Thursday, December 16, 2010

What I thought was going to be my Bloomday post for December 2010...

I had really high hopes of sharing my first ever Tetrapanax blooms with you this month, things were looking to be right on schedule, and then came the cold. After that things weren’t looking so good. Here’s a little “time lapse photography” spanning October 22nd thru December 6th.

Oct 22 Oct 26
Oct 31
Nov 10
Nov 14
Nov 23
Nov 25
Dec 3
Dec 6 So you might be wondering, what do Tetrapanax plants look like in the winter in Portland? Here is a mini-forest at the Kennedy School. I believe the old growth monsters were cut completely back and only the new babies remain.
In my experience they usually manage to retain at least their newest leaf all winter and it finally develops fully when the temperatures warm in the spring.
Here are my plants in the front garden.
These guys are growing in what has to be my most exposed site, near the street (which acts as a wind tunnel at times) and away from any buildings that could act as a protecting buffer. I love the tiny fuzzy new leaves.
Here is another plant in the back garden, as you can this one is in a protected area with the bamboo growing all around it and near a fence.
Even so I use the leaves as protective mulch around the base, this is one of those gestures that makes me feel better but probably does little for the plant. Although I have heard of these dying off in the winter I don’t know if it’s at the roots where the damage occurs or in the trunk. I'm still hoping that 2011 is the year I start to see the Tetrapanax forest that I've been warned against!


  1. i scrolled down the page seeing photo after photo, when I got to the really flopped one I think I actually heard a cartoon trumpet.


    so sad

    I wish I had the space to let one of these run wild.

  2. I often think that when I'm covering a plant for winter. But it sure makes me feel better!

    Too bad you didn't get those blooms. Maybe next year!

  3. Mine had reached over 10' this year on a single trunk. It was quite dramatic with its 2 and a half foot leaves. After last night's 18 degrees it looks like a laundry rack draped with so many limp gray-green rags.

  4. I'm hoping my four-footer will double in size next summer. Probably a little on the lofty side but hey one can dream can't they?

  5. Hi,
    I am living in Istanbul. When is the bast time to buy a tetrapanax

  6. I can attest to the Tetrapanax "forest" effect: a home up the street from me recently changed hands and the new owner has let the established Tetrapanax run all over the small front garden. Although the look is gorgeously lush and shady in summer, it's a bit sad in winter with all those seemingly lifeless trunks. These particular Tetrapanax lose all their leaves each winter, but come back (maybe on new trunks?) stronger than ever each summer.

  7. love the time lapse! they are so prehistoric looking!!

  8. Ryan, exactly. If only I could add the sound effects. Maybe you could try one in a large container? Mine that was going to bloom is in a very large stock tank, but I'm sure it could be happy in something smaller.

    Laura, hopefully. Although when I have seen them blooming around town it is usually right before the frost hits.

    Les, yes! That is a very apt description. I'd say mine that tried to bloom was about 10ft too, I love the huge leaves!

    Grace, I don't think that is unrealistic.

    Oguz, I am unable to advise, perhaps check locally?

    MulchMaid, I suppose they are a little sad in that condition. I saw a thicket of Sumac yesterday looking like you describe.

    Janine, you've seen Gunnera yes? Very prehistoric.


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