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Ryland

Growing Brahea armata in a damp climate

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Ryland

I am nearing the completion of a long awaited landscaping project to my back garden.  This is giving me (as planned) a new garden bed, about a yard wide by three yards long.  Naturally that is ideal for accommodating three new palms on the very small property.  These will be be Brahea armata, Chamaerops humilis, and Butia odorata.  The idea is that the Chamaerops will be a low-ish palm between the other two.

The position is just on the north side of a low wall, so there is substantial shade at the bases of the plants but I've got them big enough to reach sun above the wall.  Also, due to proximity to the house, they are shaded from the eastern morning sun but get reasonable west/afternoon soon.  The reason for this post is I'm seeking advice about how best to manage moisture at the root regions - especially for the Brahea which has a reputation for fussy roots.  My climate is cool all year but seldom freezing, with about 30" of rain evenly distributed throughout the year.  Daylight is brief in winter and humidity high, so this garden bed can be assured fairly high humidity and cool temperatures.  The soil is quite soft and porous, not clay-like at all.  I've just removed decades-old paving from this area and found the soil below to be quite moisture-laden though.

Does anyone have any recommendations for how to keep a Brahea happy (please don't suggest heat, as it is an impossibility, but there is evidence that Brahea armata can grow at least slowly in this climate)?  My idea so far is to create a layer of gravel about 4" deep, and plant the palm above this with well-draining soil.  Any rainfall that trickles through should go right through the gravel except for really extraordinary soakings.

Here is a photo of the garden bed nearly ready for planting.  It is a raised bed, so about half the plant will be above the previous ground level.  I also intend to plant it on a mound of sorts to ensure better drainage.

IMG_1707.thumb.JPG.1be455418fddc421d7ce9e54a1d5ac16.JPG

The same questions go for the Chamaedorea and the Butia, but I'm less concerned about them.

Any suggestions are appreciated, especially if anyone has experience of growing Brahea in a humid climate.

 

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Chester B

I think Yorkshire Kris has his planted in pure grit a couple feet deep with his agaves. Might want to check out some of his older videos. Me, mine is planted on a slope and I know of a big one in Silverton that is slope planted as well. Perhaps a raised bed?

Edited by Chester B
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DoomsDave

@Ryland I am agog!

I don’t think Brahea armata will make it where you are, but that said, I salute your efforts.

I’m calling out some our Northern California denizens who might have some thoughts. How about it @Darold Petty@Jim in Los Altos @Josue Diaz and the rest?

@Chester B do send any pictures you might have from Oregon!

Nothing will please me more than to eat some crow with a nice splash of Claret if you succeed!

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Darold Petty

I can't imagine that B. armata would be happy here, or in  England, however  B. edulis grows well in my neighborhood.  

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DoomsDave
26 minutes ago, Darold Petty said:

I can't imagine that B. armata would be happy here, or in  England, however  B. edulis grows well in my neighborhood.  

Will you join me some crow if it grows?

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Ryland

Thanks for the suggestions.  I'm optimistic it will succeed - others, such as Yorkshire Kris, have succeeded with Brahea armata here though it is not often attempted - so there's at least one example in Yorkshire, plus there are some doing well on the south coast (similar summer heat to me) and London (warmer summer, drier).  Thanks for the suggestion @Chester B to look for a Yorkshire Kris video in which he planted it - I've only seen it in more recent videos.  It looks like his survived -7C / 19F this past winter - my lowest was -2.7 / 27F so damaging levels of cold for a Brahea are unlikely.  The main issues are high humidity and cool temperatures (low 70s F in summer).  Whatever he's done seems to be working, so it should be a good guide.

Another consideration is to expect a very slow growth rate, so I've got one at a 3-4 foot size, which it is likely to stay for many years.

I just realised a typo in the original post - I'll be planting a Chamaerops rather than Chamaedorea (though maybe Chamaedorea too at some point if I can find some).

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Ryland
3 hours ago, Darold Petty said:

I can't imagine that B. armata would be happy here, or in  England, however  B. edulis grows well in my neighborhood.  

It may not be a fast grower or "happy" here but I've been very keen to have one for a long time and will do what I can to try to make it happy!  It's been outside in a pot since February and slowly but surely is extending the newest leaf and opening a new spear.  Plus the blue leaves are fabulous, a great feature for a small garden.  I thought about Brahea edulis, which should do well with the cool temperatures but I wasn't confident that it would be hardy enough.  The local hardiness zone is 9a, though most winters are 9b, so we shouldn't see any damage - but the record low was an 8a winter which a Brahea armata could perhaps be helped through if it were to happen again.

Do you think Brahea edulis could do alright after all?  Maybe if my Washingtonia succumbs one year that could be a suitable replacement (let's hope it's not needed though!).

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Ryland

Well I found Kris' video of his Brahea being planted in 2015:

 

He's made sure it is REALLY well draining - basically the system being:

- A raised bed (I have this)

- Dig down into the soil quite a way

- Mix gravel with the dug soil and put it back

- Fill over the top with grit only, no soil

- Plant palm into a hole in the grit, with its only soil being that which comes in its pot

This clearly works well, because six years later is Brahea is looking great and is growing several new leaves per year, despite having seen some nippy nights down to -7C / 19F.  The climate in his Yorkshire garden is similar to mine in overall temperature and precipitation profile, but does see some sharper frosts than me, yet still the Brahea has sailed through (his most recent video has an update on it after the cold winter).

Taking this as a starting point I think I'll dig down a few more inches, create a thin layer of gravel as the base (perhaps 2 inches), then add a layer of gravel/soil mix about 5 inches deep.  The palm will sit on this.  Around the palm then, I'll mix ordinary garden soil (it's quite a loose free soil anyway) with sharp sand and some more gravel.  Finger crossed this will do the trick!  I forgot to mention there will be a Cycas revoluta going in this bed too, which I'm sure would benefit as well from a fast-draining soil.

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UK_Palms

I'm hoping this works out well for you. Obviously the winter wet-cold and gloomy conditions are going to be a stumbling block, but you seem to be taking precautions with the drainage and growing medium, so I think you will be okay. Given that there are trunking CIDP's in Manchester now, I suspect a Brahea Armata will do okay too. Growth is going to be even slower for you guys up there at 53N and they are already slow as hell down here at 51N haha. Fortunately we're both young and have time to see our ones grow! Do keep us updated on it!

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UK_Palms
15 hours ago, Darold Petty said:

I can't imagine that B. armata would be happy here, or in  England, however  B. edulis grows well in my neighborhood.  

There's lots of Brahea Armata around London and the south of England now. They seem to be ridiculously hardy in our climate and don't take winter damage, especially in London, but at the same time they are also as slow as snails for us up here and will take decades to form decent trunks, or to get to a stage where they can flower. The best advise is to buy them as big as possible. 

Here's some Brahea Armata street plantings that I photographed a few weeks back in Southsea, on the exposed south coast, meaning they are a bit wind-swept...

thumbnail_image1-9.thumb.jpg.eedc64403c2ae67ecb3584d9255eda7c.jpg

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thumbnail_image1-10.thumb.jpg.20122a848b0274e172b49adac7f087e3.jpg

This is one of the bigger ones on the outskirts of London...

1036505819_Screenshot2021-05-02at19_43_45.thumb.png.52acd8432aa60380d60b0eedccdf35a5.png

The Wimbledon, London one looks pretty good as well. Picture is a few years old now...

2035484461_Screenshot2021-05-02at19_49_35.thumb.png.904ea860d14a59108a922117de207b85.png

 

I am fairly confident that Ryland can get his Brahea to survive and grow long-term in Manchester. If only they were faster growing, they would probably be more popular and widespread here. Everything is still a bit of a work in progress here in the UK though as people didn't really have access to these kind of palms 20 years ago. You couldn't even buy washies 10-15 years ago. The palm scene is suddenly moving quickly over here now though due to the internet, better knowledge, seed exchanges and UK palm wholesalers that have been set up...

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Jim in Los Altos

My guess is that, since Brahea armata are slow growers even in a much warmer climate such as here in California, that one would barely move in a much cooler, cloudier, and damper climate. I think the Chamaerops planned for that planting bed will outgrow the Brahea. A best case scenario in your area would be for the Brahea armata to be out in a fully exposed area or at least an area facing south where the limited sun can warm the soil and the palm such as in the photos UK_Palms provided. 

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Ryland

Hi @Jim in Los Altos thanks for the feedback.  Cool soil has indeed been a concern of mine - unfortunately there is no space anywhere else because the garden is tiny (unless the Washingtonia doesn't make it, because it has the choice spot).  I have as @UK_Palms suggested got the biggest one I can afford so that its fronds will be in the direct south and west sun coming over the low garden wall.

I too am worried about the Chamaerops overtaking it.  I thought about swapping them around, but I don't think it will make a lot of difference.  I'll keep an eye on it and may need to consider careful pruning (I really hate cutting palm fronds though unless they are really brown).  So far the Brahea is already growing, having been sat in its pot in its to-be position since mid-February, so I'm hoping this is a good sign.  The examples from @UK_Palms are encouraging, at least I get about as much heat as those locations.   Given the other successes in the UK I think it's worth giving it a go, and I'll do what I can to help it along.  The west sun, which is the hottest, should help with soil warmth during the growing season at least.  Our summers are only about as warm as San Francisco though, so it may indeed be a challenge.

Basically at this point it's going to happen, for better or for worse, so I'll be doing as best I can to make a success of it (hence my fussiness about the soil!).

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Ryland

@UK_Palms on a side note apparently Yorkshire Kris got his from an ordinary garden centre.  I couldn't imagine seeing one at mine, he must have got very lucky!  That being said my Washingtonia was a trojan horse lurking among my garden centre's Trachycarpus collection.  I've been to the local B&Q today for gravel and sand and couldn't believe the palm stock they've had in.  Absolutely packed with Phoenix canariensis.  They seem quite healthy, though they've clearly been grown packed together based on the central fronds being a bit strung out.  A fair few Chamaerops humilis, and unusually a good selection of Trachycarpus fortunei.  I think they've had a bad few years for Trachycarpus, at least at the B&Q (not a proper garden centre to be fair) they've seldom had them, though they always have Phoenix.  If I had a bigger garden I would have left there with half a dozen palms, but had to resist.

I always feel a smile coming on when I see ordinary people going to the tills with a Phoenix in their trolley.  It's exactly this sort of spontaneous purchase, now that they are so easy to find, that has resulted in London's palmy reputation.  Unfortunately a lot of people stuff them into a little narrow pot and set them out in their front garden where they get neglected, and they end up looking a bit ragged.  Those planted in the ground flourish on the other hand.

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UK_Palms

@Ryland I have never seen a Brahea Armata being sold at a garden centre around here. All I really see in places like Homebase and B&Q are small CIDP's, Chamaerops and Trachy's. I have seen some small Washies in Tesco as well of all places, but even washies aren't easy to get around here, unless you order them from a palm/exotics retailer online. I did see some small Cycas Revoluta at Homebase the other day, but that is about as exotic as it gets. Although I also got Cocos Nucifera from Homebase a few years back. I wish they stocked more Washies, specifically Filifera. 

The only way to source Brahea Armata really would be via the seed route, or by going to one of several online palm/exotic retailers, as you have done. These days you can place an order for a £500 Brahea and have it in 2-3 days flat. 10-15 years ago you wouldn't have been able to do that, or at least it would have been far more difficult to source them. Thanks to the internet and the increasing demand for palms, it is now possible. There's a fair few online sellers that stock them today. I would expect a lot more Brahea's to pop up around England in the coming years. 

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Jim in Los Altos
52 minutes ago, Ryland said:

Hi @Jim in Los Altos thanks for the feedback.  Cool soil has indeed been a concern of mine - unfortunately there is no space anywhere else because the garden is tiny (unless the Washingtonia doesn't make it, because it has the choice spot).  I have as @UK_Palms suggested got the biggest one I can afford so that its fronds will be in the direct south and west sun coming over the low garden wall.

I too am worried about the Chamaerops overtaking it.  I thought about swapping them around, but I don't think it will make a lot of difference.  I'll keep an eye on it and may need to consider careful pruning (I really hate cutting palm fronds though unless they are really brown).  So far the Brahea is already growing, having been sat in its pot in its to-be position since mid-February, so I'm hoping this is a good sign.  The examples from @UK_Palms are encouraging, at least I get about as much heat as those locations.   Given the other successes in the UK I think it's worth giving it a go, and I'll do what I can to help it along.  The west sun, which is the hottest, should help with soil warmth during the growing season at least.  Our summers are only about as warm as San Francisco though, so it may indeed be a challenge.

Basically at this point it's going to happen, for better or for worse, so I'll be doing as best I can to make a success of it (hence my fussiness about the soil!).

Okay, I wish you luck with your palms. It’s definitely worth the effort even if the palm grows slowly. San Francisco experiences it’s warmest temperatures in early fall (Sept. through early November) and 80-90°F are not uncommon in those months. I’ve not seen Brahea armata there but probably because there are dozens of other palm species that grow in that cool 10a-10b climate so well. 

Edited by Jim in Los Altos
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Chester B

Ok here is my armata. It was totally neglected in a pot full of roots hardly any soil. The top layer of roots were above the “soil” line.  When I first planted it in the ground it had 3 fronds and as one new spear would emerge the oldest frond would die off. This happened for a while but now it’s holding on to 4 fronds so I call that progress. I can say that it is much faster grower than I expected and easily outpaces my Sabals.  All 4 Of those fronds plus one or two more it all grew last year. It survived a bad ice storm and doesn’t exhibit the black spotting from our wet winter weather that I usually see on some of my palms. This spring has been warm, dry and sunny and it will now get more sun due to tree losses from the ice storm. So far it is exceeding my expectations as I figured it was iffy. I know from others Brahea Edulis is most likely the best one for my climate but this armata  is doing well so far and the only Brahea species I have been able to find locally. 

57CFEF42-486E-4F8D-A824-61355C42290C.jpeg

C400D1F4-50DD-4252-AAD7-20F670B72FCF.jpeg

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Ryland

Great news @Chester B and thanks for the photos!  The one I'll be planting is a similar size to yours.  I can probably expect similar cold tolerance but slower growth due to my cooler summers.  I'm please to see yours exceeded your expectations for growth rate and looks very healthy indeed!  My main concern in making this post has been about moisture tolerance (as opposed to cold, which I'm not so worried about), so your positive experience is one I hope I can replicate.  How many winters has that been through?

I agree that Sabals require immense patience - from my experience in Oregon they "grow" perfectly well and look healthy but are frustratingly slow.  I wouldn't even think about it in the UK.  I think they need high heat and humidity for extended periods to really do well and pick up pace.

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Chester B

It’s only been in the ground for just over a year, however this is the worst winter we’ve had since 2016. 
 

If you recall our summers are pretty warm and quite dry.  I think in my area we get about 36” of precipitation annually so not a lot compared to many areas, it just falls very slowly. 

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Trustandi

Well, I have a Brahea armata. I am in Bellevue, WA east of Seattle. I think our area is colder and wetter than Portland.  The Brahea is growing slowly. It always loses the lower fronds once the new fronds open up. I didn't cover it from the rain.  I will try to give it a cover next winter to see if I can get it to grow more fronds. It has been in the ground since 2016. 

I think there is the biggest Brahea armata in Seattle area from @Palm crazyold post.

PXL_20210502_225539916.PORTRAIT.jpg

PXL_20210502_225609314.PORTRAIT.jpg

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Ryland

Thanks all for the suggestions.  I've gone ahead and planted it now so I hope very much I've done it right to give the best possible chance in this cool, humid climate.  I'm encouraged to see that some Braheas are going ok in some Pacific Northwest and other English gardens - looks like we have a chance here but should expect very slow growth (which I'd anticipated before planning this anyway).

I'll document the planting process below in case it's useful - hopefully as a successful example.

First I dug a few inches deeper into the soil.  Bearing in mind this is a raised bed, the original ground level was the concrete strip on the right side.  This was initially filled with a thin layer of gravel (just the bottom end completed in this picture), about 2 inches.  We seldom get very heavy or prolonged rain, but if we do I'm hoping this can take a lot of the volume without the water saturating the layers above it.  The ordinary soil underneath is quite a nice free soil so should drain reasonably well anyway (you can see it in the top half of the picture).

IMG_1717.JPG.33f8922a69d9613e5640ad98da72fc26.JPG

This is then followed by a thicker layer of gravel and garden soil mixed, to just above the original soil level.  So at this point, everything above is a raised bed, which is retained with bricks, stone, and gravel visible below, capped off with tumbled setts).  This is all dry - no mortar joints.

IMG_1718.JPG.a41d3456d43f17deb51927e572e84a2d.JPG

Small mounds were made of the same soil/gravel mix, which the Butia and Chamaerops were then sat on directly.  I started filling around these with ordinary soil, with a little bit of gravel still mixed in.  I'm using a few stones to create some variation in depth and provide nooks for small plants to live in.  The first of these is visible below, sloping away from the Brahea's spot which has even more gravel around it.

IMG_1727.JPG.46ef5624742f1f7b2138122a7b450235.JPG

I gently patted the sides of the pot a bit and then squeezed it between my legs at an angle so I could pull the Brahea out by the trunk in one go without touching the roots, then I plonked it straight onto its spot.  It's got a healthy looking root zone and I was pleased to be able to position it without causing any damage to them.

IMG_1729.JPG.cc1520865300aeb55afbb4b847943ae3.JPG

The fill around the Brahea was then comprised of an even mix of small stone chippings and ordinary soil with a little bit of sand.  The Chamaerops and Butia got a mix that had slightly more garden soil, mixed with some gravel.

IMG_1734.JPG.15c441ba43be9a5d0755efaa462cc7d3.JPG

It became a total washout of a day - one of the worst days I've ever seen in May.  At least I didn't need to water the new plants in, and the rain has washed off a lot of the mess I made.  Here are the three palms after planting.

IMG_1741.JPG.ed5bb84021f7f1259058804812c661f9.JPG

Next steps are to plant the Cycas revoluta at the very front-left corner, which is the nearest to the house, and then plant a few small ground cover type plants around.  Given this is on the north side of the wall, I'll put some small ferns along the back.  I've made it so well-draining though, hopefully it will be moist enough for ferns there (where there is less gravel in the upper layers of the soil).  The large stones embedded near the palms do direct water away though, so the other ends of these sloping stones would be the best spots for ferns.  Once all plants are in I have some decorative stone to use as a top dressing to tidy up the overall appearance.

So in brief, the planting strategy has been:

  • Raised bed, no pointing at the sides to allow water to exit between the setts
  • Quite a lot of gravel used in the lower layers of the soil to assist in drainage
  • The palms are sat at or above the previous surface level (as it was prior to making the raised bed)
  • The palms are all on individual mounds, so their upper root zones are higher then the surrounding general soil level
  • Some large stones will direct some nearby water away

This may end up being over the top - we only get 30 inches of rain per year and it's seldom heavy.  But it's always possible to water plants that are dry - much more difficult to help ones that are waterlogged.

I've got a few more jobs to do around the garden this month (including those noted above) but may be able to create a little photo album from it when those are done.

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ExperimentalGrower
1 hour ago, Ryland said:

Thanks all for the suggestions.  I've gone ahead and planted it now so I hope very much I've done it right to give the best possible chance in this cool, humid climate.  I'm encouraged to see that some Braheas are going ok in some Pacific Northwest and other English gardens - looks like we have a chance here but should expect very slow growth (which I'd anticipated before planning this anyway).

I'll document the planting process below in case it's useful - hopefully as a successful example.

First I dug a few inches deeper into the soil.  Bearing in mind this is a raised bed, the original ground level was the concrete strip on the right side.  This was initially filled with a thin layer of gravel (just the bottom end completed in this picture), about 2 inches.  We seldom get very heavy or prolonged rain, but if we do I'm hoping this can take a lot of the volume without the water saturating the layers above it.  The ordinary soil underneath is quite a nice free soil so should drain reasonably well anyway (you can see it in the top half of the picture).

IMG_1717.JPG.33f8922a69d9613e5640ad98da72fc26.JPG

This is then followed by a thicker layer of gravel and garden soil mixed, to just above the original soil level.  So at this point, everything above is a raised bed, which is retained with bricks, stone, and gravel visible below, capped off with tumbled setts).  This is all dry - no mortar joints.

IMG_1718.JPG.a41d3456d43f17deb51927e572e84a2d.JPG

Small mounds were made of the same soil/gravel mix, which the Butia and Chamaerops were then sat on directly.  I started filling around these with ordinary soil, with a little bit of gravel still mixed in.  I'm using a few stones to create some variation in depth and provide nooks for small plants to live in.  The first of these is visible below, sloping away from the Brahea's spot which has even more gravel around it.

IMG_1727.JPG.46ef5624742f1f7b2138122a7b450235.JPG

I gently patted the sides of the pot a bit and then squeezed it between my legs at an angle so I could pull the Brahea out by the trunk in one go without touching the roots, then I plonked it straight onto its spot.  It's got a healthy looking root zone and I was pleased to be able to position it without causing any damage to them.

IMG_1729.JPG.cc1520865300aeb55afbb4b847943ae3.JPG

The fill around the Brahea was then comprised of an even mix of small stone chippings and ordinary soil with a little bit of sand.  The Chamaerops and Butia got a mix that had slightly more garden soil, mixed with some gravel.

IMG_1734.JPG.15c441ba43be9a5d0755efaa462cc7d3.JPG

It became a total washout of a day - one of the worst days I've ever seen in May.  At least I didn't need to water the new plants in, and the rain has washed off a lot of the mess I made.  Here are the three palms after planting.

IMG_1741.JPG.ed5bb84021f7f1259058804812c661f9.JPG

Next steps are to plant the Cycas revoluta at the very front-left corner, which is the nearest to the house, and then plant a few small ground cover type plants around.  Given this is on the north side of the wall, I'll put some small ferns along the back.  I've made it so well-draining though, hopefully it will be moist enough for ferns there (where there is less gravel in the upper layers of the soil).  The large stones embedded near the palms do direct water away though, so the other ends of these sloping stones would be the best spots for ferns.  Once all plants are in I have some decorative stone to use as a top dressing to tidy up the overall appearance.

So in brief, the planting strategy has been:

  • Raised bed, no pointing at the sides to allow water to exit between the setts
  • Quite a lot of gravel used in the lower layers of the soil to assist in drainage
  • The palms are sat at or above the previous surface level (as it was prior to making the raised bed)
  • The palms are all on individual mounds, so their upper root zones are higher then the surrounding general soil level
  • Some large stones will direct some nearby water away

This may end up being over the top - we only get 30 inches of rain per year and it's seldom heavy.  But it's always possible to water plants that are dry - much more difficult to help ones that are waterlogged.

I've got a few more jobs to do around the garden this month (including those noted above) but may be able to create a little photo album from it when those are done.

You may consider trying to cover your raised bed with a tarp during the wettest moments of the year if you suspect the frequent rains are negatively impacting the Brahea. This is was an idea @NorCalWill discussed with me yesterday while we were working at the Oakland Palmetum, in relation to planting a Bismarckia in NorCal. Fast draining gritty substrate is on point. I am aware of a couple Brahea Armata growing in Seattle, probably the most similar stateside climate to Manchester. The issue is that they barely move, taking forever.

Ultimately, if it doesn’t work out for you, might wanna try Brahea clara. Similar to Armata but much more well adapted to cool, wet conditions as Will can attest.

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Collectorpalms

Problem is with fungus on the older leaves. You end up loosing more leafs than you can produce, so they spiral downhill. I counted mine, I finally got up to a record 15 mostly nice leaves on mine that was about 10 years old, before Feb 2021 5F burned all the leaves, but it’s coming back 

yes never ever get water on leaves. Only water the soil. The key is also getting the right micronutrients that that palm needs to help overcome these issues.

 

Edited by Collectorpalms
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Collectorpalms

Give it lots of air flow. Don’t plant anything near it, and I hope it gets full blazing sun. Rock mulch or expanded shale around the trunk. 

it is a deep rooter not shallow surface roots in my experience. 

Edited by Collectorpalms

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Ryland

Hi @ExperimentalGrower a covering is something I could consider during heavy rain, if I find that I'm getting problems with it as is.  We get less rain than Seattle/Portland, and similar to Yorkshire, so given the ones growing in those places are doing ok (but slow) uncovered hopefully that won't end up being required.  It's got a nice hot spot, especially when the afternoon sun bakes the bricks all around, so I'm interested to see how much growth it produces.  This first summer I expect to be the slowest, since it will probably be growing more roots than leaves, but it will give a sign of things to come.

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NorCalWill

I think the 4" layer of gravel will help with drainage to keep the plant alive in the rainy season, but the question is, what will the palm ultimately look like and how much time are you going to need to spend taking care of it?

Where I live, a "normal" winter rainy season extends from about mid October to early May with many foggy mornings in the summer before the sun comes out.

I've stopped trying to grow Brahea armata and Washingtonia filifera here because the newest 6 or 7 leaves might look ok, they quickly turn spotty and unattractive, never developing a nice lush canopy of leaves. Brahea clara however, is doing extremely well for me here. It pushes out about a dozen leaves every season and only the oldest leaves begin to turn brown as they become the skirt. I HIGHLY recommend this palm for you over armata.

Brahea armata and Washingtonia filifera are two of my favorite palms, along with Bismarkia nobilis (which has a similar issue for me), so it is tempting to want to grow them, but at the same time, I know they will never reach their full potential here. Fortunately there are palms that do well in a more cool and damp climate.

 

 

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Ryland
4 hours ago, NorCalWill said:

I think the 4" layer of gravel will help with drainage to keep the plant alive in the rainy season, but the question is, what will the palm ultimately look like and how much time are you going to need to spend taking care of it?

Where I live, a "normal" winter rainy season extends from about mid October to early May with many foggy mornings in the summer before the sun comes out.

I've stopped trying to grow Brahea armata and Washingtonia filifera here because the newest 6 or 7 leaves might look ok, they quickly turn spotty and unattractive, never developing a nice lush canopy of leaves. Brahea clara however, is doing extremely well for me here. It pushes out about a dozen leaves every season and only the oldest leaves begin to turn brown as they become the skirt. I HIGHLY recommend this palm for you over armata.

Brahea armata and Washingtonia filifera are two of my favorite palms, along with Bismarkia nobilis (which has a similar issue for me), so it is tempting to want to grow them, but at the same time, I know they will never reach their full potential here. Fortunately there are palms that do well in a more cool and damp climate.

 

 

I'm surprised to hear that Brahea armata didn't work out for you in the Santa Rosa area - I'd have expected it to be as easy as Trachycarpus there.  Thanks for the suggestion on Brahea clara, unfortunately though the armata is already in the ground so for better or for worse we'll see how it goes with armata.  My intention has been to not really do anything special for it at all - rain cover, supplemental heating, wrapping etc. and just let it get on with well-draining soil.  Indeed you are right that it's unlikely to reach its full potential here, at least not for a very, very long time.  I do expect it to be slow, which is a consideration in where I've planted it.

There are enough others being grown in other parts of central England though that are doing well without any supplemental support, so I'm hoping if I've got my drainage right mine will be joining that camp.  Maybe it helps that we don't have particularly rainy winters, it just rains about the same all year long, with a slightly dryer period from February through May (though not by much, and varies from year to year).

If mine doesn't succeed, Brahea clara is a worthwhile alternative to consider - though at that point I may just get more Chamaerops/Butia.  To be honest I think the Brahea has longer term chance of success than my Washingtonia, given there are others successfully growing Brahea nearby(ish) but not so with Washingtonia :bummed:

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Chester B
6 hours ago, NorCalWill said:

've stopped trying to grow Brahea armata and Washingtonia filifera here because the newest 6 or 7 leaves might look ok, they quickly turn spotty and unattractive, never developing a nice lush canopy of leaves. Brahea clara however, is doing extremely well for me here. It pushes out about a dozen leaves every season and only the oldest leaves begin to turn brown as they become the skirt. I HIGHLY recommend this palm for you over armata.

Thank you for this info.  Not a palm I am a familiar with until now.  Any idea on cold hardiness??

Finding one at a decent size will be an issue for me for sure, unless I am willing to pay an arm and a leg for shipping.

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ExperimentalGrower
40 minutes ago, Chester B said:

Thank you for this info.  Not a palm I am a familiar with until now.  Any idea on cold hardiness??

Finding one at a decent size will be an issue for me for sure, unless I am willing to pay an arm and a leg for shipping.

Will might know better, but I think cold hardiness is the same as armata.

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NorCalWill
7 hours ago, Ryland said:

I'm surprised to hear that Brahea armata didn't work out for you in the Santa Rosa area - I'd have expected it to be as easy as Trachycarpus there.  Thanks for the suggestion on Brahea clara, unfortunately though the armata is already in the ground so for better or for worse we'll see how it goes with armata.  My intention has been to not really do anything special for it at all - rain cover, supplemental heating, wrapping etc. and just let it get on with well-draining soil.  Indeed you are right that it's unlikely to reach its full potential here, at least not for a very, very long time.  I do expect it to be slow, which is a consideration in where I've planted it.

There are enough others being grown in other parts of central England though that are doing well without any supplemental support, so I'm hoping if I've got my drainage right mine will be joining that camp.  Maybe it helps that we don't have particularly rainy winters, it just rains about the same all year long, with a slightly dryer period from February through May (though not by much, and varies from year to year).

If mine doesn't succeed, Brahea clara is a worthwhile alternative to consider - though at that point I may just get more Chamaerops/Butia.  To be honest I think the Brahea has longer term chance of success than my Washingtonia, given there are others successfully growing Brahea nearby(ish) but not so with Washingtonia :bummed:

No, they don't do great here for me. Maybe in a better, faster draining soil they would do better, but I don't have that where I am. I've seen a few others around town that don't look that great either. I hope I didn't discourage you from growing yours. Who knows, you might have better luck than I do for whatever reason.  Lately, I've been driving to the desert to enjoy desert palms. If you want to see spectacular Brahea armata and Washingtonia filifera, visit Palm Springs, CA.

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NorCalWill
5 hours ago, Chester B said:

Thank you for this info.  Not a palm I am a familiar with until now.  Any idea on cold hardiness??

Finding one at a decent size will be an issue for me for sure, unless I am willing to pay an arm and a leg for shipping.

 Cold hardiness of Brahea clara? I'm not really sure, but mine has handled the low 20's and many frosty mornings with no problem. Wet winters don't seem to bother it either and my soil doesn't drain very fast.

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Fallen Munk

I'm growing Brahea armata and Brahea armata X Brahea brandegeei in Salem Oregon.  They are still in strap leaf though.  Seem to be doing fine with our wet weather.

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Chester B
40 minutes ago, Fallen Munk said:

I'm growing Brahea armata and Brahea armata X Brahea brandegeei in Salem Oregon.  They are still in strap leaf though.  Seem to be doing fine with our wet weather.

If you have extras... Let me know I'll make it worth your while.:shaka-2:

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Fallen Munk
5 minutes ago, Chester B said:

If you have extras... Let me know I'll make it worth your while.:shaka-2:

Will do.  Sitting on a ton of seeds of both of those.  They take a long time to germinate.  So far only about a dozen have germinated after a year.  Seems like they stall and then I take them out and soak them again and reset them and a few more will pop and then I repeat the whole cycle after it stalls again.

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Ryland
4 hours ago, NorCalWill said:

No, they don't do great here for me. Maybe in a better, faster draining soil they would do better, but I don't have that where I am. I've seen a few others around town that don't look that great either. I hope I didn't discourage you from growing yours. Who knows, you might have better luck than I do for whatever reason.  Lately, I've been driving to the desert to enjoy desert palms. If you want to see spectacular Brahea armata and Washingtonia filifera, visit Palm Springs, CA.

Might be worth another go then with a raised bed?  Anyway I'm well up for the suggestion of visiting desert palms.  I've seen some of the native Washingtonia filifera in southern Nevada, which was really spectacular.  I also briefly lived in North Florida where there was lots of Serenoa repens and Sabal palmetto, though I found that a bit less exciting.  Top of my list is the Canary Islands, to explore the rugged island interiors and see Canary Island Date Palms in their habitat.

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Trustandi

Raised bed is the way to go. I found the pic of the biggest brahea in my area from the old post of @Palm crazy. @Fallen Munk, let me know if you want to sell one. 

DSC_0142.JPG.22081cb6dbde2dc480a4e39214decbb1.jpeg

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Fallen Munk
10 hours ago, Trustandi said:

 @Fallen Munk, let me know if you want to sell one. 

 

All I have are strap leaf seedlings.  Two leaves so far.  Wasn't planning on selling any until I grow them up a bit, which will be a number of years here in Oregon.  They grow at a glacial pace here.

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