I need palm recommendations for new croton area.

Discussion in 'THE CROTON SOCIETY' started by annafl, Aug 22, 2013.

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  1. annafl

    annafl Esteemed Member

    I am working on a new area of my garden, clearing it for crotons and maybe a couple of understory palms. There is a large oak tree overlying the area and branches are mostly occupying the northwest area of this space. They are 15-18 feet over the area and fall over 80% of the space.

    I would like to find a unique, lovely, eye-catching understory palm or two that tolerates our winters (lowest has been 27-28 for a few hours). Alternatively, a gorgeous, unusual, large cycad we don't have that would look majestic there. This is a very important part of our yard (very visible to us). It would be great if it would mix well with crotons to be placed in the area. Please give me your recommendations! Most of you guys are incredible palm people too. Thanks.

    Ana
     
  2. koki

    koki Active Member

    Messages:
    266
    Location:
    pine island, fl
    A few chambeyronia macrocarpas are always a nice look. How about a picture to help us visualize?
     
  3. Phil Stager

    Phil Stager Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,637
    Location:
    Sunny St. Pete, FL
    large cycads cost big bucks - really big bucks. Go with the palm or palms. Check out all the possible candidates in An Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms by Riffle & Craft. Recall that crownshaft from those palms usually come crashing down and air for the best possible plant underneath. Beg, borrow or steal a recent copy of Betrock's Plant Finder for pricing information.
     
  4. Bullwinkle

    Bullwinkle Esteemed Member

    Messages:
    1,450
    Location:
    DAVIE FL
    Hi Ana,for cycads I like Encephalartos Whitelockii.It is impressive and grows moderately.Stan has an incredible specimen at his nursery.The fronds are 15ft long.I think a 5 gallon example can be bought reasonably.I paid around $150 for two of them a couple years ago.I think It should be able to handle 28 degrees.

     
  5. annafl

    annafl Esteemed Member

    Thanks for the recommendation, Toby. I do have a Chamberonia Macrocarpa but only one, and in another area. I have seen a cluster of them at Selby and they are much more striking that way. That's a great idea. However, if I could introduce something I don't already have, I'd like to.

    Mike, I looked up the E. Whitelockii. Looks cool and HUGE. I have a couple of E. ferox, but not this one. It looks sufficiently different I think. I'll definitely keep it in mind.

    Phi, I have the Riffle and Craft book, but it's overwhelming, and whatever I see on there, there is no guarantee I'll actually find it in reality here. That's why I'd like recommendations of actual things that are available within a reasonable distance. You have many palms- any you'd recommend? Not Royals, I'm sure!

    Ana
     
  6. koki

    koki Active Member

    Messages:
    266
    Location:
    pine island, fl
    I love the cycads. Lots to choose from and most can tolerate some frost. I also like the look of tree ferns in a shady garden. Another cold hardy beauty in the shade is Livistona Saribus, but it gets big and has lethal spikes. If you are looking for a striking view a cycad is a very good bet. I am sure you find a lot of opinions on this, this is just my 2cents.
     
  7. Kipjanet

    Kipjanet Active Member

    Messages:
    140
    Location:
    Zone 10 Miami Springs, Fl
    Hi Ana,
    You want to avoid any palm trees that would be large enough to grow up in the oak tree. My suggestions for palms are Arenga Hookeriana and Allagoptera Arenaria. My choice for cycad would be Zamia Vazquezii. Check these out on Google images, I think you'll like them.
     
  8. Crazy for Crotons

    Crazy for Crotons Well-Known Member

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

    For understory palms, you don't want anything that gets too big or grows super fast. As far as palms go, I'd choose a Coccothrinax. Of course, I am biased as this is my favorite palm genus. All of the following more common species did well during the extended 2010 winter in my garden (low of 26F):

    Coccothrinax

    argentea
    argentata (Florida native - prefers bright light)
    barbadensis
    crinita
    borhidiana (prefers more sun)
    miraguama (all subspecies)

    I have a dozen more uncommon species (most are cold hardy) but these would be more difficult to find in landscape size and much pricier.

    Frost can damage the leaves but under canopy, you won't have this problem.
     
  9. Kipjanet

    Kipjanet Active Member

    Messages:
    140
    Location:
    Zone 10 Miami Springs, Fl
    Phil mention that you get a Betrocks plant finder, this is a great publication which landscapers subscribe to, you can order a single copy from Betrock in Davie, FL, however I would just ask a landscaper for last month's issue, maybe they would have one laying around. If you go to a nursery that says wholesale only, take cash, they've never turned me down.
     
  10. kwtimo

    kwtimo Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    586
    Location:
    key west, fl 10b-11
    Anna, not the easiest setting to find a solution for something really spectacular, in my opinion. The height limitation eliminates quite a bit of material, the lower light also slims things down a bit. If you had the sun, I would say something like Nannorrhops or maybe enven a Brahea species. Trithrinax are interesting too. How about a variegated Rhapis? Dare I say Trachycarpus? I'm not all that familiar with what will take your winters up there. If you were willing or able to bring something indoors temporarily during a cold snap, you could have a really sweet Cyrtostachys, or even an Areca Vestiaria in an ornamental pot. Gotta love those brightly colored crownshafts. If Ray says that his Coccothrinax endure the weather, they are always a super addition to a garden. For cycads, I am a Ceratozamia fan. C. lattifolia and mexicana have the bronze emergent leaves. C. hildae is just a nice looking cycad. Might be too cold for any of the blue Encephalartos, but they are exceptional in a garden. Good luck and have fun with your project. If i can be of more help, send me a PM.
     
  11. annafl

    annafl Esteemed Member

    Wow, I just wrote a really long response here and it didn't post. Let me try again.:mad:

    Toby, I also love cycads. Wish I could just find one beautiful large one that would be perfect in this area. I know they are extremely pricy. I do have australian tree ferns. I have a cluster pretty near that are just 4-7 feet high, but doing well. Have not been able to grow the other tree ferns. I have several of the more common livistona chinensis and they do get big, but tolerate cold well. The saribus I think would be too high eventually, and the spikes!

    Kip, that arenga hookeriana is gorgeous! I would love it and the spot is perfect, but I don't think it would tolerate the cold. Does anyone really know? I don't care for the seashore palm in this spot, but the zamia vasquezii looks interesting and attractive and I would get one if I saw one. May have to look. Sounds like I really need to find one of those Betrock Plant Finder publications. Thanks Kip and Phil.

    Ray, I love coccothrinax too! Right in front of this area I planted a barbadensis, I think. It came from a not so reliable nursery, but I love it no matter what it is. I was looking for a miraguama at the time. I have a crinita and a macroglossa in other areas, as well as a small unknown. I think I'm covered with coccothrinax right now. I don't think I have enough sun for an argentata or argentea.

    Tim, you're right. My area is not ideal for palms or even cycads, but it should be right for a few varieties I hope. I am NOT willing to bring anything in! No. When it gets cold out, I just don't want to do it. I have a few already and I don't want more. I killed a nice little areca vestiaria a few years ago in the cold. Just had to try it once though. I love ceratozamia. I have one (?Palma Sola) in another area which I love, and a hildae which just survives, but doesn't thrive. I will keep an eye open for another type for this area. I am not familiar with the other things you posted, I will have to look them up to see if they are possibilities. I have seen blue encephalartos species in my area (and Phil has one). I would love to have one in the spot that gets the most sun. I will keep my eye open for one if the opportunity arises.

    Thanks everyone for your suggestions! You've given me some ideas that are worth examining more. Thanks!!! Ana
     
  12. Phil Stager

    Phil Stager Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,637
    Location:
    Sunny St. Pete, FL
    Anna -

    PM me if interested in one of the blue Encephalartos. Warning - they are pricey which is why I only buy small ones. You saw an E. trispinosus in a pot in the side when you were here. ..and that's also why it's behind the fence since they are theft prone. There's a cycad nut in the area that may have one for sale.
     
  13. Moose

    Moose Esteemed Member

    Messages:
    7,947
    Location:
    Coral Gables, FL Zone 10b
    Here is my 2 cents worth. I think Encephalartos are beautiful cycads. Many are endangered in their native African areas. Thank God the South Africans have preserved most of the species and are hand pollinating the cones and selling viable seeds. They are truly magnificant plants that belong in someone elses garden. The California folks love them, but they can't grow all the species of cycads & palms that we can. Encephalartos are not friendly to active gardeners. Their thorny mature tear up thin skinned old men like me. Its just my opinion.

    My cycad recommendations are:
    Lepodozamia peroffskyana - can take 6 C. This is another large cycad and pretty fast growing (for a cycad)
    Zamia standleyi - may be borderline for Ana but under the oak no frost. Should be OK
    Ceratozamia robusta - Newly emergent bronze leaves and will grow into a fabulous large cycad with time.
    Zamia vasquezii - you could plant a mess of them. Would look like ferns all up underneath your Oak. Unfortunately the
    pollinators have not found my plants yet. My female cones have not produced viable seed. I'd give you the seed if I had it.

    All of my recommendations can be found "reasonably" priced. Of course the larger the plant, the more you gotta pay the grower for their time raising your plant.
     
  14. Savannah

    Savannah New Member

    Messages:
    17
    Location:
    Tampa, FL
    Hi Anna,
    I have a beautiful Wallichia densiflora. It doesn't grow tall but it does get wide. The leaves have an elongated fish-tail look with a white underside. I also have a Lytocaryum weddellianum. It is also known as a mini coconut palm. Very beautiful and stays small.
    Both have been growing here in Tampa and both survived the 2009/10 winter with a cover.

    Also, Phoenix roebelenii will grow in the shade, stays small and can handle your winters. They are common landscape palms in Tampa.

    Of course, I love the Chamys like Koki suggested.

    I'll post again if I think of anymore.
    I would love to see a picture of the area your talking about.
    Good luck!
     
  15. annafl

    annafl Esteemed Member

    Hi Savannah,

    Thanks for your recommendations. I have two wallichii densiflora and I love them, but I want something different here. I love your idea with the mini coconut palm. I'd never seen nor heard of it and I'm happy to hear they do well in our winters. They could occupy an area in the shade here if I could find one. Where did you find yours?

    Ron, thanks for your suggestions also. I didn't know the ceratozamia robusta had bronze emergent leaves. If I find one I may have to try one. Also the lepodozamia seems interesting too. I just have to see what I can find. These plants are all difficult to come by, so it's not just what I like most, it's what's available also.

    I will post a photo when I can get one that shows light conditions there. Today was very cloudy all day. Maybe tomorrow. Thanks, everyone! Ana:D
     
  16. Savannah

    Savannah New Member

    Messages:
    17
    Location:
    Tampa, FL
    Anna,

    I bought my L. weddellianum from Frank at the Banana Patch here in Tampa. I've seen some small ones for sale on Ebay.

    I just thought of a few more palms that I have that might work for you too. Depending on your space, Kerriodoxa elegans is a stunning, understory palm to about 15 feet with beautiful, large fan leaves with white undersides.

    Chamaedorea microspadix is known as the bamboo palm. It is slender, clustering, shade loving palm that is very cold hardy.

    Trachycarpus wagnerianus (dwarf T. fortunei) is a very cute, small, slow growing palm that grows in shade and very cold hardy.

    Dypsis baronii is a nice, colorful clumping palm to about 15 feet for zone 9b.

    Dypsis onilahensis can be grown in pt shade to about 15 feet and is a very nice zone 9b palm.

    Licuala peltata var sumawongii is a very beautiful understory fan palm to about 10 feet for zone 10a/9b.

    Ravenea glauca (to about 15 feet) and Ravenea hildebrandtii (to about 8 feet) are also very nice and can handle shade in zone 9b.

    BTW, the lowest temp measured in my yard during the 2009/10 winter was 23 degrees for about an hour. I don't remember ever seeing a temp that low in Tampa and I've lived here my whole life.

    You may even consider a large tree fern for your space. I have a Mule's Foot fern (Angiopteris evecta) under one of my oak trees. You just have to keep it from frost.

    Sorry if this is too much information but I am a real palm freak!!

    I look forward to seeing the before and after pictures! :D
     
  17. annafl

    annafl Esteemed Member

    Wow, Savannah, you are well-versed in your palms! Much, much more than I am. I'm impressed you were able to find and grow so many of these cold-tolerant species! The Banana Patch must be awesome. I need to find it. There is nothing down my way that sells anything other than very common things. You have to leave town or know someone.

    Anyway, I really like your suggestions. That Ravenea glauca is really pretty! That trachycarpus wagnerianus is awesome looking also and I'd never heard of it. I will have to keep my eyes open for these or come up to the Banana Patch and meet Frank.

    I have a Kerriodoxa elegans (boy, it's kinda slow), and have already killed a licuala peltata sumawongii (actually I think I trashed it after a couple of years of it getting shredded by winds and looking horrible all the time). That was a while back. I do have licuala spinosa which is easy, but slow for me. I do have a small Chamaedora microspadix I planted last spring in a nearby area.

    I have not heard of the dypsis species you mentioned, but the images looked awesome. Do you have a cabadae palm? I have one planted last year, but it has not been truly tested by a harsh winter. I love it and wish I had another, but not until I see if it can handle 30 degrees for a few hours.

    As far as the angiopteris evecta, I love the look of it, but the cold killed one a couple of years ago and I hesitate to try another. Not worth worrying about all the time despite it's awesomeness.

    The coldest it's been in this yard since we've been here (2005) has been 27-28 for a few hours, and a few times in 2009-10. The usual is low 30's a very few times, and maybe 28 once.

    As far as before and after, I will post the before, but the after will be years from now, because I like to take my time with getting plants. If the sun comes out tomorrow, I will take a photo in the morning. Hey, thanks for taking time to post all the suggestions. If you have these in your yard I'd love to see them sometime!

    Ana
     
  18. ScotTi

    ScotTi Esteemed Member

    Messages:
    4,845
    Anna, When you get a chance or up in the Tampa area you should make a stop to the Banana Patch. I got most of my palms from Frank. If you get a chance, the USF fall plant sale will be coming up Oct 12-13, Frank and others usually have lots of palms and cycads for sale. Also a good selection of Crotons as well as other plants can be found.
     
  19. annafl

    annafl Esteemed Member

    This is the area in question. The photos show the sunlight at different times. The first two photos were taken at 10:30 am from the east and the west. The next two at 1:30-2pm, the last, at 5pm. The last photo shows no direct sunlight- the sun is behind the oak. This area is north of the house and will get less sun during winter. The house shadows get longer. The path will be winding and will be about at the 'latitude' of the wall. The ferns can be pushed back further and probably eventually will. This is just what I have to play with at the moment. Thanks for looking and any suggestions/ideas appreciated!
     

    Attached Files:

  20. Moose

    Moose Esteemed Member

    Messages:
    7,947
    Location:
    Coral Gables, FL Zone 10b
    Oh my - a very nice area to work with.

    Ana - contact Rob Branch, he can get you in contact with Faith. Her place is a bit east of you and has colder lows. Anything she has will be acclimated for your area. Also I hear that there is someone who has a sale every Oct. who not only has lots of crotons but a huge selection of palms as well.
     
  21. annafl

    annafl Esteemed Member

    Hi Ron,

    Rob Branch has a sale at his place a few times a year and Faith is always there helping out. I may see her at the CFPACS where her garden is featured, I think (I haven't really gotten any info on the particulars), and I'm looking forward to seeing her place then.

    I hopefully will be able to attend the Searle Rainforest Collection sale. It's just so far for me, I hate the long drive and then back on the same day, and then my car won't hold all I want to get! Palms take up a lot of space, and crotons too! What is the date for that? Do we know yet? Thanks.

    Any suggestions for layout or plants for this area based on sun conditions?
     
  22. koki

    koki Active Member

    Messages:
    266
    Location:
    pine island, fl
    Anna,

    I would consider removing the ferns on the border and establishing a border with more substantial palms, maybe dwarf sugar palms or a combination of something similar. This may also lend as a wind barrier. From there decide if you want a winding path or straight line path. If it's straight, put something eye catching at the end and consider a smaller perpendicular path or patio to create some corners. There's probably room for a small fruit tree or two. Another beautiful palm that hasn't been mentioned is Satakentia. What is the conifer growing on the side? It looks like a branch or two could be removed. If any of this sounds interesting you may need a uhaul. Also a lot of local nurseries make regular trips to Miami, the problem there is you can't tag the tree before you buy it. I hope this helps.
     
  23. annafl

    annafl Esteemed Member

    Hi Toby, thanks for your response! I neglected to say that this area was created by killing grass and by pushing back the macho fern border in a curve, about 8-10 feet back. It was incredibly hard work! Although in the future the ferns will be pushed back further- maybe completely back to the street (in some areas that means 5 feet futher north, in others, 10 feet further), right now, we are going to concentrate on planting this available area. As you get closer to the street the shade thickens (banyan across the street and oak canopy over areas of the street), so it is more difficult to find things that will do well. Hence the thick fern area that has grown despite the thick shade. That being said, I love your idea about planting dwarf sugar palms as a wind barrier back there. I have a couple of Arenga Engleri in other areas of my yard and they are real troopers and very full and pretty. I know they wouldn't balk at that moderately dense shade. I also love the look of the Satakentia you mentioned. I don't have a good feel whether it would tolerate our cold, or how long it would take until it hit the oak tree canopy.

    The tree in question is a red cedar. It is an incredibly old tree and I love the trunk. It was also just trimmed back as much as I dare for now. I was thinking about clipping back a small branch or two though, as you mentioned.

    Yes, I could get a u-haul when I go down there, but I don't really dare if I take the trip alone (50% chance). If with my husband, I'd have to talk him into it! We'll see. Hopefully by late this fall we should make a dent in the area. Keep thinking for any plant material. Thanks!
     
  24. kwtimo

    kwtimo Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    586
    Location:
    key west, fl 10b-11
    Anna, I must be misinterpreting the height of your canopy. I thought you only had 15'-18' to work with, which is why I chose the palms for you to consider. Chambeyronia and Satakentia are among some of my favorites, but they really need the clear canopy space. I keep thinking that something blue or silver leafed would be really nice for you. Copernecia hospita, slow growing and on the smaller side of the genus maybe? Copernecia ekmanii, a true beauty. There was a pic posted of a C. hospita at a botanical garden in Orlando that was quite beautiful, which makes me think that it could make it there. Chamaerops humilis var Cerifera is a gorgeous blue palm too. Even nicely colored silver saw palmetto can really pack a punch. How about Rhopalostylus sapida or baueri instead of Chambeyronia? Ask Jeff what Dypsis species might be happy there. If Saintlucei would work, they are really sweet. There is also Mauritella armata, the "ghost palm". Or, if you could even be lucky enough to get one of Jeff's Cyrtostachys hybrids that are defying all the laws of painstaking Cyrtostachys growing, now that would be something really special. Not trying to confuse you, just some more ideas to consider.
     
  25. annafl

    annafl Esteemed Member

    Hi Tim,

    Thanks again for your suggestions. I would estimate the oak tree canopy is 15-18 feet high (growing room for a palm underneath). However, east of that, there is probably room for maybe one palm that would have a much higher room to grow. Maybe two. I have been looking for a copernicia hospita for about 8 years. I was sold a copernicia alba as that, and although I love it, it is not copernicia hospita. If I could find one, I'd be thrilled. The satakentia you and Toby mentioned looks beautiful and I think would work in an area of the front. I would say that area has half day sun, or a bit more. Where are those sold, do you know? I think it would make it cold-wise. The Rhopalostylis sapida looks great also, and seems to be somewhat cold hardy. I also would love to find the silver European Fan Palm. My difficulty is finding any of these things.

    I think the mauritiella armata and the cyrtostachys are too cold sensitive for my area.

    Thanks so much for your great suggestions! I am feeling like I am cementing a list of possibilities. Now, to find any of them- that's the challenge!
     
  26. Phil Stager

    Phil Stager Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,637
    Location:
    Sunny St. Pete, FL
    Where to find?? Get ye a Betrocks a previously noted. Tons of into within.
     
  27. annafl

    annafl Esteemed Member

    But where and how, Phil? I googled it and there is an online one only for landscapers, nurserymen. You have sign up and give a company name. I don't really know anyone that would have one. Any ideas?
     
  28. Marie Nock

    Marie Nock Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    665
    Ana,
    Try plantANT.com. You won't be able to get prices without registering but you will be able to get the names of the nurseries that carry the palms you want.
    Marie
     
  29. annafl

    annafl Esteemed Member

    Thanks, Marie!:D
     
  30. annafl

    annafl Esteemed Member

    What about Dypsis leptocheilis or Teddy Bear Palm? Does anyone grow this? Is it an easy plant? How cold sensitive is it?
     
  31. koki

    koki Active Member

    Messages:
    266
    Location:
    pine island, fl
    I bought a few at home depot for $13 about 12 yrs ago. They've grown up and been cut down. My opinion is they are nice when they are young and you can see the "teddy bear fur", but grow quickly and the fronds have a very upright growth habit whhich is not my favorite.
     
  32. ScotTi

    ScotTi Esteemed Member

    Messages:
    4,845
    I have a double Dypsis onilahensis, for me it has not been a fast grower over the years. It has a Mule palm for canopy over it for frost protection, and it has done great in the freezes that we get.
     
  33. Phil Stager

    Phil Stager Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,637
    Location:
    Sunny St. Pete, FL
    Dypsis leptochielos - grows well in St. Pete but get rather tall. For a clumping look, try Ptychosperma macarthrii - but these get tall with time also. You'll know what you want when you see it. Copernicia alba is slow but quite cold hardy but also very spiny petioles. you saw all three in the yard here.
     
  34. ScotTi

    ScotTi Esteemed Member

    Messages:
    4,845
    Had another thought for a palm. Syagrus schizopylla, slow growing usually up to 10' in cultivation.
    IMG_2614.jpg
     
  35. annafl

    annafl Esteemed Member

    Toby and Phil, thanks for your insight into the Teddy Bear. I will cross it off my list. Phil, when I was visiting your garden I was in major overload and was mainly trying to concentrate on the crotons. How old is your MacArthur palm and how tall is it? It's encouraging you've had no problems over the winters. Definitely one for my list I think, especially since it seems to tolerate some shade.

    Scott, both those palms look great also. I am formulating a very nice list.

    Thanks, everyone! I feel encouraged and like I'm likely to find some of these.

    Ana:)
     
  36. Phil Stager

    Phil Stager Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,637
    Location:
    Sunny St. Pete, FL
    The Ptycho. macarthrii and the Ptycho. sp are about 15 years old. They have not seen a hard freeze but did quite well for tropical palms during those two lousy winters. They are about 20 ft overall height.

    Another plant to consider if you like bamboo is Bambusa vulgaris cv. Wamin or Buddha Belly. Max height is 15 ft and it is a slow clumper. Aslo comes in a variegated version that is a bit more pricey.
     
  37. kwtimo

    kwtimo Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    586
    Location:
    key west, fl 10b-11
    I have a Wamin striata in a 25 gallon that I would be happy to unload for $125. I need the space, and the bamboo needs to get into the ground.
     
  38. waykoolplantz

    waykoolplantz Active Member

    Messages:
    142
    Rob Branch has posted that he's having a garden event today...open to the public. He's very knowledgeable & helpful and hosting other vendors. You can meet some great folks & discuss solutions to your new bed.

    Btw...I have a 30' Dypsis Madagascarensis (I think) poking up thru my prettiest large oak and you shouldn't shy away from doing the same. Stop by if you're in SFla.
     
  39. annafl

    annafl Esteemed Member

    Thanks, Mike! I am planning on being there. His sales are usually so busy, though, that he doesn't have time to talk much. I plan on taking my glasses though and looking at all the palm tags that catch my eye. His place is fabulous and I always look forward to walking around in his beautiful garden. Thanks also for your comment about your dypsis. You're right that it wouldn't be the end of the world to let things mingle.

    Ana
     
  40. annafl

    annafl Esteemed Member

    Thanks, Phil for the info about the palms. I have quite a bit of bamboo and really want something different. I am so happy with the list I've got going. I think hopefully a few of these will pan out. The suggestions were great. Ana
     

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