En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Sunday - October 24, 2010

From: New Oxford, PA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Seed and Plant Sources
Title: Growing non-native and exotic plants in New Oxford PA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Is there a palm tree that would grow in New Oxford PA? Also do you know where I could find a place to buy Exotic and Unusual Plant Seeds from around the World. I would like one that has a good reputation. I have tried Seedman and Seedrack. I have a 20x80 FT garden every year.

ANSWER:

We are afraid we are not going to be able to help you very much. The palms are all tropical and sub-tropical in origin, and while they are often grown in "palm houses" in large botanical gardens, they are not suited for residential planting as far north as Pennsylvania. Adams County is in USDA Hardiness Zone 6a to 6b, and your average annual minimum temperatures range from -10 to 0 deg. F. That does not fall into "tropical or sub-tropical." Furthermore, to the best of our knowledge, none of the palms are native to North America but to the (what else?) tropics. We found an article  from which you might get some more information from Sun Palm Trees, Cold and Hardy Palm Trees. This article describes "hardy" as being able to survive down to 18 deg. F. Doesn't sound much like Pennsylvania, does it?

There is one tree, Sabal palmetto (Cabbage palmetto), native to North American coastal areas from Florida to South Carolina. That is not a true palm, and this USDA Plant Profile does not show the plant growing any farther north than North Carolina.

To move on to your other question about suppliers of exotic and unusual plant seeds; by definition, these are almost all going to be non-natives to North America. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is dedicated to the growth, propagation and protection of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which the plants are being grown. When we Googled on "exotic plants," we got several websites, some of which do not sell seeds, and some of which will ship only to the West Coast, etc. One you could check out is WorldPlants.com Unusual Plants, Rare Plants, Exotic Plants. Unless you are planning to build a large, year-round greenhouse, we're pretty sure none of these are going to last more than a few minutes in the Pennsylvania Winter. Sorry.

 

More Seed and Plant Sources Questions

Columbines for September wedding in CO.
August 14, 2009 - My daughter is planning a September 2010 wedding in Colorado. Is there any way for me to buy Columbines in the spring and keep them cool so that the pots all bloom in September for the wedding? Also,...
view the full question and answer

Where to purchase a Clematis pitcherii (purple leather flower) in North Texas
March 01, 2011 - Do you know where in north Texas I can purchase a Clematis pitcheri, or Purple leather flower? I've looked for several years and have had no luck. Thanks!
view the full question and answer

Gathering seeds of Indian Blanket from Duncanville TX
June 09, 2012 - We have a field full of Indian Blanket that are blooming now and would like to share some seeds with our friends! Where is the seed on them and I take it we wait till they are done blooming to get the...
view the full question and answer

Source for Acer leucoderm (chalk maple)
January 19, 2009 - Do you know where I can purchase a chalk maple (Acer leucoderme)?
view the full question and answer

Finding climate zone before puchasing plants in Springdale AR
October 24, 2010 - I should be allowed to select my climate zone, my state has at least 3 zones. Then this would be a terrific help in identifying which plants I should buy.
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center