Friday, May 23, 2014

Trachycarpus fortunei is my favorite plant in the garden (this week)...

This week's favorite, my Trachycarpus fortunei, has been in the ground for 4 years, in a container for a couple before that. And why is it my favorite this week? It finally actually looks like it's becoming a palm TREE!

When we first moved to Portland, and I started to notice palms around town, their hairy trunks were a little off-putting.

But as I've become accustomed to the shag it seems perfectly natural, especially in the winter when it looks like they're wearing a warm sweater. For those who don't like the look you can strip them, as shown in this post from Mark & Gaz at Alternative Eden.

We planted our palm to mirror the one our neighbor John planted against his house...

Of course that was years ago and that palm (John no longer lives there) is now over the roof...

This is my only Trachycarpus fortunei, although I have two Trachycarpus wagnerianus, one of which you see in this photo...

The stats on Trachycarpus fortunei
  • hardy in USDA Zones 7-11
  • likes sun but is okay with partial sun, not drought tolerant
  • evergreen and reaches an eventual height of 15' -30' (depending on who you listen to, and no doubt the climate of where it's planted)
  • native to to central China, south to northern Burma and northern India
  • flowers are yellow (male) and greenish (female), with male and female flowers produced on separate trees - my neighbors tree blooms yellow, mine has yet to bloom
That's my fav...what's looking good in your garden this week? Please tell us about it!


All material © 2009-2014 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.

23 comments:

  1. Great favorite this week! I was late to to the palm fan club but now enjoy them very much. Not so fond of the trunk circumcision as I've grown accustomed to the furry sweater look and think the trunks look marvelous with vines growing up them.

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    1. Why did you not care for them before? And yes, vines are a wonderful addition!

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  2. It's a plant with presence, Loree, and it looks right at home in your garden. My selection this week isn't nearly as dramatic: http://krispgarden.blogspot.com/2014/05/my-favorite-plant-this-week-hebe-wiri.html

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    1. Oh I love hebes! Can't wait to see your favorite...

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  3. YAY!!! My fav too! Louis 2 is looking good. I just planted a new trachycarpus wagnerianus this week :)

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    1. Louis II really is a looker, I love him.

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  4. I love palm trees because they add such an exotic note to any garden. Yours is beautiful now but will only get better.

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    1. Indeed Gerhard, I've been told it's at the point where growth will explode, I can't wait!

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  5. Your neighbour's looks healthy and it is flowering as well, so your climate and soil must be good for Trachies!

    I used to grow waggies in my garden, but December 2009 and December 2010 killed them off, sigh.

    I now have a takil out the front, I chose this one after discussing it with the owner of www.thepalmhouse.co.uk , George, and he reckoned it was the hardiest that he grew, but he still did not offer me a money-back guarantee if we have another arctic winter!

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    1. Ah takil is new to me, good find!

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  6. Fun the way it echoes the one on the next property. Lucky the new neighbors didn't banish it as so many might have. My fave this week is a group of Arisaema: http://bannersbyricki.com/archives/3733

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    1. Funny you say that because when they started ripping out the plants in the parking strip and against the front of the house I said if that palm went there would be hell to pay. Of course this was before we knew them and found out they are lovely people.

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  7. I like 'em! My parents have some at their place in Florida. So, while I can't grow them here in Wisconsin, I get to see them occasionally. Great plants!

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    1. Thank you PP, and I agree...great plants.

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  8. Yay, it looks like your palm is fully settled now and has started to take off! Don't be surprised if you find your palm starts growing up to a foot of trunk a year, perhaps more. I like the gradient between your neighbours palm and yours, makes the entire area look even more mature. Great plant!

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    1. I would be thrilled if that happened! And yes, it's nice to have theirs nearby as a companion plant.

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    2. they're right. Mine, once they reached that size started putting on 1.5ft of trunk every year

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    3. Now that is something to look forward to Louis!

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  9. I always wondered what type of palms would be hardy enough for our climate. Yours is maturing so nicely. I like the look of the 'sweater'. It's the perfect term for it.

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    1. They're great for our climate, as are the Trachycarpus wagnerianus, both great plants!

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  10. I prefer trachycarpus with furry trunks. The bare ones make me think of long-haired cats or dogs that have been shaved. Poor things! Plus, like Peter, I love the idea of a vine scrambling up the trunk, like the Eccremocarpus scaber I saw on Linda Cochran's blog. I have seedlings of needle palm and Sabal x brasoriensis from Plant Delights. They have a long ways to go before they look like palms. I prefer the short or trunkless palms like needle palms and sabal minor because it keeps those big, fantastic leaves at eye level and within arm's reach.

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  11. Your west coast zone 7 may be different, but here on the east coast it's a bit of a stretch to call Trachycarpus fortunei hardy to zone 7. They are marginal at best in zone 7a and even in the warmer parts of 7b they will occasionally experience temperatures capable of seriously damaging or even killing them. Fortunately they are fast growers and recover quickly from any winter damage (assuming they're still alive)! Once they start trunking you can expect a healthy windmill palm to add at least a foot of new trunk every year, and under some conditions even more.

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  12. One of the shocks of living in Tucson is seeing occasional Trachycarpus around town. In a city full of Washingtonias, Syagrus, Chamaerops and Braheas, they just don't fit in well by my taste.
    Poor things are often out in the full hot blazing sun. Their crowns are small and leaves often yellowed and tattered. The trunks are bizarre-often wider at the crown than at the base....looking very inverted.
    But they DO grow here. I left a grove of self-fruiting Trachys in my SW Portland home when I moved last year. I hope the new homeowers treat them with care as "big mama" grew over 14' from a 5 gallon container over a 12 year period.
    Trachycarpus love the PNW climate!

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