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MarkbVet

Additional cold hardy palm species to discuss?

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MarkbVet

Just noticed that Fairview has a number of palms rated zone 8b or colder that I had not contemplated until now:  Trithrinax brasiliensis var. brasiliensis , Wodyetia bifurcata, Thrinax radiata, Sabal miamiensis,   Livistona benthamii ‘Golden Form” , Sabal mauritiiformis ,  Brahea moorei,  Dypsis decaryi, Dypsis carlsmithii, Chamaedorea costaricana, Ceroxylon ventricosum, Ceroxylon quindiuense, Brahea sarukhanii , Brahea dulcis (including a blue form).   Any thoughts on any of these?   I suspect that many are not as hardy as this nursery asserts, but some likely are.   Haven't seen much discussion of most of these though-- so here's the chance to get talking!!    

Edited by MarkbVet

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Little Tex

Foxtails are not 8b. there is quite a few where I live, and a 8b winter killed 20% of them, and defoliated the rest, they look better now but are definitely zone 10 palms

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smithgn

I have some experience with Trithrinax Brasiliensis in the very beginning of my palm days. 8 years or so ago I bought two 5 gallons and planted them sometime in March. I can't remember when, but not long after they started both getting bud rot from hell and everything went downhill afterwords. I never got to see how cold hardy they were but from what Gerald Mckiness (Neotropic nursery) had told me they were solid 8B and worth a try in my 8A zone. 

Looking back at some e-mails while typing this, I sent Gerald some follow ups and said I had some spear pull and that the palms were pushing new spears. Ultimately though, they died. Something about the wetness/dampness of that spring just got to them, I think. Shame. 

 

By the way,  anyone know what happened to Neotropic Nursery? 

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Allen

I am not familiar with those palms but I did a video where I listed cold hardiness of my palms and it brought home to me a little more that in general I like to think of a 'unhurt' temp, a 'defoliated' and partially destroyed palm temp and a 'oh this one palm out of a thousand lived' at this temp.  And everything in between.  Palms should ideally be rated by cold tolerance temps and not by zone.  In my last video I gave a range of temps from where damage starts to where the palm is for sure in danger.  There might be another temp lower which is ultimate low verified to survive.  Nurseries in particular love to exaggerate the zone because it means a ton more customers.

Edited by Allen
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Chester B

I think the only ones that you're getting close on are the Sabals and some of the Braheas.  The rest are toast, I know for fact that Ceroxylon will die in our winters.

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Jesse PNW

I don't trust anyone who is trying to sell me something.  That's an over-generalisation.  There are some I trust like Jungle music.  But a lot of websites have fatally misleading information about the  hardiness of many palms and other plants. 

I normally scour the freeze damage data and the zone hardiness spreadsheets that people have uploaded to PT.  The tre brown website is a good starting point also.  Multi-sourced data is the way to go. 

 

Unless, you're like me, and you're a sadist and enjoy performing horrendous expirements on helpless little palms. 

Edited by Jesse PNW
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kinzyjr

@MarkbVet If someone tells you that Dypsis decaryi, Thrinax radiata or Wodyetica bifurcata are good to go in hardiness zone 8b, please maintain a smile while backing away slowly and dialing 9-1-1 in your pocket.  They've lost it.  All three start becoming viable options near the top end of zone 9b (AAL of 28F or higher).  This is especially true if your particular site has some canopy in place to mitigate frost.  Sabal mauritiiformis is probably a touch hardier than the three above, but is still more of a 9b palm.  Out of all of these, I would say Wodyetia bifurcata is the least hardy on average, but you'll once in a while stumble on a few that exhibit cold tolerance similar to the other palms.  All of these have been growing here and are "3 Freeze survivors" i.e. survived January 2008/2010/2018.  I guess we can count this year's January cold snap going forward as well, but there were parts of town that didn't even go below freezing.

Sabal miamiensis is now considered a synonym for Sabal etonia and should do OK for a while, and Chamaedorea costaricana should be a solid performer if you keep it under canopy.  I've always heard good things about various Trithrinax species, but no observations from me in this regard. 

When in doubt, look at the observations from the Cold Hardiness Observation Master Data spreadsheet.

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MarkbVet
40 minutes ago, Jesse PNW said:

I don't trust anyone who is trying to sell me something.  That's an over-generalisation.  There are some I trust like Jungle music.  But a lot of websites have fatally misleading information about the  hardiness of many palms and other plants. 

I normally scour the freeze damage data and the zone hardiness spreadsheets that people have uploaded to PT.  The tre brown website is a good starting point also.  Multi-sourced data is the way to go. 

 

Unless, you're like me, and you're a sadist and enjoy performing horrendous expirements on helpless little palms. 

Well, I like to experiment too, but only when there's a chance, and with many of these species, it didn't seem like much of a chance at all, unless I had just missed something.  Like Chester said, the Sabals and Braheas-- maybe.    Or perhaps the Chamaedoria?   I don't think that Fairview is deliberately rating them hardier for sales; they have a ton of stuff rated zone 10-11, and some of the hardier species they have rated too conservatively too, with higher zone ratings than the species deserves.   It just seems inaccurate here and there, randomly. 

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MarkbVet
7 minutes ago, kinzyjr said:

@MarkbVet If someone tells you that Dypsis decaryi, Thrinax radiata or Wodyetica bifurcata are good to go in hardiness zone 8b, please maintain a smile while backing away slowly and dialing 9-1-1 in your pocket.  They've lost it.  All three start becoming viable options near the top end of zone 9b (AAL of 28F or higher).  This is especially true if your particular site has some canopy in place to mitigate frost.  Sabal mauritiiformis is probably a touch hardier than the three above, but is still more of a 9b palm.  Out of all of these, I would say Wodyetia bifurcata is the least hardy on average, but you'll once in a while stumble on a few that exhibit cold tolerance similar to the other palms.  All of these have been growing here and are "3 Freeze survivors" i.e. survived January 2008/2010/2018.  I guess we can count this year's January cold snap going forward as well, but there were parts of town that didn't even go below freezing.

Sabal miamiensis is now considered a synonym for Sabal etonia and should do OK for a while, and Chamaedorea costaricana should be a solid performer if you keep it under canopy.  I've always heard good things about various Trithrinax species, but no observations from me in this regard. 

When in doubt, look at the observations from the Cold Hardiness Observation Master Data spreadsheet.

Thanks! Useful sheet; I'd argue that some of the '8b' palms are actually '8a' but I'm nitpicking....  good list to have!  Mostly fits what I expected, though I think I can get some species to survive in my zone (without protection) that are rated slightly warmer.  Zone pushing is what we do right?  

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kinzyjr
10 minutes ago, MarkbVet said:

Thanks! Useful sheet; I'd argue that some of the '8b' palms are actually '8a' but I'm nitpicking....  good list to have!  Mostly fits what I expected, though I think I can get some species to survive in my zone (without protection) that are rated slightly warmer.  Zone pushing is what we do right?  

I agree with you that the zone assignments in the sheet should be tweaked - a few too high, a few too low.  As @Jesse PNW mentioned, the Trebrown list is a good starting point so that is what I used as the baseline when compiling the database that generates that sheet.  Nothing wrong with giving something a try.  Coconuts are out-of-area here, but I have a few anyway since they look nice for a while and are easy to replace if they die.

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MarkbVet

From the Trebrown list, I noted Butia witeckii listed as hardy; any thoughts on this?   Different enough appearance from B. odorata to make it worth investigating?  Thanks!  

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Jesse PNW
21 minutes ago, MarkbVet said:

... Zone pushing is what we do right?  

Indeed.  I'll generally try anything that isn't cool-sensitive and is hardy into the low 20's.  I have quite a few non-hardy palms that I'm experimenting with, planted up against the house.  My Wodyetia seedlings, however, are doomed to live in pots for their entire lives, as I know that they will suffer hypothermic shock even before temps touch freezing. 

I know Banana Joe has talked about the Ceroxylons, I was interested in them for awhile but I think they have a reputation for being over-hyped in terms of hardiness.  If they were easy to find I'd try them, but they're too hard to find. 

I have some Sabal miamiensis seedlings in the ground, still strap leaf... will be strap leaf for decades I'm sure... Unforunately I got the minors and miamiensis mixed up so I'll never know which is which unless the miamiensis croak.  But based on the little bit I could find, I think they are fine for 8A. I will be protecting them while they're small (ie the next 20 years!)

There is a guy growing a Dypsis decaryi up near Seattle.  It has been there a very long time and has barely grown.  He is in a much more mild area than here and I don't think it would make it where I live, but then again Mark I think you are much warmer than me.  Let me find the thread.. I'm sure you've seen it...   

Trithrinax would be fine to try but they're hard to find and not the most handsome palms.  The Brahea's, I would love to get ahold of.  I would try other Chamaedorea's though my expectation would be low.  But microspadix has surprised me pleasently, it benefits tremendously from overhead cover. 

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Little Tex
6 minutes ago, Jesse PNW said:

There is a guy growing a Dypsis decaryi up near Seattle.

I think you mean decipens 

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Jesse PNW
2 minutes ago, Little Tex said:

I think you mean decipens 

Right you are!  my bad. 

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Xenon
1 hour ago, kinzyjr said:

@MarkbVet Sabal mauritiiformis is probably a touch hardier than the three above, but is still more of a 9b palm.  Out of all of these, I would say Wodyetia bifurcata is the least hardy on average, but you'll once in a while stumble on a few that exhibit cold tolerance similar to the other palms.  All of these have been growing here and are "3 Freeze survivors" i.e. survived January 2008/2010/2018.  I guess we can count this year's January cold snap going forward as well, but there were parts of town that didn't even go below freezing.

Sabal mauritiiformis has horrendous leaf hardiness, it defoliates completely out in the open (in Texas) with more than a few hours below 30F while Dypsis decaryi and Wodyetia might retain some green. It probably has slightly better bud hardiness than the other two; there is a 1989 survivor in Brownsville that was sheltered by a building. 

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RJ
3 hours ago, Chester B said:

I think the only ones that you're getting close on are the Sabals and some of the Braheas.  The rest are toast, I know for fact that Ceroxylon will die in our winters.

And they need cool nights so that eliminates the SE.

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MarkbVet
32 minutes ago, RJ said:

And they need cool nights so that eliminates the SE.

I think you mean the Braheas more than the Sabals....

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MarkbVet
5 hours ago, Little Tex said:

Foxtails are not 8b. there is quite a few where I live, and a 8b winter killed 20% of them, and defoliated the rest, they look better now but are definitely zone 10 palms

So technically 80% survived 8b temps,  which maybe is why that was listed as the low end of what they might survive.  But yeah, I wouldn't really think of trying them in my climate zone unless well protected.

 

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Little Tex
17 minutes ago, MarkbVet said:

So technically 80% survived 8b temps,  which maybe is why that was listed as the low end of what they might survive.  But yeah, I wouldn't really think of trying them in my climate zone unless well protected.

 

I meant 9a

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Chester B

@MarkbVet the only Trithrinax species I know of that there are decent sized specimens in the PNW are T. Campestris. I do have T acanthacoma that is being planted this summer but it I’ve been told not to expect much. 

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Jesse PNW

@Chester B , are you talking about @matthedlund 's Trithrinax?  He got me wanting to try them I just have yet to pull the trigger.  I'm mostly worried that it will be too wet here. 

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Chester B
1 hour ago, Jesse PNW said:

@Chester B , are you talking about @matthedlund 's Trithrinax?  He got me wanting to try them I just have yet to pull the trigger.  I'm mostly worried that it will be too wet here. 

No, I know of a couple people with them in BC. If they can survive up there I think we’re good. It’s best if you can keep them on the dry side especially during winter. At least that’s what I’ve been told. 

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MarkbVet
3 hours ago, Little Tex said:

I meant 9a

Even better lol...no go in my area!

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MarkbVet
10 minutes ago, Chester B said:

No, I know of a couple people with them in BC. If they can survive up there I think we’re good. It’s best if you can keep them on the dry side especially during winter. At least that’s what I’ve been told. 

Cold wise T. campestris is likely fine here...  but I'm not planting mine outdoors (w/o protection) until moving to So. Oregon where it's drier-- I'd not trust them in the rain here in winter. 

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RJ
5 hours ago, MarkbVet said:

I think you mean the Braheas more than the Sabals....

No… Ceroxylon require cool nights. IIRC they have very specific climate requirements. 

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D Palm

Safe to say most of those palms will not survive an 8b winter, or 9A.

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matthedlund
17 hours ago, Chester B said:

No, I know of a couple people with them in BC. If they can survive up there I think we’re good. It’s best if you can keep them on the dry side especially during winter. At least that’s what I’ve been told. 

I know of one old Trithrinax acanthacoma in BC that looks great, but I've killed quite a few. I've had no trouble at all with Trithrinax campestris, which I have up on top of a high rockwall. Plenty of winter wet, but great drainage. Slowest growing palm I have.

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Jesse PNW
On 4/10/2022 at 10:27 AM, kinzyjr said:

Sabal miamiensis is now considered a synonym for Sabal etonia and should do OK for a while,...

Do you have references for this?  Based on what I can see from palmpedia, the shape of the fronds looks quite different. 

Edited by Jesse PNW
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MarkbVet
13 hours ago, matthedlund said:

I know of one old Trithrinax acanthacoma in BC that looks great, but I've killed quite a few. I've had no trouble at all with Trithrinax campestris, which I have up on top of a high rockwall. Plenty of winter wet, but great drainage. Slowest growing palm I have.

Not hot enough there for them to grow faster.  Silver form of this plant (var. cinerea) grows faster than green form.   If you want slow, add in a Brahea armata and B. decumbens lol.  Nice to know they're handling your wet conditions though!

Edited by MarkbVet

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kinzyjr
17 hours ago, Jesse PNW said:

Do you have references for this?  Based on what I can see from palmpedia, the shape of the fronds looks quite different. 

Yes, these are what I go with in regard to taxonomy:

The Plant List (deprecated) : http://theplantlist.org/tpl1.1/record/kew-181046

The World of Flora Online: http://www.worldfloraonline.org/search?query=Sabal+miamiensis

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teddytn
4 hours ago, kinzyjr said:

Yes, these are what I go with in regard to taxonomy:

The Plant List (deprecated) : http://theplantlist.org/tpl1.1/record/kew-181046

The World of Flora Online: http://www.worldfloraonline.org/search?query=Sabal+miamiensis

This is very interesting. I’ve seen tons of pictures of both. Etonia stays consistent with form through every reference pic and video I’ve seen on PT and elsewhere. Miamiensis on the other hand sometimes resembles etonia, but other times is trunking. Those trunking pics definitely look different from palmetto. I have both of these now from reputed sources, (small specimens) and they do appear different. I’ll take some pics tomorrow. Making no statement either way here, it’s just very curious…

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kinzyjr
1 hour ago, teddytn said:

This is very interesting. I’ve seen tons of pictures of both. Etonia stays consistent with form through every reference pic and video I’ve seen on PT and elsewhere. Miamiensis on the other hand sometimes resembles etonia, but other times is trunking. Those trunking pics definitely look different from palmetto. I have both of these now from reputed sources, (small specimens) and they do appear different. I’ll take some pics tomorrow. Making no statement either way here, it’s just very curious…

There are a lot of folks who would say they are definitely different.  I have two that were labeled as Sabal miamiensis out in front.  All I can say is that I'm glad I chose a different profession than botany.  When the Kentiopsis genus got lumped into Chambeyronia, that took some getting used to for me.  Just wait until Washingtonia is one species with 3 varieties...  :interesting:

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Jesse PNW
9 minutes ago, kinzyjr said:

  All I can say is that I'm glad I chose a different profession than botany. ...

Any idea what the "Zona" and "Swingle ex Nash" mean?  I don't recall ever seeing suffixes after Latin binomials except to indicate subspecies or varieties.  

Thanks for those resources by the way. 

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kinzyjr
3 minutes ago, Jesse PNW said:

Any idea what the "Zona" and "Swingle ex Nash" mean?  I don't recall ever seeing suffixes after Latin binomials except to indicate subspecies or varieties.  

Thanks for those resources by the way. 

You're welcome.  Zona is a reference to Scott Zona.  I'm sure the other names there are additional botanists that study the matter.  I'll take a shot in the dark and say they are possibly Walter Swingle and George Nash.

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smithgn
On 4/10/2022 at 7:45 PM, Jesse PNW said:

I don't trust anyone who is trying to sell me something.  That's an over-generalisation.  There are some I trust like Jungle music.  But a lot of websites have fatally misleading information about the  hardiness of many palms and other plants. 

I normally scour the freeze damage data and the zone hardiness spreadsheets that people have uploaded to PT.  The tre brown website is a good starting point also.  Multi-sourced data is the way to go. 

 

Unless, you're like me, and you're a sadist and enjoy performing horrendous expirements on helpless little palms. 

I know what you mean. I finally had a chance to check out Fairview and their list of palms has zone ratings all over the place. They have Sabal palmetto and Lisa listed as 9A, Mule palm as 9B, Serenoa repens as 8B (solid 8A if not 7b) and Rhapidophyllum hystrix as 9b.

 

I understand some vendors zone push their palms in the descriptions in order to sell but I’m not sure who compiled Fairfield palms list. There’s many more that I disagree if it’s just those I listed above are the most erroneous. 

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MarkbVet
2 hours ago, Jesse PNW said:

Any idea what the "Zona" and "Swingle ex Nash" mean?  I don't recall ever seeing suffixes after Latin binomials except to indicate subspecies or varieties.  

Thanks for those resources by the way. 

This is very common in scientific nomenclature, especially when in scientific articles/journals... technically for a species name to be scientifically complete, it should include the author name after the genus & species name.   The author name is who named that species (or, renamed/reclassified it to a new genus, as splitters & lumpers are constantly doing).  The current 'accepted' scientific name often follows many prior names/classifications historically, each with an author who originally proposed that name (species/genus combination).  Including the author name gives the species name a reference point, so to speak, making it easier to look up origins of that name if needed for scientific publication etc.   Two authors may name a given species differently (during the same time in history), due to differences of opinion on its classification,  so a plant named "Generia plantia" by Smith may be the same plant as "Sensationus plantus" by Oliver.   The author name helps limit the confusion as to why the name is different in such cases.    All scientific names have this author tag, but it's often omitted in non scientific endeavors, such as layperson enthusiast groups discussing their favorite animals (or plants).  

Having the author's name tied to the species gives that author some recognition (at least among scientists) and is unfortunately probably a driving force in making taxonomists want to reclassify species (splitting a genus into 2 genera, or combining 2 genera into one, or splitting a species into 2 subspecies (or into 2 new species), or combining 2 previously-separate species into a single species (with 2 subspecies).  Some of the reclassification is a bit arbitrary, some actually makes sense.   But if you're a taxonomist, and there are so few undiscovered new species remaining (that you can discover and name) in modern times, the only way to make a name for yourself in the taxonomic literature is to reclassify-- thereby getting your name tagged onto that species for perpetuity (unless someone re-classifies it in the future!)  

Edited by MarkbVet
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MarkbVet
1 hour ago, smithgn said:

I know what you mean. I finally had a chance to check out Fairview and their list of palms has zone ratings all over the place. They have Sabal palmetto and Lisa listed as 9A, Mule palm as 9B, Serenoa repens as 8B (solid 8A if not 7b) and Rhapidophyllum hystrix as 9b.

 

I understand some vendors zone push their palms in the descriptions in order to sell but I’m not sure who compiled Fairfield palms list. There’s many more that I disagree if it’s just those I listed above are the most erroneous. 

Exactly.   As I mentioned above, the errors are random and occur both on the side of overly optimistic (as the species I listed at the start of this discussion) and overly pessimistic (as some of those you just mentioned).   It doesn't appear to be a deliberate effort to sell species that have no chance of survival in a colder climate.  It's just-- inaccurate.  

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Collectorpalms

Most of us down here in zone 8 and 9 have tried everything advertised hopeful or considered marginal…. And for a few exceptions they died without major protection. Sabals seems to be what works best in a hot long sultry summer with the random extreme cold event if you want a big palm in a short timeframe.


Personally, If I was in the PNW, without a long growing season I’d focus on the Trachycarpus Hybrids. They are much more adapted to your climate and they are not going to keep you up at night worrying about the next 20 year overdue cold event. Jubaea or butia hybrids “seem” like a good bet, but they couldn’t even make it here on their own in two different winters in the last 12. 

Edited by Collectorpalms

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MarkbVet
30 minutes ago, Collectorpalms said:

Most of us down here in zone 8 and 9 have tried everything advertised hopeful or considered marginal…. And for a few exceptions they died without major protection. Sabals seems to be what works best in a hot long sultry summer with the random extreme cold event if you want a big palm in a short timeframe.


Personally, If I was in the PNW, without a long growing season I’d focus on the Trachycarpus Hybrids. They are much more adapted to your climate and they are not going to keep you up at night worrying about the next 20 year overdue cold event. Jubaea or butia hybrids “seem” like a good bet, but they couldn’t even make it here on their own in two different winters in the last 12. 

Well, the PNW encompasses a huge variety of climates, warm to cold, wet to bone dry. Zone 10 to Zone 6 or colder.  Areas with 40-50 inches of rain down to less than 10 inches per year.   I'll be growing my palms outdoors in So. Oregon, where temps average in the 90's for months during the summer, and a long growing season (April to Oct-Nov).  We also don't have your occasional severely frigid spells, where Canadian arctic air sweeps down through the plains to the south lands (no mountains to stop the air where you're at).  Your average winter lows are similar to ours (both in zone 8) but your worst events are far worse than ours.  And that hot humid sultry air is great for Sabals (they don't grow up as fast in our climate) but not good for a lot of other palms, such as Brahea and Jubaea. 

So you're at a disadvantage with many species of palms, despite your warm humid summer nights.   And those bad freeze episodes you occasionally get, well, those events don't happen in So. Oregon much at all, and it's dry (19 inches of rain yearly, down to 10-12 inches in a dry year).  Washingtonias do ok there, and I am confident that a bunch of other palms will too:   Brahea armata,  B. decumbens, B. clara, Butia odorata and its hybrids,  Chamaerops humilis, Trachcarpus (fortunei, takil, princeps, wagnerianus),  Trithrinax campestris,  Jubaea and its hybrids, multiple Sabal species (I've got 5 or 6), Rhapidophyllum hystrix, etc etc.   Nearly all of these have a strong chance at surviving (and thriving) down there. It's a very California-like, Mediterranean climate zone.  Cacti and other desert plants love it there too, which suits me fine!   I have over 200 varieties of desert plants (unprotected) in my zone 8, really wet Portland area yard, where people said it can't be done.  I'm used to being a zone-buster lol.   We'll see how it goes when I move south and plant my palms!   The key is:  there's a huge difference between Seattle Washington and Medford Oregon, even though they are both (just barely) within the PNW.     

One question:  which Trachycarpus hybrids were you referring to?  Haven't heard that much about hybridization within that genus.   I'd be interested, IF there are some cool looking plants that show significant phenotypic variation from the usual species.  If they just look like T. fortunei more or less, then I'd not see much advantage in them. 

Thanks for your input, as always!  It's great to hear from experienced growers in other parts of the U.S. 

Edited by MarkbVet
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Jesse PNW

@MarkbVet I know you've done some research on the Braheas, I'm thinking about ordering a couple if Fairview ships them... which one do you think is best suited for up here?  Decumbens looks interesting. 

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