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Queen Palms in Central NC


SwampDog

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So I was at the Lowe's the other day, and I stumbled across the weirdest thing. They had Zone 9 and 10 palm trees (Queen Palm, Adonidia Palm; Christmas Palm, Pygmy Dates, Bottle Palm). This was weird for two reasons. For one the fact that they were in stock, not just one or two but a good number of them, so many that the Lowe's had them in two sections of the garden center. Second, they are in stock at a store in a 7b hardiness zone. Also it's interesting that they were even outside and not in the indoor portion of the store to begin with. They all looked pretty healthy, no signs of damage on any of them.

I decided to pick up one of the Queen Palms and a group of Musa basjoos to see how they do. I attached some pics of them, I planned the Musas directly in the ground since I have had them in the past and they grow pretty well in NC with proper care. I still have the Queen Palm in a pot, since it's more of an experiment to see how well it does the first year. I've only seen them as far North as Jacksonville, FL.

What do you guys think? Will the Queen Palm make it through it's first winter? Will the weather continue to warm in the coming years? Will Palm trees start to pop up across the state? Why is Lowe's ordering all of these tropical plants in such large quantities? 20230521_082518.thumb.jpg.0b5b380e169dc75af1e2980af98558c6.jpg 20230522_101541.thumb.jpg.9fb1c80a977c46cf6148f08ac154b7d1.jpg

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I have two Queens planted in my yard , one the juvenile facing northeast side and a 6 footer behind the house facing the northeast side. The small one on the northwest side took a beating last December. It survived low temps of 16,21,24,28F with light protection.  This one completely defoliated but now it's already growing its 3rd frond. Queens aren't even cold hardy in my area 8b/9a San Antonio.  It's classified as a 9b palm but will do well in a warm 9a climate.  

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Nice haul!  Musa basjoo are zone 5 and one starter plant will fill that area.  Lowes seems to have those palms in most stores.   Find yourself a Trachycarpus fortunei, Sabal minor or needle palm to plant out. Or a Sabal hybrid if your patient

Edited by Allen
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YouTube https://www.youtube.com/@tntropics - 60+ In-ground 7A palms - (Sabal) minor(7 large + 27 seedling size, 3 dwarf),  brazoria(1) , birmingham(4), etonia (1) louisiana(5), palmetto (1), riverside (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 -1F, 12F, 11F, 18F, 16F, 3F, 3F, 6F, 3F, 1F, 16F, 17F, 6F, 8F

 

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If given supplemental heat and protection the queen might survive a few winters. Without those things it will be a goner when lows hit the low 20s. Will NC be able to support a viable population of queen palms someday? Likely not in your, certainly not my, lifetime. And Lowe’s ships those palms in because people buy them. Lowe’s ships hydrangeas to SWFL every spring. Hydrangeas are annuals here as they need winter cold to survive. Christmas palms are annuals for you unless you cater to their cold sensitive needs. But it’s easier for you to replicate summer heat/humidity than for me to replicate a cold winter.

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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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@SwampDog good luck with the Queen, I've lost 3 over the years of attempting to grow them in my coastal 8b climate. It's not impossible but will be challenging in 7b to say the least.

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I always wonder why Lowes and Home Depot, here in Raleigh NC, sell so many palms that aren't hardy here and almost never sell palms that are hardy, even though there are several varieties that are hardy here. Windmill palms will be available every so often but I never see needles, sabal varieties or blue med fans, all of which are hardy here. 

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18 minutes ago, knikfar said:

I always wonder why Lowes and Home Depot, here in Raleigh NC, sell so many palms that aren't hardy here and almost never sell palms that are hardy, even though there are several varieties that are hardy here. Windmill palms will be available every so often but I never see needles, sabal varieties or blue med fans, all of which are hardy here. 

My guess? They sell non-hardy Adonidias, bottle palms, Cocos, etc. because the palm ignorati that buy them believe that only pinnate/feather palms qualify as palms. Their customers would rather kill a dozen Adonidias than plant one Sabal, Chamaerops or windmill, then wonder why “my Christmas palm died - again.”

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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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On 5/24/2023 at 7:49 AM, PalmatierMeg said:

If given supplemental heat and protection the queen might survive a few winters. Without those things it will be a goner when lows hit the low 20s. Will NC be able to support a viable population of queen palms someday? Likely not in your, certainly not my, lifetime. And Lowe’s ships those palms in because people buy them. Lowe’s ships hydrangeas to SWFL every spring. Hydrangeas are annuals here as they need winter cold to survive. Christmas palms are annuals for you unless you cater to their cold sensitive needs. But it’s easier for you to replicate summer heat/humidity than for me to replicate a cold winter.

Queen palms can handle brief temperatures in the mid upper teens they aren't goners in the low twenties. They were many large old Queens in South Texas before the major artic blast, that nearly killed all of the Queens in Houston and San Antonio.  If the cold snaps are brief they will survive.  

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1 hour ago, MarcusH said:

Queen palms can handle brief temperatures in the mid upper teens they aren't goners in the low twenties. They were many large old Queens in South Texas before the major artic blast, that nearly killed all of the Queens in Houston and San Antonio.  If the cold snaps are brief they will survive.  

Young Queens in the low 20's dont do well with no protection. I found this out the hard way.

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Palms - 3 S. romanzoffiana, 1 W. bifurcata, 4 W. robusta, 1 R. rivularis, 1 B. odorata, 1 B. nobilis, 2 S. palmetto, 1 A. merillii, 2 P. sylvestris, 1 BxJ, 1 BxJxBxS, 2 BxS, 1 C. nucifera, 1 P. roebelenii, 1 H. lagenicaulis, 1 H. verschaffeltii, 9 T. fortunei, 1 C. humilis, 2 C. macrocarpa

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7 hours ago, JLM said:

Young Queens in the low 20's dont do well with no protection. I found this out the hard way.

My juvenile surivived temperatures of 16,21,24,28 with just a thin bed sheet around it and a bucket over it because I had no time to get better protection.  I uncovered the palm on the 3rd day when temperatures finally were slightly above freezing during the day for a few hours .  I'm not saying you're wrong . I deep watered my palms prior the winter storm , added a few inches of extra mulch and fertilized it 3 x in that year.  Even my Pygmy palm surivived with same protection method .  My damaged Queen already growing its 3rd frond . I digged my Pygmy out and planted it in a pot since I didn't like where it was located.  Long story short whatever I did helped to keep it alive wasn't just a coincidence . Right now I'm vacationing in New Orleans and there are plenty of Queens around.  In 2021 their low was 20F.  

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15 hours ago, MarcusH said:

My juvenile surivived temperatures of 16,21,24,28 with just a thin bed sheet around it and a bucket over it because I had no time to get better protection.  I uncovered the palm on the 3rd day when temperatures finally were slightly above freezing during the day for a few hours .  I'm not saying you're wrong . I deep watered my palms prior the winter storm , added a few inches of extra mulch and fertilized it 3 x in that year.  Even my Pygmy palm surivived with same protection method .  My damaged Queen already growing its 3rd frond . I digged my Pygmy out and planted it in a pot since I didn't like where it was located.  Long story short whatever I did helped to keep it alive wasn't just a coincidence . Right now I'm vacationing in New Orleans and there are plenty of Queens around.  In 2021 their low was 20F.  

Yes, there are plenty of Queens in NOLA, but they are also mostly adults with several feet of trunk. 
 

You got lucky with your Queen, sometimes hardiness can be variable between different palms, but in general younger Queens don’t take low 20s very well.

Palms - 3 S. romanzoffiana, 1 W. bifurcata, 4 W. robusta, 1 R. rivularis, 1 B. odorata, 1 B. nobilis, 2 S. palmetto, 1 A. merillii, 2 P. sylvestris, 1 BxJ, 1 BxJxBxS, 2 BxS, 1 C. nucifera, 1 P. roebelenii, 1 H. lagenicaulis, 1 H. verschaffeltii, 9 T. fortunei, 1 C. humilis, 2 C. macrocarpa

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On 5/24/2023 at 4:04 PM, knikfar said:

I always wonder why Lowes and Home Depot, here in Raleigh NC, sell so many palms that aren't hardy here and almost never sell palms that are hardy, even though there are several varieties that are hardy here. Windmill palms will be available every so often but I never see needles, sabal varieties or blue med fans, all of which are hardy here. 

One word: Money. These tropical plams grow fast and are more ASTHETIC, so people buy them each year for them to last on average between May-September. When you buy a hardy palm, the customer gets it and does not buy more each year so less money earned.

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6 hours ago, MonkeDonkezz said:

One word: Money. These tropical plams grow fast and are more ASTHETIC, so people buy them each year for them to last on average between May-September. When you buy a hardy palm, the customer gets it and does not buy more each year so less money earned.

But if that's the case, why don't big box stores just sell annuals then? They still sell azaleas, gardenias, camellias, junipers and many other long lived shrubs and trees. I just don't see how sabal palms are different than those. Most people here in Raleigh don't know they can grow palms year round. They don't pay attention to the ones planted in other people's yards or at businesses. But if they saw them for sale while looking for other plants, I think they'd purchase them. 

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  On 5/25/2023 at 11:50 PM, JLM said:

My juvenile surivived temperatures of 16,21,24,28 with just a thin bed sheet around it and a bucket over it because I had no time to get better protection.  I uncovered the palm on the 3rd day when temperatures finally were slightly above freezing during the day for a few hours .  I'm not saying you're wrong . I deep watered my palms prior the winter storm , added a few inches of extra mulch and fertilized it 3 x in that year.  Even my Pygmy palm surivived with same protection method .  My damaged Queen already growing its 3rd frond . I digged my Pygmy out and planted it in a pot since I didn't like where it was located.  Long story short whatever I did helped to keep it alive wasn't just a coincidence . Right now I'm vacationing in New Orleans and there are plenty of Queens around.  In 2021 their low was 20F.  

In February 2021 and December 2022, the temperature reached 25F at the International Airport in New Orleans.

The temperature did reach 20F there in Jan. 2018 and alot of Queens took a hard hit in that one.

 

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22 minutes ago, Sabal_Louisiana said:
  On 5/25/2023 at 11:50 PM, JLM said:

My juvenile surivived temperatures of 16,21,24,28 with just a thin bed sheet around it and a bucket over it because I had no time to get better protection.  I uncovered the palm on the 3rd day when temperatures finally were slightly above freezing during the day for a few hours .  I'm not saying you're wrong . I deep watered my palms prior the winter storm , added a few inches of extra mulch and fertilized it 3 x in that year.  Even my Pygmy palm surivived with same protection method .  My damaged Queen already growing its 3rd frond . I digged my Pygmy out and planted it in a pot since I didn't like where it was located.  Long story short whatever I did helped to keep it alive wasn't just a coincidence . Right now I'm vacationing in New Orleans and there are plenty of Queens around.  In 2021 their low was 20F.  

In February 2021 and December 2022, the temperature reached 25F at the International Airport in New Orleans.

The temperature did reach 20F there in Jan. 2018 and alot of Queens took a hard hit in that one.

 

Looks like they recovered well .  I was surprised to see that many mature Queens all over New Orleans they grow like weeds over there.  San Antonio and Houston had a lot of Queens prior to the Feb 2021 freeze and they took a beating about 10 years before that freeze too but survived. From what I've heard they surivived temps in the upper teens.  Queens are hardier than labeled . I guess it's all about the duration the freeze . 

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  • 4 months later...

UPDATE ///

Musa Basjoos and Queen palm seem to be doing good as expected through the summer months. Signs of fall are approaching. I may decide to bring in the Queen Palm once it hits the 30’s and 40’s since it’s potted. 

IMG_4564.jpeg

IMG_4563.jpeg

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