Growing palms in zone 4

Discussion in 'Outdoor Tropicals' started by palmlover, Nov 12, 2007.

  1. palmlover

    palmlover Member

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    Greetings everyone!!! I live in zone 4a in northwest Minnesota. Can anyone tell me if a windmill palm will grow in my area? if so I need to know being less then a foot tall and without a trunk yet, all I need to do is knowing which ones will grow here, steps to make sure they're successful from the get go. Thanks, Palmlover
     
  2. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    Find a copy of Palms Won't Grow Here and other myths by David Francko. David explains how some palms can grow as far north as Zone 6, but I don't know about Zone 4.
     
  3. LPN

    LPN Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Ya ... in zone 4 you'd need some very serious winter protection structures and methods. Even zone 6 you'd be very limited to the type of palm.

    "far north as Zone 6" - zones aren't particularly situated north to south.

    Cheers, LPN.
     
  4. bihai

    bihai Active Member 10 Years

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    Palmlover,
    if you really want to grow palms, how about interiorscape palms?
    I really cannot think of a single palm that would make it outdoors in your zone. The most cold hardy palm I know of is the Needle Palm, R. hystrix, which will take to about zero F, but I think that you get temps well below zero sometimes there, right?

    There are many very beautiful palms that can be grown indoors that are adapted to lower light conditions and like to be kept warm. Many tend to be smaller growing, some are dwarf species, and they are almost all rainforest understory palms. They are not common species though, you'd have to mail order them from a reputable palm nursery in either California or Hawaii. The ones that seem to do the best for the most people over a wide variety of locales are Calyptrocalyxes and Chamaedoreas.

    Probably the most challenging aspect of growing for you would be providing adequate humidity indoors.

    You might check out a Southern California website for a palm nursery called "Jungle Music". There is a ton of excellent information on their many, many pages. Its a very large website, and there are hundreds of pictures, culture info, pages dedicated to the most cold hardy palms, etc.
     
  5. Canadianplant

    Canadianplant Active Member

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    i used to live in nw ontario.. very close climate. The coldest physical temp ive seen is -28c ( canadian temp ). But even that is rare. We do get windchills that bring it down to -40c easily.
     
  6. John and Tacha

    John and Tacha Member

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    Hi Palmlover
    If you take the step to plant a palm in your garden such as S minor or R hystrix( or whatever u chooses)
    keep us informed concerning this brave action.

    rg
    john and tacha
     
  7. palmlover

    palmlover Member

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    I will most be glad to keep you informed, although bear with me if it takes two or three years or so to get back with you over all. I will however keep you updated as how they are doing before I put them outside. Take care and Happy New Year to you and yours, Palmlover
     
  8. LPN

    LPN Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    If you're really a "palmlover" as your name suggests, don't plant them outside.

    Cheers, LPN.
     
  9. John and Tacha

    John and Tacha Member

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    That,s also a way to say it Barrie : ) but it would a brave action......maybe not the smartest thing to do but who knows.

    rg
    John en Tacha
     
  10. palmlover

    palmlover Member

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    Well just to let ya'll know that people of the south think that just because snow falls in the north, that palms are impossible to grow, but I have something to tell all of ya'll, and first I'm not being unfriendly about what I'm about to say, so bear with me okay ya'll :)? well first of all for palms that are used to growing in the cooler north, (not neccasarly in my zone or area) with snow cover that this will kill the palms, but you couldn't be further from the truth. I''ve seen palms in cooler areas with some snow cover, and they thrived. But what most people seem to forget is that snow makes for an excelent insulator. you don't beleive me? go north sometime, or come my way even, Farmers up here plant Winter wheat in October and when the snow comes in mid to late November the ground where it was planted of wheat is not only covered, but when some of the snow has melted, the wheat that was planted was nice and green, no browning or no damage what so ever. During the Spring and Summer, growth is unhampered. What I'm trying to say is the wheat had no idea snow covered them during the Winter, and they grow as nothing happened, giving and producing tones of acres of wheat. Now I said all that to say this, I wouldn't recomend what I'm about to say but with the most cold hardy palms that can withstand snow, ice and the like, the cold hardy palms can not only take snow cover, but the snow cover acts as a blanket to the palm, as it does to the wheat. I mean look at Bulgaria, and Scandinavia for example?, palms grow there, but they were babied and taken well care of at first for the first few years or so and the hardened off, before being put out to grow, and as they say the rest is history. Plus they produced viable seed, not to mention the seeds from the parent palm withstands even colder winters to some degree,when as a young tree; but as with palms before them, you'll want to baby and pamper them for the first few years or so before putting them out to grow and harden them off to be able to withstand cooler, then colder temps. Now onto to the best part, (didn't mean going of on a rabbit trail or so, Sorry:) anywho the snow as I said like with the wheat will keep temps nearly stable, and if they do fall off any, it'll be no lower than the mid 20's or so, and I know this for a fact because I've been monitoring temps with a probe since the first week of November and on the coldest days of Minus double digits below 0 air temp, under the snow it has been anywhere between 23 and 25 above 0 and this is nearly steady when outdoor temps were well below zero. But at night when the air temp was minus mid -20's below zero, the probe in the snow was sending back a balmy 24 degrees above 0. when the sun was shining all day and in the mid single digits above 0, to the mid teens above 0, the probe in the snow was sending back temps in the upper 20's, to low 30's above zero, but at night, the temps got no lower then mid to upper 20's above 0, and at times right around 30 or so above 0. and this is depending on how much sun you got during the day. Now as I said before, I wouldn't try palms that wern't acostomed to cooler temps, I wouldn't even attempt to pick a palm that would never make it during even cooler temps, but those few that are out there, I think they are worth trying in microclimates. And as for the snow temps with a probe, for those of you that are doubters:) I suggest you try the experiment with snow, and do this for about two weeks, and you'll see what I'm saying is not only correct, but to some degree you'll get similar readings as well. As for parts of the South that happens to see snowfall during the Winter, enough to do the temp probe experiment with, that is, you'll have no choice but to agree to my findings as snow acting as a good insulator, and temps in the snow remaining near or above freezing. Now onward, there are palms that'll witstand mid upper 1 digits to the lower end of the 13's and the upper end of the 20's as well, but of the hardiest palms that'll take even lower temps. You people that think I'm waisting my time doing what I'm about to do, and you know who you are:) Why would you think the needle and Sable McCurtain palms are already doomed to failure in my zone4 area if I don't give them some measure of protection? What Say You? Happy New Year one and all.
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2008
  11. LPN

    LPN Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Hi palmlover,
    Your statement regarding snow as an insulator is true for many plant types, however many other factors are at work with snow and palms. Snow loads in the center growth spear for prolonged periods spells serious trouble for 99% of palmae. Plant cells rupture in the delicate core of the emerging fronds and bud rot sets in. This damage works it's way downward into the core of the palm killing it outright before the weather warms enough in cold winter climates to sufficently push new growth. Snow and ice loads must be ephemeral for most palms to survive. That statement holds true simply because if it wasn't, there'd be palms everywhere in cold climates long ago. (Many have tried before you)
    A few genus have adapted over the many millenium to cope with the seasonal change better. Trachycarpus is common throughout the borderline palm regions as a good starter palm for those interested in experimenting. Sabal minor had managed to establish through the US southeast regions to the zone 6 areas in some rare cases. Even still, temps rebound rather quickly before freeze damage can take hold. Rhapidophyllum hystrix and others are noted for cold tollerance, but many are from arid regions where temps can be come back nicely through the daylight hours such as Nannorrhops ritchiana.
    I don't wan't to discourage your from trying, but after 26 years of palm gardening, I've seen plenty ... oh and the palms in Bulgaria and Scandinavia are in zone 8 (some z7)regions of those countries.
    Bottom line - palms don't, won't and will not grow (snow cover or not) in zone 4 without serious winter protection devices.

    Cheers, LPN.
     
  12. palmlover

    palmlover Member

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    I agree with you to a point, but you have to admit, palms where they never were before, people in those areas pushed the limits in their coldest zone, where palms shouldn't be in the first place; and they succeded. I do have bacteriacide and fungicide as well to help with any patogens that may ensue, but what I didn't mention is that when I plant these two palms, it'll be on the South and East side of my house, not to mention, I have microclimates around my home, even in the winter we're pushing a zone5b with the microclimate, that is; but it's a very small one around my property, and with protecetion, and babying, I think it should do well, and the palms I'm trying are the clump, or scrub form, being as the snow and cold falls during the Winter, I'm guessing that if I loose some leaves during the Winter, with an active root system below ground to bring back growth again during the spring, I can handle that. And I do promise you one thing, I won't let these palms succumb too easily to their demise as not to pamper them. I'm guessing over time, they should acclimate to their new surrondings up here, and being that they do, people will really flip when they see, I'll be the only one here with successful palms growing here. Not the stately Sable minor, date, or the royal palm, or even the Chinese palms, or the Trachy's, but one thing is certain, I'll at least be the only one with a palm growing here in Northwestern Minnesota. I know it's a long shot, but I think it'll work, if I just do all the right things to make them grow and thrive. Now if I were in zone2, forget it, I wouldn't even think about it. Although, I will baby and pamper them for a few years first, and let them mature a bit, and with adult fronds before attempting the big push outdoors first. Cheers
     
  13. LPN

    LPN Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    palmlover ... I'm getting mixed signals here, perhaps you can sort them out. Initailly you spoke of the insulating qualities and it being sufficent to protect palms.
    Your subsequent post suggests you'll grow them indoors until they bulk up and "I won't let these palms succumb too easily to their demise as not to pamper them.
    Could you elaborate to clarify please. Cheers, LPN.
     
  14. jacksparrow

    jacksparrow Active Member

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  15. blue moon

    blue moon Member

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    Wishful thinking JS .... far too chilly for this tropical.

    b.
     
  16. bunting

    bunting Member

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    Hi

    I am in zone 5b and I would not try to grow plam in this zone

    They are expensive and a lot of care to winter over

    Tried it twice and mulched them heavy with straw and soil.

    I lost them both

    If you have a micro area as zone 6 I would give it a good go

    bunting
     
  17. Dave-Florida

    Dave-Florida Active Member

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    I wouldn't try. Just too cold. Windmill palms can be somewhat unhappy in Portland, Oregon, where camellias flower in January.

    On the other hand, I think one or two yuccas (maybe Yucca flaccida) might be quite happy. Yucca gloriosa thrives in Yorkshire, England, but I think that's more like a zone 7 or 8.

    If you want to do well with windmills or Rhapidophyllums, climates like Atlanta or Washington D.C would be workable (and Washington seems to have a growing number of outdoor palms).
     
  18. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Mostly zone 8, but zone 9 right on the North Sea coast, and zone 7 in the higher parts of the Pennine hills.
     
  19. jacksparrow

    jacksparrow Active Member

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    So which tropical from link above, can I get away with planting outside in zone 5B?

    Cheers
     
  20. blue moon

    blue moon Member

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    Seek out your local nursery for advice re. palm growing in your area. Believe your zone is just too cold for this tropical plant. A palm would make a nice indoor, potted.

    b.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2008
  21. LPN

    LPN Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    "Windmill palms can be somewhat unhappy in Portland, Oregon, where camellias flower in January."

    Here's a link that shows some happy palms around Seattle, some in Portland and Vancouver BC.
    Cheers, LPN.

    http://www.pbase.com/alon/palm_trees_in_seattle
     
  22. smivies

    smivies Active Member

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    Sabel minor and Rhapidophyllum hystrix are the only two that will have a remote chance of surviving in Ottawa with a HUGE amount of protection. The same two palms will grow in zone 6b/7 of the Niagara peninsula only with some protection (or a very protected microclimate). The protection must both protect against moisture (both ice and any condensation on warm days) from accumulating in the crown of the plant plus thermal protection, keeping the plant above 0ºF.

    Though they are the two hardiest palms, they have evolved in regions where the cold snaps are frigid but short lived. Temperatures in their habitat will jump from a night time low of -20ºC to -5ºC during the day and the cold snap will be gone in 2 or 3 days with temperatures well above freezing again. Long duration cold snaps are fatal, as is a chronically wet/frozen crown.

    I'd try potting one up instead, going outside in April & coming in at the end of October.

    Simon
     
  23. jacksparrow

    jacksparrow Active Member

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  24. blue moon

    blue moon Member

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    Go for it JS .... you just might be lucky.

    b.
     
  25. Dave-Florida

    Dave-Florida Active Member

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    Yes, Trachycarpus will do fine at least up to Vancouver (well documented here and at http://www.cloudforest.com/northwest/).

    But they really do seem to like a bit of protection in Portland. A celebrated Trachy on NE Glisan Street, about four stories tall, is on the south side of an apartment building.
     

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