Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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

Looking for a Drummond Red Maple in Lawton, OK.
January 18, 2011 - I would like to buy a female Drummond red maple from a local retailer but it's Jan.12 and those he has in stock are leafless with just the beginnings of buds showing. They are about 20 feet tall and ...
view the full question and answer

White flowering mountain laurel from Driftwood TX
August 23, 2012 - I love white flowering mountain laurel (Sophora secundiflora) and want to grow one from seeds. I've had a lot of success germinating and growing purple mountain laurel from seeds (or beans), so I DO ...
view the full question and answer

Recommendations for plants for Fairbanks, Alaska.
February 25, 2008 - i have just finished reading Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. i loved it. i'd like to start getting folks to grow their own foods, and raise as much livestock as possible, but i live...
view the full question and answer

Locating source for Iva frutescens
September 03, 2008 - Do you know where I can purchase the plant Iva Frutescens, sometimes called the Miracle Bush or Jesuit's bark? Do you know if this bush attracts Monarch Butterflies?
view the full question and answer

Making sod from native grass seeds from Pflugerville TX
April 28, 2012 - I am trying to install a native lawn. A story on KVUE suggested 2 lb Buffalo, 1.5 lb Blue Grama, and 6 oz of Curly Mesquite. I have some seeds purchased from seedsource.com about 2 years ago. I can...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.