Growing Windmill Palm in Calgary and Red Deer

Discussion in 'Outdoor Tropicals' started by giacomog13, May 8, 2008.

  1. giacomog13

    giacomog13 Member

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    Hello everyone, im new to this site and new to the whole growing of exotic and specialty plants, so I would definetly appreciate an answer to the following question :

    I have always wanted some exotics plants for outside(Calgary), and the only one I keep reading about thats most hardy is the windmill palm. Now I have heard that it grows in Zone 3 areas, also in Alaska and British Columbia. Right now I have 30 seeds growing and I wanted to try growing them in different locations(indoors and outdoors). Would it be possible to grow windmill palm outdoors all year round in Calgary in wind sheltered but sunny areas? Also would it be possible to grow Windmill palm in Red Deer where their is less wind, warmer nights and possibly in a greenhouse. Thank you very much for any feedback on this topic.

    PS: If anyone knows about growing Loquat and Montana Agava plants, please email message me or email me, thanks.
     
  2. Ron B

    Ron B Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    Unfortunately you won't be able to overwinter it outdoors anywhere near Calgary. Instead grow it in a tub, as an indoor-outdoor plant - if you have a cool and humid location for it to spend the winter in (not suitable for use as a house plant under ordinary living room conditions). Sounds like you may be developing a need for a greenhouse anyway.

    Loquat isn't even fully hardy in Seattle, not a prayer there. Possibly you can get some results with the most hardy agaves in very well-drained soil. Or, it may just be too cold there.

    One you might like to try is Yucca glauca.
     
  3. giacomog13

    giacomog13 Member

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    My father also has a commercial sized greenhouse at our Red Deer home(mostly used for garden veggies and grapes), but I was thinking of trying the 3 plants in their to see if they would survive the winter since its always about 10 degrees warmer on average. Would that make any of the 3 plants have a chance of winter survival? Thanks by the way for the previous reply
     
  4. giacomog13

    giacomog13 Member

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    Also, one other question. What would be some exotic plants, similar to cactus/palm tree/fruit bearing or anything special like that, that could grow in Calgary and the surrounding area that you know of?
     
  5. Ron B

    Ron B Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    Sure if you keep them above their minimum temperature requirement in pots - and the greenhouse doesn't get too humid inside, when closed up to keep in warmth - they should come through fine. Figure on needing to keep them about 20F above their minimum in the ground temperature.

    Another thing to watch out for is the greenhouse over-heating during winter sunny spells.
     
  6. LPN

    LPN Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Shame really, since there are well established Loquats (Eriobotrya japonica) on Vancouver Island.

    Cheers, LPN.
     
  7. Ron B

    Ron B Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    There are well established loquats in Seattle, too, a few over 30' tall. That doesn't mean they don't get hammered in hard winters, like in 1990 when they looked like someone had burnt them with a torch.

    Growing for years, only to be conspicuously damaged periodically by winter cold does not constitute "fully hardy".
     
  8. LPN

    LPN Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Perhaps, but if we all grew "fully hardy" plants we'd have some pretty boring gardens. At that point, I'd have to give up my hobby. Damaging freezes every decade or two is fine with me. I'm long past Junipers and Mugho pines as I'm sure most dedicated gardeners are.

    Cheers, LPN.
     
  9. Ron B

    Ron B Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    Those are hyper-hardy plants. There is a big range between plants that freeze at 10F or 15F (under local conditions) and those that will survive in Illinois.

    And I'm not saying to not plant Zonal Denial plants. I do so myself, and love it when somebody is able to get a California Special to live here for awhile. Just don't claim these are fully hardy or even hardy. I've even heard - as well as read on the internet - announcements that a plant was "hardy" because someone had gotten it through one or two winters!
     
  10. Michael F

    Michael F Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Not sure if Red Deer would eat the palms or not, but safest to assume they would if they had the chance. Note though that Red Deer (Cervus elaphus; Europe, western Asia) is now considered a separate species from Wapiti / American Elk (Cervus canadensis; eastern Asia, North America); whether their dietary preferences differ I don't know.
     
  11. LPN

    LPN Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Michael ~ info on Red Deer. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Deer,_Alberta

    Cheers, LPN.
     
  12. Dave-Florida

    Dave-Florida Active Member

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    I dunno. Calgary seems a decent place for central Asian tulips, rock garden plants from the Rockies, Asiatic hybrid lilies and other such hardy stuff. I recall cannas as being about as tropical-looking as you could get in Wyoming.

    Certainly a cool-temperate greenhouse might be possible. Maybe one sheltered enough for camellias?
     
  13. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Renowned Contributor UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Alberta does have a few native cacti species, e.g., Opuntia polyacantha
     
  14. Dave-Florida

    Dave-Florida Active Member

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    Indeed. Opuntia polyacantha is remarkably hardy, taking at least -50 degrees F. Not a big plant, but it spreads and does have nice flowers. On rangelands, it tends to protect grasses from grazers.
     
  15. Padraigan

    Padraigan Active Member

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    friendly chuckle...
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2008
  16. giacomog13

    giacomog13 Member

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    Well its been 3 months since I got the windmill palms. One planted outside of my house, one in a greenhouse and the other in a pot indoors. All have equal exposure to sunlight but the interesting thing is that he plant outside is twice as big as the one indoors. When I planted them, Calgary was raining for 2 weeks straight, in 8-10 degree weather in the day and close to freezing at night. So im thinking that the spot the windmill is planted in could maybe survive in the winter if I cover the roots or take some basic precautions. Any thoughts on what I can use to try and protect it?
     
  17. LPN

    LPN Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Geez ... hard to know what it would take to protect a borderline zone 7 palm in a zone 3 area. Serious protection comes to mind.
    As far as size difference in comparisons, I've literally grown thousands and they can vary significantly palm to palm.

    Cheers, LPN.
     
  18. giacomog13

    giacomog13 Member

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    Their is hope my friends! Windmill Palm could actually survive in Zone 3 outdoors with just a little protection. I found this link on another forum that shows a windmill palm in Zone 4 in the middle of winter thats covered and it survived. Now im in Calgary which is zone 3b, so a touch cooler, but the plant is beside the house, covered from wind. So I think a large barrier and some insulating material should do the trick!

    Here is the link : http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/farnorth/msg0611464930715.html
     
  19. giacomog13

    giacomog13 Member

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    I also heard that needle palm is more hardy than windmill palm. Is this true?
     
  20. Dave-Florida

    Dave-Florida Active Member

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    Needles and Windmills come from rather different climates. Needle palms thrive in summer heat, while most if not all of the Windmills tend to be from higher, cooler elevations. Kind of oddly, the Atlantic coast climate of Florida may be acceptable to Windmills because day temperatures seldom get much above 90 degrees F.

    Needles like constant moisture (they like seepage slopes) and shade. They tolerate cold snaps but are likely to not do well in persistent cold. You don't see Needles in places like Portland, Oregon.

    I would not want to try either outdoors in Wyoming, much less Alberta, but a glassed-in area without much added heat (a cool-temperate greenhouse like the huge one at Kew) could work.
     
  21. Canadianplant

    Canadianplant Active Member

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    Ive often thought of trying something here in calgary. The odd thing about the climate here is it always seems to be changing. Last winter, all year up here in the north west was 12 degrees. I wore shorts to work all winter long
    except the few days where we got -35 or 40.


    During the same winter, airdie ( which is literaly a 15 minute drive from my house) had snow fer most of the winter. We can get 20 degrees in january, and in the same day it can go from storms to -15 and get a foot of snow.

    It seems that we may be able to grow shorter very hardy tropicals here in a microclimate and protection from the harsh winds that we get here. I have seen what i believe to be some type or codyline species growing downtown infront of a hotel. It was in the middle of february and they were about 4 feet tall, buried in the ground. It seems that mabey with a little bit knowledge of your yard and your area of calgay ( low/high winter temps, windchills, testing different areas of your yard to see if youhave a microclimate that will suit to your needs.

    I have also seen that most houses here have spots where the grass is green all year round. Take a look around.

    Now unfortunatly, anything that gets really tall will probably eventually get frozen in the winter. Unless mabey the palm is surounded by large, native trees to help insulate it ( pines becasue they dont defoliate in the winter).

    I am a dreamer like you, but i unfortunatly havnt been brave enough to try anything at all. Although my majesty palm and phoenix canariensis are doing excellent outdoors for the summer.
     
  22. LPN

    LPN Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    No known cultivated species in the genus Cordyline would survive an Alberta winter planted outside.

    Cheers, LPN.
     
  23. Canadianplant

    Canadianplant Active Member

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    it has the same leaves for sure. The leaves were a dark purple, and there was one green one as well.
     
  24. LPN

    LPN Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    "same" or similar? Where they plastic?

    Cheers, LPN.
     
  25. Canadianplant

    Canadianplant Active Member

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    defeinetly not plastic. And i ment "Same". A lot of people seem to be growing something that looks "similar" to a cordy. , but these looked like for sure. For curiosities sake, to your knowledge what is the coldest a cordyline can take??
     

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