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"Interesting" Nurseries in the Orlando Area?


chad2468emr

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I hope it's alright that I posted this topic in this section; I only chose this one because it seems a lot of folks in this section live in / around Orlando and similarly enjoy trying to grow palms suited for zones 10+ as I do despite being in 9b.

Originally I'm from the Adirondacks in NY, but after 7 years in South Florida enjoying being able to grow just about anything I wanted to outside, I took a brief hiatus from FL to NH where my husband was finishing up his residency after wrapping his doctoral studies in clinical psych. I had to give up just about all my palms that weren't already in the ground to friends and family prior to the move, (I plan on stealing any back that I can, haha) and now that I'm back in FL, though in a zone cooler, I want to pick back up where I left off and start growing some more tropical species in containers and hauling them inside whenever temps dip a little too low. 

All of the nurseries I've visited so far don't seem to have much besides queens, Christmas palms, bismarckias, arecas, foxtails, and pygmy dates. Though I tend to like more tropical species, I have a strange fascination with washies and it was even a struggle to find one of those which I found surprising in this area, though I managed to find one at Home Depot that I undoubtedly overpaid for, haha. I've swung by a few places that were basically a bunch of palms in pots in someone's backyard and they had fairly generic palms and their plants overall were just stuff that can typically be found at any Lowes or Home Depot. 

I'm south of Kissimmee and just north of Poinciana. Are there any nurseries in the greater Orlando area that will have some more "exotic" palm species that I can give a go at growing in containers? Or even any other tropicals on the rarer side; I love palms but I love tropicals overall as well so in general I'd just love to find a nursery with a good selection of things you don't typically see in this area. I don't mind a bit of a hike if it's nice enough to be worth the drive. In particular, at the moment I'd love to find a nice archontophoenix alexandrae and some sort of licuala. Is there any hope up here, or should I just plan on hiking all the way down to SFL for less generic palms? 

Any and all help is appreciated. :)

Thanks!

Former South Florida resident living in the Greater Orlando Area, zone 9b.

Constantly wishing I could still grow zone 10 palms worry-free, but also trying to appease my strange fixation with Washingtonias. 

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The names I have always gotten were Lucas Nursery and Green's.  Some of the Orlando folks like @palmsOrl, @Eric in Orlando, @Merlyn2220 and @pj_orlando_z9b would know a lot more about the area than I would though.

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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Lukas out in Oveido has a lot of stuff, but is generally very expensive.  They did have some big pots of Arenga Engleri out behind their main greenhouse, and they did have a few other unusual palms in that area.  I don't recall seeing an Alexandrae, but I wasn't looking for one.

Uncle Jutty's Nursery in Kissimmee sometimes has nice stuff, I remember seeing an Archontophoenix there in a ~25g pot for a reasonable price.  I don't recall what type it was.  I asked and the guy said "Oh you mean the coconut?  I don't know what kind it is."  I guess everything looks like a coconut to him.

I haven't been to Green's since January, so I am not sure what they have right now.  I have bought a lot of common palms like queens, pindos, foxtails, etc. from them.  They did have some pots of Phoenix Reclinata and various unknown hybrids (Lourieroi and others) in a section up the hill to the NW corner. 

I bought Licuala Peltata v. Sumawongii from Redlands Nursery on fleBay (redsny) and they showed up in great condition.  You may be able to grow that in the ground in Kissimmee, I am going to try it in the ground here next year.

By far the best place for exotics is MB Palms off of Boggy Creek Rd.  HOWEVER...he's not a retail nursery and doesn't like looky-lous.  He used to have listings on plantant.com but that website appears to be defunct.  I have no idea if they are still in business, the last time I bought stuff from him was at the Leu Gardens show in spring 2019.  But most of my "rare" palms came from there, like Copernicia Baileyana, Fallaensis, Licuala Grandis, Kerriodoxa Elegans, Dypsis Pembana, Allagoptera Caudescens and Beccariophoenix Alfredii.  If you know exactly what you want you could try stopping by there during the weekdays and see if they are open.  Bring cash and a list, buy and leave.  He's a nice guy, but he's got a business to run so be considerate of his time!  :D

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@kinzyjr @Merlyn2220

Thanks for the tips! 

I checked out Lukas and you weren’t lying about price.... there was a 3 gallon windmill going for $80 which is absurd. It was the only palm that interested me that was still small-ish, and also not your run of the mill Areca, Christmas, Queen, etc. palm. Everything else interesting was huge. Some nice B. Alfredii in 15-20 gal containers for a few hundred bucks. (They called them “Hardy Coconut Palms” which bugs me because they definitely are not.) And they had an L. Grandis that looked a little paler than it should in what I think was a 10 gal. pot or similar but they wanted $500 which isn’t unheard of but it looked a little too pale for me to feel comfortable dropping that $$$ on such a sensitive palm.    
 

I google-mapsed the area and found a nursery nearby called South Seminole and they had some interesting stuff at decent prices. A few things you don’t see everywhere (Or at least that I haven’t) like ribbon palms, sabal causarium, (it was full grown and amazing) and they had a gorgeous, large L. Grandis with 2-3 feet of trunk. The last of which I’m sure was well out of my budget, haha. I ended up grabbing a 3 gal pindo of all things for just $15! 
 

Definitely interested in checking out MB. Any idea how he typically runs on pricing? How small do his palms go? I’m currently renting so everything needs to be container friendly for now until we get a house in 2-3 years, and in most cases I would lose too much available space with a 15 or so gallon palm. 5-10 gal will be my max most likely, maybe less if it’s a species with large horizontal coverage. 
 

I’d hate to show up and waste his time when he could be off wholesaling to someone if I were to find out he’s only got huge palms for sale and the prices reflected that. Presently, I’ve got the following at the top of my list if you could give me some type of clue for what you’d expect him to ask.

  • Archontophoenix alexandrae 5-10 gal
  • Dypsis lastelliana 1-3 gal
  • Kentiopsis oliviformis 1-3 gal
  • Licuala grandis -1-3 gal
  • Beccariophoenix alfredii 5-10 gal
  • Mule Palm 5-10 gal 

Appreciate any feedback you can offer on that last part if you know. :) 

Former South Florida resident living in the Greater Orlando Area, zone 9b.

Constantly wishing I could still grow zone 10 palms worry-free, but also trying to appease my strange fixation with Washingtonias. 

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13 hours ago, chad2468emr said:

I google-mapsed the area and found a nursery nearby called South Seminole and they had some interesting stuff at decent prices. A few things you don’t see everywhere (Or at least that I haven’t) like ribbon palms, sabal causarium, (it was full grown and amazing) and they had a gorgeous, large L. Grandis with 2-3 feet of trunk. The last of which I’m sure was well out of my budget, haha. I ended up grabbing a 3 gal pindo of all things for just $15!

  • Archontophoenix alexandrae 5-10 gal
  • Dypsis lastelliana 1-3 gal
  • Kentiopsis oliviformis 1-3 gal
  • Licuala grandis -1-3 gal
  • Beccariophoenix alfredii 5-10 gal
  • Mule Palm 5-10 gal 

I went to South Seminole Nusery ~2 years ago and they didn't have anything interesting at all.  But I haven't been back since sometime in 2018, so I'll have to stop by sometime! 

Regarding MB prices, I bought a 2g Licuala Grandis for $35 and 6 Beccariophoenix Alfredii 3G for either $60 or 65.  The Alfredii were ~5 feet overall.  I have a 2+ year old price list that has Alexandrae 3G $8ea, Dypsis Lastelliana 15G $50ea, Kentiopsis Oliviformis 3G $20ea, Licuala Grandis 3G $30ea, B. Alfredii 3G $20ea, and Mules 3G $30ea.  I'm sure that they are not current prices, and they are wholesale prices off of plantant.

HD and Lowes have started carrying Mules and Pindos in 3G, at least some of the ones up on the North side of Orlando.  I was at the Lowe's on Narcoossee a few weeks ago but I don't recall if they had Mules.  The Hunter's Creek Lowe's was usually pretty well stocked on palms, they might have one too.  Oddly enough the Walmart near me had Pindos for $20 last fall.

Another two places you might try are Alfonso's Tree Farm on Curry Ford and Palm Gardens Nursery off of Judge Road.  I doubt they'd have anything really rare, but it's been over a year since I was over there.

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1 hour ago, Merlyn2220 said:

I went to South Seminole Nusery ~2 years ago and they didn't have anything interesting at all.  But I haven't been back since sometime in 2018, so I'll have to stop by sometime! 

I wouldn't say they were loaded with tremendously rare palms, but there had more than the typical fair and their prices were pretty good! Make sure you are pretty thorough when you walk around. They are surprising large and they had three or so sections with palms; one by the shade plants in the covered area towards the middle, one along the left if you're facing the back with tons of larger palms, (that's where I spotted the full sized S. Causarium) a section of smaller 3-7 gallon palms in the rear left, and a section in the rear middle. There were also quite a few palms randomly dispersed throughout the nursery, so it's worth a good through walk though. 

1 hour ago, Merlyn2220 said:

Regarding MB prices, I bought a 2g Licuala Grandis for $35 and 6 Beccariophoenix Alfredii 3G for either $60 or 65.  The Alfredii were ~5 feet overall.  I have a 2+ year old price list that has Alexandrae 3G $8ea, Dypsis Lastelliana 15G $50ea, Kentiopsis Oliviformis 3G $20ea, Licuala Grandis 3G $30ea, B. Alfredii 3G $20ea, and Mules 3G $30ea.  I'm sure that they are not current prices, and they are wholesale prices off of plantant.

This prices are certainly lower than I'd ever heard of! Aside from a 1 gal L. Grandis off of ebay for just $20 or so dollars along with a similarly sized strap-leaf C. Umbraculifera at the same price that I left with family before my move from SFL up north, and they have since neglected them and let them die... They probably would have held on better for a year indoors up north if I had given it a shot. Ebay's prices seem a lot higher than they were last time I was in FL... I guess palm fanatics have caught on and so have the sellers, haha. 

At any rate, I will definitely be making an appointment and heading over to MB once I have recovered from the post-move money purge and I have $500 or so in cash that I can blow through. 

1 hour ago, Merlyn2220 said:

HD and Lowes have started carrying Mules and Pindos in 3G, at least some of the ones up on the North side of Orlando.  I was at the Lowe's on Narcoossee a few weeks ago but I don't recall if they had Mules.  The Hunter's Creek Lowe's was usually pretty well stocked on palms, they might have one too.  Oddly enough the Walmart near me had Pindos for $20 last fall.

I never see anything like that at HD and Lowes. Always Christmas, Areca, Washingtonias, Queens, Roebellini, bottle palms, and a few coconuts. I stopped by a few places up north when I went to Lukas and S. Seminole and they didn't have anything outside the usual fare, but I will continue to give that a shot!

1 hour ago, Merlyn2220 said:

Another two places you might try are Alfonso's Tree Farm on Curry Ford and Palm Gardens Nursery off of Judge Road.  I doubt they'd have anything really rare, but it's been over a year since I was over there.

I will definitely give those a shot as well! Always willing to check out a new nursery, haha. 

Thank you so much for all your help! MB definitely seems like the place to go, but until I can commit to a larger purchase I will keep checking out random nurseries here and there to get a feel for the area. Before I know it, I'm sure my palm collection will be even larger than before I left SFL, which is saying something, haha. 

Former South Florida resident living in the Greater Orlando Area, zone 9b.

Constantly wishing I could still grow zone 10 palms worry-free, but also trying to appease my strange fixation with Washingtonias. 

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You could also check out Brentwood Nursery on Narcoossee, they are fairly large and at one point had some Beccariophoenix on the S side rows.  I forgot about that one, I haven't been there in about a year.

If you are looking for a Corypha, I think PT member ChuckG may still have an Umbraculifera.  I bought his Lecomtei in May, but he may still have one or two of the Umbraculifera left. 

Thanks for the info on South Seminole, I'll have to stop by when I am over that direction!

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