30 Phoenix Canariensis The Canary Island Date Palm
Phoenix Canariensis The Canary Island Date Palm
Here where we are in Africa however it's very easy to grow palms, in
fact when we eat dates we simply throw the seeds out and they germinate
within a few weeks and form plants very quick. In the UK and in colder
climes however you can still enjoy palm trees you just need to select
the correct species.
Although Trachycarpus Fortunei would win the Gold Medal for being the
most recommended palm, the one you’re most likely to see growing in
gardens here in the UK is Phoenix Canariensis.
The reason for this popularity is easy to explain.
It looks different; most gardeners like to grow something a little
unusual occasionaly and P.Canariensis certainly fits the bill.
It’s available almost anywhere; I’ve seen P.Canariensis for sale on
market stalls, in d.i.y. stores, corner shops, even in supermarkets, so
with this kind of exposure, it's no wonder everyone's buying them and
they are cheap as well so you can afford a forest of them.
This popularity isn’t confined to the U.K. either.
Like T.Fortunei, P.Canariensis seems to have found a niche in the palm
world and it can now be found growing in virtually every country where
the climate is suitable.
One thing that I've noticed about the P.Canariensis I’ve seen growing in
various parts of the UK is the lack of winter protection.
Despite this, all the palms that I’ve kept my eye on in passing are
thriving and are a pleasure to see.
Clearly, the gardeners must be doing something right or P.Canariensis is
hardier than we believe.
Growing anything up to 60ft tall and looking very majestic with it,
P.Canariensis is I think everyone’s idea of what a palm should look like.
To come across a group of them growing in the wild is a very impressive
sight and if it doesn’t raise at least an "Ooh" and an "Ahh", then you
have no Soul.
For cultivation tips I refer you to my blog Palms! Planting out your
The one thing you should remember is that P.Canariensis grows in what
amounts to semi arid conditions and it’s essential that they’re planted
in fast draining soil or compost.
Any excess water hanging around the roots will cause no end of problems
and could end up causing the death of your palm.
28 Roscoea, the hardiest gingers
Roscoea, the hardiest gingers.
Roscoea Auriculata Named in honour of William Roscoe, founder of
Liverpool University Ness Botanical Gardens, the genus Roscoea has a
long history of cultivation in the U.K.
A genus of nearly 20 species, they grow at high altitudes in the
Himalayas and South West China etc.
Normally found growing in well drained meadows, on slopes and in lightly
forested area, they are the most northerly growing members of the ginger
All of the Roscoea can be regarded as frost hardy in U.K. gardens.
By tradition, they’ve always been looked on as plants for the alpine and
woodland specialist and despite the present day popularity of other
members of the ginger family; this still seems to be the case today.
In recent years, there have been several new introductions and by
carefully choosing the species, you can have Roscoea in flower from late
May until mid autumn.
Roscoea are easy to grow plants with no particular vices.
Light shade is a good place to grow them and they don't mind a bit of
late afternoon sun.
Soil should be well drained but moist with plenty of organic matter dug
If you water and fertilize well during the growing season you'll soon
build up a really nice clump.
Winter protection isn't required.
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28 The USDA zone system explained.
The USDA zone system explained.
If you’re new to growing exotics and you’re looking through catalogues
or browsing the web searching for prospective purchases, then you’ve
probably noticed this "usda zone 8" included somewhere in the plant
This is the United States Department of Agriculture zone system and its
use as an indicator of a plants temperature tolerance has become
virtually universal amongst enthusiasts and specialist nurseries alike
here in the U.K.
Note: The zones range from 1 which is the coldest to 11 the warmest.
The bulk of the U.K. mainland is zone 8, parts of the West and South
West are zone 9 while a small area of central Northern England and the
central Scottish Highlands are zone 7. (Central London is possibly zone
Although the zone system is a useful tool, it should be used with
It's easy to make the mistake of thinking that because a plant has a
rating of say zone 6 then it will be hardy here in the U.K.
Unfortunately, this is not the case because as you will see, there are
other factors to be considered as well as frost hardiness.
My thanks go to Mr.Ramon Jordan, Research Plant Pathologist at the
U.S.National Arboretum for allowing me to publish this explanation of
the zone system.
The USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map is based only on Temperature. It
illustrates Zones based on "Average annual minimum temperature data". It
does NOT take into consideration other environmental factors, such as
those that you mention, including for example: snow, frost, day-length,
days at a given temperature, rainfall, and altitude. It only shows "what
is the average coldest temperature for a region". Plants listed with
each region have been shown to be "hardy" at those average minimum
temperatures. Having said that, every plant has a certain ability to
adapt to a range of environments. Gardeners such as yourself have
learned through experience where the great variety of landscape plants
can (or can not) be grown. I hope this has been helpful.
Reading the above passage, it’s clear to see that there’s far more to
buying and growing exotics than just checking a plants zone rating to
see if it’s hardy.
In the days when I used to log on to the various online forums, it was
clear from the content of many of the posts that people new to growing
exotics had bought plants simply on the strength of their zone rating.
As many of them had come to realize, this is a big mistake and can prove
to be a very expensive one into the bargain.
Always do some research into your plants needs, because in the end it
will pay dividends.