Any hardy palms for zone 6a 6b ?

Discussion in 'HortForum' started by Toronto6A6B, Mar 6, 2012.

  1. Toronto6A6B

    Toronto6A6B Member

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    Hi,

    I am new to this forum and have a question about palms.

    Obviously I am new to this "palms" world as I recently found out on Utube where people posted their videos of palms trees that thrive in Vancouver. What a shock to me !

    I know Vancouver is warmer than Toronto but never spent time to check out the hardiness zones. So I spent a couple of hours to find out what hardiness zones for southern Ontario, Toronto in particular.

    Depending on which websites I used, Toronto seems to be in the 6a or a split between 6a & 6b (St Catharines is 7a, Windsor 6b or 7a).

    I never see any outdoor palms in Toronto, perhaps I rarely paid attention to it.

    My question is: Could I grow sabal palms (state tree of Florida) or any outdoor palms in my backyard (6a or 6b), AWAY from the wall ? My backyard is also windy !

    Also, it's a record warm this winter, I did not shovel snow at all this winter, not even once !

    Thank you !

    Oh, forgot to mention, my backyard faces South with full sun exposure, much warmer than the front of the house.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 6, 2012
  2. Cameron NS

    Cameron NS Member

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    Hello,

    There are one or two types of palms which, as full-grown adults, can possibly grow in Toronto with only some mulch and leaves as winter protection. These are the Needle Palm (Rhapidophyllum hystrix), and the Bluestem Palmetto, specifically the "McCurtain" cultivar (Sabal minor var. "McCurtain"). I would suggest that you check out the forum PalmsNorth.com .
     
  3. Toronto6A6B

    Toronto6A6B Member

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    Hi,

    Thanks for the reply.

    I did some reading yesterday and noticed some people mentioned about windmill palms. Do you know if they will survive in Toronto ? I like something that are relatively tall (doesn't have to be as tall as those found in Florida) and gives me some tropical feel in the winter.

    The coldest temperature in Toronto was around -15C or -18C as far as I can recall (though there was one very cold winter in the 90's), most likely it's like -12C for a couple of nights in the winter. Even if it's -18C (very rarely) for a couple of days, it's still warmer than the 6a min temperatures −23.3 °C (−10 °F) to 20.6 °C (−5 °F).

    Assuming windmill palms survive some mild winters in my backyard without any shelter, and grow to certain size (taller than 10 feet), then the temperatures will drop to -20C for a couple of nights. Hmmm... Will the cold spell burn the leaves if unprotected ? If yes, then it will be a lot of work to build something to protect the leaves at -20C or -15C during the day. That's my concern.
     
  4. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    The hardiest selections of Chusan Palm would be worth a try too. Some selected in Bulgaria (Trachycarpus fortunei 'Plovdiv') are reported to have survived temperatures down to around -27°C in Plovdiv (details). Most of the plants of this species sold are not that hardy though, only reliable down to -15° to -20°.
     
  5. Toronto6A6B

    Toronto6A6B Member

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    Thanks !

    The plant will not survive cold spell in my backyard if it's only reliable down to -15C, but I am hoping my backyard could be a micro climate by itself as it's facing South with full sun exposure.

    We had a very mild winter this year, Toronto in particular. This is my first winter without using my shovel at all, not even once. The snow just melted away the next or couple of days.

    As mentioned, the challenge is to protect the LEAVES if it drops to -18C (the coldest I recall in the past 20 years). Having said that, I suppose TV stations use the number recorded in Pearson (Toronto) International Airport which is colder than my area in general. I will measure the front and backyard temperatures at night time to see how far it spreads. But it's a big difference between front and back yards during the day in a sunny day.

    OK, just googled it, Chusan palms are also called Windmill palms. Am am right ?

    Quote:
    Chusan Palms: Trachycarpus fortunei grows to 12–20 m (39–66 ft) tall on a single stem up to 15–30 cm diameter.

    I wonder if Torontonians actually grow them to adult size ?

    I don't know if Torontonians plant Windmill palms but just wonder if this is the reason they don't ?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trachycarpus_fortunei

    quote:
    The greatest reported cold tolerance is −27.5 °C (−17.5 °F), survived by four specimens planted in Plovdiv, Bulgaria during a severe cold spell on 6 January 1993 and placing it hardy to USDA Zone 7;[5] more commonly lower tolerance limits of −15 °C to −20 °C (5 °F to −4 °F) are cited for mature plants.[6] Young plants are less hardy, and can be damaged by only −8 °C (17.6 °F).[7]

    My backyard is definitely colder than -8C when there's a cold spell in Jan/Feb.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 8, 2012
  6. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    The "young plants are less hardy" will refer to seedlings in their first year or two; they would be easy to protect. I'd guess the seedlings of the Plovdiv selections would be hardier than that anyway, the -8° will refer to seedlings that haven't had any selection for cold tolerance in their ancestry.
     
  7. Toronto6A6B

    Toronto6A6B Member

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    I have done more reading today and noticed that people in the Niagara region (7a) Southwest of Toronto successfully grow some palm trees, and survived 2 winters. The website shows they protect the palms in the winter.

    There is one website where people mentioned some palms are grown near Windsor casino, along the Detroit river and in Detroit as well, but no pictures were posted, no mention if these palms are in hidden planters and will be removed prior to winter.

    A variety of palms thrive in southern British Columbia Canada (Vancouver, Victoria ...). They are beautiful ! All outdoors, no pretection, some are 30 feet tall (Windmill palms).

    Vancouver BC: 8a
    St Catharines Ontario (just West of Niagara falls): 7a
    Niagara region: 6b-7a
    Windsor Ontario: 7a
    Leamington Ontario (South of Windsor On): 7a
    Pelee Island Ontario (South of Leamington): 7b (only 1 website listed it as 7b, others listed it as 7a)
    Toronto: 6b (downtown and area near lake Ontario)
    Toronto (not downtown): 6a

    I was wondering how much will a microclimate shift the hardiness zone ? A full range say from 6b to 7b ?
    For St Catharines On (7a): If the backyard is facing South with full sun exposure, is it possible to create a microclimate (7b or even 8a like Vancouver) ?

    I wonder if people could post pictures outdoor Windmill palms that survive winters in southern Ontario if they exists !?

    Now I remember: St Catharines has 2 green colours, 7a for the city and 7b for that tiny strip of land along lake Ontario. So I tend to think lake front properties or near the lake (7b) with full sun exposure, little bit "man made" shelter such as neighbour's wall blocking the winds ... might become an 8a zone, any thought ?

    OK, someone from Windsor Ontario said the following:

    Quote:
    We can grow small windmill palms and Needle palms here in Windsor Ont. The small ones can go unprotected and the larger ones can survive with minimal protection. Well situated Needle palms can survive unprotected here for many years. there is one in a Detroit subburb that has survived for 30 years unprotected.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 8, 2012
  8. Cameron NS

    Cameron NS Member

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    There are a couple of people growing windmill palms in the Niagara region with only mulch and leaves as winter protection. As Michael F. has said, cultivar selection can have a great impact on how hardy the palms actually are in your area.

    T. fortunei "Bulgaria" have survived numerous cold events, including one this winter. There is no doubt that as adults, these palms can withstand colder temperatures than your average windmill palm. However, some people have reported that as seedlings, their hardiness does not seem to differ much from regular T. fortunei. There is also the cultivar "Tesan", with mature palms supposedly growing unprotected in Beijing.

    I have planted out windmill seedlings at less than a year old, and only start to protect them when the temperatures reach -10 C or lower. Depending where you are in Toronto, there is a bit of winter temperature difference with the lake effect.
     
  9. Toronto6A6B

    Toronto6A6B Member

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    Thanks for your reply & I read your pm.

    There's a thread titled Palm Trees of Canada, wow, they are beautiful and are mostly Chinese Windmill palms ! They are grown outdoors without protection in southern BC/Victoria.

    I am still searching to see if people successfully grow those Windmill palms to adult size in southern Ontario, if they ever did.

    I am hoping, and theoretically possible, that people in southern Ontario can post pictures of their adult size Windmill palms in the forum, I have yet seen any proof unfortunately !

    (1) Vancouver BC: 8a Windmill palms reach adult size, some 30 feet tall, outdoors, unprotected.

    (2) St Catharines Ontario (just West of Niagara falls): 7a (7b in a narrow strip of lake front land along lake Ontario according to one website) I am hoping to see some success, why not in St Catharines ?

    (3) Niagara region: 6b-7a I am hoping Niagara Parks or the locals could do the same, perhaps with some protection.

    (4) Windsor Ontario: 7a Same as above

    (5) Leamington Ontario (South of Windsor On): 7a Same as above

    (6) Pelee Island Ontario (South of Leamington): 7b (only 1 website listed it as 7b, others listed it as 7a)

    (7) Toronto: 6b (downtown and area near lake Ontario) Downtown, The Beaches, Woodbine park, Scarborough Bluff or Etobicoke South of QEW.

    (8) Toronto (not downtown): 6a If it's a success in Toronto (downtown, 6b), there might be a chance in Toronto 6a bordering downtown 6b with some protection, South facing yards, covering leaves with a tarp or lights. I doubt Windmill palms survive the winter North of Hwy 7 or Hwy 401 as it's North of the snow belt like Markham or Richmond Hill or Vaughan ...

    My 2 cents !

    This is the website showing Pelee Island as 7b; Windsor & SW Ontario, Niagara region as 7a:
    http://www.veseys.com/ca/en/learn/r...ternontario?veseys=35cj0766j4oi7mhnaoe012q070

    This website shows downtown Toronto, Woodbine park area, Etobicoke South, Windsor & SW Ontario as 6b; The entire St Catharines as 7a & possibly a very small area as 7b (Please expand the interactive map to see details).
    http://www.plantmaps.com/interactive-ontario-plant-zone-hardiness-map.php
    Note: If you expand St Catharines (green area), you will notice there is a darker green in this green area (7a). I suppose this "darker" green area (near Jordan harbour, Sixteen Mile Pond, the strip of land from Charles Daley park to Lakeside park) is 7b (?)

    I am very surprised that St Catharines is warmer than Windsor in the winter !

    OK finally I found something, Windmill Palm (outdoors) was a success in Montreal (5b).
    http://www.botanicalgarden.ubc.ca/forums/showthread.php?t=11236

    In the above thread (also in this forum), there's a link from a registered user from Montreal. Here's his Utube video about his Windmill Palms (with protection in the winter).
    http://www.montreallandscaping.ca/

    Now it's the question of why don't I see any Windmill Palms in ... (while Montreal 5b was a success)

    Windsor, SW Ontario (some website shows 6b, some 7a)
    Niagara region (6b, 7a)
    St Catharines (7a)
    Toronto (downtown, near lake Ontario): 6b
    Toronto (not downtown): 6a

    Why not parks in the above regions not even attempt to grow Windmill palms ? They are beautiful !

    In the warmest regions (7a) next to 8a (Vancouver, unprotected), try Windmill Palms in the South facing parks with lots of sun exposure, try with some protection first and slowly remove protection when those beautiful Windmill Palms are hardy enough in their mature size ?

    Hi Parks authorities, are you listening :)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 8, 2012
  10. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    One local (based in Oregon) expert thinks much of the windmill palm stock on the market is of hybrid origin, it seems this could account for variations in hardiness (as well as habit). In my area there was damage during a recent winter, because it got down to around 10 degrees F. or less on some sites.
     
  11. Toronto6A6B

    Toronto6A6B Member

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    10F = -12.22C

    Toronto (6a6b) could get down to -15C or -18C depending on the year, but most likely -12C overnight. So there's a good chance SW Ontario (Windsor area) and St Catharines/Niagara region will have a better chance of survival.

    I think there's a need for at least one city or regional councillor to push for these beautiful Chinese Windmill Palms. One area I can think of is parks in Niagara Falls area, they should have the budget for it considering there will be a big stunt show just recently approved by the Ontario Parks Commission for someone (I forgot his name) to tightrope walk across Niagara Falls. It was estimated billions of tourists dollars will be drawn for this show, broadcast worldwide.

    All I am asking is to have those Windmill Palms, the big ones, installed in parks and along streets in some selected locations as an experiment, if they survive a couple of cold winters, then people in southern/SW Ontario will know they could grow Windmill palms in their backyards.

    In the Palm Trees of Canada thread, mostly Chinese Windmill Palms, the OP mentioned he/she overheard some American tourists from somewhere (I forgot) exclaiming "Canada has palm trees ...". That's in Vancouver !

    Isn't nice in the future we can hear something like "Wow, Ontario has palm trees ..." -:)

    I am not from the warmest regions (St Catharines, Niagara & Windsor SW Ont) but I am hoping to put what I learned in one thread and someday people who are from those warmer regions of Ontario read it and talk to their city councillors, who knows one day Windmill Palms will pop up in parks in Ontario.

    Here's one example:

    Royal palms' cultivation regions, in short, are in the Carribean and South Florida (10a, 10b). Then people planted them all the way in Jacksonville North Florida (9a bordering 8b). They grow slower there but survived the cold spells.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roystonea
    Quote:
    While royal palms are considered a "tropical" palm, they do grow in favored microclimates in central Florida, e.g Tampa Bay, Cape Canaveral, Orlando. There are even a few north of those areas that are seen to survive but grow slower such as Daytona Beach and Jacksonville. They also will grow - albeit slowly - in favored microclimates in southern California, southern Arizona and the extreme southern Texas barrier islands near the Gulf of Mexico, and in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas. Royals are being increasingly planted on Galveston Island where they do very well and as far north as Houston where individual Royals have grown 20-30 feet tall south of Interstate 10.

    From a 10a10b all the way to 9a (Jacksonville Florida), it's a whopping full zone !
    Houston TX: 9a

    Using the same analogy, from Vancouver 8a to St Catharines 7a or Windsor 7a or Niagara regions (7a 6b) is possible !

    One day we may hear tourists from the US visiting Niagara Falls exclaiming "Wow, there are palm trees in Ontario !"

    Please mention the possibility to those who might be able to help !
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 8, 2012
  12. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    You can see them outside of really suitable areas in California also. There's surviving, and then there is looking good. And there is persisting for a short time, and then there is long term results.
     
  13. Toronto6A6B

    Toronto6A6B Member

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    I am hoping to see pictures of mature Windmill palms that thrive in zone 7b as now we know they thrive in 8a (Vancouver).
     
  14. Toronto6A6B

    Toronto6A6B Member

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  15. elij5860

    elij5860 New Member

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    Yup! You can for sure plant palms in The Toronto/GTA area of course they have to be hardy enough so the types you would typically want to plant are the Trachycarpus fortunei or waggie, the Butia Capitata, and you can take your chances with the Jubaea chilensis. Of course there are more but these are the main one I like that would be some very interesting specimins to grow. The reason why this is possible is because although people might think its quite cold in Toronto in accuallity is isnt really! The reason is because in recent discovery, I found out that Toronto is in the same latitude as The Cannes Riviera which is shocking! That means that Toronto has its own micro-climate the make it possible to grow PALM TREES!!!! As I researched more into my recent discoveries, I learned that the reason why The Cannes Rivera has a sub-tropical climate is because of the ocean that flows towards it that brings warm salt water towards The Rivera, thus warming the environment and making it possible to grow PALM TREES!!!!! but because Toronto is off of a fresh water lake that has no way of getting a warm current of water towards the city, it does not have the full extent of the warm sub- tropical air to grow many of the varieties of PALMS!!! as The Cannes Rivera. but because Toronto is very close to a extremely large lake that barely freezes over because its too big the large body of water, the water Prevents the temperature from dipping down to the extreme negatives for long periods of time and also causes Toronto to have very mild winters which makes it possible for Toronto to be able to grow a select variety of PALM TREES!!!!
     
  16. pmurphy

    pmurphy Contributor

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    Hi,
    If you are still looking for palms you might want to consider the Needle Palm Rhapidophyllum hystrix. It is supposed to be hardy to USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 °C (-5 °F). If you want to know more, check out Dave's garden for info.
    And you are in luck because there is a supplier of the palm "close" to you in Montreal - http://www.montrealplants.com/

    I ordered a couple from him last year and he was very reasonable, especially since I had them shipped to Vancouver, BC. So far they are doing well but then I am only in zone 8b.
     
  17. Mississauga Canada Palms

    Mississauga Canada Palms New Member

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    I know its been a while since the first post but better late than never.
    I have kept various palms in Mississauga (A city next to Toronto) for the past few years.
    My largest being a 10 foot tall windmill, waggie hybrid.
    I also have a 4 foot tall pindo palm,
    a 1 foot tall needle palm,
    a 1 foot tall sabal minor,
    a 1 foot tall silver Mediterranean fan palm,
    a 2 foot tall windmill palm as well as
    4 sago palms of various sizes.
    I have a clump of a dozen or so musa basjoo bananas that were 12 feet tall this past summer.
    All have had winter protection in various forms but the 10 foot hybrid has seen temperatures of -20 Celsius and has been snow covered many times.
    I can help if you need any tips on winter protection or have any questions.
     

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