Can i grow a palm in Indiana?

Discussion in 'Outdoor Tropicals' started by Alex, Oct 29, 2005.

  1. I live just south of lake Michigan on the 5b 6a border. Im 17 and i have a strange obsession for a teenager. I absolutely love palm trees and i would like to grow one in my backyard up against the south end of the house where it gets more sun and our north winds are blocked. Ive monitored the temerature for 2 years on the south side of my house and it stays considerably warmer in winter during the daytime than the north side does. I've heard some things about creating a microclimate but im still a little unfamiliar with it. I'm thinking about a windmill palm (trachycarpus fortunei) , takil palm (trachycarpus takil), dwarf palmetto (sabal minor), or needle palm. I know the needle palm is the hardiest, but i like the windmill palm and sabal minor the best. I think im going to start them out this winter indoors and take them outside for the spring/summer next year. I really need advice for my 2006 growing season. Can somebody please help me??
     
  2. Ron B

    Ron B Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    Try the windmill palm.
     
  3. PalmBoy

    PalmBoy Member

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    i just had to say that this was my post before i joined...
     
  4. Michael F

    Michael F Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Your best bet would probably be Rhapidophyllum hystrix. It is slightly more winter-cold tolerant than Trachycarpus, and also does better with summer heat
     
  5. Ron B

    Ron B Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    Except he said he didn't like the needle palm.
     
  6. PalmBoy

    PalmBoy Member

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    Yeah, thanks ron, i would rather have a trachycarpus, but is it safe enough to grow here? I think it might be a good idea to use some type of winter protection on it. Maybe mulch or wrapping the trunk would be a good idea??
     
  7. Ron B

    Ron B Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    I see Sunset National Garden Book indicates it not being suitable anywhere near you, probably best as a tub plant there, that is put "under glass" in winter.
     
  8. PalmBoy

    PalmBoy Member

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    ok after much research, i have decided to go with three specimens. Trachycarpus fortunei, Rhapidophyllum hystrix, and sabal minor are the cold hardiest. Ive seen many reports that the sabal minor is almost as cold hardy as Rhapidophyllum hystrix. they will be protected with heavy mulch through the winter and kept on the south side of the house. Temps will NOT drop below -4F at the VERY LEAST in this microclimate. will they do good with just the mulch? any suggestions with overwintering these? please comment! help me out!!!

    thank you all,
    Palmboy
     
  9. Michael F

    Michael F Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Good luck!

    What does "NOT drop below -4F" mean in real figures?

    Since posting my earlier note (#4 above) I've found a website about some Trachycarpus fortunei in Bulgaria which survived -27.5°C undamaged in 1993
    http://www.polarpalm.net/
     
  10. PalmBoy

    PalmBoy Member

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    Temps wont be lower than -20 degrees Celsius
     
  11. jetoney

    jetoney Active Member

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    I have the same "obsession" as Palmboy and live in a similar climate (Central Ohio). Last year I planted a needle palm in a sheltered spot and have a windmill palm in a pot, which I move into the garage during sub-freezing weather. Unfortunately it is too soon to tell whether it will work out, but I will keep you posted.
     
  12. Michael F

    Michael F Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    You should be OK with Trachycarpus fortunei then
     
  13. PalmBoy

    PalmBoy Member

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    thanks you guys!
    keep me posted, jetoney!
     
  14. seahawks2884

    seahawks2884 Member

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    I am a zone dry 6b in British Columbia. Sabal palms ,needle palms ,Trachycarpus takil and trunking
    Yucca plants are a good fit for zone 6. A good book for us zone 6 ers is PALMS WON`T GROW HERE and other myths by David A. Franco ,it is the bible for zone 6 palm growing. He is chair of botany for Miami University in Ohio zone 6 and has done many positive experiments with cold hardy palms . Do your research ,type in "cold hardy palms" in your search engine it will show hundreds of results. A site you might want to check out is www.amazinggardens.com a must see site for cold hardy palm growing. I would also go to www.palmsnorth.com a cold hardy palm and Yucca forum.
    Palms will grow there!
     
  15. PalmBoy

    PalmBoy Member

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    I've heard of the book "Palms Wont Grow Here and Other myths" but i didnt know it was as good as you say for us, i will buy it soon. I have done much research...hours worth. I like yuccas and am planning to get some, along with musa basjoo as well. I really think this book is going to help me, along with everyone here at UBC. Ive also been to www.amazinggardens.com its a great site. Thanks!
    -alex
     
  16. Hey there,

    Have a look here - http://www.palms.org/palmsjournal/2002/ohio.htm It's an article written by a professor at Miami University in Ohio about growing palms and other subtropical plants in Ohio. I visited the site myself this summer, if you'd like to see photos you can look at them here - http://www.hyenaclan.org/gallery/PalmsinOhio! . I also used to try to grow palms at my parents' house in the Detroit area when I was in my teens. I never had trouble with them surviving the winter, the key was getting them to grow again in the spring. Especially with the arborescent palms, the key seems to be to keeping the spear dry in order to prevent it from rotting. For palms such as S. minor, this doesn't seem to be a problem, but for T. fortunei, it does.

    -vandringvessla at yahoo dot com
     
  17. I live in whiteland Indiana. I have a tracycarpus fortunei (windmill palm) that for four years I built a cold frame and every year as it grew I would lower the temperature in the cold frame. Two years have past since I protected it and it has survived. It got down to -14F a couple of years ago and it just burned about 60% of the leaves but it survived. It is amazing but it will grow 3 to 4 leaves in the winter.
     
  18. PalmBoy

    PalmBoy Member

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    I am also planting various other palms in my backyard this summer, but leaving them in the pot and covering them with mulch so i can pull them out in the fall. My majesty palm and cabbage palm are two of these. When should i begin planting these?

    Also im going to grow musa basjoo here. I need to get them soon but when is it "safe" to plant them. They will be in the ground all year.

    -palmboy
     
  19. Michael O'Neill

    Michael O'Neill Member

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    Good choice of palms. Some of these specimens have been seen growin in snow!

    You have to remember what palms like as to their growing conditions. Have you ever thought of building up your soil base to raise the intended plant off the natural surface level? i.e. - dig your hole for the plant, introduce extra soil to raise the garden bed height around the hole and fill the hole to about half way with new soil. Plant your palm and have it raised slightly above the normal garden bed soil height. Now fill in as per normal and water!

    If you stick the palm straight into very cold soil your'e going to shock it into committing suicide. If you raise the garden bed/space that it is going into then the soil won't be as cold as the original. That way the palm will adapt more quickly and send out more roots to take hold over time and won't have to go into shutdown mode because you've just shocked it into hibernation.

    Your Rhap 'Hysteria will be very slow growing so don't expect too much to happen too soon!

    As far as mulching is concerned, have the level of mulch AT LEAST 200mm thick in depth - which is about 6-8 inches in your scale. The warmer you can keep your roots the faster the palm will take hold and get established. You can use either hay, lucerine or just about any 'forest' type mulch. You've seen how a compost heap retains its heat, well by adding a thick layer of mulch will do much the same for the palms. It aids in retaining water - which is good - and also keeping the soil a few degrees warmer, something that even when it's -7 below it all helps! Don't be skimpy with the mulch or fertilizer either. It will break down over time, so make sure you've got enough to keep it topped up. Fertilize every 3 months or so with a slow release type.

    If the palm is going to get full sun then that's a bonus. You don't want them stuck in the shade or having a shadow of a barn casting a constant shadow over it. Let the warmth of the sun assist in its growth. If you plant it next to a fence or wall, then that's even better - the palm will collect the warmth off the wall also.

    Make sure you leave enough room for the palm to grow - trunk wise - you don't want it planted too close to foundations etc for obvious reasons and finally, don't just plant one - plant a few! Palms love being around other palms! They'll keep each other sheltered and warm when needed and you'll have a mini rainforest on the side of the house!

    Hope this all helps! G'Day.

    cheers,
    Mike O'Neill, Darwin Australia.
     
  20. PalmBoy

    PalmBoy Member

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    Northwest Indiana Windmill Palm

    4 years later, and 4 years into growing my trachy, I have successfully found a way to grow palms here. Just keep it dry, almost no warmth needed even in -20 degree weather. I wrap a strand of lights around it but they don't get very warm. I also have a needle palm that I've never protected. I've attached a picture of my windmill and a perennial musa basjoo that returns every year on its own.
     

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  21. neonrider

    neonrider Active Member

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    Wow, impressive. I have a close relative living there in Indiana Dunes area. Will let them know that they can grow palms there. Have you tried Washingtonia filifera (hardy down to 10F sometimes) with protection in winter?
     
  22. SuburbanNinja8000

    SuburbanNinja8000 Member

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    Am testing a lot of palms this year most of them native to the South - North American Condented.
     
  23. palmfreak

    palmfreak Member

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    I'm about to move to Indiana with several windmill seedlings. I heard that planting palms on the south side of your house brings the climate up a whole zone!

    Since heat rises, sometimes I wonder if a person could have heat ducting carry warmth from inside the house to the base of a palm allowing heat to trickle up the trunk to the folliage...
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 24, 2011
  24. Dave-Florida

    Dave-Florida Active Member

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    You are getting into terrifying terrain for palms. Sheltered courtyards can work wonders. The University of Florida in Gainesville has a locally-famous giant avocado tree nestled in an old courtyard and a student was planting palms maybe three years ago--just in time for two nasty winters in a row.

    Along with palms, it could be worth playing with some faintly tropical-looking yuccas, agaves, and whatnot. Yucca glauca (which admittedly isn't very impressive) ranges north into Alberta. Yucca baccata has a reputation for hardiness, but may need low humidity. Yucca filamentosa is cute and should be happy. Mine, unfortunately, still hasn't flowered.
     
  25. pitotes

    pitotes Member

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    Re: Northwest Indiana Windmill Palm

    i stay in hobart also, can you tell me where you bought your palm and what season did you plant it
     

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