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Can California fan palms grow in zone 8B


Bill Nanaimo

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Hi,

Has anyone had any luck growing California fan palms in zone 8B or on east/South Vancouver Island? 

thanks for any info 

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Hi Bill you might be in a similar situation to me here in Florida.  The robustas do great but every few winters they defoliate and look crap for several months due to a cold snap and then they do ok.  The Filiferas can't tolerate the humidity  and don't last, but would be great regarding cold hardiness.  I suspect the hybrid Filbusta would be a better option with combined cold hardiness and humidity tolerance. I think I seen that Banana Joe on Salt Spring Island might have one in the ground there, so maybe he or others in the pacific north west might be better able to comment.

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Hi Bill,

Short answer is no.  Washingtonia robusta or W. fillifera don't do well in the pacific northwest.  Our cool damp winters always kill them, they hate that combination.  It can really only be done if they have some protection from rain during winter.

When you get down to the southern Oregon coast they start showing up.  I think I first started seeing them in Gold Beach and were common from there on down.

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Home Depot always has them in stock every year here for cheap, and they say zone 8 which is true in drier places.  I wish they would stop and bring in some needle palms or Sabal minor which are perfectly hardy in our climate.

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I'm just starting to try and grow Trachycarpus fortunei so I'm just new to palm trees and I seen some for sale on our local Facebook marketplace for $10 in 1 gallon pots though I thought I should see if they will actually grow here in all fairness to the guy selling them he does warn buyers they have to be looked after in really cold weather 

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1 hour ago, Bill Nanaimo said:

I'm just starting to try and grow Trachycarpus fortunei so I'm just new to palm trees and I seen some for sale on our local Facebook marketplace for $10 in 1 gallon pots though I thought I should see if they will actually grow here in all fairness to the guy selling them he does warn buyers they have to be looked after in really cold weather 

Start with this list:

Trachycarpus fortunei 

Trachycarpus wagnerianus

Rhapidophyllum hystrix - needle palm

Sabal minor

Butia odorata - these will most likely be labelled Butia capitata (incorrect name) or Pindo palm

Chamaerops humilis - Mediterranean fan palm - both blue and green forms

 

Most of these you should be able to find without too much trouble.  Beyond that there are some more species you can try but will most likely need to mail order or grow from seed.

Aside from the Sabal they all should grow reasonably well for you, but in your climate Trachycarpus are king.  They really like the not too hot, not too cold and ample precipitation.

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Thank you for the list, is a trachycarpus fortunei x Wagnerianus the same as what people are calling trachycarpus wagnerianus ? 

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3 minutes ago, Bill Nanaimo said:

Thank you for the list, is a trachycarpus fortunei x Wagnerianus the same as what people are calling trachycarpus wagnerianus ? 

No - Its a "hybrid" where one parent is the regular fortunei and the other is the wagnerianus.  There is some variability between them but they tend to have fronds that are similar size to regular fortunei and are less likely to get bent and messy looking.  The "fingers" of the fronds aren't as deeply cut.

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@Bill Nanaimo I've attached a climate comparison between Victoria, BC and where I'm at in SC. Now granted, these are vastly different 8b zones but I thought it would be good food for thought. Washingtonias do grow here but are not bulletproof. We have fairly wet, cool winters which is what seems to do a lot of them in. Sometimes just above freezing and prolonged rain is just as damaging as temps in the teens with no rain. Here in myrtle we see wild temperature fluctuations in the winter so a day in the 30s or 40s could be followed by a couple in the 70s or 80s and noone will bat an eye. This random heat is the saving grace for a lot of plants. Washingtonias love heat and sun so it's something to keep in the back of your mind. 

Now with that said, I'm all for trying to grow things that you shouldn't be able to so for $10 it would definitely be worth an experiment. Placement is going to be key to giving it its best shot. 

20200626_093131.jpg

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4 hours ago, DAVEinMB said:

@Bill Nanaimo I've attached a climate comparison between Victoria, BC and where I'm at in SC. Now granted, these are vastly different 8b zones but I thought it would be good food for thought. Washingtonias do grow here but are not bulletproof. We have fairly wet, cool winters which is what seems to do a lot of them in. Sometimes just above freezing and prolonged rain is just as damaging as temps in the teens with no rain. Here in myrtle we see wild temperature fluctuations in the winter so a day in the 30s or 40s could be followed by a couple in the 70s or 80s and noone will bat an eye. This random heat is the saving grace for a lot of plants. Washingtonias love heat and sun so it's something to keep in the back of your mind. 

Now with that said, I'm all for trying to grow things that you shouldn't be able to so for $10 it would definitely be worth an experiment. Placement is going to be key to giving it its best shot. 

20200626_093131.jpg

Home Depot sells them by the hundreds here in Portland every year.  I have never seen a Washingtonia period, and we are much hotter and drier than Nanaimo.  If you plant one it may make it a couple winters but it is not long term under any conditions without protection.  They will get fungus and spear pull in the winter.  In the PNW you have to be in zone 9B for them to work.  BananaJoe on Salt Spring Island (zone 9a) has repeatedly said they are no go, as he has had dozens in the ground over the years.  If you watch his videos it will give you a good idea on what you can try as he's pretty darn close to you.

If you still want a Washy my advice is keep them in a pot for a few years (bring under shelter in winter), when it gets too big plant is the ground as a giant annual and start over again next year.  If you want to try a fan palm other than Trachycarpus or Chamaerops try to get a Brahea edulis.  They seem to be a lot more tolerant and can survive many years in our climate and there are even a couple mature ones around.

 

 

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Ok thanks for the info, I think I'll pass on trying to grow them 

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Hi Bill:  I have been growing palms in Nanaimo for 15 years and on the BC coast for 25. Neither Washingtonia robusta or filifera are hardy here without protection.  I have lost many to our cold, wet winter conditions.  Having said that I currently have a robusta about 4 ft tall that has been in the ground for 4 years.  I protect it with an overhead cover and C9 christmas lights and it has never been damaged.  There is a large robusta at the empress hotel in Victoria that has been in the ground for a few years, but it is also protected in the winter.  Without protection it is possible to grow Trachycarpus  ( afew species), Sabal minor, needle palm,  Butia, likley sabal plametto (very slow growing), Chamaerops humils, and cordyline australis (although depending on where you are located they can be burnt to the ground in cold winters.  I have experimented with many palms over the years. 

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I've got trachycarpus Fortunei 4 In pots 4-5 year olds and 2 Trachycarpus Fortunei x wagnerainus coming 5-6 year olds not sure but I might put them in the ground. 

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Any success with Phoenix theophrasti that far north?

Lakeland, FL

USDA Zone 1990: 9a  2012: 9b  2023: 10a | Sunset Zone: 26 | Record Low: 20F/-6.67C (Jan. 1985, Dec.1962) | Record Low USDA Zone: 9a

30-Year Avg. Low: 30F | 30-year Min: 24F

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I'm pretty new to palm trees, theirs a guy on here called Banana Joe he lives 50 miles from me you might be able to track him down, they might grow here now as the winters have changed compared to 45 years ago when I use to skate on the lakes for 2-3 weeks a year

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That Banana joe knows a lot on palm trees, he's been growing then here for 30-40 years I think 

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Here in Northwestern Europe it seems also not possible to keep Washingtonia's alive longtime. Our climate is probably very similar to the Pacific Northwest. It is mostly rot that kills them. I also tried Butia Capitata and Eriospatha but both were killed by rot after a couple of years. I think people have better experiences with Jubea Chilensis here in the Netherlands.

I have tried a Robusta in the past. Even in average winters it lost all its leaves but came back during the summer. Unfortunately when this regeneration happens too often it will sap its strength and it dies eventually. The first places you see older ones on the Atlantic coast are in the mildest parts of Britanny and south of Bordeaux. You also find big Canariensis palms there. The South coast of England is another place where, in the mildest parts people grow them. These are all 9a-9b areas. I don't think in a wet cold climate 8a is enough. 

Edited by Marco67
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Butia will grow here if well sited and protected when young. Butia is much hardier and resistant to rot once it gets some size.  Butia benefits from overhead winter rain protection when young.  Jubea will also grow here if well sited and protected from overhead rain when young.  Since Jubea grows very slowly it could likely be protected from overhead rain easily for a number of years.  I suspect Phoenix spp would be very difficult to grow here without overhead rain protection.

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Butia and jubaea don’t require protection here in Portland but we are warmer and a little drier. 

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Without protection I don't think Butia and Jubaea are going to make it here longterm. Trachycarpus does fine and grows really fast. Chamaerops is a bit more tricky and will freeze back during some cold winters, but so far I never lost one. Here in Nortwestern Europe we have rainfall the whole year with a bit more during the summer. You have more a mediterranean type climate it seems,  with rainfall predominantly during the winter months. Overall its actually a bit on the dry side where I live, like Eastern England. We have about 783 mm  which is not a lot. It is mostly cloudy skies and drizzle rain. The pacific Northwest is a lot wetter I think. I agree that Nanaimo and Portland are a bit warmer during the winter months. 

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