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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!


  1. Thanks for the updates, you make it look so easy. Thank you for sharing Alex. It's a pleasure visiting.

    1. Thanks for the kind words Rob - I appreciate it!