Companion palms for crotons

Discussion in 'THE CROTON SOCIETY' started by annafl, Oct 1, 2014.

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  1. annafl

    annafl Esteemed Member

    I probably won't have space in my car, but just in case, I was looking at the palm list and wondering about some companion palms that might do well in my area. I am a real palm novice, so I really need your help in knowing what won't die the first winter up here or in my Sarasota conditions in general. Culture information is sketchy on the internet and difficult to interpret, and hence, I turn to you. Also, I need to know what I need not worry about being able to get, because after a minute or two, the real collectors will have emptied them out. Here is my short list. Advice/opinions please!:D

    Brassiophoenix drymophloeoides
    Burretiokentia viellardii or grandiflora
    Cyphophoenix elegans or nucele
    Dypsis madagascariensis
    Euterpe oleracea
    Heterospathe elata et al.
    Hydriasteles
    Pholidostachys pulchra
    Ptychosperma caryotoides
    Ptychosperma salomonense

    Thanks!
     
  2. Phil Stager

    Phil Stager Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,637
    Location:
    Sunny St. Pete, FL
    Anna -
    For starters, suggest you purchase a copy of: The Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms, 2nd edition, by Robert Lee Rifle, Paul Craft and Scott Zona, Timber Press ISBN 978-1-60469-205-1. Tons of great info. The first edition is pretty good, but the second has even more info; lots of great photos. A must for any palm nut.

    A good question to ask for any palms is "where's its native habitat?" If it is somewhere very tropical like Papua-New Guinea or the Amazon rain forest, it very likely will not grow well in central Florida. Cold for some of these palms is 50 degrees F.
    Many palms from Madagascar will do well here like the solitary and clumping forms of Dypsis madagascariensis which you saw in my yard. A lot of the Ptychosperma will do well like the two clumping ones you saw here, P. macarthrii and the P. sp. Several Heterospathe elata are growing well at the Kopsick Palm Arboretum on the St. Pete waterfront.

    Memberships in the International Palm Society (IPS) and the Central FL Palm & Cycad Society (CFPACS) are well worth the modest dues. FWIW, CFPACS is holding a meeting this Saturday in north Tampa. You may want to query to folks on Palmtalk also.
     
  3. palmisland

    palmisland Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,251
    Location:
    West Boca Raton 10b
    Ana, I would skip the Euterpe & I'm not sure about the Hydriasteles with the temperature. They're kinda tropical. A lot of palms will grow for you, but not all will look their best. The rest should be OK.

    You should check out Palmtalk, the forum of the International Palm Society. They love answering questions.

    What zone are you?
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2014
  4. Crazy for Crotons

    Crazy for Crotons Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,050
    Location:
    south Tampa, Bokeelia
    Ana,

    I grow many of these palms in my greenhouse over the winter and others are in the landscape. Here's my 10 cents on the one's with which I have experience:

    Brassiophoenix drymophloeoides - It likes to be kept moist and can handle temps down to low 30's
    Burretiokentia viellardii or grandiflora - B. viellardii is not as hardy as B. hapala but can be grown under canopy for added protection. It likes it moist and can see temps down to 32F for brief periods
    Cyphophoenix elegans or nucele - Go for it! Both will be reliable growers for you.
    Dypsis madagascariensis - Never grown it.
    Euterpe oleracea - Never grown it.
    Heterospathe elata et al. - H. elata can take down to about 28-30F with major defoliation. It is killed by temps lower than that. I've been growing one here under canopy since 2005.
    Hydriasteles - Most of these cannot dry out and many are cold tender below 35-37F. I grow all of mine in containers, on drip irrigation and are protected regularly during winter.
    Pholidostachys pulchra - Forget it. I grow mine in containers, on drip and have still lost some in dry spells. They need pretty heavy shade and protection at temps below 40-45F.
    Ptychosperma caryotoides - Relatively easy. I have a containerized specimen under canopy. It's hardy to about 30-32F but under canopy should do well if planted out.
    Ptychosperma salomonense - It's as easy as P. elegans but again, protect below 28-30F. it should do well under canopy in our climate.

    All of that said, a killing freeze like central Florida had in the 1980's or even something like 2010 will kill many of these purely zone 10 specimens. In other words, enjoy them while you can.
     
  5. annafl

    annafl Esteemed Member

    Thanks, Phil. I have the first Riffle book and although the photos are great and some of the info useful, I don't find the cold tolerance info to be useful and sometimes seems incorrect. I guess I need to dish out and get the second book. It sounds like it's much better. I keep thinking I won't be getting too much more for my garden, and then I do. I remember the Dypsis Madagascariensis in your garden. That's why it's on my list. It was love at first sight. Phil, I am a member of the CFPACS, I just don't get to many meetings. I tried to talk Libby into the meeting this weekend a long time ago, but neither one of us was that excited about it, don't know why. Now I have lots of plans for this weekend!

    Randy, I am borderline zone 9b/10a and have a lot of canopy. On occassion I do lurk on Palmtalk, but really, palms have not quite made it into my heart the same way crotons have. Thanks, I will cross out the Euterpes and Hydriasteles. Chances are I won't get any this weekend because I don't have much space in my car, but I will at least look and start familiarizing myself with more.

    Thanks, you two!
     
  6. annafl

    annafl Esteemed Member

    Ray, we were writing at the same time! Thanks for the detailed account of your experience. I will jot it down on my list. You are probably a degree or two colder than me, but close for sure. Thanks so much! Will I see you this weekend in the croton section?
     
  7. Crazy for Crotons

    Crazy for Crotons Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,050
    Location:
    south Tampa, Bokeelia
    I will be there. See you tomorrow.
     
  8. palmisland

    palmisland Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,251
    Location:
    West Boca Raton 10b
    Ana, Plant for your zone. I've learned one cold event could wipe you out. See you tomorrow.
     
  9. Bullwinkle

    Bullwinkle Esteemed Member

    Messages:
    1,450
    Location:
    DAVIE FL
    I agree Ana,there is nothing worse than nursing a great palm for 5 years and having one cold night finish it off.You should be able to plant so many great palms in your area so there is no need to zone push.
     
  10. annafl

    annafl Esteemed Member

    I know what you mean. I don't zone push a lot. Just a tiny. Some things are just worth having and enjoying if even just for a few years. Here is my new list. Should these be ok for my zone without too much pushing?

    Dypsis Madagascariensis
    Ptychosperma caryotoides or salomonense
    Cyphophoenix nucele or elegans
    Brassiophoenix drymophloedes
    maybe Heterospathe elata
    maybe Burrokentia veillardi

    Chances are I won't get any, (unless one of you enablers are around), but I can still look and plan for the future.
     
  11. Bullwinkle

    Bullwinkle Esteemed Member

    Messages:
    1,450
    Location:
    DAVIE FL
    I am sure Jeff will have Dypsis Madagascariensis,that one is not to rare and I bought a nice one there last year.Not too sure about the others
     
  12. palmisland

    palmisland Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,251
    Location:
    West Boca Raton 10b
    Ana, Either a veillardi or a hapala will be OK.
     
  13. annafl

    annafl Esteemed Member

    At the sale I got a small Cyphophoenix elegans and a small Brassiophoenix drymophloedes. I also got a Crysophila. I saw a beautiful Dypsis Madagascariensis, but it was too big for my car.:( Alright, now I need suggestions for palms that will withstand full sun or close to it. I have some crotons that are getting way more sun than they like and they need something in front/next to them. Any ideas?
     
  14. junglegal

    junglegal Esteemed Member

    Messages:
    3,135
    Location:
    St. Pete FL
    Mike Evans has that dypsis. If you want to come up this way, you can stop over & drive over with me. Wctropicals.com
     
  15. Kipjanet

    Kipjanet Active Member

    Messages:
    140
    Location:
    Zone 10 Miami Springs, Fl
    Hi Ana Check out Trachycarpus Fortunei 'Bulgaria" Plant delight nursery has a picture of a snow covered palm in their catalog. Some other cultivars are 'Chusan",and'Nanital'. All listed for zone 7b. Some other choices would be Rhapidophyllum, and Chamaerops
     
  16. annafl

    annafl Esteemed Member

    Thanks so much, Bren. I'd like a larger one than he has right now. I think I will have to wait for that one, but my husband and I need to go to a frame shop in St. Pete soon, so we may pay him a visit too!
     
  17. annafl

    annafl Esteemed Member

    Thanks, Kip. I have a chamaerops. I'm hoping for more of a straight up palm that takes good sun. It is not frigid up here, I am more of a borderline 10a/9b. I do push the zones a little since I have a good canopy here. This area is without canopy, but with nearby canopy. We really don't get frosts here, just cold sometimes. Usually no lower than freezing, but one year it did get down to 27-28 one or two nights.
     
  18. Phil Stager

    Phil Stager Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,637
    Location:
    Sunny St. Pete, FL
    Trachycarpus sp. are certainly cold hardy but fail to thrive in Florida's sandy soils and heat. Every specimen I've seen (and watch die) just do not do well here. Plant them in Georgia's gooey red clay and watch them thrive. Check out some lovely specimens in public plantings in Vancouver, BC.
     
  19. palmisland

    palmisland Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,251
    Location:
    West Boca Raton 10b
    Ana, Are there any Veitchias growing around you? I like them for canopy as they grow fast & when the fronds fall, their relatively light.
     
  20. annafl

    annafl Esteemed Member

    Randy, I don't know if others have them, but I have two and I like them a lot. They've only been through one winter in my yard, but if I'm not mistaken, I think Phil has some in his? One double I have came from seed from the Glock's yard:D. I was thinking maybe I'd try some more for the reasons you stated. Thanks so much for suggesting them. Do you do them in singles or doubles/triples? How do you plant them around your crotons?
     
  21. annafl

    annafl Esteemed Member

    The double one I mentioned above is veitchia winin. I just read it's the same as adonidia Palm. Is that true:(? The other is arencina. Both are about a year old and growing fast.
     
  22. Phil Stager

    Phil Stager Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,637
    Location:
    Sunny St. Pete, FL
    Several Vietchieas doing well for the past 20 years or so here; can't recall if they were in ground for the 1996 freeze, but they have done well since.
     
  23. annafl

    annafl Esteemed Member

    Thanks, Phil!
     
  24. palmisland

    palmisland Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,251
    Location:
    West Boca Raton 10b
    The Veitchia fronds are pretty well desiccated & light when they fall, unlike Royals!
     

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