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Worried. How long can palms overwinter with no sunlight?


smithgn

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Hi everyone,

As a few of you on here may know, as of the last 5 years or so, I moved overseas and left all of my palms with my parents in South Carolina. Luckily, they’re plant people too and have taken pretty good care of them. 

Now to the worrisome part, they’ve come to visit and are about a month into their 3 month stay with me. All of my tender and borderline/young plants got moved inside of the garage till they return in early January. The palms missed all of October growing season and have been in there since then. 

Since they’ve been staying with me, my parents have a good friend check on them once a week to water them. Although, other than opening the garage door for a bit (which even then, the sunlight doesn’t directly hit them), they only have the yellow halogen lights on inside the garage for 24 hours to give them some semblance of nutrients. 
Since then the guy checking on the palms said 2 aren’t looking good and are probably dead. I knew I’d probably lose a few but not this quick…To make matters worse, he’s going for knee surgery in a few weeks and needless to say, won’t be checking on them after that.

 

There’s nothing I can really do but does anyone have experience overwintering palms like i’m doing and have any positive results? How long can palms survive (even in a dormant state) without any sunlight? 
 

Thanks guys- make me feel better! 

 

 

Btw, the picture is a screenshot from a video my mom sent the day they left.

 


 

 

IMG_5091.png

Edited by smithgn
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The Dracaena should only be watered rarely maybe 1 more time if dry and the others guessing every 2-3 weeks.  Plants will have some dieback of older fronds indoors or in winter which is normal and many can handle low or no light for 3 months but pots overwatered in dark may kill them.  

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),  18' Mule-Butia x Syagrus(1),  Blue Butia odorata (1) +Tons of tropical plants.  Recent Yearly Lows -6F, -1F, 12F, 11F, 18F, 16F, 3F, 3F, 6F, 3F, 1F, 16F, 17F, 6F, 8F

 

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On 11/15/2023 at 8:08 PM, smithgn said:

Thanks guys- make me feel better!

Well to start off there's always a chance 😃 Over the years I have gotten alot better at overwintering my zone push palms in my garage. There are still casualties of course, but the best thing I had done was to purchase some grow lights for them and put them on a timer. Overwatering is always the biggest killer hands down , almost never from drying out. Now some species are way better at neglect then others like chamaedorea sp. Think home depot houseplant section would be pretty close to what your plants will be going thru. I think you have a chance for survivals. 

T J 

T J 

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...How long can palms overwinter with no sunlight?

Sunlight is always preferred, but artificial light on a timer is a reasonable substitute.

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Hello, The answer to you're question is not very long. I live in zone 3b. I am surrounded by deciduous trees ( loose leaves in fall) and Conifers (keep needles). The Deciduous tree is the only one that actually shuts down during the winter. No photosynthetic activity what so ever. Spruce trees (Conifers) however do continue photosynthesis during the winter albeit very slowly. Palms don't lose all of there Frond's so unfortunately they do require some sun all year.  The trees in nature are under sun all year, that isn't going to change

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1 hour ago, Palmlover_78 said:

Hello, The answer to you're question is not very long. I live in zone 3b. I am surrounded by deciduous trees ( loose leaves in fall) and Conifers (keep needles). The Deciduous tree is the only one that actually shuts down during the winter. No photosynthetic activity what so ever. Spruce trees (Conifers) however do continue photosynthesis during the winter albeit very slowly. Palms don't lose all of there Frond's so unfortunately they do require some sun all year.  The trees in nature are under sun all year, that isn't going to change

Wrong on palms needing light in winter.  Maybe you can explain how everyone that wraps palms or boxes them for months has them coming out looking like they went in?

Butia Dec 12th

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rzasur8z724

Butia Feb 13th

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hadCoZW-NVk

 

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),  18' Mule-Butia x Syagrus(1),  Blue Butia odorata (1) +Tons of tropical plants.  Recent Yearly Lows -6F, -1F, 12F, 11F, 18F, 16F, 3F, 3F, 6F, 3F, 1F, 16F, 17F, 6F, 8F

 

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Not much experience with palms, but learned a lot on agaves, dasylirion, yucca, cactus, etc.
Overwintering in absolute darkness is easy, and preferred, as long as the plants stay cold enough.  If they warm up enough to encourage growth it will not be good.   For our plants we put in the cold room when temperatures can be kept between 25 and 40 f.  

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3 hours ago, Allen said:

Wrong on palms needing light in winter.  Maybe you can explain how everyone that wraps palms or boxes them for months has them coming out looking like they went in?

Butia Dec 12th

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rzasur8z724

Butia Feb 13th

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hadCoZW-NVk

 

or may ,you can learn how to text and not coming off sounding like a complete douche, I just go what I see based on mother nature and her evolutionary programming.

Edited by Palmlover_78
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43 minutes ago, Palmlover_78 said:

or may ,you can learn how to text and not coming off sounding like a complete douche, I just go what I see based on mother nature and her evolutionary programming.

I guess I'm just tired of people talking about stuff they have no experience with.  I've been overwintering plants in my garage for years both under lights and overflow ones in the dark

Edited by Allen

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),  18' Mule-Butia x Syagrus(1),  Blue Butia odorata (1) +Tons of tropical plants.  Recent Yearly Lows -6F, -1F, 12F, 11F, 18F, 16F, 3F, 3F, 6F, 3F, 1F, 16F, 17F, 6F, 8F

 

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26 minutes ago, Allen said:

I guess I'm just tired of people talking about stuff they have no experience with. 

Maybe it is time to find a different Hobby then...I don't want to turn this into a pissing contest, I am way to mature and to old for you're petty crybaby bull shit. I just based my statement on my experience and observations.

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