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JohnAndSancho

Ideas for Mom

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JohnAndSancho

This'll be another long post -

 

With this new job, I need to buy a "new-to-me" truck, and it'd be proper to show it off to my mom in person - especially since it's been 5 years since I've been home to see her. She's really happy and proud about my new palm addiction, because it reminds her of my grandmother. We lost her years ago, and she was suffering from terrible dementia. But, back in the day, granny was a hardcore gardener. She had a little corner store greenhouse when I was a kid. Lots of violets and crape myrtles, her flowerbeds were always amazing. Okra and tomatoes. Lots of okra and tomatoes. 

 

Anyway, my mom is disabled and bedridden, and if I'm gonna break in a new vehicle on a road trip like that, I think it'd be cool to plant a palm outside her window to cheer her up. 

 

For practicality purposes, it'd be nice to have something that'd provide some window-level shade too - her house is basically in a big open field, and her bedroom pretty much gets constant sun - heat, t.v. glare, etc. Also there's tons of feral cats, so anything that cats hate, or suggestions on natural deterrents welcome. Also also low maintenance is definitely a need. No sprinklers, and it'll definitely go days if not weeks without watering. 

 

She lives in central Mississippi. It gets STUPID hot - I'm not a map guy, but I can tell you I've lived all over the south and Mississippi summers are way more miserable than Houston or Florida. Hot and usually swampy. Of course, they got snow this year, but nothing like what we saw in SE TX. 

 

Anyway, throw some ideas. What should I surprise plant for my mom that'll thrive in heat and neglect while staying green enough to keep her happy, provide a little shade, take some occasional frost and rare snow, survive a 600 mile road trip in the bed of a truck, and not cost me tons of money? 

 

The sentimental part of me thinks of planting my washy there. It seems to fit the practicality, and maybe since she's feeling this emotional connection to her mom seeing me growing plants, it'd mean more if I gave her one of _my_ plants. My materialistic side thinks it'd be really cool to buy her something super exotic. My worrisome side thinks I'll get something cool and it'll die due to a mix of neglect and cats. 

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Steve Mac

Mate,

Stop thinking about your new job, your new car, and how a plant would look and think about your mother, who you have not visited in 5 yrs. 

 

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Darold Petty
12 hours ago, JohnAndSancho said:

 Also there's tons of feral cats, so anything that cats hate, or suggestions on natural deterrents welcome. Also also low maintenance is definitely a need. No sprinklers, and it'll definitely go days if not weeks without watering. 

 

 

I would suggest a resident pair of coyotes. 

As to the palm, Washingtonia seems right, but you didn't mention minimum temperature tolerances.

 

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JohnAndSancho

Oof. I thought this was gonna be a nice sentimental post, but instead I'm just a heartless yuppie. 

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Darold Petty

What are the minimum expected low temperatures at this site ?

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GoatLockerGuns

If its central Mississippi, then its probably USDA Hardiness Zone 8a or 7b.  We just basically went through a wet 7b winter event here in San Antonio, and the jury is still out on most of the local Washingtonia sps. survival chances.  Pure Washingtonia filifera might be an option, but i) it might be tough to find a pure one with any size, ii) it might be tough transporting a big one if you do (but not impossible), iii) a big one will probably cost you; and iv) if you plant a small one, survival chances are worse, and it could be 5+ years before it provides any decent shade on that window.  Are palms the only option that you would consider for that locale?  Sabal mexicana or Sabal palmetto might be decent shade palm options for that locale; however, again, big ones will cost you, and small ones will take too long to grow.  A magnolia or live oak might be a good shade option.  Also maybe a large Crape Myrtle (I believe you mentioned she reminisced about them).  You would also probably be able to find those locally, rather than driving a few hundred miles with one in the back of your truck.  As far as palms go, Washingtonia sps. would be the fastest growing option I can think of that MIGHT work in that locale.

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necturus
4 hours ago, JohnAndSancho said:

Oof. I thought this was gonna be a nice sentimental post, but instead I'm just a heartless yuppie. 

Sorry man. I think it's a nice thought. I would echo what everyone is saying - gotta think about the USDA zone. Wouldn't want to get her something that's gonna croak next winter. The next thing to think about is the size of the space.

Depending on these factors, there's a lot of nice options - a Butia, Sabal palmetto/mexicana, or a needle palm. 

 

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JohnAndSancho

She's an 8A. Literally all the room in the world. Gets pretty regular frost from humidity and dew points but snow and ice are rare. 

 

Trachy? 

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Teegurr
14 minutes ago, JohnAndSancho said:

She's an 8A. Literally all the room in the world. Gets pretty regular frost from humidity and dew points but snow and ice are rare. 

 

Trachy? 

Yeah, that'd be fine. Wanna try a Butia maybe?

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JohnAndSancho
1 minute ago, Teegurr said:

Yeah, that'd be fine. Wanna try a Butia maybe?

That's a thought too. I just really want something that'll make her smile when she looks out the window, won't be a huge burden, and won't die from neglect. It's gonna be neglected, it's gonna get hot, it's gonna see frost, and it's gonna see cats. 

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NC_Palm_Enthusiast
48 minutes ago, JohnAndSancho said:

That's a thought too. I just really want something that'll make her smile when she looks out the window, won't be a huge burden, and won't die from neglect. It's gonna be neglected, it's gonna get hot, it's gonna see frost, and it's gonna see cats. 

Sounds like sabal palmetto might be the tree for you.  Tried and true in the 8A South, it could handle the neglect and frost, and it would love the heat and humidity.  The only issue is that a trunked specimen is going to cost you, and installation probably wouldn't be a one man job.  If you could find a 3gal somewhere that might be the route you want to go.  Good luck with whatever you decide to do :greenthumb:

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DoomsDave

@JohnAndSanchobless your heart!

Hmm. 

If you can find one, get her a rhapidophyllum hystrix; she’s in their habitat or close. Maybe Chamadorea radicalis. Not sure about Trachies.

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JohnAndSancho
10 minutes ago, DoomsDave said:

@JohnAndSanchobless your heart!

Hmm. 

If you can find one, get her a rhapidophyllum hystrix; she’s in their habitat or close. Maybe Chamadorea radicalis. Not sure about Trachies.

I'm not opposed to giving her indoor plants either. I just have to be mindful of her 1200000000 semi feral cats. 

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Darold Petty

I told you what to do about the cats.:mrlooney:

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JohnAndSancho
Just now, Darold Petty said:

I told you what to do about the cats.:mrlooney:

If it were up to me, I'm with you. Her cats absolutely terrorize my dog when I go home. But she loves them and she's my mom, so *shrugs*

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necturus

I would recommend against trunking cat palms. Even the hardiest will die to the ground in a bad freeze. Speaking from personal experience. :( They'll come back, but why not stick to something truly hardy?

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DoomsDave
14 minutes ago, JohnAndSancho said:

I'm not opposed to giving her indoor plants either. I just have to be mindful of her 1200000000 semi feral cats. 

Radicalis should grow at your mom’s place pretty well, especially if you can put them under an overhang like the eaves of a roof.

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JohnAndSancho
9 minutes ago, necturus said:

I would recommend against trunking cat palms. Even the hardiest will die to the ground in a bad freeze. Speaking from personal experience. :( They'll come back, but why not stick to something truly hardy?

Actual meow meow cats lol. I do have a couple cat palms, my indoor one has become an absolute unit. But I wouldn't pop one in her yard. It'd definitely dry up and die from lack of water. 

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Steve Mac

I apologize for my previous post, John. It was rude and unnecessary.

Sorry that I am unable to help with your plant selection.

 

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JohnAndSancho
9 minutes ago, gtsteve said:

I apologize for my previous post, John. It was rude and unnecessary.

Sorry that I am unable to help with your plant selection.

 

No worries, buddy. We've all been there. I appreciate the apology, but nothing but respect and good vibes sir. 

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JohnAndSancho
22 hours ago, DoomsDave said:

Radicalis should grow at your mom’s place pretty well, especially if you can put them under an overhang like the eaves of a roof.

The house does... Well, did have flowerbeds all around it. I just worry about the sun cooking radicalis - Mississippi sun is absolutely brutal. The band Sublime even mentioned it in a lyric lol 

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Xenon

Sabal palmetto 'Lisa' if you can find one 

Sabal sp. 'Tamaulipas' is nice too 

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DoomsDave
10 minutes ago, JohnAndSancho said:

The house does... Well, did have flowerbeds all around it. I just worry about the sun cooking radicalis - Mississippi sun is absolutely brutal. The band Sublime even mentioned it in a lyric lol 

What kind of flowers are there? If they’re anything even a bit thirsty I think the rads will be fine.

I’ve got a bunch in pots in full afternoon sun and Labor Day weekend 2020 saw 110+ over three days straight and mine weren’t bothered much that I could tell.

 

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akamu

Nannorops ritchiana or chamerops var.cerifera are tough and blue 

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JohnAndSancho
9 minutes ago, DoomsDave said:

What kind of flowers are there? If they’re anything even a bit thirsty I think the rads will be fine.

I’ve got a bunch in pots in full afternoon sun and Labor Day weekend 2020 saw 110+ over three days straight and mine weren’t bothered much that I could tell.

 

I have no idea what, if anything is still growing there. Mom isn't able to take care of anything and my brother refuses to make an effort at literally anything in life, so I definitely need something that'll survive being totally neglected. Fast growing shade would def be a plus since her room is the hottest room in the house. It's bad when you've got central AC but you still need a window AC. 

 

When my grandfather built the house, there was a gigantic oak tree that gave tons of shade, but it's long gone. We had dozens of tornadoes when Hurricane Katrina came through and 100 year old oaks got uprooted and torn apart. Thrown around like kids toys. Scary stuff. 

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ruskinPalms

So if the window/wall you are planting near is south facing, you might be able to push the zone up to maybe planting a Butia. But, my humble opinion would be to plant a grouping of some Sabal minors and crape myrtles in a landscape bed outside her window. The crape myrtles will provide shade in the months that need shade and go deciduous during the months that she may appreciate still getting the light into the room. The Sabal minors are beautiful and bullet proof in that area and won’t die during a bad winter and make her depressed. Also, I think these are fairly native to that area, right? So they would need no care once planted.  

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JohnAndSancho
1 hour ago, ruskinPalms said:

So if the window/wall you are planting near is south facing, you might be able to push the zone up to maybe planting a Butia. But, my humble opinion would be to plant a grouping of some Sabal minors and crape myrtles in a landscape bed outside her window. The crape myrtles will provide shade in the months that need shade and go deciduous during the months that she may appreciate still getting the light into the room. The Sabal minors are beautiful and bullet proof in that area and won’t die during a bad winter and make her depressed. Also, I think these are fairly native to that area, right? So they would need no care once planted.  

She does have a row of pretty healthy Crape Myrtles that my granny planted back in the 1990s. 

 

I've read that Sabals don't like to be transplanted until they're huge - is that universal, or is that limited to just certain sabals?

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NC_Palm_Enthusiast
On 4/7/2021 at 11:47 PM, JohnAndSancho said:

She does have a row of pretty healthy Crape Myrtles that my granny planted back in the 1990s. 

 

I've read that Sabals don't like to be transplanted until they're huge - is that universal, or is that limited to just certain sabals?

With sabal palmetto, you usually can't successfully field dig them until they have around 4-6 feet of trunk.  This is because up until that point the growth point is still underground.  However, you can plant smaller sized sabals if they were grown up from seed in a pot/container.  When planting, just make sure not to disturb or "massage" the root ball.  I learned this the hard way

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JohnAndSancho
2 hours ago, NC_Palm_Enthusiast said:

With sabal palmetto, you usually can't successfully field dig them until they have around 4-6 feet of trunk.  This is because up until that point the growth point is still underground.  However, you can plant smaller sized sabals if they were grown up from seed in a pot/container.  When planting, just make sure not to disturb or "massage" the root ball.  I learned this the hard way

So what you're saying is, I shouldn't have any issues if I mail ordered a small potted sabal and plopped it in the ground? Other than her stupid cats trying to tear it apart?

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NC_Palm_Enthusiast
1 minute ago, JohnAndSancho said:

So what you're saying is, I shouldn't have any issues if I mail ordered a small potted sabal and plopped it in the ground? Other than her stupid cats trying to tear it apart?

Yep, as long as the sabal wasn't field dug you shouldn't have any issues

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JohnAndSancho

Coolsies. Thanks for the clarification :shaka-2:

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