Mexican Fan Palm

Discussion in 'Outdoor Tropicals' started by koko, Dec 28, 2006.

  1. koko

    koko Member

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    Hi
    I bought two Mexican Fan Palms (4 feet) tall this spring and they grew well. I did not cover them over our last freeze/snow fall as other neighbours also did not. Now my Palm tree is totally brown and looks dead while the neighbours are a healthy green. Their trees are slight larger than mine. Of interest is that a large leave that I trimmed off was in the compost and is still green but the plant is totally brown. Will they recover? My Windmill Palm is still a healthy green.
     
  2. LPN

    LPN Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Washingtonia robusta (Mexican fan palm) is not hardy here and requires extensive winter protection. There's an exception to that rule, at least so far anyway. There's a W. robusta growing unprotected near Swartz Bay terminal and has grown to about 12' tall. This area hasn't seen enough cold weather in 10 years to kill it.

    Cheers, LPN.
     
  3. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    A couple of Washingtonia palms grew up the street from me for some years before freezing out, plants on the edge of their cold tolerance are called "borderline hardy" or "semi-hardy." Many or most winters are tolerated, but not all. A waterfront location that has higher than usual minimums can keep such specimens going longer. Salt water collects heat during the day and releases it at night.
     
  4. Brian - Vanc. Island

    Brian - Vanc. Island Member

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    I have given up on trying both Washingtonia robusta and W. filifera. I lost my last robusta (after three winters) last winter. I kept them dry and protected through the winters, but they still did not make it. Tofino is very wet and I wonder if it is the constant high humidity that killed mine.
     
  5. koko

    koko Member

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    Thank you all for your reply. I am disappointedly hearing Mexican Fan Palms have a difficult time surviving in the Pacific West Coast area with/without protection. If I should buy another one next year I feel I shall have to plant it in a pot and bring it indoors for the winter.
     
  6. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Sunset WESTERN GARDEN BOOK gives an 18F/-8C minimum temperature for W. filifera and a 20F/-7C bottom floor for W. robusta.
     
  7. LPN

    LPN Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    koko...don't waste your time on a potted Washingtonia robusta that needs to be moved indoors. They're much to cumbersome and dangerous with their thorns to move around. Instead plant a Trachycarpus fortunei (Windmill palm). They're fool proof in our climate.

    Sunset WESTERN GARDEN BOOK or not, Washingtonia can't take much in the combinations we get here in the PNW. Extended cool (or cold) coupled with high humidity. The only fighting chance you have is a rain canopy, good air circulation and a bit of extra protection during the worst weather. Even then it's an uphill struggle.

    Cheers, LPN.
     
  8. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Temperatures given should serve as indication that most sites here are too cold. You don't have to go far from salt water to have such lows and worse rather often.
     
  9. LPN

    LPN Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Ron B,
    Any idea how the W. robusta outside the hospital in Edmonds is doing?
    Cheers, LPN.
     
  10. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Doubt the recent cold did it in, but haven't paid particular attention. The plume of expelled air that apparently protects it is quite large, the palm may be able to grow in that spot indefinitely. In fact, since it is actually on the shady side of the wall it may do better if it ever gets above the wall and into more sun.
     
  11. Canadianplant

    Canadianplant Active Member

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    i dont even think that its the temp that kills them as much as the 100 or more mm of rain at a time that you get on the sw coast. They are a desert plant that dont liek lots of water
     
  12. iSoph

    iSoph Member

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    Don't be too sure that as 'desert plants', Washingtonia robusta don't need a lot of water. They typically live at the bottom of canyons, not too far away from rivers, and mature trees can have 25m deep root systems to 'drink' from.
    I found that I need to water mine very regularly in summer, although we have a temperate mild climate and frequent summer showers, in order to keep the edges of the palms from getting yellow.
    I got mine while living in a high rise in a colder climate (but nothing like BC), and had to protect it in a plastic film enclosure in winter. Now I live in an almost frost-free place, close to the sea, and it is happy potted outside, with a protective wall to the north.
     
  13. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    If it's too wet for them how come they may grow here for years, until it gets below their minimum temperature? The one at the hospital is probably planted in heavy glacial till. The only thing unusual in that spot is hard frost apparently being kept off.

    Although different species have their own parameters, of course, and there are a great many kinds palms generally indicate moist conditions. In tropical forests the wettest spots may be indicated by an absence of most trees except palms.
     
  14. LPN

    LPN Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    I think many palms classified as "desert palms" survive in more arid winter conditions. Having said that, I have a Brahea armata that's managed quite nicely for a few years without much fuss at all. Washingtonia seems more succeptable to the same conditions.

    Cheers, LPN.
     
  15. Canadianplant

    Canadianplant Active Member

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    i have always been told that they are a very hard type of palm to grow there becasue of the high rainfall in the winter ( without protection )
     
  16. Canadianplant

    Canadianplant Active Member

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    i have sen a bunch of your posts lpn and was wondering how many types of palms do you have?
     
  17. LPN

    LPN Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Canadianplant,
    Here's a list from memory of what I have planted outside.

    15 Trachycarpus fortunei - various sizes
    1 Butia capitata - 7' tall
    1 Brahea armata - 4' tall
    2 Chamaerops humilis - 2' & 4' tall
    1 Phoenix canariensis - 5 1/2' tall
    1 Washingtonia robusta 4 1/2' tall
    1 Phoenix theophrastii 10" tall
    1 Trachycarpus wagnerianus 3' tall
    1 Jubaea chilensis 3' tall

    Others in pots for future planting.

    Chamaerops humilis'cerifera'
    Brahea edulis
    Trachycarpus princeps
    Trachycarpus oreophilus
    Trachycarpus latisectus'Nepal'
    Livistona saribus(red petiole form)
    Sabal mexicana
    Sabal palmetto
    Sabal minor'Louisiana'
    Sabal minor'North Carolina'
    Sabal'Birmingham'
    Washingtonia filifera'New Mexico'
    Nannorrhops ritchiana
    and perhaps others I can't recall.

    I have about 1,000 square foot greenhouse/coldframe full of many other "exotics". Some sold/traded to fellow enthusiasts and other plants for the garden.

    Cheers, LPN.
     
  18. Canadianplant

    Canadianplant Active Member

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    man quite a list there. you must have a really large area of land to be able to fit all of the ones you have in there.
     
  19. jokersmith

    jokersmith Member

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    I recently purchased a mexican fan palm. It is close to 5 ft tall. This will be the first winter with this plant. I have built an enclosure around the palm made of PVC wrapped with clear plastic, on the top is an old window. In my area we rarely get below 10F even at night, so with that said what do you guys think my chances are that this thing will survive the winter. Also can you recommend an easier winter palm than the Washingtonia Robusta?
     
  20. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Sorry, not a prayer there. See mininum temperatures indicated above. Only common, consistently hardy palm here is windmill palm. And we are MUCH milder than you are.
     

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