Palming in it better then ever?


Well-Known Member
My post on the Queen palm explosion of planting here in the bay area..well,I've been saying for years things are growing here I couldn't get to do well in the 70's. Or even survive.
What I wonder has any old timer Palm enthusiasts in soucal seen the same extension of tropicalia? More tender plants now being grown? I read somebody is growing Vanilla orchids in soucal outdoors. Any palms now that you thought 20,30,40 years a go weren't worth the are?
Interesting question - but not that simple to evaluate.

IMO - there are other reasons why there may appear to be more marginal "stuff" popping up in places.

1) Too much canopy. I know that many palms that were tried 20-30 years ago and did not make it, but are making it now - is not because of climate as much as knowing what we did wrong back then. I lost many (almost all) of my rarer Dypsis back in the early 80s because I took too small of plants and planted them in the ground in too shady areas. Back in the early 80s we had back to back terrible freeze events. And most of "our" marginal plants that were not under canopy were fried. So the prevailing wisdom, and the buzz word for all us pioneers, was "canopy." We all strived to create canopy if we wanted to succeed with the tender/marginal stuff. While this may work in the hotter inland areas, it does not work in the areas with a coastal influence - it just deprives a lot of these marginals from the heat they need.
2) Planted too small. Another common perception back then was get things in the ground early - the smaller the better. And for many of the palms that were not marginal, like Queens, Kings, Kentias, etc. this proved to be true. Palms in this category out performed larger boxed palms every time. But this did not work for the marginal Dypsis that languished as 1 gal plants through many winters, if they made it that long. Dypsis that were kept in pots in greenhouses or cold frames outperformed many times over the same small palms in the ground. And it then became common practice to get these marginal species up to a good 5 gal or larger size before putting them in the ground. Then they would make it.

So, today I see some of the palms that nobody could grow 20-30 years ago being successfully grown today - but it may be more knowledge, and the realization that this stuff can make it - if only approached with the right strategy and the right micro-climate.
You don't see new palm family's now doing better in soucal? I know palmbob had a post on gardenweb last year where Geoff said he saw things in a San Diego palm enthusiasts garden that he thought would never grow there..and it was a big trunking thing. Cant remember the name..but like some of the real exotic had a spiny trunk.
Dean- even things like Dypsis lutescens..haven't they expanded in where they grow down south? Or where they always grow BIG..things like that.
What Geoff was talking about was Corypha. And during the 25 years I grew palms there, it was never even suggested, nor did I know of one person that tried growing Corypha - probably for two reasons. One - cuz if it did, it would end up taking up most peoples entire yard - if you have ever seen a full grown one, you would understand. And two - it was never imagined that it would look decent, even if it survived. So IMO, that is why one wasn't known about sooner - not any climate change.

And about D. lutescens. I don't think they have "expanded." Again, just the knowledge of where they can grow, and what they need to look better. They are still not that easy of a palm to get looking good there. But at least the "secrets" of proper exposure and care are more widely known. And the thing about D. lutescens is, and something I consistently notice here is, there is considerable variation in this species - from super-clustering pale yellow types, to beefy sparsely clustering blue types. And even here the wispy yellow types look terrible when not given copious amounts of water. So like all Dypsis now, the availability of more variability is much greater now. In the past, if you wanted a D. lutescens you went to the grocery store and bought one of those "Areca Palm" house plants with a hundred skinny seedlings in a tiny pot.

I am guessing that the "Beefy Blue" would fare much better in SoCal. It always looks good here. But you don't see it that often - just the weedy looking yellow ones that look better in shade.
Yeah,but the USDA did for soucal what they did did for the bay area..upped most a half zone. I know some beach areas of soucal are even a z11. Never a recorded 32f,and most years since 1990 never below 40f. Like for example,I read for years literature that Mangoes grown in soucal are likely to never grow more then as the best of zones. I've seen pics of 30 year old Mangoes in soucal that are flat out no argument,tree sized. Well over 30 ' close to 40'.
Being that my seedling Mango tries,my Draceanea marginata, and even King Palm tries of the 70's all died first or within a few winters,to see them now looking good,is what gave the idea that in soucal old timers must be in awe of how much easier it is to grow tropicals.
Funny,but I just saw a post of somebody who wrote that "Delonix has failed in California since trials in the 19 century." And yet in the 21st,they seem to do pretty well!. That's what my post was about,made the point. I hear that Ficus pseudopalma is being grown in soucal..and THAT was supposed to be not hardy at all.
I see the ocean waters off of Los Angeles and San Diego have reached 75f already with half a summer to go. I wonder what the record for warmest ocean temps have reached down south?
Warmer ocean..more humid air..more warmer nights...then ever before?.
I see the ocean waters off of Los Angeles and San Diego have reached 75f already with half a summer to go. I wonder what the record for warmest ocean temps have reached down south?
Warmer ocean..more humid air..more warmer nights...then ever before?.
Plus it keeps the summer coastal cloudy overcast at bay.