms & Cycads in Lake Elsinore. The two palms were small and cheap so why not
Then in July of 2018 I was reading a post in PT. Matty B stated that his Satakentia seemed like it could take more sun than he had thought at first. I then decided to move one of my plants out from under shade cloth into full direct Vista sun. I checked on it carefully throughout that day. Then after four days I pulled the other one out into full sun. They thrived in full exposure!
In September, I decided to just plant them out.
1. I have no greenhouse
2. I am ADD
3. They’re still alive!
This picture is of them starting their first winter in ground December 2018
Californication was a pretty good show. But which show is the greatest? It is, according to Richard Dawkins, evolution.
In this post I'm gonna use the word "Californication" to refer to the process of plants adapting to California's conditions. Anybody who grows plants outdoors here in California participates in this process, but it is not something that we generally talk about.
Around a decade ago I sowed some orchid seeds on my tree and quite a few germinated...
Last year the largest seedling bloomed for the first time...
In this blog entry you can see pics of the largest seedling over the years. Plus you can see a pic of the smallest seedling.
Some orchid seed pods contain a million seeds. Since each seed is different, we'd expect there to be quite a bit of variation among the seeds in a single pod. We've all heard the expression "the apple didn't fall far from the tree". But if a million apples fall from a tree...
More variation means faster adaptation. Of course I'd love to have an epiphytic orchid that doesn't require any supplemental water here in California. Such an orchid though would essentially be capable of naturalizing in California.
On the one hand, in terms of traditional conservation, it is a bad thing for non-native plants to naturalize. But on the other hand, everybody who grows non-native plants outdoors facilitates their eventual naturalization.
Traditional conservation is a zero-sum game. For example, adding Aloe dichotoma to California's wilderness would result in the subtraction of Hesperoyucca whipplei. In any case, anybody who is pro-conservation will certainly be opposed to Aloe dichotoma's naturalization. Yet, everybody in California who grows Aloe dichotoma is helping to select for individuals that are more and more capable of naturalization. People who grow Aloe dichotoma from seed are especially "guilty".
I personally haven't grown Aloe dichotoma from seed, but have grown plenty of other Aloes from seeds. Out of all the different Aloe species and hybrids, which is the closest to being capable of naturalizing? Every plant in California can be ranked according to how close it is to being able to naturalize.
Aeoniums are ranked higher than Tillandsias, but which is the highest ranked Tillandsia? Tillandsia usneoides would seem like it should be higher ranked than Tillandsia aeranthos, but for some reason the latter volunteers for me far more than the former. I've given away 100s of Tillandsia aeranthos volunteers over the years. It might be my imagination but the most recent batch of volunteers seem smaller than my original plants...
The original plants are from my friend's greenhouse where they had been volunteering for years. They hadn't been selected for temperature or moisture, until he gave most of them to me. Since then they've been subjected to temps below freezing and up to 116F, as well as cold wet rain and summer drought. Plus they've probably been crossed with Tillandsia stricta, tenuifolia, bergeri and other compatible Tillandsias.
Absent any human intervention or natural disaster, Tillandsias would have eventually made their way to California. The same is true of Canada.
Here's a relevant post... Tillandsia usneoides (forms and hybrids). Seva lives in Virginia near the edge of T. usneoides' natural distribution. He is experimenting with growing different forms of usneoides outdoors. It stands to reason that the non-native forms will naturally be cross-pollinated with the native forms. Increasing the size of the gene pool should facilitate the northern expansion of the Spanish Moss. From the perspective of the Spanish Moss this is a good thing. But from the perspective of traditional conservation? Traditional conservation is opposed to facilitating colonization. Well, it is ok for birds and squirrels to help move Spanish Moss northwards, but not ok for humans to do so.
Today I noticed that Silas bumped my thread about Hoya/Dischidia cold tolerance. Hoya carnosa is relatively cold tolerant and last year I sowed some seeds of it...
One of the seedlings already has peduncles on it with buds just starting to form.
Here are some red Brugmansia hybrids that I grew from seed...
I've also grown various Begonias from seed, such as Begonia umbraculifera...
And here are some Aeoniums that I've grown from seed (Aeonium Cyclops)...
Easy to see the variation in colors, but not easy to see the variation in suitability to California's conditions.
There was only one year where I had Aeoniums volunteer in my garden. Probably wasn't a coincidence that it was a relatively wet winter. It is kinda surprising how much moisture succulent seeds need to germinate.
Tracy asked about the effectiveness of sprinkling orchid seeds. Lots of people here in SoCal grow reed-stem Epidendrum orchids, which readily produce numerous viable seeds, which end up being sprinkled by the wind. The seeds rarely germinate though, for the same reason that Aeoniums and Echeverias rarely volunteer... inadequate moisture.
If you sow reed-stem seeds on slightly moist New Zealand Sphagnum that is in a slightly open zip lock bag that is by a bright window then voila...
The same method has worked with Bletilla striata seeds. Guessing that it would also work with Sobralia macrantha seeds.
In every batch of seeds though some are going to need less moisture to germinate than others. Variation is nature's way of hedging bets. It is the basis of adaptation and colonization.
Of course I don't want every plant to colonize California. But as it is, California isn't nearly diverse enough for me. Not that I go around trying to directly introduce plants into the wild. However I do certainly directly participate in a process that will eventually result in a far more diverse California. And I'm definitely not alone! Lots and lots of people participate in this process.
What do you think about Californication? How well do you perceive the process of countless non-native plants being selected for by California's conditions?