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VA Palmer

Cold Hardy Compliment to Palms

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VA Palmer

I wanted to share my success with these Pink China (Colocasia esculenta) elephant ears to compliment my cold hardy palms in Zone 7A Northern Virginia.  Having failed twice to overwinter Thailand Giants (Colocasia gigantea) I found these cold hardy Pink Chinas (from PlayitKoi).   The larger ones are last year's reemerged and the smaller ones are all its pups.  Come first frost last Fall, I cut them at the ground and covered them with a few inches of mulch.  Come Spring, I slowly rolled off the mulch as the fear of late frost subsided and these guys popped like crazy.  They need shade, so once my palms get big enough to make shade, I'll transplant some of these pups for around the palms.

Pink China yr 2.jpg

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Dartolution

There are a large number of tropical looking perennials that can be planted in northern zones. 

Several varieties of Colocasia and Alocasia are cold hardy. Alocasia Odora should be root hardy there provided mulch and can take sun or shade provided proper soil and water. 

There are also a number of gingers that look extremely tropical that are hardy in the ground. 

Don't forget about Musa Basjoo banana's as well. 

I don't think there is another more tropical looking plant that you can stick in your yard than a banana. haha.

 

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VA Palmer
3 hours ago, Dartolution said:

There are a large number of tropical looking perennials that can be planted in northern zones. 

Several varieties of Colocasia and Alocasia are cold hardy. Alocasia Odora should be root hardy there provided mulch and can take sun or shade provided proper soil and water. 

There are also a number of gingers that look extremely tropical that are hardy in the ground. 

Don't forget about Musa Basjoo banana's as well. 

I don't think there is another more tropical looking plant that you can stick in your yard than a banana. haha.

 

My Musa Bajoos at the pool a couple months ago.  They are twice as big now.

4035 Pool1.jpg

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VA Palmer
Just now, VA Palmer said:

My Musa Bajoos at the pool a couple months ago.  They are twice as big now.

4035 Pool1.jpg

Thanks btw.  I will look up Alocasia Odora.

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Dartolution

@VA Palmer No Problem. 

Alocasia odorata is pretty easy to find. There are solid green and variegated varieties. They are a trunking Alocasia in warmer climates. I have 2 very large clumps of them in my front entryway bed, that are trunked, and do well here in 8a. They are said to be hardy to 7a. I would just put them somewhere you can mulch them and perhaps cover the base with a tarp when winter arrives. That may not even be necessary though. 

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VA Palmer
1 minute ago, Dartolution said:

@VA Palmer No Problem. 

Alocasia odorata is pretty easy to find. There are solid green and variegated varieties. They are a trunking Alocasia in warmer climates. I have 2 very large clumps of them in my front entryway bed, that are trunked, and do well here in 8a. They are said to be hardy to 7a. I would just put them somewhere you can mulch them and perhaps cover the base with a tarp when winter arrives. That may not even be necessary though. 

Thanks!

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mdsonofthesouth

The musa basjoo I planted last year came back and are nearly as tall as my house! Should peak over the roof but the end of the season I hope.

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Allen

Congrats on the Pink China.  They are super hardy and aggressive.  I put a type of dwarf EE called Colocasia Fallax around some of my palms like this.   I have a ton of EE.   I've never had a problem with EE coming back in 7A.  I do 2-4" pine bark mulch for winter.  Most take sun fine, they just don't like afternoon full sun.  Here are pics of the smaller varieties.  The green ones are the Fallax and are about 12"-18" tall.  And honestly you can grow a TON of tropicals in 7a that come back year after year.  

IMG_1967.thumb.JPG.029658e11356389f0083ec946288b0c5.JPG

IMG_1969.thumb.JPG.27e3315f076d29f5eb272f4b710c479e.JPG

IMG_1970.thumb.JPG.8db24b62b62b8408857f81e49be31b5a.JPG

 

IMG_1973.JPG

IMG_1972.JPG

IMG_1971.JPG

Edited by Allen
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Ben in Norcal

You guys should check out the Tropical Looking Plants forum, which is where I go for ideas on companion plants.

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Keys6505

I just moved to TX from 7a in NJ.  No more zone envy for me!  My favorites that I grew were Tetrapanax (Steroidal Giant), hardy hibiscus, Arundo Donax Peppermint Stick, Eucomis, some of the bigger hostas like Empress Wu and Sum And Substance and as everyone else has mentioned the Basjoo.  The Basjoo stores very easily dug up and almost bare root if you want to have a head start on the stalk next year.  Trim the suckers and you'll get a much bigger main plant.    Ensete Maurelli store equally as easily bare root.  I collected (still do) elephant ears.  I had about 40 varieties of Colocasia, Alocasia, and Xanthosoma but I dug them every year.  They're too easy to overwinter dormant inside to worry about losing any to rot.   The cold isn't the problem with them, its being wet while they're dormant.  

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Manalto

"Lookin' good today, Palm."

"Thanks, Dumbo."

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VA Palmer
14 hours ago, Allen said:

Congrats on the Pink China.  They are super hardy and aggressive.  I put a type of dwarf EE called Colocasia Fallax around some of my palms like this.   I have a ton of EE.   I've never had a problem with EE coming back in 7A.  I do 2-4" pine bark mulch for winter.  Most take sun fine, they just don't like afternoon full sun.  Here are pics of the smaller varieties.  The green ones are the Fallax and are about 12"-18" tall.  And honestly you can grow a TON of tropicals in 7a that come back year after year.  

IMG_1967.thumb.JPG.029658e11356389f0083ec946288b0c5.JPG

IMG_1969.thumb.JPG.27e3315f076d29f5eb272f4b710c479e.JPG

IMG_1970.thumb.JPG.8db24b62b62b8408857f81e49be31b5a.JPG

 

IMG_1973.JPG

IMG_1972.JPG

IMG_1971.JPG

Cool!

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VA Palmer
14 hours ago, Ben in Norcal said:

You guys should check out the Tropical Looking Plants forum, which is where I go for ideas on companion plants.

Thanks!

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knikfar
On 8/3/2020 at 7:59 PM, Ben in Norcal said:

You guys should check out the Tropical Looking Plants forum, which is where I go for ideas on companion plants.

Where can we find that forum? 

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Ben in Norcal
2 hours ago, knikfar said:

Where can we find that forum? 

Scroll down.

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Silas_Sancona

One group of plants i rarely -if ever- see discussed in tropical-themed gardens in such areas, numerous native Orchids, ( Grass Pinks, Fringed Orchids, Temperate Lady Slippers, etc ).. and several others ( that tolerate cold winters in 6A-8b ) offered by Plant Delights ( search "Hardy Orchids" there ).. Plan on trying several they offer out west.

There are also numerous plants from N.E. Mexico that has shown considerable cold tolerance and has been offered by another nursery in the region worth researching, esp in 7b-9a areas.

Edited by Silas_Sancona
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Swolte
9 hours ago, Silas_Sancona said:

One group of plants i rarely -if ever- see discussed in tropical-themed gardens in such areas, numerous native Orchids, ( Grass Pinks, Fringed Orchids, Temperate Lady Slippers, etc ).. and several others ( that tolerate cold winters in 6A-8b ) offered by Plant Delights ( search "Hardy Orchids" there ).. Plan on trying several they offer out west.

Yes, that's an excellent point. They can be quite pricey and I prefer to collect some information on whether they'd grow here in Texas, for example (the winters just being one of the many issues), before pulling the trigger.

Edited by Swolte
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Allen
57 minutes ago, Swolte said:

Yes, that's an excellent point. They can be quite pricey and I prefer to collect some information on whether they'd grow here in Texas, for example (the winters just being one of the many issues), before pulling the trigger.

I tried hardy orchids here and they live thru winter but are picky/poor growers and seem weak. 

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Silas_Sancona
2 hours ago, Swolte said:

Yes, that's an excellent point. They can be quite pricey and I prefer to collect some information on whether they'd grow here in Texas, for example (the winters just being one of the many issues), before pulling the trigger.

This is true, especially that nursery in particular..  Agree that extensively researching any that might look interesting enough to consider trying -before purchasing- is a must also.. 

1 hour ago, Allen said:

I tried hardy orchids here and they live thru winter but are picky/poor growers and seem weak. 

Interesting.. I know most of the Lady Slippers ..and at least one of the Fringed Orchid species  are pretty particular in their requirements but others -Grass Pinks ( Calopogon )/ Bletilla are supposed to be fairly easy, especially once they put on some size after a couple years..

Quite interested in the Cymbidium sp. PDN added to their catalog this year.. Most Cymbidiums are easy enough, practically a "Toss in the ground and forget"  kind of plant in many parts of CA.  Curious how this one would preform, let alone if it can be crossed to create hybrids that are both extremely cold hardy -and produce much larger/ more flowers like all the ones i grew up around.

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daxin

Unfortunately the Jensoa group of Cymbidiums are not as easy to grow as the typical large flower Cymbidium hybrids. They are becoming more available in recent years. I have bought a few named cultivars of C. goeringii from a Taiwanese vendor at the Pacific Orchid Expo. They seem to be sensitive to too much sunlight and root rot very easily. C. sinense and C. ensifolium are a little easier in terms of culture. They are just as shy to rebloom under my watch. They still look nice as potted specimens with their delicate and elegant foliage.

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Jcalvin

My personal favorites are Crinum lilies right now- Crinum Asiaticum and Crinum Augustum (Queen Anne) to be more specific. Queen Anne is a little less cold tolerant than Asiaticum, but if you’re 9a and up it shouldn’t be an issue. 

 

Edit: I see you’re in Virginia. You can put them in a pot and move them in and out. 

Edited by Jcalvin

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NC_Palm_Enthusiast

Begonia grandis is another good tropical-esque perennial that's hardy to zone 7. The only problem I've had with them is that they spread so readily that they're almost invasive. They're easy to trim back with clippers or a weedeater, though. They're really pretty in late summer when they bloom:

begonia.jpg.ee4b0267466bad5d3a87c62e52320619.jpg

begonia2.jpg.a152a87f019d2058d562fac06bd92e6e.jpg

begonia3.jpg.21afc3cec30f02269056ee81b0bab073.jpg

 

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