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Which palms that do well in California, won't in Hawaii?


BayAndroid

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Just a thought, what does well in California, but doesn't do well in Hawaii? Perhaps that's rather broad, but just curious if there are some palms that really don't like the conditions there. 

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Jubaea. Brahea, probably? I think you can grow howea in the cooler areas only. I'll leave it to someone who lives in Hawaii, or at least knows better than I do.

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Chris

San Francisco, CA 

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38 minutes ago, Rivera said:

Jubaea. Brahea, probably? I think you can grow howea in the cooler areas only. I'll leave it to someone who lives in Hawaii, or at least knows better than I do.

Yeah, I was thinking about Howea.. I know they don't like Florida sun, so.. 

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8 minutes ago, BayAndroid said:

Yeah, I was thinking about Howea.. I know they don't like Florida sun, so.. 

Everything can be grown in Hawaii, just go up or down the volcano...dry side or wet side. There's a thread somewhere here with Hedyscepe, Pigafetta, and Cyrtostachys renda growing together in Kona near the coffee belt. There's a pic of Hawaiian Brahea and Jubaea somewhere too 

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Jonathan

Katy, TX (Zone 9a)

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14 minutes ago, Xenon said:

Everything can be grown in Hawaii, just go up or down the volcano...dry side or wet side. There's a thread somewhere here with Hedyscepe, Pigafetta, and Cyrtostachys renda growing together in Kona near the coffee belt. There's a pic of Hawaiian Brahea and Jubaea somewhere too 

I had no idea the driest parts of Hawaii were so dry. It's a more complex cluster of micro-climates than I understood. Live and learn.

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Chris

San Francisco, CA 

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1 hour ago, Xenon said:

Everything can be grown in Hawaii, just go up or down the volcano...dry side or wet side. There's a thread somewhere here with Hedyscepe, Pigafetta, and Cyrtostachys renda growing together in Kona near the coffee belt. There's a pic of Hawaiian Brahea and Jubaea somewhere too 

Good to know! 

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Because Hawaii is tropical, many people assume that it is hot. It isn't. At 740 ft on the east side of the Big Island, my highest temperature this last summer was 83 deg F.  When I built my house, I made no provision for air conditioning. I have had trouble with some species of several genera (Oenocarpus, Thrinax, Coccothrinax, Colpothrinax) and suspect that it just isn't hot enough here for them. (It's not cold either, fortunately. Low temps this winter have been in the upper 50's F.)

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Mike Merritt

Big Island of Hawaii, windward, rainy side, 740 feet (225 meters) elevation

165 inches (4,200 mm) of rain per year, 66 to 83 deg F (20 to 28 deg C) in summer, 62 to 80 deg F (16.7 to 26.7 Deg C) in winter.

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Any Juania australis growing in Hawaii? Also are there any nannorrhops ritchiana, Hyphaene thebaica or Medemia argun going in Hawaii? 

Edited by Foxpalms
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What about Hedyscepe canterburyana?

Edited by bubba
Glitch

What you look for is what is looking

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9 hours ago, Foxpalms said:

Any Juania australis growing in Hawaii? Also are there any nannorrhops ritchiana, Hyphaene thebaica or Medemia argun going in Hawaii? 

Koko Crater Botanical Garden on the far east coast of Oahu has a hot, dry climate and features desert species from around the world - cacti, baobabs, plumeria, and lots of palms. I know they had Hyphaene, Copernicia, and some beautiful Brahea. My favorites were the absolutely massive Sabal uresana.  I would imagine in the range of climates between Koko Crater and Volcano on the Big Island that there is a theoretical spot for any palm, as Xenon said.  Here are a few photos from my visit a few years ago:

20210714_120723.thumb.jpg.7caeefaa3d805c6b53e91774bc5c5315.jpg20210714_120336.thumb.jpg.18c4111f8e41ef1b3896b555536c6e65.jpg20210714_120354.thumb.jpg.2a6460154b250ed30b58cec24402da6f.jpg20210714_120506.thumb.jpg.d8f2a66ce75cfc5460cb3bdaa1803d8d.jpg20210714_103929.thumb.jpg.7094aad450af722fdab518149bcc7c2a.jpg

 

Edited by aabell
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3 hours ago, aabell said:

Koko Crater Botanical Garden on the far east coast of Oahu has a hot, dry climate and features desert species from around the world - cacti, baobabs, plumeria, and lots of palms. I know they had Hyphaene, Copernicia, and some beautiful Brahea. My favorites were the absolutely massive Sabal uresana.  I would imagine in the range of climates between Koko Crater and Volcano on the Big Island that there is a theoretical spot for any palm, as Xenon said.

Yup.  Even on the Big Island's east side there was a wide range of growing habitats that I just observed.  On the drier side right by the Ocean's cliffs, there were Cocothrinax, Copernicia and large Encephalartos cycads growing (and the blue Encephalartos remained blue despite the rain).  Just up the hill several hundred feet in elevation, were the gardens with all the tropicals we see on these pages in Tim's garden, Bill Austin's, Mike Merritt's, "Hilo Jason" (and eventually "Pepeʻekeo Jason") along with all the Leilani Estates gardens and of course Jeff & Suchin's Floribuna garden.  My apologies to those I left out in that "garden name" drop.  Xenon said it well, there is a habitat for everything on those rocks in the ocean, just go up or down the hill, leeward or windward side and you will find what you want in climate zones. 

My wife and I stayed in the Hawaiian Paradise Park neighborhood based on a lap pool (my wife wanted to be able to swim laps).  Ironically right next door was a spectacular garden that showed the potential of the oceanfront East side of the Big Island for growing some things one might not expect.  I peeked into but never bothered the owner who has a growing area for his more tropical plants in a wetter part of Leilani Estates I was told.  An example of plants we think of as from drier habitats is shown below.

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20230126-BH3I0421.jpg

20230126-BH3I0407.jpg

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20230126-BH3I0398.jpg

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33.0782 North -117.305 West  at 72 feet elevation

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How about Maui or some of the other islands. Any big differences there, or is it again, up and down in elevation and perhaps East or West to dial in the moisture levels?

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35 minutes ago, BayAndroid said:

How about Maui or some of the other islands. Any big differences there, or is it again, up and down in elevation and perhaps East or West to dial in the moisture levels?

Same on Maui.  We had friends that lived up country above Makawao on Maui off Olinda Road 30 years ago.  On one side of the house and garden it was more windward looking down the hill at Paia and Haiku exposed to the Trade winds and would be raining at times.  We could walk around to the other side of the house and garden to look down at Kihei and be completely out of the rain, because they were right along the edge of the transition where the Trade winds brought in the clouds. I will never forget being surprised that they had a downed comforter on our bed during summer when we stayed with them the first time.  Forum members from the other islands can share similar diverse microclimate stories I'm sure.

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33.0782 North -117.305 West  at 72 feet elevation

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2 hours ago, Tracy said:

Same on Maui.  We had friends that lived up country above Makawao on Maui off Olinda Road 30 years ago.  On one side of the house and garden it was more windward looking down the hill at Paia and Haiku exposed to the Trade winds and would be raining at times.  We could walk around to the other side of the house and garden to look down at Kihei and be completely out of the rain, because they were right along the edge of the transition where the Trade winds brought in the clouds. I will never forget being surprised that they had a downed comforter on our bed during summer when we stayed with them the first time.  Forum members from the other islands can share similar diverse microclimate stories I'm sure.

Sounds similar to the canary Islands, you can drive a short distance and have completely different weather.

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Nice photos from Jerry's place, @Tracy. I'm quite sure he would have enjoyed showing you around. Next time!

Some of you may remember @Al in Kona who passed away a few years ago. Al Bredeson could grow almost anything in his upslope south Kona garden, and he often shared his experiences with many palms and plants one might not necessarily think of as Hawaii-friendly.  You may mine his excellent content here.

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Kim Cyr

Between the beach and the bays, Point Loma, San Diego, California USA
and on a 300 year-old lava flow, Pahoa, Hawaii, 1/4 mile from the 2018 flow
All characters  in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

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7 hours ago, Tracy said:

Yup.  Even on the Big Island's east side there was a wide range of growing habitats that I just observed.  On the drier side right by the Ocean's cliffs, there were Cocothrinax, Copernicia and large Encephalartos cycads growing (and the blue Encephalartos remained blue despite the rain).  Just up the hill several hundred feet in elevation, were the gardens with all the tropicals we see on these pages in Tim's garden, Bill Austin's, Mike Merritt's, "Hilo Jason" (and eventually "Pepeʻekeo Jason") along with all the Leilani Estates gardens and of course Jeff & Suchin's Floribuna garden.  My apologies to those I left out in that "garden name" drop.  Xenon said it well, there is a habitat for everything on those rocks in the ocean, just go up or down the hill, leeward or windward side and you will find what you want in climate zones. 

My wife and I stayed in the Hawaiian Paradise Park neighborhood based on a lap pool (my wife wanted to be able to swim laps).  Ironically right next door was a spectacular garden that showed the potential of the oceanfront East side of the Big Island for growing some things one might not expect.  I peeked into but never bothered the owner who has a growing area for his more tropical plants in a wetter part of Leilani Estates I was told.  An example of plants we think of as from drier habitats is shown below.

20230126-BH3I0418.jpg

20230126-BH3I0419.jpg

20230126-BH3I0420.jpg

20230126-BH3I0421.jpg

20230126-BH3I0407.jpg

20230126-BH3I0402.jpg

20230126-BH3I0398.jpg

Looks like you must have been close to me, I'm on 8th in HPP in the same 'dry' rainy area...

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The Big Island has 14 of the world's 17 climate zones. I happen to live in a zone that has temperature ranges reminiscent of Central California and lots of fog and low cloud style overcast. Our main difference is the mild zone (12a/11b on record cold years) and regular rainfall (150-180 inches) spread throughout the year, which is different from California. So it's essentially a cloud forest. My zone is a Koeppen Cfb, so oceanic temperate (f for year round rainfall like England), compared to Koeppen Csb for California (s is for Mediterranean rainfall pattern). Our USDA heat zone is the same as Alaska, heat zone 1, zero days above 30C/86F. My farm has hundreds of California coast redwoods, some are big. So if the coast redwoods are happy here, one would think that anything that likes California might do ok here.  There are also lots of Monterey pines and Lawson cypress growing here, all are super happy here. I basically live in the part of Hawaii that is ideally suited for albinos. 

For what it's worth, I have a large collection of brahea palms at mid elevation in East Hawaii (lower Hamakua Coast, up Mauna Kea above Hilo) growing in 150-200 inches of annual rainfall, they happily flourish next to all the tropical dypsis and marojejya darianii and other rainforest palms. Brahea is not a common palm but there's a scattering of them around and they seem long lived.  I have armata, clara, decumbens, edulis and starting with a few others. I can share pics if people are interested. My theory is that brahea are relics from times when it was plenty wet in Mexico, and adapted to dry but never lost the genes for the wet adaptation. This is very similar to many dryland cypress species, all are related to swamp loving cypress from the miocene era.  Those grow well here too.

There are howeas all over the Big Island, even the Hilton Waikoloa where it's hot has some healthy specimens in the ground. There are also a scattering of trachycarpus, 

The few Rhopalostylis palms I have seen look terrible, so perhaps that's a good candidate for a no-go in Hawaii. But I want to give it a shot here.

I have also not seen any jubaea chilensis anywhere. I tried and failed. 

Parajubaea is difficult on the wet side, but can be done on the dry side. I have a parajubaea sunkha I had to beg Jeff to let me buy quite a few years ago, it is healthy but every Summer it throws some fronds that look rot damaged, so it only grows well for me during the cooler part of the season when my temps look more like Summer Coastal Central California (50-70F) and it resents the 4-6 weeks of real tropical weather I get around September at the peak of hurricane season. 

I think Kamuela (dry side of Waimea) around 3,000 feet should be ideal for jubaea and Rhopies.

One last note is soil, here along the Hamakua coast we have real soil, not lava rock, but pH is low, so some things from California adapted to high pH might hate it here, but palms are fine. 

 

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On 1/30/2023 at 5:53 PM, Mauna Kea Cloudforest said:

The Big Island has 14 of the world's 17 climate zones. I happen to live in a zone that has temperature ranges reminiscent of Central California and lots of fog and low cloud style overcast. Our main difference is the mild zone (12a/11b on record cold years) and regular rainfall (150-180 inches) spread throughout the year, which is different from California. So it's essentially a cloud forest. My zone is a Koeppen Cfb, so oceanic temperate (f for year round rainfall like England), compared to Koeppen Csb for California (s is for Mediterranean rainfall pattern). Our USDA heat zone is the same as Alaska, heat zone 1, zero days above 30C/86F. My farm has hundreds of California coast redwoods, some are big. So if the coast redwoods are happy here, one would think that anything that likes California might do ok here.  There are also lots of Monterey pines and Lawson cypress growing here, all are super happy here. I basically live in the part of Hawaii that is ideally suited for albinos. 

For what it's worth, I have a large collection of brahea palms at mid elevation in East Hawaii (lower Hamakua Coast, up Mauna Kea above Hilo) growing in 150-200 inches of annual rainfall, they happily flourish next to all the tropical dypsis and marojejya darianii and other rainforest palms. Brahea is not a common palm but there's a scattering of them around and they seem long lived.  I have armata, clara, decumbens, edulis and starting with a few others. I can share pics if people are interested. My theory is that brahea are relics from times when it was plenty wet in Mexico, and adapted to dry but never lost the genes for the wet adaptation. This is very similar to many dryland cypress species, all are related to swamp loving cypress from the miocene era.  Those grow well here too.

There are howeas all over the Big Island, even the Hilton Waikoloa where it's hot has some healthy specimens in the ground. There are also a scattering of trachycarpus, 

The few Rhopalostylis palms I have seen look terrible, so perhaps that's a good candidate for a no-go in Hawaii. But I want to give it a shot here.

I have also not seen any jubaea chilensis anywhere. I tried and failed. 

Parajubaea is difficult on the wet side, but can be done on the dry side. I have a parajubaea sunkha I had to beg Jeff to let me buy quite a few years ago, it is healthy but every Summer it throws some fronds that look rot damaged, so it only grows well for me during the cooler part of the season when my temps look more like Summer Coastal Central California (50-70F) and it resents the 4-6 weeks of real tropical weather I get around September at the peak of hurricane season. 

I think Kamuela (dry side of Waimea) around 3,000 feet should be ideal for jubaea and Rhopies.

One last note is soil, here along the Hamakua coast we have real soil, not lava rock, but pH is low, so some things from California adapted to high pH might hate it here, but palms are fine. 

 

Thank you for sharing, and yes please to pics!

Chris

San Francisco, CA 

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Thanks everyone for your informative posts and photos. Just Wow!

Having lived on island for close to fifteen years now, watching the dissolution, evolution, and creation of new gardens is so gratifying. I have to take a step back and admire the individuality, creativity, preference, and passion that each brings to the culture. 
I’d like to think that my garden falls into that category and that I’m fortunate to be able to share with others.

Tim 

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Tim

Hilo, Hawaii

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On 2/1/2023 at 12:28 PM, realarch said:

Having lived on island for close to fifteen years now, watching the dissolution, evolution, and creation of new gardens is so gratifying. I have to take a step back and admire the individuality, creativity, preference, and passion that each brings to the culture. 
I’d like to think that my garden falls into that category and that I’m fortunate to be able to share with others.

Tim

Tim your garden was spectacular!  While I fully expected to see many palms from Madagascar and New Caledonia when visiting based on visiting other Hawaiian Islands and gardens, I was impressed with your South & Central American species that were new to me.  Normally I take a lot of photos when visiting gardens, but I resisted when visiting yours and Jason's that day.  Both of you post on this forum, and I didn't want to detract from all of your posts.  I'm now kicking myself a little bit, as there was so much to absorb and I could have used the photos as a reference in asking about some of the specimens we enjoyed seeing.  As you say, the passion, creativity and individuality were on full exhibit in your garden.

 

On 1/30/2023 at 1:55 PM, Kim said:

Some of you may remember @Al in Kona who passed away a few years ago. Al Bredeson could grow almost anything in his upslope south Kona garden, and he often shared his experiences with many palms and plants one might not necessarily think of as Hawaii-friendly.  You may mine his excellent content here.

Your mentioning Al's garden in Kona made me wonder what has happened to it in the intervening years since he has passed?  Tim's mention of gardens dissolution, evolution and creation highlighted this question for me.  One can only hope that if his home was sold that the buyers appreciated the garden he assembled.  If only all the great gardens could turn into something like Dan & Pauline Lutkenhouse did with their garden if they can't pass it on to family or sell it to someone that wants to preserve it.  I learned their preservation story in the Trail Guide for the Hawaii Tropical Bioreserve & Garden.

33.0782 North -117.305 West  at 72 feet elevation

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A BIG mahalo Tracy, I appreciate the comment. 

You know, I never did get to Al’s Kona garden. The local Palm Society tried several times for permission to tour his property, but could never come to an agreement. I am glad he was a prolific poster, always offering advice and information. 

Yeah, my Central and South American specimens is where my heart lies…..but only ‘sukoshi.'

Tim

Tim

Hilo, Hawaii

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Is it difficult to get certain palm seedlings in Hawaii, or are most commonly grown species available for purchase? Importing would seem difficult, but I really don't know. 

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46 minutes ago, BayAndroid said:

Is it difficult to get certain palm seedlings in Hawaii, or are most commonly grown species available for purchase? Importing would seem difficult, but I really don't know. 

I think it's the opposite and many of us have bought/will buy from Hawaii. Jeff Marcus/Floribunda alone has an AMAZING catalog

 

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Jonathan

Katy, TX (Zone 9a)

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