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Short, Hardy, Palm Recommendations?


BeyondTheGarden

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Any ideas for 8a palms, that would stay under ~4 feet tall?   Aside from Trachycarpus nanus and Brahea moorei, which are both about impossible to find...

Looking for things to put in front of my house, that would not obscure the front porch.   

I am open to non-palm recommendations as well.  BLE's/non-deciduous.  Thank you. 

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Yeah I thought Sabal minor, until I saw how big they get here.  I would need Sabal nanus if such a thing existed.  @DAVEinMB I do have some of those that can go in, toward the rear by the house.  I am concerned that I will not be able to fully utilize in this area though, as the side up against the sidewalk gets summer sun.  I believe Aspidistra burns in sun?

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Some of the minors stay minor. Teddy has the blountstown dwarf for sale right now. I don't think they get over 2 or 3 ft.Also maybe chamerops cerifera. They get a little taller than 4 ft but should stay at 6 ft or less. Certainly not as big as the green form,hardier too. Non trunking radicalis would look good,are they 8a hardy?

Edited by N8ALLRIGHT
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Yeah the @teddytn has Blountstown dwarfs.

Non palmy things that look palmy -  Mahonia soft caress (I'm sure you thought of that), and Holly fern.

Liriope, particularly Aztec grass.  I just bought some.  Other sedges they come in whites, green, yellows and combinations of all three.

Red yucca, or any of the true yuccas.  I really liked my Silver Anniversary Yuccas, they had blues and purples.

Spotted farfugium

What direction does the front face?

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1 hour ago, BeyondTheGarden said:

I believe Aspidistra burns in sun?

It does, mine gets a good bit of sun randomly throughout the day but seems like it's handling it ok. I got blue liriopes planted around them and they brown quicker. I'll throw a pic up

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18 minutes ago, Chester B said:

Yeah the @teddytn has Blountstown dwarfs.

Non palmy things that look palmy -  Mahonia soft caress (I'm sure you thought of that), and Holly fern.

Liriope, particularly Aztec grass.  I just bought some.  Other sedges they come in whites, green, yellows and combinations of all three.

Red yucca, or any of the true yuccas.  I really liked my Silver Anniversary Yuccas, they had blues and purples.

Spotted farfugium

What direction does the front face?

The house is on the south side.  Mahonia soft caress would get too much sun to look good I think.  Yuccas don't have quite enough leg room unless I want to prune them heavily.  They sprawl and they're not friendly to brush up against on your way to the car.   I'm thinking about Serenoa, ferns, nandina, and Euphorbia up front.  Behind that some Aucuba and Mahonia aquifolium, bealei, fortunei, etc that would be pruned regularly.  

I also currently have a Chamaerops planted on each side of the steps. 

304stonecrossyroad.jpg

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1 hour ago, N8ALLRIGHT said:

Some of the minors stay minor. Teddy has the blountstown dwarf for sale right now. I don't think they get over 2 or 3 ft.Also maybe chamerops cerifera. They get a little taller than 4 ft but should stay at 6 ft or less. Certainly not as big as the green form,hardier too. Non trunking radicalis would look good,are they 8a hardy?

I have some arborescent radicalis, I am planning on putting some on the inside corner between the house and garage, right up against the brick foundation.  I have never been able to find the non-trunking form but would like to.

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How about hardy gardenia they have great fragrant, are mostly evergreen. Purple fountain grass is nice but would have to be replanted each year.  There inexpensive.

Edited by Paradise Found
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The way I want a trunking radicalis but I seem to not be able to find them haha

The chamaerops look awesome though, gonna be awesome when the rest of your beds are planted out

Edited by ZPalms
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I got carried away with photoshop when I first moved in.  

GOPR3138.JPG

GOPR3138a.jpg

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I found this at Oregon Palm nursery, it wasn't really for sale but I really liked the way it looked.     The owner has been growing his own Trachys for years,  and when he had harvested more seed than he knew what to do with, he just tossed the extra into random containers.   So this is what 30 trachys planted in a 5 gal container look like.  I'm going to leave them bound in the container and put it straight into the ground.  The confinement will keep the growth stunted and they should maintain this look for awhile.

 

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My new favorite non-palm is  Euphorbia x pasteurii.  It does kinda look like a whole bunch of miniature palm trees if you keep it trimmed up.   What really sold me was the way it sailed through three nights of 14F  and three days that never got out of the twenties.  

Heres a pic of mine from after the freeze, pushing out new leaves already. 

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Here's some pics I stole of the internet, but most of the ones I found don't do them justice.

jpg.thumb.PNG.9205e6e1c0d4182ba850c80b2b238856.PNG

 

euphorbia-pasteurii.webp.82512dd7e57356e76cf4748e978e59c3.webp

 

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Mahonia 'Soft Caress' should be OK in full sun. Mine has been since my live oak came down, and it looks fine. In fact, it looks the same. The trachys have that right look. Have you investigated palm grass? There are a couple of species that use that common name; I was on the hunt for Setaria palmifolia for awhile, until I got distracted, or maybe was scared off by reports of invasiveness.

palm-grass-01.thumb.jpg.4c4769a23fe82e6f414a17791572d194.jpg

 

Edited by Manalto
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I have a Sabal minor 'Wakulla Dwarf', and it is indeed staying knee high and does well in full sun. However, with the perspective of being a hobby palm collector and gardener for a few years, I do think you're on the right track considering plants that stay low and non-palms. There is a world of other plants that could look great there. Given your zone, there are multiple different looks that you could pull off well, depending on your preference. I find being a gardener rather than just a palm collector is more satisfying, and if you are amending the soil to grow things which demand a richer soil, your palms will benefit as well. I wonder if coonties would be hardy for you there?

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Woodville, FL

zone 8b

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This thread has a very informative post by Meg with details about several of the dwarf Sabal minors she has grown.

Also, I have probably a very similar climate to you, and I've had a Brahea decumbens perform quite well and it stays lower than silver Serenoa repens, which I find more tall and robust than the green form of Serenoa. I am away right now but the Brahea is definitely under 4' in height. For me the color is not comparable to the Serenoa, but I like it nonetheless.

Woodville, FL

zone 8b

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10 hours ago, BeyondTheGarden said:

I got carried away with photoshop when I first moved in.  

GOPR3138.JPG

GOPR3138a.jpg

Whoa! Crazy-jungle-PERFECT!?!? Photoshocker!

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Zone 6b maritime climate

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8 hours ago, Manalto said:

Setaria palmifolia

I have this (currently died back to roots) and I agree it looks great. I was surprised by its toughness as it got through the droughts here in Texas with no supplemental water whilst looking good. I can see its potential for invasiveness but most plants listed as invasive simply aren't where I garden due to the harsh weather and soil conditions. 

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9 hours ago, Manalto said:

Mahonia 'Soft Caress' should be OK in full sun. Mine has been since my live oak came down, and it looks fine. In fact, it looks the same. The trachys have that right look. Have you investigated palm grass? There are a couple of species that use that common name; I was on the hunt for Setaria palmifolia for awhile, until I got distracted, or maybe was scared off by reports of invasiveness.

palm-grass-01.thumb.jpg.4c4769a23fe82e6f414a17791572d194.jpg

 

If you ever get over to Pensacola, Boo for U has Curculigo fairly often. He mostly specializes in bamboo but has some other neat things from his travels abroad.

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I have another suggestion, not to everyone's taste.  i've seen it where it looks good, but I have also seen the opposite.  It can have a cycad look to it and is extremely rugged.

Japanese spreading plum yew - Cephalotaxus harringtonia 'Prostrata'

If I stick with the conifer line of thought:

Thuja plicata ‘Whipcord’ - I always liked these, they are super slow growing, but don't come cheap

There is also Whipchord arborivitae - which I have not seen in person.

One of my favorite plants that no one seems to grow is Leucothoe fontanesiana 'Rainbow'.  They can be maintained to the size you require, as they max out at around 4-5'.  Very cold hardy too.  There are other varieties but this is the one I liked best and grew.

Setaria palmifolia is an awesome plant but not hardy to your zone.

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15 hours ago, BeyondTheGarden said:

The house is on the south side.  Mahonia soft caress would get too much sun to look good I think.  Yuccas don't have quite enough leg room unless I want to prune them heavily.  They sprawl and they're not friendly to brush up against on your way to the car.   I'm thinking about Serenoa, ferns, nandina, and Euphorbia up front.  Behind that some Aucuba and Mahonia aquifolium, bealei, fortunei, etc that would be pruned regularly.  

I also currently have a Chamaerops planted on each side of the steps. 

304stonecrossyroad.jpg

20240214_155955.jpg

This is a good choice. These stay small longer than Needle Palms. Purchase in a 10-inch or 14-in pot.

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If you want an aboveground trunk which dwarf palmettos don't have, I recommend needle palm. Their leaves are super shade-tolerant, but you can prune the lower leaves as it grows if you really want to expose the trunk. Yes, I know they're reliably hardy down to Zone 6b as long as the ground doesn't freeze, but I still recommend them over more marginal things because they're native to our continent and able to tolerate a wide variety of light levels and soil conditions. After all, it'll practically ensure that even a severe winter won't do them in. Mine recently survived my area getting to -13 degrees Fahrenheit for probably the first time since 1989, and some in Knoxville have been known to survive as cold as -24 in 1985 and in Quebeck Tenn. as cold as about -20 in 1996.

For non-palms, I'd recommend any sort of yucca that stays small enough and can deal with the soil and climate. All bananas are deciduous in our climates, and they're difficult enough to control and foreign enough to be a potential future invasive species. Also, I don't know whether your soil would support switch cane (which is one of our three native bamboo species), which tends to stay small but need poorly-draining soil; hill cane is deciduous, and the more adaptable river cane tends to reach a tree size that the former two don't.

Edited by L.A.M.

I'm just a neurodivergent Middle Tennessean guy that's obsessively interested in native plants (especially evergreen trees/shrubs) from spruces to palms.

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2 hours ago, apriliarider15 said:

If you ever get over to Pensacola, Boo for U has Curculigo fairly often. He mostly specializes in bamboo but has some other neat things from his travels abroad.

Thanks, Josh, I will! And thanks also for the reminder of the name of the other "palm grass."

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Thank you all for the suggestions, I hadn't expected this much input and it's much appreciated.  I will look into the Sabal minor-minors.  

@Chester B I just removed a couple conifers and have another yet to remove, I just can't handle the visual texture.  Unless you count Cycads as conifers.  I am planning to put in a handful of Cycas revoluta.  They will take 30 years to get to any height unless they get killed before then.  

@L.A.M., needles get enormous here.  I have video of some that are 12 feet tall and almost as wide.  

@ManaltoI am interested in palm grass but have never grown it.  Which reminds me, I have some Sasa veitchii which is an unusual variegated bamboo that works as a sprawling ground cover, growing up to 1-2' high but does not like sun from what I have read.  

Also, I shot a video on some awful looking Mahonia "soft caress"; most of it that I have seen growing on the east coast is in full sun and looks awful, in my opinion.  The only good specimens I have seen are growing in shade.  The sun grown ones are dense and compact, looking more like a podocarpus or some kind of juniper thing.  Shade gives it that stretched out "Chamaedorea elegans" kind of look.  

@Cody Salem that Euphorbia x pasteurii looks wonderful!  They seem hard to find.  The PNW is such a good place for finding rare plants. 

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@BeyondTheGarden always worth suggesting some different choices.  I get it, I hate conifers too.

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8 hours ago, BeyondTheGarden said:

Thank you all for the suggestions, I hadn't expected this much input and it's much appreciated.  I will look into the Sabal minor-minors.  

@Chester B I just removed a couple conifers and have another yet to remove, I just can't handle the visual texture.  Unless you count Cycads as conifers.  I am planning to put in a handful of Cycas revoluta.  They will take 30 years to get to any height unless they get killed before then.  

@L.A.M., needles get enormous here.  I have video of some that are 12 feet tall and almost as wide.  

@ManaltoI am interested in palm grass but have never grown it.  Which reminds me, I have some Sasa veitchii which is an unusual variegated bamboo that works as a sprawling ground cover, growing up to 1-2' high but does not like sun from what I have read.  

Also, I shot a video on some awful looking Mahonia "soft caress"; most of it that I have seen growing on the east coast is in full sun and looks awful, in my opinion.  The only good specimens I have seen are growing in shade.  The sun grown ones are dense and compact, looking more like a podocarpus or some kind of juniper thing.  Shade gives it that stretched out "Chamaedorea elegans" kind of look.  

@Cody Salem that looks wonderful!  They seem hard to find.  The PNW is such a good place for finding rare plants. 

I got the Euphorbia x pasteurii from the famous Cistus (https://cistus.com/)   nursery near Portland.    They do alot of business through the mail and have alot of really cool items.   They work hard to get some unique items specifically for zone 8, and even develop there own varieties.   

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7 hours ago, Cody Salem said:

I got the Euphorbia x pasteurii from the famous Cistus (https://cistus.com/)   nursery near Portland.    They do alot of business through the mail and have alot of really cool items.   They work hard to get some unique items specifically for zone 8, and even develop there own varieties.   

I have bought from them before.  They sold me some Mahonia oiwakensis that wasn't supposed to be ready for sale until the following season.  I'll probably order from them this spring when the weather gets warm.  Just about anything I'm looking for I can normally find through plantlust, which I think is exclusively made up of PNW nurseries/retailers.   I never realized how unique the PNW in terms of gardening. 

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If you can find some of the Chamaerops Volcano, they stay pretty small and are hardier than the standard Chamaerops. They're supposed to be fully hardy here in Raleigh so it would definitely be hardy for you. 

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@knikfar I would love to get some.  To my knowledge they are difficult to find.  That seems to be the case with all of the non-" garden variety" or

'big-box-store' variety Chamaerops. 

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2 minutes ago, BeyondTheGarden said:

@knikfar I would love to get some.  To my knowledge they are difficult to find.  That seems to be the case with all of the non-" garden variety" or

'big-box-store' variety Chamaerops. 

Agreed. There's a guy on the Southeast Palms and Tropicals FB page who was selling them. If you happen to be a member of that group, try searching volcano and see if his info comes up

 

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4 minutes ago, BeyondTheGarden said:

@knikfar I would love to get some.  To my knowledge they are difficult to find.  That seems to be the case with all of the non-" garden variety" or

'big-box-store' variety Chamaerops. 

cistus has volcano available for mail order

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@knikfar I am a member of that group, and someone added me to the "SE palms wholesale" chat.  Turns out no one on there was a wholesaler from what I gather, it looks like Dave Alvarez might have been involved in the making of it from what I gathered from the way the conversation went.  I would like to get down to Georgia some day as he has Jub x Butia (or vise versa, can't remember) and a couple rare Trachy species for sale.  

@ZPalms thanks.  

Nice weather today.  This is not the right time of year to be planting palms here.  But I'm impatient.  

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View from the kitchen sink window is improving. 

20240219_150947.thumb.jpg.98f449b7e46746ac3f725f872ff32cfa.jpg

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2 hours ago, BeyondTheGarden said:

@knikfar I am a member of that group, and someone added me to the "SE palms wholesale" chat.  Turns out no one on there was a wholesaler from what I gather, it looks like Dave Alvarez might have been involved in the making of it from what I gathered from the way the conversation went.  I would like to get down to Georgia some day as he has Jub x Butia (or vise versa, can't remember) and a couple rare Trachy species for sale.  

@ZPalms thanks.  

Nice weather today.  This is not the right time of year to be planting palms here.  But I'm impatient.  

20240219_144956.thumb.jpg.b23cc95bcdca55d957bbcf19cd42b423.jpg20240219_145013.thumb.jpg.e2e58c130046ba4f86bf7095321594a7.jpg

View from the kitchen sink window is improving. 

20240219_150947.thumb.jpg.98f449b7e46746ac3f725f872ff32cfa.jpg

All those normal bare yards are gonna be in awe when your yard looks exotic, lots of cool things, Is that livistona in the last photo?

Edited by ZPalms
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@Cody Salem Agave americana, nothing fancy.  I found it by accident when I bought my yuccas.  They seem to do fine here.  There are some more interesting species in town that I have yet to identify; I'm not too smart on Agave.  

@ZPalms nah, only palm nerds care about palms.   The two little palms in the 3 gal pots are Sabal minor.  They do have a nice dish shape, similar to Livistona, though.  I'm hoping to get a couple palmettos to put at the end of the driveway with the rest.  Tax return season is always like a glimmer of hope, until you budget it out and see how little it actually spreads around. 

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Cycads! Ceratozamia, cycas, quite a few that will do well with minimal effort, they will have leaves burn back most winters, but will return nicely

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18 hours ago, BeyondTheGarden said:

@knikfar I am a member of that group, and someone added me to the "SE palms wholesale" chat.  Turns out no one on there was a wholesaler from what I gather, it looks like Dave Alvarez might have been involved in the making of it from what I gathered from the way the conversation went.  I would like to get down to Georgia some day as he has Jub x Butia (or vise versa, can't remember) and a couple rare Trachy species for sale.  

@ZPalms thanks.  

Nice weather today.  This is not the right time of year to be planting palms here.  But I'm impatient.  

20240219_144956.thumb.jpg.b23cc95bcdca55d957bbcf19cd42b423.jpg20240219_145013.thumb.jpg.e2e58c130046ba4f86bf7095321594a7.jpg

View from the kitchen sink window is improving. 

20240219_150947.thumb.jpg.98f449b7e46746ac3f725f872ff32cfa.jpg

This is the exact time of year when I plant palms. The worst of the winter has passed. Anything we get now isn't likely to harm hardy palm varieties. I plant now because it gives the plant the longest amount of time before the summer heat and the worst of next winter to get its roots established. If you wait until April, you take the chance the rain will turn off in May. Then it'll be constant watering to try and keep it from drying up. That's been my experience for the last five years. Seems to be shared by other local palm growers. 

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Another option is Sabal Etonia. They stay pretty small from what I read and would probably do well in your soil conditions. I’m growing some from seed now and can give you a couple once they bulk up a bit.

Plant Delights Nursery has Blountstown Dwarf Sabal Minor for sale that I just picked up yesterday.

I also have two chamaerops humilis Vulcano palms from Cistus. I’d be willing to sell one of them. It’s really small though.

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