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Peachs

Livistona Nitida or Washingtonia Robusta

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Peachs

8b zone.

Dry climate, but with very frequent irrigations.

Cost in my area similar to the two palm trees.

Which one do you think has the best growth rate and cold resistance?

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RJ
5 hours ago, Peachs said:

8b zone.

Dry climate, but with very frequent irrigations.

Cost in my area similar to the two palm trees.

Which one do you think has the best growth rate and cold resistance?

Ate these small plants or larger plants? 

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Peachs
3 hours ago, RJ said:

Ate these small plants or larger plants? 

1 metre of trunk for transplanting.

Palms 5 years old.

Edited by Peachs

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SeanK

Robustas are somewhat trashy palms that should only be planted in areas with similarly sized architecture. I've seen decent ones in central Florida n front of 4-story buildings and really nice ones out at Sky Harbor PHX. The rest should all be cut down. The Livistona would be nice to see someday with > 6-ft of trunk.

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RJ
2 hours ago, Peachs said:

1 metre of trunk for transplanting.

Palms 5 years old.

Nitida for sure. :36_14_15[1]:

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Peachs
8 hours ago, SeanK said:

Robustas are somewhat trashy palms that should only be planted in areas with similarly sized architecture. I've seen decent ones in central Florida n front of 4-story buildings and really nice ones out at Sky Harbor PHX. The rest should all be cut down. The Livistona would be nice to see someday with > 6-ft of trunk.

I guess you say that because everyone plants the same species, it's interesting to change! I ask because I have had a bad experience with a transplant and I am looking for a replacement.
 

 

7 hours ago, RJ said:

Nitida for sure. :36_14_15[1]:

I had read that they replaced some W. Robusta, as Nitida withstands the cold better and also grows fast, but I don't know if it is as fast!

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Swolte

I have both and, in my experience, they grow equally fast when young. However, as they age, I think the Robusta will quickly overtake the Nitida. As for cold hardiness, I have found them to be similar. I am not sure about more mature specimens. 

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Peachs
13 minutes ago, Swolte said:

I have both and, in my experience, they grow equally fast when young. However, as they age, I think the Robusta will quickly overtake the Nitida. As for cold hardiness, I have found them to be similar. I am not sure about more mature specimens. 

Thank you for sharing your experience.. Do the 2 species need the same water? Or does L. nitida need much more water?

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Swolte

For me, they get the same amount (I don't really water them as they are all drought tolerant). They do both speed up with additional water in the summer.

Where, in my experience, the biggest difference may lie is in the type of cold resistance. During the '21 Freeze I had both protected (no external heat sources) and it got down to 3 degrees here as an extreme and we also had several days of subzero temps in a row. Both plants were kept dry by the protection (frost blankets, etc...). The Nitida came out almost unscathed whereas the Robusta had severe damage (but no spear pull). The next winter of '22 was a very wet cold one with abysmal weather predictions (predicting a low of 25F but then it hits 15F!). Anyway, both palms went through 15F unprotected with rain the days before and after. I have to say the Nitida did not do well and even had a spear pull. I was not sure whether it would make it (it did come back well as it is dealing with record heat now, ugh...). The Robusta suffered but did not show spear pull and even kept some green leaves. So yeah, at least in my yard, the Robusta is better able to handle the wet cold but the Nitida may be better for cold in general.

~ S

Edited by Swolte

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Peachs
54 minutes ago, Swolte said:

For me, they get the same amount (I don't really water them as they are all drought tolerant). They do both speed up with additional water in the summer.

Where, in my experience, the biggest difference may lie is in the type of cold resistance. During the '21 Freeze I had both protected (no external heat sources) and it got down to 3 degrees here as an extreme and we also had several days of subzero temps in a row. Both plants were kept dry by the protection (frost blankets, etc...). The Nitida came out almost unscathed whereas the Robusta had severe damage (but no spear pull). The next winter of '22 was a very wet cold one with abysmal weather predictions (predicting a low of 25F but then it hits 15F!). Anyway, both palms went through 15F unprotected with rain the days before and after. I have to say the Nitida did not do well and even had a spear pull. I was not sure whether it would make it (it did come back well as it is dealing with record heat now, ugh...). The Robusta suffered but did not show spear pull and even kept some green leaves. So yeah, at least in my yard, the Robusta is better able to handle the wet cold but the Nitida may be better for cold in general.

~ S

Thank you! It hardly rains in my area, it's a very dry climate, but the winter is long and cold. I have a W. Filifera that gets through winters without damage, but I guess Robusta will be more sensitive to cold.
 

 

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Peachs
14 hours ago, Swolte said:

For me, they get the same amount (I don't really water them as they are all drought tolerant). They do both speed up with additional water in the summer.

Where, in my experience, the biggest difference may lie is in the type of cold resistance. During the '21 Freeze I had both protected (no external heat sources) and it got down to 3 degrees here as an extreme and we also had several days of subzero temps in a row. Both plants were kept dry by the protection (frost blankets, etc...). The Nitida came out almost unscathed whereas the Robusta had severe damage (but no spear pull). The next winter of '22 was a very wet cold one with abysmal weather predictions (predicting a low of 25F but then it hits 15F!). Anyway, both palms went through 15F unprotected with rain the days before and after. I have to say the Nitida did not do well and even had a spear pull. I was not sure whether it would make it (it did come back well as it is dealing with record heat now, ugh...). The Robusta suffered but did not show spear pull and even kept some green leaves. So yeah, at least in my yard, the Robusta is better able to handle the wet cold but the Nitida may be better for cold in general.

~ S

By the way, if you were to plant another palm tree now, with your experience, which do you like more Nitida or Robusta?

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VA Jeff

The nitida is better in most respects, other than growth speed.  It cannot match robusta or filibusta for growth speed.

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Peachs
14 hours ago, VA Jeff said:

The nitida is better in most respects, other than growth speed.  It cannot match robusta or filibusta for growth speed.

Thanks!

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VA Jeff

That being said, the adult nitidas I have seen were not quite as pretty as adult livistona chinensis or saribus.  Saribus is more iffy in zone 8b though.

 

Why not grow a filibusta and a nitida, if you have room.  The cold tolerance of filibusta is better than pure robusta.  The tolerance goes up if you throw something to block the water from getting in the crown during the winter.  I know a guy who had two filibustas in borderline 8/7 Virginia for several years.  He covered them with tarps and a bucket over the crown each winter.  One winter, he didn't protect so well, and they both died.

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Peachs
6 hours ago, VA Jeff said:

That being said, the adult nitidas I have seen were not quite as pretty as adult livistona chinensis or saribus.  Saribus is more iffy in zone 8b though.

 

Why not grow a filibusta and a nitida, if you have room.  The cold tolerance of filibusta is better than pure robusta.  The tolerance goes up if you throw something to block the water from getting in the crown during the winter.  I know a guy who had two filibustas in borderline 8/7 Virginia for several years.  He covered them with tarps and a bucket over the crown each winter.  One winter, he didn't protect so well, and they both died.


I have Filifera (2 years, with good growth) and Nitida but without experience (3 months). I don't have Robusta, but I think Nitida is more original, I have never seen any Livistona in my country (Spain) but I have seen many Washingtonia.

F766045-F-8-D91-46-E1-865-D-312-C06306-E

BEC223-BD-7038-48-C5-95-F8-0-A08-B707-B9

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Fusca
On 8/2/2022 at 9:04 PM, VA Jeff said:

The nitida is better in most respects, other than growth speed.  It cannot match robusta or filibusta for growth speed.

It can if it's provided sufficient water and heat.  In 2020 my San Antonio nitida outgrew my filibusta in number of leaves and vertical height.  Both were planted within weeks of each other in spring of 2019 - the washie as a 5-gal size and the nitida as a strap-leaf seedling.  When Palmageddon took them both out in February 2021 they were roughly the same overall height.IMG_20200706_200137.thumb.jpg.08e53ed4134a29736388a0194a2e12ef.jpgIMG_20200706_200155.thumb.jpg.f2652766c49c7bcad081f559bf8310ec.jpg

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smithgn

What’s more leaf hardy? Robusta or Nitida? I know my robustas (not pure but mostly Robusta) gets leaf burn right at 22-23 degrees. Are Nitidas about the same? 

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Jubaea_James760

I know it may be different in certain climates but for me in zone 8b California for what it's worth I'd have to say Washingtonia Robusta's are more hardier. I haven't fully tested a Nitida as mines only been in the ground a few years so this is just my opinion as i dont think anyone is growing Livistona Nitida here. There could be a couple lowkey people from palmtalk growing them but ive never seen one.

  A few years back in 2007 we got down to 12-13f & probably a little lower in Apple Valley ( city just northeast of me). Close to 100% of the Robusta's survived. There's several hundred planted here & all of the old timer ones made it. I had a 5 gallon I planted out in 2005 & it survived.

I'm not sure if Nitida could survive my constant freezes, snow, average lows every winter of 22f  with occasional dips below 20f every few years. We generally go below 32f 40+ days during winter here. 

Picture of my Robusta i planted in 2005 taken last July 2021,  I no longer live here.

20210709_203200.thumb.jpg.03ba36e1649bd9d7bd9a83047b0a2854.jpg

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smithgn
6 hours ago, Jubaea_James760 said:

I know it may be different in certain climates but for me in zone 8b California for what it's worth I'd have to say Washingtonia Robusta's are more hardier. I haven't fully tested a Nitida as mines only been in the ground a few years so this is just my opinion as i dont think anyone is growing Livistona Nitida here. There could be a couple lowkey people from palmtalk growing them but ive never seen one.

  A few years back in 2007 we got down to 12-13f & probably a little lower in Apple Valley ( city just northeast of me). Close to 100% of the Robusta's survived. There's several hundred planted here & all of the old timer ones made it. I had a 5 gallon I planted out in 2005 & it survived.

I'm not sure if Nitida could survive my constant freezes, snow, average lows every winter of 22f  with occasional dips below 20f every few years. We generally go below 32f 40+ days during winter here. 

Picture of my Robusta i planted in 2005 taken last July 2021,  I no longer live here.

20210709_203200.thumb.jpg.03ba36e1649bd9d7bd9a83047b0a2854.jpg

This is useful info, thanks James. I truly think Robusta's are so versatile because of their ability to push growth out every year and replace damaged fronds every growing season in order to "stay ahead" of the harsh winters- if that makes sense. 

As for your Robusta in the picture (yes it's still yours even though someone else owns the house lol), it looks happy. Is that a volunteer behind it?

 

As for the L. Nitida, I had many potted juveniles 5 years or so ago but I made the mistake of never putting them in ground to test them. They died in pots : (

 

I'm basically looking for something that I could experiment with in 8A South Carolina at my parents house. Something with quick growth like the robusta but cold hardiness as well. I know the Australis is the quickest of the hardy Livistonas but the jury is still out on which one is the hardiest; from my casual internet browsing it seems to be between the Nitida and the Decora. 

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Chester B

I have both palms. Robusta puts out five fronds for every one the nitida does. In my cool wet winters the fronds on the robusta get damaged but the nitida always looks great. The coldest my palms have seen is 24F. 

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Peachs
3 hours ago, Chester B said:

I have both palms. Robusta puts out five fronds for every one the nitida does. In my cool wet winters the fronds on the robusta get damaged but the nitida always looks great. The coldest my palms have seen is 24F. 

Are there any species, besides these 2, that meet the conditions of zone 8, and fast growth? The cold hardy ones are usually very slow growing.

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Chester B
2 hours ago, Peachs said:

Are there any species, besides these 2, that meet the conditions of zone 8, and fast growth? The cold hardy ones are usually very slow growing.

Aside from Trachycarpus?  They grow fast in zone 8. 

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Peachs
7 hours ago, Chester B said:

Aside from Trachycarpus?  They grow fast in zone 8. 

I have 7 Fortunei. The problem is that they are not very exotic looking.

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Will Simpson

Washy , eleven years in the ground below . I don't know  any palm much faster .

Will

 

52267091453_829b49cee7_b.jpg

 

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smithgn

Will, how long has your Washingtonia been in ground? Do you protect it in the winter? It's looking quite nice and slender. Mine back in Columbia are fatter, perhaps have a bit of filifera in them. Yours is certainly taller :greenthumb:

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Jubaea_James760

@smithgn, thanks man! While I was living there i took really good care of it. The Robusta off to the backside was planted by me a year or 2 before I moved. It never really took off & I'm sure they get neglected. My in-laws live right next door so I see "my" palms every other week or so :D

I have all 3 Livistona you mentioned & from my experience Nitida is faster than Decora followed by Australis. Nitida has put out 10 leaves so far, Decora 7, Australis 4-5. 

I experienced 19f as a low this pasted winter & Nitida had about 10% leaf burn,  Decora & Australis 20%. Roughly. 

 

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