Exoten und Garten Forum               Hardy Palm and Subtropical Board

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Re: Cold-hardy palms in a California botanical garden

Message from Jim Wilmington DE 7a

I have a palm tree coffee table book where the photo example of Sabal Minor is from a botanical garden in Australia. It is trunked like those in the photos you linked us to, but not quite as tall or spectacular. Nevertheless, the tree was more in the form of a smooth-trunked Palmetto than what we know as a typical mounded Minor.

I firmly believe that for some plants, their native ranges may not be indicative of where they will reach peak growth and perfect development. Look what California has over Dixie. Almost non-existent threat of single-digit temperatures. Low humidity helps plants ward off various fungi, molds, and mildews. Moderate daytime highs don't tax a plant's coping mechanisms like a 98F July day in the South. This "thing" where everyone is sold on the idea that Sabals LOVE heat (the hotter, the better) may be just a tad overblown. It's hard to argue with the results in the LA photos of Sabal Minor, nor prior photos posted here of Palmettos in Balboa Park, San Diego. The latter looking close to perfect for the species.

If *I* had to grow outside, I'd rather be "planted" in coastal Cali than anywhere in Dixie. No contest. Just make sure I get a nice pair of long pants and a sweatshirt!

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