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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Tassle Fern (Polystichum polyblepharum)

Is this gorgeous fern really evergreen, or is it too good to be true? It looks like a tropical tree fern so even if it was dedicous, its an amazing addition to a tropical yard in a temperate climate. BUT the good news is that it is actually evergreen... at least a little.

This photo is from April...

(Show photo from earlier in the season)

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Friday, May 5, 2017

The tropicals are out for the season!

Last weekend when I came home from Florida for my NY visit I took out all the tropical potted plants. I have over 100 of them, but I was only home for 36 hours so I managed to do the whole job in an afternoon! It was a challenge but you got to do what you got to do! 

Here are some pics. 
I got this coconut palm as just a sprout in June 2009. That was one of the coldest Junes on record in NY, only 3 or 4 days were in the 80s for the whole month and most days brought a cold rain. But it didn't flinch through that and 8 years later it's STILL IN THE SAME POT! It has never given me trouble and it's probably the longest I've ever kept a potted palm. 

Last spring my bottle palm got a really bad case of sun bleaching on the fronds. So this year I have the whole canopy underneath my table umbrella. When I come back home in late June or July I'll bring it back into the sun. I don't think it can handle another year with dying fronds so I am being very careful.

The spear on my queen palm is collapsing. I never have much luck with those palms indoors, but we'll see if it can overcome its issues this summer. It's in plenty of shade for now. Ideally I would have taken it out in March had I been around at the time. They can handle cool weather better than indoor climates.

My young adondila looking good after its first winter indoors. 

My big adondila palm has overwintered indoors for 5 years now. It's pretty care free. I keep it by the kitchen skylight and give it water every week or so until spring. Surprisingly spider mites have not been an issue for my large palm. You can see it in the corner of this group shot...

The croton and hibiscus are in this shot. They look ready for summer. 

The plumerias never have any problems overwintering. They are truly just the best tropicals you can grow in NY, it's a shame they aren't locally available. In my new home in North Florida nurseries do carry plumerias from time to time which is nice to see. They are fantastic plants! 

My large one still has christmas lights on it from the holidays. It's 15 feet tall. Don't ask me how I get it outside every year. It's all a blur! (but I have lots of scratches as proof that it happened)

Unlike my plumerias in Florida, my NY plumerias have  TON of inflorescences ready to flower. I am excited to see these in a few weeks.

Here's a fun plant to grow as cuttings - Monsteras. Some people call them swiss cheese plants because of the holes in their leaves. The mother plant was getting too big so I cut it back hard and put the cuttings into buckets filled with water. No issues at all over the winter and tons of healthy roots. 

The year I abandon my Ensete was the best year it had being overwintered! This is the second winter it has spent in my garage and it's off to a great start. This is another one I'm looking forward to seeing in a few months!

Another "garage survivor", my cordyline australis. Ever grow those little "spike plants" in your flower containers? This is what happens if you let it grow. Mine was just a little "spike" 4 years ago but it has grown so so vigorously. I truly am amazed at it's growth rate. It's long, needle leaves definitely make it a focal point anywhere where there is bold, broad foliage involved.

I planted some cannas here. Stay tuned!

My spotted farfugium is looking good after a winter in the garage. It's a little messy after its blooming but when I have more time during a future visit, I'll clean it up!

This shot will be covered by bananas if all goes well! 

But in the meantime the cherry tree is nice. More importantly, it looks like the spanish moss survived the winter. Hopefully it can survive the nesting season with the birds!

Thanks for looking!

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Here's what survived the winter!

I left New York for Florida in February but my parents did continue to turn on the lights for the palms and cover them with their protection as best as they could. It was a pretty mild winter. The coldest it got was 12F. I was still in NY when we got down that low, but while I was gone the temperature got as cold as 14 degrees and some plants were completely left to their own devices during that overnight low.

Here are the palms. The Trachycarpus were planted in March 2009 as 3 gallon palms. No damage at all this winter. These 2 received protection.

This trachy had no protection at all and it looks pretty good! A little bit of frond burn but some of that is residual from last winter. It grows in shade and is unfortunately not as vigorous as if it was in sun.

My sabal minor received protection and other than getting a bit squished it's alive and well. 

This sabal minor received no protection at all. It is suffering from a very heavy scale infestation and did not handle the cold very well. But the center frond is green so I am hoping that the scale won't be as big of a problem this summer and it will start to grow normally.

Sabal birmingham recieved protection but is dead. This is the second year that it has been in the ground. Not a great performer in my yard.

My loquat received loose protection but looks pretty good. A bit more leaf drop than past years, but it's definitely green and growing vigorous new growth. It blooms every winter and the flowers smell great. Haven't gotten fruit though! 

Never have any issues with this Chamerops. I cover it with christmas lights and a plastic garbage can and that's about it! 

Unfortunately my small blue med fan palm that has been growing for several years (slowly) is not showing signs of life. My livistona which has been a die back perennial for the last 6 winters also is not showing any signs of life. They may have been exposed to the full brunt of 14 degrees. I wasn't home to see. But for the most part all the big palms look good.

Here's some of the subtropical stuff....

No issues at all with my gardenias. They look awesome. The one to the left is "Crown Jewel" which is the most popular hardy gardenia offering at nurseries in my area. The other gardenia is Summer Snow. It has very large leaves, more of what you'd expect of a typical gardenia, and apparently is rather hardy. The blooms on it are HUGE. They had to see temperatures well into the teens.

14 degrees and this frostproof gardenia is completely unphased. I got it for only 15 dollars at Home depot and it's a great size, about 3 feet tall. Can't wait to see how this one looks in a few years.

My hardy ground orchids are coming back with plenty of blooms. 

No protection for my Yucca Schottii. It looks exactly like it did back in the fall which is a good sign! 

No sign of life from the Mekong Giant Banana yet. Last year it did not start to sprout until nearly June, but grew about 10 feet tall to the highest leaf. My Musa basjoo was also turned to mush, but there are pups starting to sprout on it. Hopefully it grows vigorously unlike the mother plant which sat there all summer.

I dug most of my canna plants up, but the ones I left in the ground are vigorously coming back! 

And this is new to me, but even the cannas I left outside in POTS all winter long are coming back. These are the fancy dwarf cultivars which I would have thought would not be as hardy. I am shocked they are coming back to life. Maybe being in a black colored pot helped?

My figs always come back from the winter (sometimes with dieback during bad years, but nothing too major). But I have NEVER had figs developing in APRIL! 
This fig is called "Bronx". I have found no information about it online and it hasn't fruited before but right now it has at least 30 figs on it. Absolutely no dieback at all and is way ahead of my brown turkey fig in terms of sprouting. It has a beautiful form to the tree also. Loving this fig so far! 

My Daphniphyllum macropodum has never had issues with winter cold (leaf drop in the fall has been a problem though). Lots of new growth already.

Black and Blue Salvia is an AMAZING perennial. The flowers start in May and go all the way through November, non-stop. Quite a butterfly attractor too. It's a zone 7 plant and the clump I had by my lawn did not survive its first winter. This clump located in a warmer and drier location is very vigorous and always comes back bigger and better than ever.

My Soft Caress Mahonia also overwintered well this year with no protection. They are zone 8 plants but we had a zone 8 winter so I guess they were happy. My Fatsia Japconia also looks good this winter. A tiny bit of tip dieback on one of the stems but it's already putting up new growth. I got that fatsia from Newport Beach in California and planted it in September 2015 so I was worried about its cold tolerance, but it seems to be a good fit for my New York yard. It had light protection last winter but absolutely nothing this year!

Thanks for looking!