Patio Palms

PATIO PALMS: How To Grow Beautiful Palm Trees

In Cold Weather Climates

Copyright © 2014 by Richard Roche, ISBN-13: 978-0-692-33249-8, Kindle Edition is at Amazon.com for $1.99. 

The least expensive hard copy edition of this book is available at Lulu Publishing Company.

Preface

As a young child I was always fascinated by pictures of coconut palm trees swaying over the water adjoining a tropical beach. I am sure the yearning for these exotic trees had something to do with my desire to escape my surroundings in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Little did I know what a paradise Pittsburgh was until I had seen much of the rest of the world. In the long run, my worldly travels took me to Hawaii, Guam, Japan, Taiwan, Vietnam, Mexico, Italy, Spain, and the United Arab Emirates where I gazed in awe at the palm trees that would fill my dreams. It wasn’t until I landed in Savannah, Georgia, though that I finally appreciated beautiful palm trees in my own backyard. In 1993 when I moved to Pembroke, Georgia, 35 miles west of Savannah, I looked around my neighbor-hood at scrub palmetto and palmetto cabbage palms and said, “Darn, I can grow palm trees here.” And that I did. First, I planted three two-foot high Mexican Fan Palms next to my backyard patio and then I ordered one Triangle Palm, one Wallich Palm, one Hawaiian Fan Palm, one Thai Mountain Giant, and also Bismarck, Regia, and Raphia palms as seedlings from Kapoha Palms, Hawaii, and grew them in little pots. I still have the Triangle, Wallich, Hawaiian Fan, Thai Mountain Giant, and Bismarck palms to this day. The Thai Mountain Giant has failed to follow the advice of scholars who claimed that it was supposed to have flowered and died after 15 years!

The first time I had discovered that many “northern” people love indoor palms was when I was in Hungary in 1997 and had seen Kentia and European and Mexican Fan palms in the apartments there. In Germany I also noticed that many house owners had potted Canary Island, Chinese Windmill, and Chinese Fan palms in their yards in the summer that they moved into their houses in the fall to protect them from winter. The existence of palm tree societies in South Africa, southern Australia, New Zealand, and Chile indicates that many people in the cold regions of the southern hemisphere of our planet also love palm trees. Just as northern Europeans and peoples of the far south love indoor palms, so should northern Americans (north of Melbourne, Florida) also love these wonderful living entities.

During my early years of growing palm seedlings, I sought the assistance of nursery experts and even joined the International Palm Society. Many of the “palm experts” I had met made the hobby of growing palm trees far more complicated than it should be for any person trying to have fun. Some of these experts prescribed special palm potting mixtures, as if palms were sensitive, exotic plants having strict nutrient and soil conditioning requirements. Others recommended keeping one’s tropical palms in a glass green-house during cold weather and failed to mention the building, maintenance, and heating costs associated with such an endeavor, not to mention the associated problems with humidity, mildew, plant rusts, and insects. Whenever an expert starts talking you in a technical language you do not easily understand, run and find yourself a person who will provide you simple, logical advice. Reading this book is a good start for enjoying the hobby of collect-ing palm trees.

Comments or questions about this book can be forwarded to richard.roche@rocherichard.com or posted on Facebook at Palm Trees – Growing Patio Palms in Cold Weather Climates.

Richard Roche

Table of Contents

Preface…………....…………………….……...……………………….vii

Introduction……………….………....……………...………………11

Purpose of Potted Palm Trees…………………………………..11

What is a Palm?………………………………………………………11

Glossary…………………………………………………………………13

Selecting Palm Trees……………………………………………….15

Cold Hardiness and Drought/Light/Shade Tolerance15

Heat Tolerance……………………………………………………….17

Dust and Lack of Humidity……………………………....……..17

Selecting Pots for Palms…..……...…………………....………..18

Potting Soil………………………………………...……………….18

Watering your Palms……………………..…………………..20

Fertilizing your Palms………………....…………....……………20

Potting Seedlings………………………………….…...…………20

Re-potting your Palm Trees....……..………....…………….21

Health Problems…....………..…………………………....…….22

Simple Do’s and Don’ts for Caring for Palms……………..24

List of Common Palm Trees for Collectors..…..………..25

Information about Specific Species of Palm Trees…......26

The Palm Talk Continues……..…..……………………………..69

Appendix – Protecting Patio Palms in Cold Weather…..70

References……………………………………………………………..76

Index……………………………………………………………………..77

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