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Growing a Canary Island Date Palm in New York City


Nomad NYC
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Hello! This is my very first post in the PalmTalk!  I've lurked here on and off over the years, but only recently joined this forum.

This new thread will document my "insane" project of trying to grow a Canary Island Date Palm ( aka Phoenix Canariensis ) here in Southern Queens, New York City -  currently in  Zone 7B.  I've always  interested in growing exotic types of plants all my life.  But I first became aware of this particular palm after managing to germinate some seeds that I picked up from in front of a very big pot-bound Canary Island Date Palm that happened to be in front of  the United States Botanic Garden (USBG),  while I was visiting  Washington DC back in 1994.  For around the period of twenty years, I grew a CIDP in a  big pot,  and  despite it becoming  quite large , it didn't flower so  I never found out what sex it was.. Unfortunately in late spring of 2015, I took it outside, as usual for the season,  and it suddenly died during a brief freak heat wave.

     I then attempted to grow Canary Island Date Palms again the next year, from seeds purchased from RarePalmSeeds.com, but out of ten of those seeds, only two germinated, and of those, only one seedling survived.  Then in the following year, in 2017, during a visit to San Francisco,  I collected a bunch of seeds from a CIDP at the southeast corner of Union Square , which when I returned to New York, I promptly planted , with most of them easily germinating .  From those seedlings  now consist my current crop of Canary Island Date Palms  ( about four of those palms ) but I had so many previously, and didn't have the space , that I gave most of those palms away .

During the beginning of the Pandemic, I was stuck at home, watching more YouTube videos than I would normally,  and happened to come across  a few Palm enthusiast "Zone Pushing"  palms in places that were not their original optimal growing area. So I figured, why don't I try to do that too!  I decided to  try and plant several varieties of cold hardy-ish  palms  that  was growing at the time, outside in ground  - two CIDP, and four Sabal Palmettos at my house here in Queens, and two CIDP , two Sabal Palmettos and two Sabal Minors at my sister's place in Brooklyn.  Of all the Canary Island Date Palms that I planted in ground in 2020, only the one Palm that was germinated from that seed from RarePalmSeeds.com was cold hardy enough to be able to survive so far (  All of the San Francisco seed germinated palms planted in ground did not survive the winter of 2020-2021).

Following are some of the initial pictures that I took to document this Canary Island Date Palm project -    

 

Original planting location  -  June 2020:

0BDQZd.jpg

 

Fall  2021 -  first full year in ground at new, final location:

a5yHMM.jpg

 

Here is my  Winter 2021 - 2022  protection for the Canary Island Date Palm:

S6cu5n.jpg

 

March 2022 ( Spring , after removing winter protection )

B8QkCz.jpg

PmbffO.jpg

Yes, I admit, it doesn't look so hot right now , but it should improve when the weather warms up ..

That's it for now - I will try to update this thread monthly - and thanks for taking the time to read about this crazy endeavor of mine!

Edited by Nomad NYC
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Welcome to the forum!  Looks good!  Did the Sabal minors not make it?  Why not try a Trachy also since it is the easiest trunked palm to do?  A little heat in that box maybe?

Youtube (TN Tropics) 60+ In-ground 7A palms - (Sabal) minor(7 large + 27 seedling size),  brazoria(1) , birmingham(4), louisiana(5), palmetto (1)  (Trachycarpus) fortunei(7), wagnerianus(1),  Rhapidophyllum hystrix(7),  15' Mule-Butia x Syagrus(1),  Blue Butia capitata(1) +Tons of tropical plants.  Recent Yearly Lows 12F, 11F, 18F, 16F, 3F, 3F, 6F, 3F, 1F, 16F, 17F, 6F, 8F

 

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Thanks for the welcome! As for the Sabal Minors, they are doing really great over at their Brooklyn location, will post about them in another thread soon!

As for Trachy's , I actually have several varieties that I've grown from seed that I haven't planted out in ground yet, but plan to in the future

In regards to my Canary Island Date Palm winter protection box, yes, I could have put heating cables , etc. but I wanted to experiment to see if it could manage to survive the winter in my zone without supplemental warmth, and so far, it has . But my San Francisco seed sourced CIDP most definitively  would have survived the previous winter if they had extra warmth  haha

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I'm pretty sure you will need supplemental heat on cold winter mornings there , but so far so good . You'll learn a lot on this forum about all the ways you can protect stuff and plant . 

Looks like a nice microclimate there .

Will

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Cool post! I am also from NYC and I am gonna try to zone push a Trachy in either a large pot or planter box, and I will be protecting it.

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Trachycarpus fortunei that was protrected with fabric and lights, for January-February.

E76AA306-0367-4DA6-A175-FA736D9E08D5.jpeg

Edited by oasis371
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  • 2 months later...

June update on my crazy ongoing experiment in "Zone Pushing" in the Big Apple...

Ever since the late spring weather has become warmer and warmer here, my little Canary Island Date Palm is beginning to regrow some of the foliage it mostly lost during the wintertime:

1c9J72.jpg

fxAtvl.jpg

HBxyvB.jpg

( Just got a big bag of that PalmGain stuff -  Applied some to it last weekend - will see what happens when I finally start giving my palms some fertilizer for a change! )

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Good luck! No matter what someone is growing its always fun to see the results from zone pushing. Here in Texas it's easy to grow CIDP's so I try to zone push Foxtail Palms, Flamethrower Palms, and Archy's. In Florida where those Palms are easily grown people try to grow Lipstick palms. I think plant people always love a good challenge! 

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I planted this trachy about 9 years ago. They were 4 ft when i purchased them from a grower in NC. There at least 12 feet now. Gave it protection the first 3 years. It seems like they like the cold now. It seems to grow all year round!!! I live in the Bronx. Not sure if theres many like it in the NYC area? Im pretty sure theres some at the botanical gargens, but of course there in green houses! You cant go wrong with windmill palms. Good luck

34439.jpeg

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3 hours ago, bronxboynyc71 said:

I planted this trachy about 9 years ago. They were 4 ft when i purchased them from a grower in NC. There at least 12 feet now. Gave it protection the first 3 years. It seems like they like the cold now. It seems to grow all year round!!! I live in the Bronx. Not sure if theres many like it in the NYC area? Im pretty sure theres some at the botanical gargens, but of course there in green houses! You cant go wrong with windmill palms. Good luck

34439.jpeg

Wow! Looks better than any windmill ive seen down here! Seriously, thats a beautiful palm.

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Palms - 4 S. romanzoffiana, 2 W. bifurcata, 6 W. robusta, 3 R. rivularis, 1 B. odorata, 1 B. nobilis, 2 P. roebelenii, 2 S. palmetto, 1 H. lagenicaulis, 1 A. merillii, 3 P. sylvestris, 1 Butia x Jubaea, 1 Butia x Jubaea x Butia x Syagrus, 1 X Butiagrus nabonnandii, 2 L. chinensis, 1 Cocos nucifera 

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  • 3 months later...

Sorry for the lack of recent updates, - I've been too busy enjoying the summer!

So now that the season is winding down,  time to show the current state of my Canary Island Date Palm.

August pictures:

1XXJzI.jpg   w7IALE.jpg

 

Early September:

MaUhIK.jpg   Y2l1Er.jpg

Looking pretty good!

I'm happy to see that this palm managed to recover from most of the leaves defoliating during winter - the extra palm fertilizer should have helped.

The first frost date in my area is about November 17th, so I figure I'll put the protective box over it around then.  Hopefully time enough for it to grow a bit more before it gets too cold here.

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@Nomad NYC! Nice to meet you and do note my PM (private message).

I concur with @bronxboynyc71 and suggest you try some Trachycarpus, as well as others like Rhapidophyllum etc.

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Let's keep our forum fun and friendly.

Any data in this post is provided 'as is' and in no event shall I be liable for any damages, including, without limitation, damages resulting from accuracy or lack thereof, insult, or lost profits or revenue, claims by third parties or for other similar costs, or any special, incidental, or consequential damages arising out of my opinion or the use of this data. The accuracy or reliability of the data is not guaranteed or warranted in any way and I disclaim liability of any kind whatsoever, including, without limitation, liability for quality, performance, merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose arising out of the use, or inability to use my data. Other terms may apply.

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2 hours ago, DoomsDave said:

I concur with @bronxboynyc71 and suggest you try some Trachycarpus, as well as others like Rhapidophyllum etc.

Nice to virtually meet you too ,  DoomsDave!

   Actually,  I do have several varieties of Trachys Palms , all of which I have managed to grow from seeds - Takil , Princep/ Nainital Hybrids ( still trying to successfully germinate regular Princep seeds though ),  the standard Fortunei , and it's variants - a half dozen Nainitals and a Wagneriianus.

   They are all  pretty much still straplings in pots , so I'm going to wait a year or two for them to get a bit bigger before putting them in the ground.

(  I've never been a fan of the needle palms - even though they would probably do really great in my yard  )

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CIDP are a very hardy palm when they have a trunk. They have been documented to survive -10f(on back to back nights) here in NM. 

With that said, they require a long growing season to recover and would also go into decline if defoliated yearly(unlike a Washingtonia). 

So they are extremely hardy(they laughed at 2 nights of nearly 0f in El Paso). But that comes with a long recovery requiring a long growing season.  That is undoable 200 miles north in Albuquerque.

I am talking unprotected. 

Good luck!  They can take some extreme cold, just not yearly.

So in case you lose protection for a bad night or two, don't give up. 

 

Edited by jwitt
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13 hours ago, jwitt said:

CIDP are a very hardy palm when they have a trunk. They have been documented to survive -10f(on back to back nights) here in NM. 

With that said, they require a long growing season to recover and would also go into decline if defoliated yearly(unlike a Washingtonia). 

So they are extremely hardy(they laughed at 2 nights of nearly 0f in El Paso). But that comes with a long recovery requiring a long growing season.  That is undoable 200 miles north in Albuquerque.

I am talking unprotected. 

Good luck!  They can take some extreme cold, just not yearly.

So in case you lose protection for a bad night or two, don't give up. 

 

They may survive there in NM due to how dry it is, but they seem to always look like crap with tiny, unhealthy crowns, with scraggly fronds, even after the long hot summer. They never properly have a chance to recover from defoliation, which usually takes 2 years to fully recover. That would put me off planting them. What is the nicest CIDP in NM or west Texas? Are there any with full, pristine crowns? Just curious?

Dry-summer Oceanic climate (9a)

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

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2 hours ago, UK_Palms said:

They may survive there in NM due to how dry it is, but they seem to always look like crap with tiny, unhealthy crowns, with scraggly fronds, even after the long hot summer. They never properly have a chance to recover from defoliation, which usually takes 2 years to fully recover. That would put me off planting them. What is the nicest CIDP in NM or west Texas? Are there any with full, pristine crowns? Just curious?

They all have puny crowns and die within 2-3 years. Never able to overcome decline. 

Now you believe they survive? Less than 72hrs ago you claimed that was impossible.  And if you think "dry" is the reason for survival, your exposing your lack of knowledge. 

The hardiness of this palm has been rewritten from what had been known, in both dry and wetter climates due to events in 2011 and 2021. 

I know this won't satisfy your request as I would not call this pristine due to some dead leaves, but at the end of the day, fools expose themselves.

 

 

 

 

dscf0030_4.jpg

Edited by jwitt
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36 minutes ago, jwitt said:

They all have puny crowns and die within 2-3 years. Never able to overcome decline. 

Now you believe they survive? Less than 72hrs ago you claimed that was impossible.  And if you think "dry" is the reason for survival, your exposing your lack of knowledge. 

The hardiness of this palm has been rewritten from what had been known, in both dry and wetter climates due to events in 2011 and 2021. 

I know this won't satisfy your request as I would not call this pristine due to some dead leaves, but at the end of the day, fools expose themselves.

dscf0030_4.jpg


It’s ironic that you are calling me a fool and saying I commented on this 72 hours ago, when my first comment in this thread was actually only 2 hours ago, which you just quoted. So you are either delusional or confusing me with someone else?

Most of us know that the hardiness of CIDP’s has been understated, following the Feb 2021 Texas freeze. I was just saying that the crowns always usually look like crap when they are subjected to severe freezes and never get a chance to properly recover in zones 8a or below.

That isn’t a bad looking CIDP, but where is that photo from exactly? Like what part of New Mexico? I would like to look it up on Google maps to see how it has fared over the years. Unless it was planted big already?

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Dry-summer Oceanic climate (9a)

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

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1 hour ago, UK_Palms said:


It’s ironic that you are calling me a fool and saying I commented on this 72 hours ago, when my first comment in this thread was actually only 2 hours ago, which you just quoted. So you are either delusional or confusing me with someone else?

Most of us know that the hardiness of CIDP’s has been understated, following the Feb 2021 Texas freeze. I was just saying that the crowns always usually look like crap when they are subjected to severe freezes and never get a chance to properly recover in zones 8a or below.

That isn’t a bad looking CIDP, but where is that photo from exactly? Like what part of New Mexico? I would like to look it up on Google maps to see how it has fared over the years. Unless it was planted big already?

Fool, we know your game.  "Impossible, the palms were replaced, station reading were incorrect, palms don't look pristine, owner cut the leaves off," etc..  All this on a post on CIDP's surviving -20c on different continents.  One with even back to back nights of -20c. 

It's an excellent post with amazing pictures and data.  

I was mistaken on the 72 hrs, it was slightly less than a year ago. Sorry about that.

The post.  

https://www.palmtalk.org/forum/topic/70522-jubaea-or-phoenix-which-one-is-hardier/

 

 

Screenshot_20220916-103619.png

Screenshot_20220916-102749.png

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1 hour ago, jwitt said:

Fool, we know your game.  "Impossible, the palms were replaced, station reading were incorrect, palms don't look pristine, owner cut the leaves off," etc..  All this on a post on CIDP's surviving -20c on different continents.  One with even back to back nights of -20c. 

It's an excellent post with amazing pictures and data.  

I was mistaken on the 72 hrs, it was slightly less than a year ago. Sorry about that.

The post.  

https://www.palmtalk.org/forum/topic/70522-jubaea-or-phoenix-which-one-is-hardier/

 

I don't know what this 'game' is that you are referring to, but I am just here for a rational discussion about CIDP hardiness. Also there is a big difference between posts made 12 months ago and the supposed posts from 72 hours ago, which you were alleging. Even still my position has not really changed much on CIDP hardiness.

I am not doubting that CIDP can survive extremely low temperatures, but my point still stands that they will never look even half good if they are in zone 8a or below where they receive severe freezes every winter. Like they can survive, but the crowns will never recover properly in time before the next major freeze the following winter.

Also the claims of CIDP being able to come back from -25C are dubious at best. Even if the Alamogordo airport station actually got that cold, the CIDP's near the diner probably never got colder than -20C at the absolute worst. Plus they could have been protected too, since they are fairly small. I mean it is highly unlikely that a CIDP would survive -20C to -25C temps. Let alone an actual -25C reading. Even Trachycarpus Fortunei is getting killed dead by those temps usually.

I know that one or 2 CIDP's in sheltered locations up against buildings managed to come back from about -18C in central Dallas during the Feb 2021 freeze, but that is really pushing the upper limit in my opinion. I still think -20C is the absolute limit for CIDP and even that is really pushing it, even in a dry, desert climate. Sorry, but I have to refute the -25C claims.

Also I'm still waiting on the street view location for that biggish New Mexico CIDP that you posted...?

Dry-summer Oceanic climate (9a)

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

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If anybody is interested, here is a palmtalk posting on CIDP hardiness.  Interesting read with confirmation from 2 continents.  Good pics and data.

Jubeaua/CIDP hardiness

 

I wish the NY poster good luck and keep us updated. Nice way to learn. 

 

These are the documented back to back -10f survivors in Alamogordo NM.  Covered in the link above. Maybe even cover a fools concern about good looking palms.

image.jpeg.ffb74c56bdf548d5f55803373850dd60 (1).jpeg

Edited by jwitt
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1 hour ago, UK_Palms said:

 

I don't know what this 'game' is that you are referring to, but I am just here for a rational discussion about CIDP hardiiness

I never called you a fool until you lied and said I did. I said fools expose themselves. 

Post above has the link to what you are looking for concerning CIDP hardiness. 

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On 4/1/2022 at 1:01 AM, Nomad NYC said:

Of all the Canary Island Date Palms that I planted in ground in 2020, only the one Palm that was germinated from that seed from RarePalmSeeds.com was cold hardy enough to be able to survive so far (  All of the San Francisco seed germinated palms planted in ground did not survive the winter of 2020-2021).

Interesting observation. This brings up a hot topic of origin of the seeds again

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18 hours ago, jwitt said:

I never called you a fool until you lied and said I did. I said fools expose themselves. 

Post above has the link to what you are looking for concerning CIDP hardiness. 

I have no idea what this 'lie' is that you are referring to above, but making out that CIDP's will come back from -25C for people is misleading and disingenuous. In NYC for instance, CIDP's are going to get killed dead by -10C due to the higher water table and longer winter. -8C and snow may even be enough to kill them in NYC.

A one off, and slightly dubious/unreliable case of two CIDP's surviving temps of -20 to -25C in NM, does not suddenly make CIDP hardy down to -25C now. As I have previously stated, the extreme end of the spectrum for survival is likely -20C under very dry conditions. Even that is really pushing it however and 99% of CIDP's probably won't survive -20C.

Until you can actually guarantee the Alamogordo specimens legit experienced -25C there and also weren't protected, I would say the Dallas survivors that came back from about -18C are the current verified benchmark for CIDP's survival limits. As I said though, I would round the absolute limit up to -20C under dry conditions.

Dry-summer Oceanic climate (9a)

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

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@MSX That specimen isn't too bad. There is only one street view update on it from 2013. It probably gets burnt quite badly most winters, especially when it was smaller. 

751599392_Screenshot2022-09-17at18_17_51.thumb.png.38d2af331c923109cfd1db0adcc8c2a5.png

 

There are a lot of Robusta looking Washingtonia around Alamogordo too, so there is no way it is going down to -20C to -25C. I think those two -10F readings on back to back nights are a bit suspicious. I doubt it even dropped much below -15C in Alamogordo now. I know the all time record is -26C many moons ago, but those palms haven't seen anywhere near that cold. Robusta dominant Washies aren't going to survive -20C and below. Most will get knocked out by a dry -15C for sure, so the question is 'how cold did it really go'...? Certainly not the -10F that is being claimed.

2022503373_Screenshot2022-09-17at18_59_36.thumb.png.36a1a0e6643071ede2c848d6b70414f4.png

 

Dry-summer Oceanic climate (9a)

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

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What I told the NY poster and I repeat:

 

"Good luck!  They can take some extreme cold, just not yearly.

So in case you lose protection for a bad night or two, don't give up. "

image.png.ada150743e4dfa530a492f1ff2b29c61.png

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@jwitt Another thing is New Mexico is much warmer in the day than New York in winter but it's  still impressive how much dry cold a CIDP can take. A box with c9 Christmas lights is probably best for new York though.

Edited by Foxpalms
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1 hour ago, Foxpalms said:

@jwitt Another thing is New Mexico is much warmer in the day than New York in winter but it's  still impressive how much dry cold a CIDP can take. A box with c9 Christmas lights is probably best for new York though.

Yeah, that's why I said if he lost protection he might be good for a day or two.

 

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  • 2 months later...

Ok, apologies for the lack of updates - been very busy lately this Holiday season!

So my last frost date here in The City was technically November 17th, so in anticipation for this, on the previous weekend before that time, I started to prepare my little CIDP for the winter.

As you can see below pictures, It has completely recovered from it's sad state last spring , and looks pretty wonderful at the tail end of the fall.

LxVRTU.jpghyKQQF.jpg

   

First off , I sprayed the leaves of the palm with a good anti-transpirant to prevent cold damage  -  something that I didn't do last year, so I will see how much improved protection it will be for this time ( Wilt-Pruf  seems to be the best , I've heard ).

wka2WZ.jpg

 

After that treatment,  I then wrapped the little palm in a bubble wrap covering, as I did for last year's protection.

ue7fZ3.jpg

 

For this winter, however, I doubled the bubble wrap protection, for added insulation.

ZmRMuv.jpg

 

Next step, I placed the protection box over the interior set up, and ( unlike last winter ) placed a generous amount of mulch around the base.

61rNFD.jpg

 

Finally, I placed the side insulation board segments and some more mulch to complete the winter protection (There is still air flow between the segments of the bubble wrap , which also lets a bit of light in as well).

1xPugZ.jpg

 

Well, that's it - my little Canary Island Date Palm should be ready for the winter.

JHOtGH.jpg

 

      And Just in time - the following weekend of the 20th of November was the first real cold event of the season here in NYC - but it's been pretty moderate  temperature season wise ever since for now.

    I know that some people will say  " Why doesn't he just simply put C9 lights in the thing  :D " , but for me,  I wanted to employ a passive and sustainable heating protection methods for this palm ( Another reason is that this CIDP is planted much too far from any outside electrical outlet that I currently have in my yard ).  I'm in Zone 7B, so fortunately for me, the average winter temperature in my corner of the city is usually around 35.7 degrees Fahrenheit ,  and it very rarely gets down to single digits - that is, that was the case up until 2019. The last two years were solid 8A winter temperatures, so well see if this trend continues here.

Hopefully, with all this years improved winter protection, my little Canary Island Date Palm should be much better condition this coming spring than it was at the last one.

We'll see!

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