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Manalto

Disposable (?) Palm

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Manalto

Years ago, I was at somebody's house in Mobile who had outside their dining room window a fan palm that functioned well as a privacy screen from neighbors when we sat at the table for dinner and conversation. It filled the window from top to bottom, so it must have been about 12 ft tall and close enough to the house that the fronds brushed gently against the screen. I liked the visual effect and the way it allowed balmy breezes into the room. I assume that, eventually, the palm got too big for its spot up against the house so that's why I called this thread "disposable." But maybe it doesn't have to be...

Can you recommend a palm that's adapted to 8b Gulf Coast conditions and fast-growing enough (to about  10 ft tall) so it will provide a privacy screen (and also block the view of my neighbor's air conditioning unit) while I'm still young enough to enjoy it?

It's unfortunate to chop down any palm, but, failing the existence of one that quickly reaches 15 feet and then stops growing, is there one common enough that removing it wouldn't be a tragedy?

Edited by Manalto

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kinzyjr

If a Washingtonia robusta or filifera would fit the bill, you might consider those.  The robusta tend not to be as hardy in humid environments and take some lumps in the low 20s.  The filifera tend to be much less tolerant of humidity, but are a little hardier.  Maybe split the difference and get the filibusta hybrid?

They're not speed demons, but do grow reasonably quickly under ideal conditions.

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Fusca

Another option could be to get an already large slow-growing palm like Livistona chinensis, Chamaerops, Sabal, or Butia odorata.  The cost would be much more of course, but that way you wouldn't have to remove the palm.

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TexasColdHardyPalms

The giant sabal minors would do the trick.

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Manalto

It might take some searching to find a full-grown one around here. How long would it take for a well-cared-for 5 gal. giant sabal minor to reach 10'?

I like the pendant leaf-tips of the Livistona chinensis.

I forgot to mention that the place I have in mind  for the palm would be in the dappled shade of a big old live oak.

Edited by Manalto

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mdsonofthesouth

You might have an issue with livistona chinensis from what I hear they are a zone 9 palm. But they were trunk hardy in my zone 7 and regrew every spring...for how long I'll never know as I ripped them up. Seemed to only look decent mid summer on and only got like 3 or 4 months of looking decent before they started to hate life and leaf burn.

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Manalto

Thank you for mentioning that, MD. I found conflicting reports in supposedly authoritative sources about Livistona's hardness in 8b but was hoping for the best. It doesn't happen a lot, but in the winter of 2017 we had temperatures in the high teens, which I suspect would not be tolerated. Three or four months of looking good disqualifies it, for that position at least. I'll bet the window blocking palm I saw many years ago was a Sabal seedling. I just don't have the patience - or possibly the lifespan - to wait for a Sabal seedling to reach 12 ft tall.

At this point, the filibusta appears to be the best candidate for the job among hardy fan palms. However, I have a connection with a local palm grower so maybe there is a Sabal available that would fit the bill. For Sabal, growing conditions are nearly ideal - bright dappled shade under the live oak and abundant water coming off of the roof.

Edited by Manalto
clarity

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dalmatiansoap

Good shade grown Chamaerops would do the trick in zone like that. Suckering trunk would also help for privacy.

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mdsonofthesouth
1 hour ago, Manalto said:

Thank you for mentioning that, MD. I found conflicting reports in supposedly authoritative sources about Livistona's hardness in 8b but was hoping for the best. It doesn't happen a lot, but in the winter of 2017 we had temperatures in the high teens, which I suspect would not be tolerated. Three or four months of looking good disqualifies it, for that position at least. I'll bet the window blocking palm I saw many years ago was a Sabal seedling. I just don't have the patience - or possibly the lifespan - to wait for a Sabal seedling to reach 12 ft tall.

At this point, the filibusta appears to be the best candidate for the job among hardy fan palms. However, I have a connection with a local palm grower so maybe there is a Sabal available that would fit the bill. For Sabal, growing conditions are nearly ideal - bright dappled shade under the live oak and abundant water coming off of the roof.

 

A good specimen will start to burn in the mid to upper teens but a handful of nights like that will bleach the fronds for sure! A normal to weak will burn in the Low 20s. It's a mixed bag, but Gulf Coast 8b might work! I'm solid zone 7 in the mid Atlantic/upper south so while teens are rare, they are a yearly occurrence.

 

These palms are dime a dozen around here. I think I paid like 20 or 25 for a clump of 5 at a big box kinda wish I had separated them....hindsight is 20 20 lol. Good luck!

Edited by mdsonofthesouth

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TexasColdHardyPalms

Livistona Chilensis would work just fine in Mobile. 

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buffy

Big Sabal minor is what you want. You're gonna have to wait for it to gain size. I have some Sabal etonia that would fit the bill also. Everybody wants instant gratification, but alas, its rare. With a big enough wallet, you can get it though.  

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TexasColdHardyPalms

I forgot about etonia but that would do the trick as well..  Good suggestion.

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OC2Texaspalmlvr

How about Sabal Louisiana much faster then minor with more then enough hardiness 

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Josue Diaz

Does chamaedorea cataractarum grow tall in humid climates? I've seem 6 foot tall clumps coming into walmart garden centers (presumably Florida-grown). 

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Tropicdoc

FWIW my livistona chinensis went through 18 F under live oak canopy with no damage!

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Manalto
3 hours ago, Tropicdoc said:

FWIW my livistona chinensis went through 18 F under live oak canopy with no damage!

It's worth a lot! I spoke with the best local palm person that I know but she doesn't carry the large Sabal minors or etonia; it's just not economically practical for this particular business. She concurs that they'll do fine under a live oak.

I think it's worth a shot. I really like the weeping characteristic of the fronds. If they look ratty for part of the year I guess I could pull the shade...

Edited by Manalto

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Manalto
4 hours ago, Josue Diaz said:

Does chamaedorea cataractarum grow tall in humid climates? I've seen 6 foot tall clumps coming into walmart garden centers (presumably Florida-grown). 

From what I've read, Josue, it's a little too risky; reliable sources give their hardiness at 24 degrees F. (if that's correct). I have no experience with this plant, so that's why I raised the question here, in the hopes that someone with first-hand information could give a more accurate report based on their experience.

Edited by Manalto

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Estlander
11 hours ago, Manalto said:

Thank you for mentioning that, MD. I found conflicting reports in supposedly authoritative sources about Livistona's hardness in 8b but was hoping for the best. It doesn't happen a lot, but in the winter of 2017 we had temperatures in the high teens, which I suspect would not be tolerated. Three or four months of looking good disqualifies it, for that position at least. 

Here, very close to you, but on the coast in 9A, L. Chinensis is very common and they do fine here and grow into their mature size. 
These two pictured below are near my home. I love them and have a few in my yard as well. 
Here, a little inland in warm 8B areas I’ve seen trunking size specimens too. 
I think than in a somewhat protected spot they should do just fine for you. 

44F67E14-789A-4FC8-B139-7F61E113F94C.jpeg

B08214E9-24EB-4225-96FA-8AE2ECC2FE90.jpeg

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Estlander
1 hour ago, Manalto said:

From what I've read, Josue, it's a little too risky; reliable sources give their hardiness at 24 degrees F. (if that's correct). I have no experience with this plant, so that's why I raised the question here, in the hopes that someone with first-hand information could give a more accurate report based on their experience.

I’ve had C. Cataractum planted in my yard for two years now. They did freeze in the second freeze of January 2018 when we went down to 23F, but they grew back from new shoots. 

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Manalto
30 minutes ago, Estlander said:

I’ve had C. Cataractum planted in my yard for two years now. They did freeze in the second freeze of January 2018 when we went down to 23F, but they grew back from new shoots. 

Good to know. I've got a place for them.

Estlander, your Livistonas are beautiful. Thanks for posting the photos.

The moderating effect of the Gulf seems to drop off pretty sharply as you go inland, and, unfortunately I'm about 6 miles north of downtown which puts me 30 miles from Bayou La Batre, the closest coastal town.

That same winter you report 23° was 17 degrees at my house. From what little I've seen about palm cold tolerance, those six degrees can make a big difference. I lost a really nice, mature Rhapis excelsa but I'm happy to see it's re sprouting from the roots.

Currently I'm only spending half the year in Mobile and it's hard to observe and learn when you come and go like that, so I appreciate everyone's input!

Edited by Manalto

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Estlander
13 minutes ago, Manalto said:

Good to know. I've got a place for them.

Estlander, your Livistonas are beautiful. Thanks for posting the photos.

The moderating effect of the Gulf seems to drop off pretty sharply as you go inland, and, unfortunately I'm about 6 miles north of downtown which puts me 30 miles from Bayou La Batre, the closest coastal town.

That same winter you report 23° was 17 degrees at my house. From what little I've seen about palm cold tolerance, those six degrees can make a big difference. I lost a really nice, mature Rhapis excelsa but I'm happy to see it's re sprouting from the roots.

Currently I'm only spending half the year in Mobile and it's hard to observe and learn when you come and go like that, so I appreciate everyone's input!

Oh yes, 6 degrees is major. Even staying 2 degrees warmer makes all the difference. Surprised you went down to 17 in that 2018 January freeze. Our inland areas along I-10 saw a low of 19F for the most part with a few cold pockets dropping to 18F.

But , yes, the change is quite drastic the further north you go from the coast. Southeastern 8B is mostly Sabal and Butia country. 
 

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Manalto

Right. And every other house has a sago to substitute for the palms we can't grow. I'm trying to widen the palette beyond those plants.

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kinzyjr

Since you have oak canopy, you might be able to get away with a large Arenga engleri.

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Manalto
6 hours ago, kinzyjr said:

Since you have oak canopy, you might be able to get away with a large Arenga engleri.

Right! The oak canopy is approximately 85 ft in diameter, which I'm starting to see is a great environment for marginally hardy plants in general. (I have noticed that competition with the oak roots gets pretty fierce as you move closer to the trunk; that's where the native azaleas thrive.) Beneath the canopy, a couple dozen Sabal minor (not giant) have naturalized but I'd also like to try Arenga, Chamaedorea and my Holy Grail, Cycas debaoensis. The Zamia pumila I planted last year seem to be thriving. One even came back after my next door neighbor accidentally mowed it down.

The number one candidate for in front of the window is still Livistona. If I get its position exactly right, I may live long enough to enjoy it on the second floor!

 

Edited by Manalto
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Swolte

Great suggestions. If you want to stick to Sabal, you may want to look into Sabal Riverside. Reportedly one of the faster, if not the fastest, growing variants/forms of Sabal (still slower than filibusta, tho). 

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Manalto

You're making me really glad I raised this question because I've got room to try out new palms in addition to the site I originally asked about. I didn't know about Sabal 'Riverside.' (I must confess to a fair amount of Sabal confusion.) I looked up an old thread and saw the name Maxwell Stewart associated with a beautiful Sabal Riverside right in Mobile. In a search for him, I also found an obituary which I'm not sure should be attributed to him. Any suggestions on how to find a source for a Sabal Riverside plant within driving distance of Mobile? Failing that, I'll search for seeds.

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Swolte

I am afraid you'll have to do mailorder on that one. They are notoriously hard to find. I believe I got one from TexasColdhardyPalms. Mine's not doing too well but that's because half the root system was eaten away by some burrowing creature this summer while it was establishing. Otherwise, beautiful specimen! 
:)

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OC2Texaspalmlvr
3 hours ago, Manalto said:

Any suggestions on how to find a source for a Sabal Riverside plant within driving distance of Mobile?

Jungle Music @Philis where i got mine as a 5g and i can attest to the speed of growth. Cant say about its true hardiness as i havent gone thru a winter with it yet. 

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Swolte
5 hours ago, Manalto said:

I looked up an old thread and saw the name Maxwell Stewart associated with a beautiful Sabal Riverside right in Mobile. In a search for him, I also found an obituary which I'm not sure should be attributed to him. 

Woah, I didn't even realize that Palmpedia article mention your town as I assumed all spectacular Riverside's would be in California. Would be great if you can find that yard, peek over the hedge, and see if that specimen is still alive! They obviously thrive in your area!
B)

Edited by Swolte

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RJ

I'll be giving one a try here shortly. Curious to see how it pans out. I'm all about BIG sabals. :drool:

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Manalto

I've confirmed that it's the same Maxwell Stewart that died in 2015 but I should be able to find his house and possibly even request seeds of the current resident from the Riverside if it's still growing there.

Edited by Manalto
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Swolte

Keep us updated, would love to see an updated pic of that one!
:)

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newtopalmsMD

How about a Pindo Palm?  Bought a 5 gallon very cheap at a big box store last year.

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Manalto

Would pindo do well in the shade of a big oak tree? I think of them as a palm for sunny locations.

The ideal palm would be a 12 ft tall Rhapis excelsa but that ain't gonna happen.

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Silas_Sancona
2 hours ago, Manalto said:

 

The ideal palm would be a 12 ft tall Rhapis excelsa but that ain't gonna happen.

I thought Raphis were pretty tough palms, esp. under heavy evergreen / mostly evergreen canopy.  Standard R. excelsa might not be tall enough but what about R. humilis, or multifida? Might be tough to find either though.

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Manalto
5 hours ago, Silas_Sancona said:

...what about R. humilis...?

That would be worth the search! Thanks for the good suggestion.

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