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harkdh

Lady Palm as privacy hedge

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harkdh

Hi community,

I'm struggling to find the right answer to how Lady Palms would do outside in direct sunlight. I live in South FL, US (zone 10). I just removed 100 feet of mostly fishtail palms and looking to get my backyard tropical paradise back. I've researched the heck out of palms and for various reasons, Lady Palms are the perfect choice for me. Problem is, they will have southern exposure sunlight with the only shade cast by a huge royal poinciana in my neighbors back yard (though this may not help much during the summer when the sun is high in the sky). I've learned that Lady Palms do better in shade but some web sites claim they can also do well in direct sun, while other sites claim absolutely not. All the nurseries I've shopped have them in the shade (but are willing to sell them to me when I say they will be in direct sunlight).  I assume finding ones acclimated to to the sun is not possible. Due to the expense of these palms, I don't want to experiment with buying the 25 that I need only to find they will not survive.

Cat palms are a far second choice, I'm hooked on the Lady Palms.

What are your thoughts

Thanks,
Dan

Pompano Beach, FL, US

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Tampa Scott
On 12/11/2020 at 7:21 PM, harkdh said:

Hi community,

I'm struggling to find the right answer to how Lady Palms would do outside in direct sunlight. I live in South FL, US (zone 10). I just removed 100 feet of mostly fishtail palms and looking to get my backyard tropical paradise back. I've researched the heck out of palms and for various reasons, Lady Palms are the perfect choice for me. Problem is, they will have southern exposure sunlight with the only shade cast by a huge royal poinciana in my neighbors back yard (though this may not help much during the summer when the sun is high in the sky). I've learned that Lady Palms do better in shade but some web sites claim they can also do well in direct sun, while other sites claim absolutely not. All the nurseries I've shopped have them in the shade (but are willing to sell them to me when I say they will be in direct sunlight).  I assume finding ones acclimated to to the sun is not possible. Due to the expense of these palms, I don't want to experiment with buying the 25 that I need only to find they will not survive.

Cat palms are a far second choice, I'm hooked on the Lady Palms.

What are your thoughts

Thanks,
Dan

Pompano Beach, FL, US

Dan, I grow the Lady Palms along my 6'  wood fence.  The fence line sun varies from shaded to full sun.  The full sun grown plants show no problem handling the sun conditions and are perfectly happy and dark green.  The soil in this area is not sand and stays wet during the heat of the summer. 

Here is a pictorial look at the full sun grown area taking this morning. piZap_1614174208027.thumb.jpg.e59501d9f321b8c7c526e8f9c1e6607f.jpg

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Bill G

Hi Dan,

I have both lady palms by a fence in mostly shaded east side of my house under a huge seagrape tree and cat palms by my pool in blazing full sun with the added reflected uv from the pool which is not insignificant.
let’s discuss the lady palms first. The ones in full shade by far look the best-photo1. The lady palms extend along the fence(photo 2 a little sun) beyond the shade of the seagrape to what I would call less than full sun but definitely a lot of sun. Photo 3. They survive but don’t look great especially in the dry months. They actually look better now just after rainy season.  Note that the soil in this area does not retain moisture very well. I’ve seen a lot of lady palms over the years here in FL and only once in full sun do I recall them looking good. TONS of water and great soil, I suppose was the ticket. As Tampa Scott says it can work but i would say it will likely be a challenge. I personally wouldn’t put them in a mostly sunny location. They will always be yellow. Unless the other condition are ideal.  I had them around my pool at my previous house. Shade ones looked great. Sun Exposed ones didn’t die but never looked good. Always yellow.  

On the other hand cat palms (get them from a nursery where they are already acclimated to full sun) will do well. Those in the last photo are actually not even in the ground. Still in the 7 gal pots behind the wall. Yes those are Carpoxylons above them. I water them maybe once a week, twice in a good week. If I cleaned them up, they would be totally green. 
Sorry I don’t have better pictures it’s pouring today!
good luck!

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Looking Glass

What are you going for, and how up close and personal will your be getting with these?  Do you need quick hight above a 6 foot fence?  Are you going to be brushing up against them all the time?  Do you need them to produce shade or are you looking at shrub/hedge functionality?  

How about Silver Serenoa repens (Saw Palmetto) if you can keep your distance?  Or Allagoptera arenia (Seashore Palm) if you can’t?  These are both tough as nails in full sun, but slow.  Both get big with enough time (10-20 feet tall) and have a big footprint though.  But they take a while to grow.  How bout the old Florida standby, Dypsis lutescens if you need something dense with some hight?  How about mixing up a bunch of these with you ladies?  How bout a pic of your spot you want to populate?  

….I guess that’s enough questions for now.   
 

 

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WaianaeCrider

For me this is the palm from HELL.  Planted it to make a good hedge and man that's what I got.  Only an elephant could bust thru it.  They are growing in the shade of a large Australian Flame tree and most in the full west side O`ahu sun.  It's evil, it will not stay where planted but wants to take over the world.  It's gone beyond the fence to my neighbors yard and I have to cut and poison the stumps.  It's growing out into my drive way.  I'm slowly digging it out but man it's a tough plant to remove.

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Hurricanepalms

I planted one 10 gallon in direct sun 7 years ago in Florida 10a and now that palm covers area of about 150 square feet. It is very healthy, but like WaianaeCrider said, it has become slightly invasive. I am sure more so in his climate then ours, but it's footprint continues to grow and keeping it in check definitely requires some work. 

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KDubU
5 hours ago, WaianaeCrider said:

For me this is the palm from HELL.  Planted it to make a good hedge and man that's what I got.  Only an elephant could bust thru it.  They are growing in the shade of a large Australian Flame tree and most in the full west side O`ahu sun.  It's evil, it will not stay where planted but wants to take over the world.  It's gone beyond the fence to my neighbors yard and I have to cut and poison the stumps.  It's growing out into my drive way.  I'm slowly digging it out but man it's a tough plant to remove.

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Wow! Of course you are in HI so maybe should not be surprised??

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Kailua_Krish
6 hours ago, WaianaeCrider said:

For me this is the palm from HELL.  Planted it to make a good hedge and man that's what I got.  Only an elephant could bust thru it.  They are growing in the shade of a large Australian Flame tree and most in the full west side O`ahu sun.  It's evil, it will not stay where planted but wants to take over the world.  It's gone beyond the fence to my neighbors yard and I have to cut and poison the stumps.  It's growing out into my drive way.  I'm slowly digging it out but man it's a tough plant to remove.

 

At the price it still sells in stores you should go into business selling it :D

In all seriousness the other species seem better behaved. Ive been happy with Rhapis multifida both in FL and Hawaii

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Tropicdoc

Bamboo? Not a palm but definitely tropical looking 

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PalmatierMeg
7 hours ago, WaianaeCrider said:

For me this is the palm from HELL.  Planted it to make a good hedge and man that's what I got.  Only an elephant could bust thru it.  They are growing in the shade of a large Australian Flame tree and most in the full west side O`ahu sun.  It's evil, it will not stay where planted but wants to take over the world.  It's gone beyond the fence to my neighbors yard and I have to cut and poison the stumps.  It's growing out into my drive way.  I'm slowly digging it out but man it's a tough plant to remove.

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This. I planted one standard Rhapis excelsa in the jungle about 10 years ago. In a few more years it had expanded to a 6'x6' mass of stems and I had runners popping up feet away. It was on its way to strangling all other palms it could reach. It needed constant maintenance. Finally, we had to dig it out totally with shovel and pickax, then chase down rogue runners until it stopped coming back. If you are expecting yours to behave and stay in place along the fence - don't.

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Merlyn
On 12/11/2020 at 7:21 PM, harkdh said:

I'm struggling to find the right answer to how Lady Palms would do outside in direct sunlight. I live in South FL, US (zone 10).

Due to the expense of these palms, I don't want to experiment with buying the 25 that I need only to find they will not survive.

Most of the full sun Lady palms I've seen are yellowed and unhealthy-looking.  A lot of this is because they don't get water or fertilizer.  Sunburn on palms looks a lot like potassium/nitrogen deficiency.

One other similar-sized option is "Dwarf Buddha Belly" bamboo, aka Bambusa Vulgaris Wamin.  It'll grow into a dense cluster in 1-2 years, and can be trimmed up at the base to see the bellies, or left full to the ground.  They are not an aggressive spreader, and grow quickly to 8-12' tall.  Leaf-wise they look really similar to a Rhapis Excelsa.  In a zone 9b or up area, Dwarf Buddha Belly is a great bamboo!

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miamicuse

bamboo can be a great option if it's not next to swimming pool or a sidewalk where you might not like a lot of leaves being dropped.  Down here in SFL my bamboo drops a lot of leaves year round and yes it's self mulching but the taller they get the farther away the leaves drop and there are times I have to sweep up twice a day.

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PalmatierMeg

I have dwarf buddha belly in one corner of the yard. It is much more manageable but, yes, it sheds tons of leaves.

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sonoranfans

I have had more recent regrets at planting 6 silver saw palmetto(5-9 years ago).  The big ones, after 9 years, have put down a hug footprint as the trunks grow sideways.    I actually planted (3) within 5; of each other thinking they would one day meet. That was a joke, now I am trying to figure out what trunks to cut.  Between this and trimming dead leaves these palms no longer look low maintenance to me.  I never tied to feed them, but these are native so they don't need it.  My 2x a week irrigation(installed for grass, 2yrs total on all stations) and florida rain and 10 month grow season) were more than enough.    If you think you need a 15-20' privacy wall, (2) could do it.  Do not put too close to any garden plants.

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Brad52

Having seen Steve's previous thread on his Lady Palm I've held off acquiring the little beauty as I don't wish to battle it down the road, I used to grow 120+ species of running bamboo so I"m fine with that battle but this palm seems worse.  A new house is being built next to me and a fully overgrown fern lot has been ripped clear (only the front half acre we got very lucky that the part right next to my house remains overgrown but screened) so I'm suddenly in need of good 160' of screening that will not obstruct my mountain views so shorter, fast growing plants are required and I pondered Lady palm again.   This thread makes me glad I went with other plants...

Regarding the Bambusa vulgaris 'Wamin', maybe it's a Hawai'i thing but out here I would not call it a dwarf (see photo). For me out here the Wamin would be too big plus the maintenance on keeping the lower branches cleaned off can be labor intensive, I culled the only bamboo on my property when we bought it for that reason and it was the 'other' buddha belly,  Bambusa ventricosa. 

 

This photo is a stunning Wamin at a neighborhood nursery, they keep the lower branches pruned off to expose the culms but it is 20' tall I'd say and has a massive footprint to show it off.

Wamin.jpeg

Edited by Brad52
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Merlyn
On 11/7/2021 at 12:24 AM, miamicuse said:

bamboo can be a great option if it's not next to swimming pool or a sidewalk where you might not like a lot of leaves being dropped.  Down here in SFL my bamboo drops a lot of leaves year round and yes it's self mulching but the taller they get the farther away the leaves drop and there are times I have to sweep up twice a day.

Absolutely true!  I have ~15 different Bambusa and Dendrocalamus types planted.  Most are in areas where "self-mulching" is awesome, as I only have two of them near a walkway or driveway.  The Wamin isn't too bad dropping leaves or sheaths on the driveway, it's windy enough here that they get blown around into the other beds anyway.  The only one that's somewhat irritating is the Dendrocalamus Hamiltonii, which has huge 3x12" leaves and they tend to blow around the corner into my garage.  :o 

@Brad52 my size estimates are based on growth in Central Floriduh.  They do tend to get a lot bigger in the tropics, and Wamin tends to grow to only 10-15' maximum here.  They look really cool with the lower branches trimmed off, that's what I did with the "Striata" one in my front yard.  The only one that I currently regret planting is Seabreeze (Maligensis) which has been in the ground for 18 months from a 3g and is already 6' diameter at the base and about 40' tall.  It's going to be way too big by next summer...but it is nice and dense and does a great job of blocking sound and sightlines!

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sonoranfans

I have 3 species of clumping  bamboo. NOT running bamboo.  The "var chungi Barbelatta" is 25' as they said it would be but after 10 years the clump size has expanded into the neighbors yard at about 12-14' wide and many culms now are leaning, making the clump massive at blocking sunlight.  I have been chopping down culms to keep it manageable every year for the last 3-4 years.  It shreds culm sheathes almost a foot long and thick enough so they don't easily blow away, this is too messy.  Leaf shedding has also been messy and it does blow around a little there.   Dmt grw grass or small plants arund them they will endup under a pile of debris and get little sun een after you clean it up.  I like part shade but som plants like live oaks and bamboo tend to starve other garden plants out here.  Between this my two budda bellys and (3) chinese dwarf(that is hardly dwarf at 15' untrimmed height) bamboo I have lots of messes to clean.  Many of my palms are so easy when compared with these.  When trying to get the landscape I want the hardest things to plan for are trees/plant that want to keep growing their footprint bigger.  I am considering a major edit of 4 of 6 of them.  These wont b easy to edit either, eve clumpers).

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miamicuse

Some leaves are just eye sores when dropped on grass.  Leaves from oaks, mimosa and ficus are smaller and blends in nicely.  While larger leaves like sea grapes, queens crepe myrtles and bamboos don't.

Agree about lady palms in full sun, I have seen them planted in full sun but rarely do they look good.  I wonder if the variegated variety may do better in full sun.

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Fishinsteeg234

I agree with the others, lady palms do better in shade. The ones I see in full sun are always yellow and thin. 
 

I also needed a privacy wall in my backyard in central florida, to extend over my 6’ tall , 150’ long block wall.  I decided to blend some medium to small growth sized mangos (10-20’ height) avocados, and other fruit trees, mixed in with variety of palms tall and short, with pollinators and flower colors mixed in. In time, I believe, the variety of sizes, colors, layers and textures will create the perfect privacy hedge. And due to the variety of species, if one plant isn’t happy, it can be easily switched out for another. Consider mixing it up with all your favorites. 

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Jerry@TreeZoo

I would amend the soil with compost or muck.  You should be able to find 50%-50% muck/sand at local soil suppliers. (Bushel Stop on MLK?)  Biochar if you can find it. Then, if you are worried about mid day summer sun, why not plant small canopy palms in your hedge every 8'-10'?

 

There are a million choices for this, my favorite right now would be Coccothrinax barbadensis.  They are fast for a Coccothrinax, their 5' flat, almost circular leaves would make a good contrast to the lady palms and they LOVE sun.  You could plant them as three gallons and they would out-grow the Rhapis in year two.

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Makko16
On 12/11/2020 at 7:21 PM, harkdh said:

Hi community,

I'm struggling to find the right answer to how Lady Palms would do outside in direct sunlight. I live in South FL, US (zone 10). I just removed 100 feet of mostly fishtail palms...

Hey Dan, what you finally decide to do for your privacy screen? I'm looking to create a palm privacy screen myself and was considering fishtail palms so wondering why you removed yours?

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Merlyn
On 11/19/2021 at 9:48 AM, Makko16 said:

Hey Dan, what you finally decide to do for your privacy screen? I'm looking to create a palm privacy screen myself and was considering fishtail palms so wondering why you removed yours?

Fishtails (Caryota Mitis) are good and bushy when young, but tend to just be bare trunks below around 6 feet when they get older.  And then each trunk dies after flowering, so it can be a maintenance hassle.  I have a couple of clusters, and I really like them...but I probably wouldn't plant a hedgerow full of them.  It would be a nice 1 or 2 or 3 interspersed with other palms or shrubs, but probably not as the only plant in the row.

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sonoranfans

i had one caryota mitis grow to 25+ feet in 6 years, it had 9 trunks with 3-9" caliper, way too big for what I had intended.  It was too close to the house and trunks were going to fall soon as it was flowering.  And yes it was just trunks to 6-7'.  If I had any advice, I would say don't feed it too much or water it too much and expect it to be bigger than you think.  That was my mistake, 4' from a hose bib and it ended up taking the space of (3) archie purpurea, a chambeyronia(kentiopsis) O. and a satakentia.  Finally squirrels were feasting on the fruit, standing their ground, and had easy access to the roof from it.  So out it came with the above replacements.

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Makko16

Thanks for the help @Merlyn and @sonoranfans. This confirms my fears putting the caryota mitos in that spot for privacy. I’m going to start a new thread with some pictures of this area of my yard to get some ideas from the community. I have a few ideas I’ll share over there. 
Thanks,

Kris

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MAPU 1

Hi. I have a Customer that buys palms from my Nsy. who says that her customers are using Pty. Schefferi as hedge material instead of D. lutesens.

This might be something to think about.

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