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What is the least cold hardy palm?


DTS

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i dont know if this makes sense, but i was wondering which palm has the worst cold tolerance out off all the other palm species?

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My Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/@dts_3
Palms in Ground Currently: Rhapidophyllum Hystrix (x1), Butia Capitata (x1), Sabal Causiarum (x2), Sabal Louisiana (x1).

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Cocos Nucifera (coconut palm) you would think as that is a true tropical, equatorial palm. They won't even grow in SoCal really and only extreme south of Florida, to my knowledge. You can't get much more tropical than that, but maybe I am wrong.

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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 minute ago, UK_Palms said:

Cocos Nucifera (coconut palm) you would think as that is a true tropical, equatorial palm. They won't even grow in SoCal really and only extreme south of Florida, to my knowledge. You can't get much more tropical than that, but maybe I am wrong.

hmm i wonder if you can get more tropical than a coconut though

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My Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/@dts_3
Palms in Ground Currently: Rhapidophyllum Hystrix (x1), Butia Capitata (x1), Sabal Causiarum (x2), Sabal Louisiana (x1).

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5 minutes ago, DTS1 said:

hmm i wonder if you can get more tropical than a coconut though

By definition, no you can't. But you may get some tropical palms out there, which can take even less cold exposure than a coconut. It would have to be a palm from say the Amazon, Congo or Borneo rainforest or something though, which never see's temperatures below 65-70F. Something abstract that will take damage below 45-50F. Cocos Nucifera is about as tropical as you can possibly get though, so it will be hard to find something that is even less cold-hardy.

Dry-summer Oceanic climate (9a)

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

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29 minutes ago, UK_Palms said:

By definition, no you can't. But you may get some tropical palms out there, which can take even less cold exposure than a coconut. It would have to be a palm from say the Amazon, Congo or Borneo rainforest or something though, which never see's temperatures below 65-70F. Something abstract that will take damage below 45-50F. Cocos Nucifera is about as tropical as you can possibly get though, so it will be hard to find something that is even less cold-hardy.

Lots of things are more tender than coconuts, coconuts can reach fruiting maturity well into the subtropics like halfway up the Florida peninsula, the southern tip of Texas, etc. 

The real cold tender stuff is generally from the central Indian and Pacific ocean areas (Seychelles, Indonesia, New Guinea, Melanesia, and equatorial Polynesia) such as Cyrtostachys, most Hydriastele, Iguanura, Calyptrocalyx, Phoenicophorium, Manicaria, Clinostigma, Pigafetta, etc. These palms are generally native to areas with all time record lows above 60F/16C. 

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Jonathan

Katy, TX (Zone 9a)

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Cyrtostacys renda the Lipstick Palm dead below 50 F

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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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12 minutes ago, DoomsDave said:

Cyrtostacys renda the Lipstick Palm dead below 50 F

And you care!!!

😩

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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I’m pretty sure this has been discussed before on palmtalk. C renda and Manicaria are strong contenders, but there’s got to be some Licualas, Calyptrocalyx, Hydriastele and others that would compete for the title. 

Tim Brisbane

Patterson Lakes, bayside Melbourne, Australia

Rarely Frost

2005 Minimum: 2.6C,  Maximum: 44C

2005 Average: 17.2C, warmest on record.

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Coconut palms are definitely Substantially more cold hardy than Cyrtostachys Renda.    Basically 48F is the cut off for these or rose you risk damage or death of not protected.   
 

the difference here being that there are full grown 60 foot tall fruiting coconuts here that handle the short cooler winters (40s / 50s) with little to no damage at all.  The ones here are hardly bothered by a dip into the low 30s 1-3 x per year or so.  Granted it’s only for an hour or so on these short lived coldest of nights and often it rebounds at least into the 50s or 60s.     
 

in case you’re wondering, I’m in zone 10A.  St Petersburg FL.  St Pete / Southern Pinealls is level with Vero Beach on the east coast.    Coconuts grow in this area reliably, and even up north to about Clearwater and south Tampa though in those area there are far less long term mature tall ones.  

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7 hours ago, UK_Palms said:

Cocos Nucifera (coconut palm) you would think as that is a true tropical, equatorial palm. They won't even grow in SoCal really and only extreme south of Florida, to my knowledge. You can't get much more tropical than that, but maybe I am wrong.

There are several Cocos nucifera growing in Southern CA, some in the desert regions, and some are big too. These coconuts are in La Quinta, Santa Ana, Corona, and Palm Springs, CA

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FB7BAE33-C3F1-4703-B4F9-5AE5B9A3D13D.thumb.jpeg.5c83b715e822e9391926522ac38072f2.jpeg

DB342624-49AE-485B-9027-60C710D0DBD9.jpeg.4c6129aaec50124268fec5a302af3caa.jpeg

FB6B944D-AD93-4AA7-BF46-B18BE075683A.thumb.jpeg.bbea5fd224ad46dd73c7ef8c6984226b.jpeg

23296678-26C0-4061-9304-917C80C5CF5A.thumb.jpeg.6f2122e2ff3aca88a94cafbd9fc51cae.jpeg

5B2F1291-611E-45D2-91DF-920532D549FB.thumb.jpeg.dad7855aec5c7eff15f1597d30989ce1.jpeg

B32191A6-D01B-4541-8DBD-D567FF286134.thumb.jpeg.20ce864c2b691e9c5ac83551109fc77b.jpeg

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Jim in Los Altos, CA  SF Bay Area 37.34N- 122.13W- 190' above sea level

zone 10a/9b

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300+ palms, 90+ species in the ground

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2 hours ago, EJ NJ said:

Maybe Socratea?

They can take 40 degrees if im not mistaken.

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Lucas

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Cyrtostachys, Pelagadoxa or Salacca maybe?

I heard some Cocos survived some minus in Florida for a short period 

Edited by Will
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Definitely not Cyrtostachys renda! As long as the soil (or mud/water) temperatures stay warm, the species is fine.  Miami had a day with steady rain and temps in the low-to-mid 40's all day. in December. Both C renda at Pinecrest Gardens are completely fine. They grow in a swamp. Ditto Phoenicophorium.

Manicaria is "ultra" tropical, for sure.

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12 minutes ago, hbernstein said:

Definitely not Cyrtostachys renda! As long as the soil (or mud/water) temperatures stay warm, the species is fine.  Miami had a day with steady rain and temps in the low-to-mid 40's all day. in December. Both C renda at Pinecrest Gardens are completely fine. They grow in a swamp. Ditto Phoenicophorium.

Manicaria is "ultra" tropical, for sure.

I find that very interesting.  I know that it’s now thought that maybe Cyrtostachys Renda may actually be a little cold hardier than first thought, and that it’s actually the resulting fungal infections that kill turn instead of the cold.   Though I’m not sure this has been fully verified via testing etc.    still. I bayby mine but it’s also in a container.  It comes in when it gets below 50°F.   I’m just too scared to push that any further.  

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I have had a Salacca in the ground since 2003. In Tampa. So not that. Pigafetta, maybe. 

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Tampa, Florida

Zone - 10a

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My GUESS is Pigafetta (David Fairchild was unable to grow it in Miami, despite being his favorite palm). Several other, super tropicals mentioned above from New Guinea, are certainly contenders. How about Loxococcox rupicola?

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I am in zone 11b in the mountains on the Big Island. There is one palm that gets killed here by temps between 50F and 60F, the yellow crown shaft areca (areca sp yellow crown shaft, not yellow vestaria or yellow betel nut) . I've killed a dozen, I can only grow one under canopy. So I would argue that is the most cold sensitive palm there is. Pigafetta grows fine here if you can avoid transplanting them even from one pot to another. Lipstick is fine and coconuts are fine here too.

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21 minutes ago, Mauna Kea Cloudforest said:

I am in zone 11b in the mountains on the Big Island. There is one palm that gets killed here by temps between 50F and 60F, the yellow crown shaft areca (areca sp yellow crown shaft, not yellow vestaria or yellow betel nut) . I've killed a dozen, I can only grow one under canopy. So I would argue that is the most cold sensitive palm there is. Pigafetta grows fine here if you can avoid transplanting them even from one pot to another.

tf it died at 60f???

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My Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/@dts_3
Palms in Ground Currently: Rhapidophyllum Hystrix (x1), Butia Capitata (x1), Sabal Causiarum (x2), Sabal Louisiana (x1).

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Areca macrocalyx. - Makes Cyrtostachys renda look like Sabal minor...

Early plants grown in S. Florida came in under the name A. warburgiana and were quickly diagnosed with no cold tolerance at all, receiving cold damage in the mid 50'sºF (12ºC). After a number of years, it was lumped in with A. macrocalyx. This species was the origin of the garden tour anecdote: "Don't walk past it with a cold drink..."

I have seen the palm in collections and always hangs in there at best, including the red crownshaft variety (A. macrocalyx var. 'Mariae'). Collectors in the Florida Keys have 'been there, tried that' and will often not give it another chance after the cold kills it.

Ryan

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South Florida

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I’ve read that Nephrosperma vanhoutteanam is intolerant of temps below 60F. For that reason this species never made my “gotta try it” list.

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Meg

Palms of Victory I shall wear

Cape Coral (It's Just Paradise)
Florida
Zone 10A on the Isabelle Canal
Elevation: 15 feet

I'd like to be under the sea in an octopus' garden in the shade.

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16 hours ago, DTS1 said:

tf it died at 60f???

Several of the yellow crownshaft arecas died for me. My only survivor is under canopy, so it appears to not like our cool temperatures. 

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There was a a small Cyrtostachys renda that survived at least 3-4 winters of complete neglect, fully exposed in the dry sandy soil of a public palm park here in Fort Myers, 10A/B. I assume it's dead after the extended cold this year but may still be hanging on. It always looked terrible, and was barely more than short mound of ratty leaves by the end, but it lived. Much hardier than some of the other species mentioned above I would think. I think the theory about fungal infections preventing attractive specimens from being grown successfully in FL makes sense. 

Edited by aabell
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19 hours ago, ASHCVS said:

My GUESS is Pigafetta (David Fairchild was unable to grow it in Miami, despite being his favorite palm). Several other, super tropicals mentioned above from New Guinea, are certainly contenders. How about Loxococcox rupicola?

My Loxococcox rupicola has seen temperatures in the 50s when I left it out one night after watering it and was fine. The thing it hates the most though is low humidity always needs to be sprayed and in the winter it isn't happy.

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Many of the truly tropical palms (like the rattans) are not widely grown in cultivation so it can be hard to judge those. Roscheria especially but all the palms from the Seychelles have very little cold tolerance. Pigafetta is definitely up there on the list of cold wimps too. 

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I can't tell you a specific species other than the ones that have already been mentioned here but anything that grows in the Amazonian forest and all kinds of jungle palms that only occur around the equator all around the world. There are many many palms that don't tolerate any cool temperatures for extended periods of time. I can't quite remember the exact story but I read somewhere that there were cold spells or at least one in the 1970s or 80s around the Amazonian rainforest where many plants died and I believe even some people! I also can't remember how cold it got but it wasn't that cold for temperate standards.

Edited by Hortulanus
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1 hour ago, rick said:

Many of the truly tropical palms (like the rattans) are not widely grown in cultivation so it can be hard to judge those. Roscheria especially but all the palms from the Seychelles have very little cold tolerance. Pigafetta is definitely up there on the list of cold wimps too. 

There was a Roscheria growing in the Sydney Botanic Gardens for quite a long time in a warm temperate climate although I think it is no longer there. I’m also pretty sure there have been reports of Pigafetta growing in SE QLD at least for a few years so I think they’ve both got C renda and I’m sure others covered for cold hardiness. 
 

As others have mentioned, there’s probably hundreds of species not well known to cultivation from tropical areas which would certainly be wimps. Anyone have any reports yet on palms like Manjekia or Wallaceodoxa?

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Tim Brisbane

Patterson Lakes, bayside Melbourne, Australia

Rarely Frost

2005 Minimum: 2.6C,  Maximum: 44C

2005 Average: 17.2C, warmest on record.

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To put it simply, if you haven't heard of the palm, it's the one that is the least cold hardy; because it has the least amount of reason to be in your yard. 
That being said, I see there are a lot of experts in here that know about these mysterious unicorn palms. 

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Whilst not the least hardy type of palm the coconuts grown in the Dutch greenhouses are in my opinion the least hardy palm. My lipstick palm is much more hardy than my Dutch coconut and the germinate coconut I germinated is hardier than both.

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The most cold sensitive palm I have personally grown is Socratea exorrhiza. I had a small one in a 3gal. pot years ago, died after a couple of nights around 42-44F.  (The most heat intolerant palm I have grown was Ceroxylon alpinum)

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Eric

Orlando, FL

zone 9b/10a

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Socratea exorrhizza for me, too--lost six 1 gals in the Christmas cold spell here in South Florida. Lesson learned, and if I try them again I'll bring them in when temps drop, but I probably won't try them again, because if I ever got them big enough to plant out, the same thing would eventually happen. Though I have found that small cold-sensitive palms are more susceptible than larger specimens of the same species. 

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On 1/25/2023 at 3:03 PM, BayAndroid said:

To put it simply, if you haven't heard of the palm, it's the one that is the least cold hardy; because it has the least amount of reason to be in your yard. 
 

Agreed.

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On 1/25/2023 at 3:03 PM, BayAndroid said:

To put it simply, if you haven't heard of the palm, it's the one that is the least cold hardy; because it has the least amount of reason to be in your yard.
That being said, I see there are a lot of experts in here that know about these mysterious unicorn palms. 

5 hours ago, hbernstein said:

Agreed.

That is a common trait of some of the extremely and super rare palm species that have made it to cultivation.

They were often containerized specimens and died after an average or severe cold snap while unprotected; either without knowing cold sensitivity or were being experimented upon with purpose. Then, seed or seedlings are not offered again or not for a long while, so the palm becomes absent or scarce at sales, in collections, etc. Manicaria saccifera* was one example mentioned above. Others that come to mind include Sommieria leucophylla and its two former species and especially Dransfieldia micrantha... a seriously cold sensitive species. The few plants I knew of outside of Fairchild's Rare Plant house died during the 2009 - 2010 cold blasts.

The Pigafetta species were a fun and crazy palm subject during the 1990s S. Fl. palm world. Pigafetta filaris and its rarer cousin P. elata, were cultivated by many growers due to ample supply and their incredibly fast rate of growth. They were basically... weeds. Some knew of their cold sensitivity, others did not. It was this constant back and forth of, here is this really cool-looking palm that is super fast growing (but) is 'probably' cold sensitive. Over the years people tried it with success, others did not, people claimed one species was 'more cold tolerant than the other, and so on. In the later years, after losses began to be more well-known, plants appeared at big auction events. The name would be announced and the crowd would mutter sighs, 'ughs' and 'hmmphs'. Eventually many people stopped wanting it, so it was not grown as much and the desire fizzled out. Would collectors in S. Florida keep trying the genus? Probably, if they are palm nuts, myself included. Some continue to claim the species are more sub-tropical than tropical. If that were true, I would have a 40 to 50 ft. (12-15m) tall Pigafetta filaris in my yard. As others would have as well.

*note - A couple years after the 2010 cold, I did see a specimen of Manicaria saccifera growing in a collection that was planted at the edge of a canal. It was a 7 gallon-sized plant and I haven't seen it since. It was alive but in rough shape and I'd have to guess 80% chance it did not make it.

Ryan

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South Florida

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Coconuts are fairly common around Port St. Lucie. They become less as you go up to around port canaveral. There are some Palms that won’t grow in Homestead, FL. I do not know if it’s the brief dips into 40-50’s or sweltering heat some equatorial islands do not get.

I’m a N. Florida man who frequents S. Florida 1-2 weeks a month, so that’s about all I have to add.

Edited by D Palm
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On 1/22/2023 at 4:19 PM, UK_Palms said:

Cocos Nucifera (coconut palm) you would think as that is a true tropical, equatorial palm. They won't even grow in SoCal really and only extreme south of Florida, to my knowledge. You can't get much more tropical than that, but maybe I am wrong.

Coconut palms grow just fine well beyond extreme south Florida. The coco in the image is in St. Petersburg in west central Florida.

There are significantly more cold sensitive palms than coconut palms. I would nominate the lipstick palm (Cyrtostachys renda) native to Malaysia, Borneo, southern Thailand, and Sumatra. They will die if temperatures so much as drop below 50º F (10º C)

***edit*** Sorry, didn't read prior responses and now seeing I basically just repeated other people.

Screen Shot 2023-01-29 at 12.11.14 PM.png

Edited by cocoforcoconuts
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I remember seeing a picture of a substantial and large Pigafetta grown by Jeff/Street at his house, full of numerous ultra tropicals. As noted by Ryan, although that specimen was large and appeared bulletproof, unfortunately, my guess is that it is gone. David Fairchild’s favorite palm!

What you look for is what is looking

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