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SALOttawa

Cold is Coming to Ottawa!

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SALOttawa

We are about to get some of that Arctic air mass in this coming week. It’s a mixed bag coming with some milder days as well but we will be getting down to -25 degrees Celsius which is -13 F. The following week, we won’t see the extreme lows but our highs won’t be anywhere near getting up to the freezing mark! This will be a test for my winter protection of my Mexican Fan Palm! This is my first winter attempting to keep a palm outside. You can check out my winter protection method on my YouTube videos 

 

 

 

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tlow

Well.. I admire your trying, but longer term that palm won't make it many more years.  It will grow quickly, outgrow any sort of protection, and they will perish in that weather..  Nice box though!  Stay warm.

Ever thought to try something much much hardier, maybe sabal species?  Minors, or Birmingham, Louisiana, Riverside?

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SALOttawa

I am hoping to get ten to fifteen years out of it. I am willing to protect it until 16 feet. It should go dormant during the winter so growth will be slower here. In the box with the thermocube the temperature varies from 1 degree Celcius to 10 degrees, so I am hopeful it will stay alive. They are hardy to -7 so it should be good. I have also started some Trachycarpus Fortunei which are more hardy and slower growing but they are not as lush. I am also trying some jubaea Chilensis from seed and I have a pinto palm on order as well. I enjoy the variety and the challenge! I am hoping for the best!

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tlow
2 minutes ago, SALOttawa said:

I am hoping to get ten to fifteen years out of it. I am willing to protect it until 16 feet. It should go dormant during the winter so growth will be slower here. In the box with the thermocube the temperature varies from 1 degree Celcius to 10 degrees, so I am hopeful it will stay alive. They are hardy to -7 so it should be good. I have also started some Trachycarpus Fortunei which are more hardy and slower growing but they are not as lush. I am also trying some jubaea Chilensis from seed and I have a pinto palm on order as well. I enjoy the variety and the challenge! I am hoping for the best!

Hey I appreciate your hoping for the best!  Try some cold hardier things like S. Minor.  You won't get a trunk, but you won't have to baby them with a box every single year, although Ottawa might be pushing it even for a Minor, or a Needle palm.

Robustas grow QUICK.  I have some that I have in pots, planted last year and they have already grown at least 3-4'. 

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Palmlex
18 minutes ago, tlow said:

Hey I appreciate your hoping for the best!  Try some cold hardier things like S. Minor.  You won't get a trunk, but you won't have to baby them with a box every single year, although Ottawa might be pushing it even for a Minor, or a Needle palm.

Robustas grow QUICK.  I have some that I have in pots, planted last year and they have already grown at least 3-4'. 

I have a few Robustas in pots. I planted a Robusta seed last year in February and I've been keeping the palm in an open balcony (zone 7). Now, it's around 5'' tall and hasn't grown a single frond since around September. The same is true for a larger 1.5' one. They just sit there.

So, depending on the climate in your area, your mileage may vary. :lol:

EDIT: It might also have something to do with pot size, since the one I have in ground has grown quite a bit (until it stopped since the weather got bad). I don't think their pots are overly small, but nowadays I tend to avoid using large pots after losing dozens of plants (not necessarily palms) over the years to root rot.

Edited by Palmlex

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SALOttawa
11 minutes ago, tlow said:

Hey I appreciate your hoping for the best!  Try some cold hardier things like S. Minor.  You won't get a trunk, but you won't have to baby them with a box every single year, although Ottawa might be pushing it even for a Minor, or a Needle palm.

Robustas grow QUICK.  I have some that I have in pots, planted last year and they have already grown at least 3-4'. 

So, mine is about five feet tall right now. In your climate, how long would it take to get to sixteen feet?

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SALOttawa
13 minutes ago, Palmlex said:

I have a few Robustas in pots. I planted a Robusta seed last year in February and I've been keeping the palm in an open balcony (zone 7). Now, it's around 5'' tall and hasn't grown a single frond since around September. The same is true for a larger 1.5' one. They just sit there.

So, depending on the climate in your area, your mileage may vary. :lol:

EDIT: It might also have something to do with pot size, since the one I have in ground has grown quite a bit (until it stopped since the weather got bad). I don't think their pots are overly small, but nowadays I tend to avoid using large pots after losing dozens of plants (not necessarily palms) over the years to root rot.

Hi Palmlex! Where are you located and what is your zone? With less than six months of ‘growing’ season, do you think the growth rate will be half of down south?

 

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Palmlex
45 minutes ago, SALOttawa said:

Hi Palmlex! Where are you located and what is your zone? With less than six months of ‘growing’ season, do you think the growth rate will be half of down south?

 

I'm from southern Romania, so I can only deduce what growing zone I'm in, because I don't believe Europe has official growing zones, like the ones defined by the USDA. I've checked the past 10 years' winters and came to the conclusion that I should be in a zone 7, since on average, the minimum annual temperature is around -15C/5F here.

Please take all I'm saying with a grain of salt, since I've only planted one in the ground last year, but you can at least compare my results to yours.

The growing season is around 7-7.5 months here, but that might not really mean much for Robustas from what I've seen. I read that Robustas need fairly warm soil to grow and that seems to match my results, since I only planted one in the ground last year, around March and it didn't budge until the ground warmed up significantly around late April/early May. The ones in pots also seem to not do anything when their pots cool down a little, around early October. I would say mine barely move at all below 15C/59F.

So I'd say mine grow at max speed around 3-4 months, with slower growth for another 1-2 months. That adds up to around 5-6 months of growth from what is considered a 7+ months growing season.

Because your climate seems to be colder than mine, I'd expect yours to grow slightly slower than that, so I think you can expect it it to grow twice as slow as ones in their proper climate. I think it also depends on how hot your summers get. They can get pretty toasty here and that's when Robustas grow like crazy, around one frond every 10-ish days in my case, which to me seems pretty fast for such a newly planted palm.

In any case, I've planted it with basically the same hope as yours, but maybe less optimistic. I'm hoping to get around 5 years out of it since my protection method is quite a bit worse than yours, but I'm working to improve it.

Edited by Palmlex

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SALOttawa
37 minutes ago, Palmlex said:

I'm from southern Romania, so I can only deduce what growing zone I'm in, because I don't believe Europe has official growing zones, like the ones defined by the USDA. I've checked the past 10 years' winters and came to the conclusion that I should be in a zone 7, since on average, the minimum annual temperature is around -15C/5F here.

Please take all I'm saying with a grain of salt, since I've only planted one in the ground last year, but you can at least compare my results to yours.

The growing season is around 7-7.5 months here, but that might not really mean much for Robustas from what I've seen. I read that Robustas need fairly warm soil to grow and that seems to match my results, since I only planted one in the ground last year, around March and it didn't budge until the ground warmed up significantly around late April/early May. The ones in pots also seem to not do anything when their pots cool down a little, around early October. I would say mine barely move at all below 15C/59F.

So I'd say mine grow at max speed around 3-4 months, with slower growth for another 1-2 months. That adds up to around 5-6 months of growth from what is considered a 7+ months growing season.

Because your climate seems to be colder than mine, I'd expect yours to grow slightly slower than that, so I think you can expect it it to grow twice as slow as ones in their proper climate. I think it also depends on how hot your summers get. They can get pretty toasty here and that's when Robustas grow like crazy, around one frond every 10-ish days in my case, which to me seems pretty fast for such a newly planted palm.

In any case, I've planted it with basically the same hope as yours, but maybe less optimistic. I'm hoping to get around 5 years out of it since my protection method is quite a bit worse than yours, but I'm working to improve it.

Awesome! Thanks for your input! I wish you luck and keep me posted on your success! Maybe you can share a pic or two? Thanks again 

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Jimhardy

How thick is the foam board on the sides of the box? 1" may be to thin at those temps.

I had a Fortune in an 8' x 4' x 1' thick box with at least a strand of C-9 lights, it was toast.

Maybe a small(1500wt) space heater set on low heat low fan,also make sure it doesn't trip the breaker.:D

I used to have a Washy in the ground here in Iowa,they like being over potted-once planted it grew

very fast in the Iowa summer heat and tried to kill me with its nasty shark teeth that hook on your

skin and stretch it like a small tent....anyway,one of the most fun palms to try, they grow on trees

(easy to get)and grow very fast if you have summer heat-leaves were hardy to about 23F without damage

on my hybrid (WashyxRobusta) after that they start to discolor in stripes.

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SALOttawa
1 hour ago, Jimhardy said:

How thick is the foam board on the sides of the box? 1" may be to thin at those temps.

I had a Fortune in an 8' x 4' x 1' thick box with at least a strand of C-9 lights, it was toast.

Maybe a small(1500wt) space heater set on low heat low fan,also make sure it doesn't trip the breaker.:D

I used to have a Washy in the ground here in Iowa,they like being over potted-once planted it grew

very fast in the Iowa summer heat and tried to kill me with its nasty shark teeth that hook on your

skin and stretch it like a small tent....anyway,one of the most fun palms to try, they grow on trees

(easy to get)and grow very fast if you have summer heat-leaves were hardy to about 23F without damage

on my hybrid (WashyxRobusta) after that they start to discolor in stripes.

Hey Jimhardy! The foam boards are 1” thick like you thought. I have two short strings of C9 bulbs and so far, they have had no problems keeping the temperature above 1 degree Celsius or 34 degrees Fahrenheit. They get the temperature right up to ten degrees Celsius. Now we haven’t hit any real cold temperatures yet, but it has been down to -17 C a couple of nights. I know what you are talking about with those teeth! So far I haven’t got snagged! Our temperature does get pretty hot and humid during the summer. We often have many days over 30 degrees Celsius or 86 degrees Fahrenheit. So far, it is doing pretty well. My big concern is the humidity in my box is fairly high. I hope it doesn’t have problems from the high humidity! Cheers!

 

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Jimhardy

Mine would get all moldy even if I sprinkled cooper fungicide all over it but with the

summer warmth also came plenty of new leaves so not  a problem, if you have good

summer heat thats half the battle.

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SALOttawa
2 hours ago, Jimhardy said:

Mine would get all moldy even if I sprinkled cooper fungicide all over it but with the

summer warmth also came plenty of new leaves so not  a problem, if you have good

summer heat thats half the battle.

Did you ever try any vents to reduce the humidity?

 

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ky_palm064

Way down here it was suppose to get to 23f, but it never made it out of the teens! 4 inches of powder snow on the ground is actually a help.

For the past 2 winters, I've been mulching the roots of a Chinese fan palm that comes back each Spring. This year, I built a little house out of reflective "bubble" sheet to try for some above ground survival.

chinfan.thumb.JPG.dd4800972dcd7537c7b60f7742ab84bd.JPG

I'm also growing a Washy (mostly robusta?) for fun. It survived last winter with active protection. Here at 38 degrees latitude they grow like crazy, If it makes it this winter, by next fall it might be near the top of the eave, and I'll have to cut off everything but the spear so I can protect it.washy.thumb.JPG.f498a60993de7794dff21b67ea589d6d.JPG

 

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Jimhardy
2 hours ago, SALOttawa said:

Did you ever try any vents to reduce the humidity?

 

Yeah....when it was smaller, then I would take the top off whenever it was

warm enough, if I didn't in late winter/early spring it could hit 120F

which didn't bother it...anyway,when it got bigger I just had it wrapped

up,I always knew it could regrow all the leaves every summer if they didn't make it,

they are amazingly fast in the summer...

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oasis371

Supposed to drop to 10 F. on Tuesday.  I think I will drop a blanket over my Trachy.  No lights, you gotta be careful with lights, they can BURN foliage as some of those lights get really, really hot.

I hate this arctic cold, Canada, please, build that dam! WALL. already.   LOL.  

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SALOttawa
12 hours ago, ky_palm064 said:

Way down here it was suppose to get to 23f, but it never made it out of the teens! 4 inches of powder snow on the ground is actually a help.

For the past 2 winters, I've been mulching the roots of a Chinese fan palm that comes back each Spring. This year, I built a little house out of reflective "bubble" sheet to try for some above ground survival.

chinfan.thumb.JPG.dd4800972dcd7537c7b60f7742ab84bd.JPG

I'm also growing a Washy (mostly robusta?) for fun. It survived last winter with active protection. Here at 38 degrees latitude they grow like crazy, If it makes it this winter, by next fall it might be near the top of the eave, and I'll have to cut off everything but the spear so I can protect it.washy.thumb.JPG.f498a60993de7794dff21b67ea589d6d.JPG

 

Wow! Very nice! And virtually no winter protection for the Trachycarpus? That’s incredible! What is the coldest it gets in Kansas?

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SALOttawa
12 hours ago, Jimhardy said:

Yeah....when it was smaller, then I would take the top off whenever it was

warm enough, if I didn't in late winter/early spring it could hit 120F

which didn't bother it...anyway,when it got bigger I just had it wrapped

up,I always knew it could regrow all the leaves every summer if they didn't make it,

they are amazingly fast in the summer...

Since this is my first year, I didn’t do everything I wanted to with the box. Next year I will try adding vents or something to lower the humidity. I will have to do some research on the internet. When it becomes too big, I may try your method of regrowing the leaves. That way I could have a smaller box

 

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EJ NJ
12 hours ago, ky_palm064 said:

Way down here it was suppose to get to 23f, but it never made it out of the teens! 4 inches of powder snow on the ground is actually a help.

For the past 2 winters, I've been mulching the roots of a Chinese fan palm that comes back each Spring. This year, I built a little house out of reflective "bubble" sheet to try for some above ground survival.

chinfan.thumb.JPG.dd4800972dcd7537c7b60f7742ab84bd.JPG

I'm also growing a Washy (mostly robusta?) for fun. It survived last winter with active protection. Here at 38 degrees latitude they grow like crazy, If it makes it this winter, by next fall it might be near the top of the eave, and I'll have to cut off everything but the spear so I can protect it.washy.thumb.JPG.f498a60993de7794dff21b67ea589d6d.JPG

 

I have a livistona in the ground as well it is currently protected and looks flawless!

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SALOttawa
11 hours ago, oasis371 said:

Supposed to drop to 10 F. on Tuesday.  I think I will drop a blanket over my Trachy.  No lights, you gotta be careful with lights, they can BURN foliage as some of those lights get really, really hot.

I hate this arctic cold, Canada, please, build that dam! WALL. already.   LOL.  

Hahaha! Wouldn’t that be nice for you, if we could contain our cold! Zone 7b would be like a dream for me! Cheers!

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Las Palmas Norte
11 hours ago, oasis371 said:

Supposed to drop to 10 F. on Tuesday.  I think I will drop a blanket over my Trachy.  No lights, you gotta be careful with lights, they can BURN foliage as some of those lights get really, really hot.

I hate this arctic cold, Canada, please, build that dam! WALL. already.   LOL.  

Got news for ya. It originated in Alaska USA. :)

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oasis371

Ottawa, have they upped your overnight mins at all.? Mine is up to 12 F., time to bring out the Bermuda shorts!

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SALOttawa
21 minutes ago, oasis371 said:

Ottawa, have they upped your overnight mins at all.? Mine is up to 12 F., time to bring out the Bermuda shorts!

Last night, we got down to -20 Celcius! BRRRRR! It was so cold when I went out this morning, every time I breathed in, my nostrils froze together hahaha!

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SALOttawa
4 hours ago, Las Palmas Norte said:

Got news for ya. It originated in Alaska USA. :)

So how did you end up with one from Alaska? Where in Alaska? Sound like an interesting story to me. Let us know?

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ky_palm064

In Kentucky, the weathermen call these the "Alberta Clipper" or "Siberian Express"!

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Jimhardy

There used to be (and probably still is) a saying that the only thing stopping

the Arctic air from coming down to the US from Canada is a barbed wire fence and somebody left the gate open.

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oasis371

"So how did you end up with one from Alaska? Where in Alaska? Sound like an interesting story to me. Let us know?"

Ottawa, most of the arctic air masses out of Alaska and arctic Canada move toward the south and then the southeast. Last year, the coldest outbreak headed south, way south toward the Texas Gulf, without much of an eastern component.  My minimum last year was a 14 F.  This winter, that arctic air surged toward the Pacific Coast (which is normally protected). It just depends on the orientation of the arctic outflow. I just covered up my Trachy with a moving blanket and shower curtain, all bungeed up.  Now my minimum is supposed to be 13 F.

 
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Edited by oasis371

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vistaprime
On 1/7/2022 at 4:34 PM, SALOttawa said:

I am hoping to get ten to fifteen years out of it. I am willing to protect it until 16 feet. It should go dormant during the winter so growth will be slower here. In the box with the thermocube the temperature varies from 1 degree Celcius to 10 degrees, so I am hopeful it will stay alive. They are hardy to -7 so it should be good. I have also started some Trachycarpus Fortunei which are more hardy and slower growing but they are not as lush. I am also trying some jubaea Chilensis from seed and I have a pinto palm on order as well. I enjoy the variety and the challenge! I am hoping for the best!

I am in Ontario too and will be planting a 15 gallon. I  have already looked into a scissor lift and cherry picker for winter wrapping as it grows. The use of those will be a decade or more down the road at least with the shortened growing season.  Both are readily available for rental and my landscapers and gardener are on the team to make it all come together as my Washy grows beyond ladder size. There's too many doubters making it seem as if we can't enjoy these palms for decades due to winter protection. I stay optimistic and plan ahead. 

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SALOttawa

My last two videos will tell you more
 

 

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SALOttawa

All you folks from Ontario and Quebec, stay in touch and let me know how things go! Subscribe to my YouTube channel and if you have one, I would like to subscribe to yours as well o stay up to date.

 

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Palmlex
39 minutes ago, SALOttawa said:

My last two videos will tell you more

 

My covered Robusta has been at around 95-99% humidity for about 1.5 months now and I only open it about 1 day per week. I'm not saying what I'm doing is the way to go, but it doesn't seem to be affected by it so far.

I can see a very small amount of spotting on the leaves, but most of that was happening even before covering it.

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SALOttawa
58 minutes ago, Palmlex said:

My covered Robusta has been at around 95-99% humidity for about 1.5 months now and I only open it about 1 day per week. I'm not saying what I'm doing is the way to go, but it doesn't seem to be affected by it so far.

I can see a very small amount of spotting on the leaves, but most of that was happening even before covering it.

Wow! That is high humidity! Maybe all the concerns about humidity aren’t the problem. How many washies do you have? What other palms do you have? What was your coldest temperature so far this year?

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Palmlex
4 hours ago, SALOttawa said:

Wow! That is high humidity! Maybe all the concerns about humidity aren’t the problem. How many washies do you have? What other palms do you have? What was your coldest temperature so far this year?

Here's hoping humidity doesn't play such a high role at low temperatures, since I'm expecting microbial activity to be rather limited. I only have one Washy in the ground but I think 6-ish in total, some doing better than others.

I've only had the chance to plant some palms in the ground last year and most of them are small, but I'm planning on getting some large Fortunei this spring. What I have now is a T. Fortunei, T. Wagnerianus, a couple of very tiny Sabal Louisiana and 2 more 4-6ft palms, a Washingtonia Robusta (maybe Filibusta, you can never be sure with these) and a Phoenix Canariensis. I have a few more species in pots, but a few are way too tiny or too tropical for this climate.

Lowest temperature this year, which is not bad at all, was -7.3C/19F. I haven't used any heat yet and the only covered palms are the Robusta and Canariensis.

What about you? Planning on planting any more in the ground?

Edited by Palmlex

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Hutch

Looking good up there nice set up...! Keep up the good work !

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SALOttawa
3 hours ago, Palmlex said:

Here's hoping humidity doesn't play such a high role at low temperatures, since I'm expecting microbial activity to be rather limited. I only have one Washy in the ground but I think 6-ish in total, some doing better than others.

I've only had the chance to plant some palms in the ground last year and most of them are small, but I'm planning on getting some large Fortunei this spring. What I have now is a T. Fortunei, T. Wagnerianus, a couple of very tiny Sabal Louisiana and 2 more 4-6ft palms, a Washingtonia Robusta (maybe Filibusta, you can never be sure with these) and a Phoenix Canariensis. I have a few more species in pots, but a few are way too tiny or too tropical for this climate.

Lowest temperature this year, which is not bad at all, was -7.3C/19F. I haven't used any heat yet and the only covered palms are the Robusta and Canariensis.

What about you? Planning on planting any more in the ground?

Sounds great! Those temps seem idyllic! I wish our winter climate was as mild! I am purchasing two more washies of the same size this spring as well as a Butia Capitata. I would love to get a large Trachycarpus, but they are super expensive here. I have a few smaller ones. I plan on planting one beside this washy so that it can stay in the same box - killing two birds with one stone as they say. It will also be able to replace my washy once it has grown too large to protect. I also have a large bird of paradise ( about twelve feet) which I am thinking of planting in the ground.

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SALOttawa
3 hours ago, Hutch said:

Looking good up there nice set up...! Keep up the good work !

Thank you. I am trying!

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Palmlex
4 hours ago, SALOttawa said:

Sounds great! Those temps seem idyllic! I wish our winter climate was as mild! I am purchasing two more washies of the same size this spring as well as a Butia Capitata. I would love to get a large Trachycarpus, but they are super expensive here. I have a few smaller ones. I plan on planting one beside this washy so that it can stay in the same box - killing two birds with one stone as they say. It will also be able to replace my washy once it has grown too large to protect. I also have a large bird of paradise ( about twelve feet) which I am thinking of planting in the ground.

I wish temperatures were this mild every winter, but I don't have it this good. Usually late January and February bash us with some pretty cold air since we're far from the ocean. It usually does get to around -13C/8F or lower every winter. But the record minimum here was around -32C/-26F about 80 years ago or so. :blink:

I've been trying to find a Butia of any kind or a Jubaea Chilensis for over a year now, but nobody sells them here. People aren't exactly interested in palms that can't survive outdoors unprotected. You can find Washies and CIDPs rather easily though...

Won't 2 palms planted too close to each other try to curve away? Also, I'm not sure a bird of paradise can make it in the ground in winter without some serious heat, quite a bit above freezing. I'd want a large one too, in a pot, but I don't know where I would keep a 12ft one. I compensate with lots of Musas I guess. :D

Edited by Palmlex

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EJ NJ
On 1/8/2022 at 9:52 AM, EJ NJ said:

I have a livistona in the ground as well it is currently protected and looks flawless!

Update it has now dropped to 5F and it has lost all its foliage and we'll have to see what happens

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oasis371

Some people report that these have recuperated from defoliation.  I protect mine by putting them into a garage, I went in this morning and everything looked okay.  I have a remote temp probe that records temperature data on a daily basis as well as records. It got down to 31 F. this AM inside their shelter.  But in past years when I was not as careful in monitoring temperatures, it might have dropped into the upper 20's and they would crisp, so not that impressed with their hardiness personally. 

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SALOttawa
9 hours ago, Palmlex said:

I wish temperatures were this mild every winter, but I don't have it this good. Usually late January and February bash us with some pretty cold air since we're far from the ocean. It usually does get to around -13C/8F or lower every winter. But the record minimum here was around -32C/-26F about 80 years ago or so. :blink:

I've been trying to find a Butia of any kind or a Jubaea Chilensis for over a year now, but nobody sells them here. People aren't exactly interested in palms that can't survive outdoors unprotected. You can find Washies and CIDPs rather easily though...

Won't 2 palms planted too close to each other try to curve away? Also, I'm not sure a bird of paradise can make it in the ground in winter without some serious heat, quite a bit above freezing. I'd want a large one too, in a pot, but I don't know where I would keep a 12ft one. I compensate with lots of Musas I guess. :D

I am not sure about the bending away from each other. That is a possibility, but the trachy is only about a foot tall right now. Actually, maybe I would be better using one of my seedlings to prevent that even more.. as for the bird, the Green Dragan in Zone 5a keeps his outdoors with protection and it works for him. Mind you, his protection is way more expensive than mine.

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