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Radermachera Sinica (Chinese Doll Plant) growing in London & cooler climates


UK_Palms
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This is certainly an interesting one... a huge Chinese Doll plant/tree growing in northeast London, complete with flowers. A quick bit of research suggests they are hardy from zones 10-12 and typically used as a houseplant, however I suspect they are a bit hardier than that actually, given this particular area of London is probably 9b, although it could be a 10a zone there at street level. This thing must be at least 25-30 foot in height and it seems to be flowering okay as well. You can clearly see the white trumpets on it...

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Does anyone know what the growing range is for these in north America? As in like the cut-off points on the east and west coasts for it? I haven't seen this in Europe before and I am trying to determine it's true hardiness rating. Maybe these are actually zone 9 trees? Nonetheless the size of this specimen is pretty impressive if they are supposedly cut back to ground level by 20F in true subtropical climates. It means it hasn't got anywhere near that cold in that part of London for years, if not decades. I don't know enough about this particular species to assess the true hardiness rating though. 

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Dry-summer Oceanic climate (9a)

Average annual precipitation - 18.7 inches : Average annual sunshine hours - 1725

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7 hours ago, UK_Palms said:

This is certainly an interesting one... a huge Chinese Doll plant/tree growing in northeast London, complete with flowers. A quick bit of research suggests they are hardy from zones 10-12 and typically used as a houseplant, however I suspect they are a bit hardier than that actually, given this particular area of London is probably 9b, although it could be a 10a zone there at street level. This thing must be at least 25-30 foot in height and it seems to be flowering okay as well. You can clearly see the white trumpets on it...

306531721_Screenshot2022-01-30at06_55_02.thumb.png.77d36047fad6526bb350258ce767f2b1.png

FJYBwXpXEAICGtV.thumb.jpg.2388202e4bf1058b6122fd079815a304.jpg

1331224784_Screenshot2022-01-30at06_53_47.thumb.png.18a70103836ea1c01905943cd4b61c94.png

 

Does anyone know what the growing range is for these in north America? As in like the cut-off points on the east and west coasts for it? I haven't seen this in Europe before and I am trying to determine it's true hardiness rating. Maybe these are actually zone 9 trees? Nonetheless the size of this specimen is pretty impressive if they are supposedly cut back to ground level by 20F in true subtropical climates. It means it hasn't got anywhere near that cold in that part of London for years, if not decades. I don't know enough about this particular species to assess the true hardiness rating though. 

Guarantee  they are hardier than zone 10, esp once they gain some size..  More like somewhere in zone 9 as a small  to good - sized  tree that is damaged / knocked back a little occasionally... Maybe borderline 9a/8b -in the right spot-, as a bush that can get knocked to the roots / almost the roots, but can reach 8-10+ft by the following summer if it gets lots of heat..

Not sure about anywhere back east or in the south  but in California, some big ones ( if they're still around ) in the Bay Area, particularly the east side of San Francisco Bay .. Hayward / Fremont / Berkley..  While listed as a zone 9- 10 area, prox. to San Francisco / ..often cool or chilly wind blowing in off the bay itself keeps summers quite mild more often than not.. Not quite as chilled out as San Francisco itself can be, but doesn't get quite as warm ..as often.. during the summer as where i lived in San Jose, or other areas around the Bay Area that see much less direct influence from the Bay.. 

May still be some growing in/ around Santa Cruz, small town directly on the coast, southwest of San Jose.. and in older neighborhoods around the rest of Monterey Bay.. While summers aren't " hot " there, is a bit warmer - through more of the summer- there than further north. Some interesting tropical stuff can survive there that will pout in San Francisco.. 

Wouldn't doubt there are specimens ..likely big ones, around S. Cal as well. Obviously milder than the Bay Area though.  Furthest north in CA. i can think they might grow outdoors  would be Sacramento..  Not sure they'd survive winters in the Pac. N.W. as trees ( prob. not )

A link to more info from past discussion of these :

 

Edited by Silas_Sancona
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That rademachera is a monster.

I remember one in Tenerife (not a young one ) which was only 3/4 ts tall.

A couple of months ago I spotted one in the surroundings, but again only 3 mts tall. I´ll take a picture someday.

What do you British  feed your trees in? :hmm:

I think it is a 9 usda zone tree.

By the way, those pods hanging from the branches are full of flat small seeds, which sprout quite easily.

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They are not that tender in the Houston-ish area. I used to see large ones occasionally that presumably weren't set back much/at all by low 20s/near 20F about a decade ago. Of course they also grow lightning fast so any damage is quickly replaced. 

Edited by Xenon
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Jonathan

Katy, TX (Zone 9a)

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2 minutes ago, Xenon said:

They are not that tender in the Houston-ish area. I used to see large ones occasionally that presumably weren't set back much/at all by low 20s/near 20F about a decade ago. Of course they also grow lightning fast so any damage is quickly replaced. 

Do you know if any survived the February 2021 event in the Houston area? I know Houston went down to -12C / 10F and I think you guys had a high of -6C / 20F one day too, right? Were they just defoliated pretty much and able to regrow their leaves the next summer, or did they get cut right back to ground level?

I'm assuming they would still regrow from ground level after a freak 8a winter even? I wonder what temperature it takes to kill them outright? There seems to be quite a bit of conflicting information regarding hardiness and zone ratings. Evidently they are hardier than first thought though, contrary to what I found on Google.

Dry-summer Oceanic climate (9a)

Average annual precipitation - 18.7 inches : Average annual sunshine hours - 1725

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26 minutes ago, Xenon said:

They are not that tender in the Houston-ish area. I used to see large ones occasionally that presumably weren't set back much/at all by low 20s/near 20F about a decade ago. Of course they also grow lightning fast so any damage is quickly replaced. 

There's pictures - albeit a bit out dated - on Dave's Garden of specimens of these covered in snow and surviving it  from somewhere in S. TX.  


 

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1 hour ago, Silas_Sancona said:

There's pictures - albeit a bit out dated - on Dave's Garden of specimens of these covered in snow and surviving it  from somewhere in S. TX.  


 

Yes that was back in 2004 (first time I saw snow too), but it wasn't very cold temp-wise. Barely below 30F for much of the region including Houston and it warmed up quickly. It wasn't cold enough to kill or knock back zone 10 stuff significantly. 

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Jonathan

Katy, TX (Zone 9a)

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1 hour ago, UK_Palms said:

Do you know if any survived the February 2021 event in the Houston area? I know Houston went down to -12C / 10F and I think you guys had a high of -6C / 20F one day too, right? Were they just defoliated pretty much and able to regrow their leaves the next summer, or did they get cut right back to ground level?

I'm assuming they would still regrow from ground level after a freak 8a winter even? I wonder what temperature it takes to kill them outright? There seems to be quite a bit of conflicting information regarding hardiness and zone ratings. Evidently they are hardier than first thought though, contrary to what I found on Google.

It was anywhere from 10-17F depending on the part of town. I haven't checked on them but I suspect they are similar to the "cold hardy" Mexican avocados based on past observations, these froze to the main trunk (some as high as 10-15ft above the ground). 

No dicots really ever truly "die" here, certainly not china doll. I had mango, jackfruit, and shrubs native to Malaysia all come back from the ground. I've actually considered using china doll as a cold hardy canopy tree but some of the cons are the invasive roots and weak structure. 

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Jonathan

Katy, TX (Zone 9a)

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Now my focus has been taken off the palms, I am finding all sorts of bizarre trees in London. Loquat's are a surprisingly common sight in London nowadays and this particular one is loaded with fruit. It's a favourite with the London parakeets. On Wikipedia it says they won't set fruit if winter temperatures drop below -1C (30F) apparently? Any truth in that?

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I have seen lots of big fruiting Loquats on Google street view around London however I cannot remember where they are now as I did not screenshot them back then.

 

Also is this Santa Catalina Ironwood from the California channel islands? 

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Edited by UK_Palms
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Dry-summer Oceanic climate (9a)

Average annual precipitation - 18.7 inches : Average annual sunshine hours - 1725

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3 minutes ago, UK_Palms said:

Now my focus has been taken off the palms, I am finding all sorts of bizarre trees in London. Loquat's are a surprisingly common sight in London nowadays and this particular one is loaded with fruit. It's a favourite with the London parakeets. On Wikipedia it says they won't set fruit if winter temperatures drop below -1C (30F) apparently? Any truth in that?

It all depends on what stage of fruit development is exposed to what temperature, but any winter 20F(about-7C) or above should produce fruit.

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Ironwood and loquat are reliably hardy in zone 8b. We have lots around here in Portland. Some massive specimens actually. And loquat do fruit here but not reliably. 
 

The China doll tree I have never heard of before, pretty sure we don’t have them in these parts. 

Edited by Chester B
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Looks like Catalina / Santa Cruz Island Ironwood, Lyonothamnus floribundus ssp. aspleniifolius to me.. Interesting to see them used so widely there..

Loquats will definitely fruit in zone 9.. and semi- reliably in 8b as @Chester B  and @amh  have mentioned.. Some do fruit better than others, but looks like the ones you have found there around London are more than productive..  Best tasting fruit i have had came off a specimen growing wild along a creek back in San Jose..  Other than getting water from the creek, gets no other care.. Fruit was quite sweet for a Loquat.

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I don't understand how Catalina Ironwood(or ceanothus for that matter) do so well in rainy London.  Here in California they need to be kept dry in the summer months or they will die-how do they survive and thrive over there with those rain patterns?

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San Fernando Valley, California

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1 hour ago, Peter said:

I don't understand how Catalina Ironwood(or ceanothus for that matter) do so well in rainy London.  Here in California they need to be kept dry in the summer months or they will die-how do they survive and thrive over there with those rain patterns?

London and southern England is generally a dry-summer climate and it really isn’t that wet in general. I notice March - September is the ‘dry’ period for me here. The average precipitation for London is only about 21 inches (below global average), but it is as low as 18 inches in the eastern suburbs. If I’m not mistaken, London has seen as little at 9 inches in a year before and any month can be totally dry, or pretty wet. It can vary quite a bit year on year. Rainfall seems to be extremely erratic, inconsistent and unreliable nowadays. High pressure Atlantic blocks can prevent any rainfall for 3-4 weeks in southeastern England, which we are experiencing now. 

January is normally one of my wettest months (in line with the dry summer, wet winter) but this January is about to end on 0.2 inches here. No rainfall at all in the extended forecast for February either, which may end up as another dry month. November just gone only saw 0.1 inches and April 2021 had no rain whatsoever. May 2020, April 2019, June 2018, October 2017, April 2017, July 2016 etc all had 0.2 inches or less. So a lot of ‘dry’ months in there. April 2021, May 2020 and June 2018 had no rain whatsoever for me here on the outskirts of London. All spring/summer months. Probably explains why there are 30 foot Washingtonia Filifera in London that were planted tiny 10-15 years ago. London is definitely gloomy during the winter, but “rainy London” as you say is a bit of a stereotype, evidenced by a lot of the stuff I am posting. It’s evidently not as wet as people accentuate. 


Barely a cloud in the sky today…

Dry as hell here with 0.2 inches of rain for January, in what is usually the 3rd wettest month of the year after October and December. London doesn’t really get frosts, but the lack of rainfall will certainly help the more tender stuff survive any cold snaps. 

Edited by UK_Palms

Dry-summer Oceanic climate (9a)

Average annual precipitation - 18.7 inches : Average annual sunshine hours - 1725

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Here's some of that London Ironwood...

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Is this Santa Catalina Ironwood? If it is, then it is the biggest one I have seen. Very old and possibly in decline.

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There's another big one nearby in Twickenham in someone's back yard supposedly. I think this is it? The street view is almost 4 years old now and taken right after the last 'bad' freeze in Feb 2018. Hard to tell as the image isn't great. 

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This looks like one as well...?

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Kew Gardens Ironwood back in 2011?

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Kew specimen looks like this now...

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Street view isn't great on this one...

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These are all southeast London Ironwoods. None as striking as the first one I uploaded. There's probably loads out there lurking...

Edited by UK_Palms
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Dry-summer Oceanic climate (9a)

Average annual precipitation - 18.7 inches : Average annual sunshine hours - 1725

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Central London is sometimes surprising in terms of plants from much warmer climates. I've seen several Washingtonias, Phoenix Canariensis and even some small Kentias. February 2021 was cold and there was a week when temperatures were close to 0ºC most of the time. Some potted Kentias I remember seeing during those uninspiring lockdown walks in Shoreditch survived being covered in snow. Keeping track of those plants “cheered me up” during those dull times. They gave me faith :lol:
 

I've been actually growing for a few years Protea, Banksia, Cymbidium orchids, Strelitzia reginae,… in pots in London and they well alive and keep flowering year after year. Although this probably deserves a post on its own one day. 

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iko.

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Good morning to you from across the pond here Casa Grande Arizona.  I've always been very interested in palms growing over in the UK, and I've even read about palms growing over in Scotland; and maybe even small parts of Ireland even. If I'm correct,  The Isle of Wight is it considered zone 9b, or zone 10a perhaps? I'm asking because (in relation to London, I've figured the same plants could be grown there, due to your marine climate, marine subtropical perhaps; if that exists) I'm curious to what feather palms that can grow there successfully? Canary island date palms, Chilean wine palm; pygmy date palms just to name a few. Here in Casa Grande, we're about a little over an hour ride south of Phoenix, and almost as hot during our summers. Although, 5 to 7 degrees cooler, but still plenty hot. Although,  here in the Sonoran desert region; we've been down to -2 and can drop as low as -4 during the night in winter; but the days are usually 14 to 22 degrees. So our days are pretty comfortable where the washys and even pygmy date palms do okay,even the commercial date palms, figs, citru; and pomegranate trees do nicely. Bougainvillea thrives here making it look like Florida with what we can grow here. Phoenix is even zone 10a if not a 9b if I'm correct due to their heat island effect. Here in Casa Grande,  I believe we're even zone 8b or 9a, I'm even taking a wild stab at possibly 9b but that might be iffy. T cut the chase, in relation to your zone, is it mostly rain in the winter you get? Or has there been measurable snow there? We haven't had any here, but last winter and winter of 2020 Scottsdale, just a short ways out from Phoenix, they received measurable amounts of snow, from a trace; to less than an inch of which is rare for them. Anywho, I'm very curious to what can be grown there successfully; and Scottland if you ever get over that way. Happy growing, and until then. 

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On 1/31/2022 at 6:58 PM, UK_Palms said:

Is this Santa Catalina Ironwood? If it is, then it is the biggest one I have seen. Very old and possibly in decline.

1849317019_Screenshot2022-01-31at23_05_18.thumb.png.24615b870143b1cdb652dc4c7417a7fa.png

1752282291_Screenshot2022-01-31at23_09_57.thumb.png.0bb2528f60d0783d5f527e5aefc1b5aa.png

There's another big one nearby in Twickenham in someone's back yard supposedly. I think this is it? The street view is almost 4 years old now and taken right after the last 'bad' freeze in Feb 2018. Hard to tell as the image isn't great. 

32338190_Screenshot2022-01-31at23_18_19.thumb.png.ed6fc0d999d9713e01c1c56974dbbb39.png

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These are both Pines. Not familiar with what you typically see planted there, maybe something out of the ordinary from NA or Asia. 

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@greenthumb7 Hey man, I’m not sure if you have seen these threads but I would check them out. The first is the top 50 London exotics tour. Lots of big CIDP’s & Washingtonia especially, as well as citrus, Bougainvillea and Norfolk Island Pines. Pretty much everything, like 99%, was planted at tiny sizes in London but has grown considerably. The biggest CIDP has gone from 1 foot in height to 40+ foot now. Nothing gets protected in winter.

 

I also visited the Isle of Wight last year and made a thread, which also showcases the largest Washingtonia stand in the UK. That stand was planted tiny at like 2 foot in height about 10-15 years ago. CIDP’s and Washies seem to do especially well in southern England. The entire south coast is littered with palms now.  It’s definitely worth a check if you haven’t seen this thread yet…

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You would be hard pressed to find much, if anything, growing in Scotland however. The odd Butia maybe, as well as Trachy’s & Chamaerops, but I don’t know of any long term CIDP’s or Washies, or anything like that in Scotland, which is at the same latitude as Alaska! Even London is at the same latitude as Saskatoon, Canada, so it’s insane that all these palms even grow here! London and southern England is well and truly cemented on the palm map now though. It makes you wonder what it will look like in just another decade from now!

Dry-summer Oceanic climate (9a)

Average annual precipitation - 18.7 inches : Average annual sunshine hours - 1725

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