The great Dypsis mystique dead in California?

Discussion in 'PALM TREES - WHERE TROPICAL STARTS' started by Stan, Dec 7, 2014.

  1. Stan

    Stan Well-Known Member

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    A few months ago on Xeric World Forum I posted about Beaucarnea guatamalensis 'variegated' ,and a poster who has a nursery in San Diego talked of its frost tenderness,then added something like "The now dead imported Dypsis palms of the 90's are proof that California is not a good climate for those rain forest palms"
    He actually said it much better then me,with his experience. Since then I wonder if he's punctured what was a holy grail pursuit of 20+ years ago and what is now reality.
    My detect-o-meter tells me Dypsis Dean might have an opinion.
     
  2. Dypsisdean

    Dypsisdean Administrator Staff Member

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    Good News and Bad News.

    I would say that they did not pan out as anything close to "bullet proof" everyday palms for the everyday gardener. I lost many (almost all) of the Dypsis I planted over 20 years ago in SoCal. And I still have not seen any success at all with the many understory smaller dainty types of Dypsis anywhere in SoCal - even in the prime locations. That's the bad news.

    But many things have been learned since. And there appears to be more success recently, and hope has entered the picture again recently - but still, mainly for the specialty gardeners. They are still not something the weekend rose gardener can plop in the ground in any location and forget. There are a select 1-2 dozen that appear capable of growing in SoCal. But the trick is finding the right spot, the right species, and for most - letting them get a little size before planting out.

    My mistakes were that in my cooler SoCal coastal climate any shade meant death. They need the heat. And even coastal heat was not as favorable as inland heat. The big forest dypsis - mainly the ones with heels - do not like heavy wet soil, as they tend to bury themselves at times. And a cold wet winter will do them in when smaller. And all of these big Dypsis are very slow as smaller plants - even in Hawaii. In SoCal they take many years to begin trunking - at which point they appear out of trouble. Location, knowledge, and patience are the keys.

    So, the jury is still out on a lot of these. There is still some confusion with identities of many. And with new varieties still appearing, it will be much longer before we will be able to know which will make the grade. But many of the species that appeared as if they were turning out to be poor candidates 15-20 years ago, are being successfully grown today - but only by the knowledgeable growers in the more favorable locations. That's the good news.
     
  3. bepah

    bepah Active Member

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    Brentwood CA 9b
    Jeff Earl's D. decipiens in Modesto speaks to the possibilities of specialty Dypsis in NorCal.
     
  4. Stan

    Stan Well-Known Member

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    There are a few- Triangle palms,baronii,onilahensis, that are good for norcal. Like Bizmarckia,doesn't D.decipiens come from colder plateaus?.
    But it looks like the dust settled by now as to what is reasonable in terms of climate and time. Even Howeas can be a long wait in norcal. They though,have a history.
    Something new is always fun,but the Dypsis goldrush seems tempered now.
     
  5. LJG

    LJG Active Member

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    Should probably put "Northern California" in your title because nothing you stated is remotely close to being true in SoCal. Many Dypsis do very well here and have since the beginning - as many gardens show. The Dypsis fever here is even stronger now then it was back then - and this is talking to some of those old timers that were part of the original phase.

    Sure, kind of hard to grow ones from the northern rain forest, but then again it is hard to grow all 250+ species of any plant genius. I think the guy you quoted suffers from an ability to successfully grow any himself so really has no clue what is going on. The simple fact he compared a Guatemalan rainforest with a complex place like Madagascar should tell you as much.
     
  6. LJG

    LJG Active Member

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    So I found the post you are talking about and it turns out it was Kent that said that. An Agave guy. LOL. I love Kent - he is a well respected plantsman but not someone I would call an expert in Dypsis. In fact I don't see him growing any. I am surprised he said this actually because some gardens he had a hand in building 20 years ago still flourish in Dypsis. Brusseau's garden should ring a bell. Next time I see him I will have to give him a hard time.
     
  7. Stan

    Stan Well-Known Member

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    So,Dean is also wrong?
    Well,there seems to be a lot of different cultivars of a core set of Dypsis being grown in soucal. Black,white,orange, trunks of D.baronii and like that. And many of the ones down south that are in that core- like D.lanceata are worth a try here.
    Look,I get it..hardcore growers can get anything to zone push,but his point was...they didn't turn out to be palm equivalents of Aloes as promised in 1990 or so. And it looks like there are no more to be found to change that.
    It was 71f here yesterday- again- and with humid partly cloudy weather. Along with soaked soils. We might have a climate in a few years at this rate for rainforest palms. We have it already for cloudforest palms..and plants.
     
  8. Dypsisdean

    Dypsisdean Administrator Staff Member

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    Len - tell Kent "hi" for me - it's been many years.

    Stan - I still maintain that there are way more Dypsis that will not grow in Cal. than will. And if talking strictly NoCal, then more so, times ten. As mentioned, almost all the understory Dypsis, of which there are probably 50-100, will not. But also as mentioned, I believe there are up to a couple of dozen that look to be able to get to trunking size, and even to set seed. And more being added to that list every year or two. But they generally require a unique gardener who is dedicated and knowledgeable about palms, and can plant them in the "golden zones." But they definitnely need a gardener, or to have a client, with more patience than the average homeowner has today.

    And unless they have the best of all worlds, they will struggle to look their best. But that all adds to the mystic and sense of accomplishment when you can pull it off.

    And, the promise of the Dypsis hybrids is just beginning to be realized - that is an exciting new frontier - IMO.
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2014
  9. Stan

    Stan Well-Known Member

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    As long as Dypsis is mentioned Dean,how about Dypsis "mealybug"? Palmbob's photo on Daves Garden was of a huge young palm. And that photo has some years behind it now. Is that a possible norcal palm?
    Tonight's the biggest storm in 5 years, 10" of rain,70mph winds. Stan reports!
     
  10. Pete in Paradise Hills

    Pete in Paradise Hills New Member

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    "rain forest palms" ? there are plenty of Dypsis that demand full sun, and others that do better in the shade. I have my Dypsis Decipiens in full sun and it's enjoying that. I have a small Dypsis Pilulifera in the shade, and I guarantee if I put it in full sun it'd fry quickly. Are they "bullet proof" in SoCal? Definitely not, but putting palms in the proper spot can make a huge difference.
     
  11. Dypsisdean

    Dypsisdean Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
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    Location:
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    Stan,

    I think the next best "newer rarer" Dypsis for NoCal after D. decipiens would be a palm that came in as D. ambositrae, and that many are calling the "true" ambositrae. But there are at least 4-5 palms that have been called that over the years. It is fast compared to many other "bigger" Dypsis, and a nice looker as well. It has a noticeably red spear and petioles as a young plant and juvenile. Mine are not that big yet - they stayed in pots to long. But since in the ground one has exploded and now has four heads, and it is in constant shade. The ones I have seen in the sun in SoCal are doing great.

    But no, I don't think D. "mealy bug" (mananjarensis) is a good candidate for NoCal. It is only surviving in the best micro climates in SoCal, and is awfully slow without good heat.
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2014

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