Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

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

Saturday - March 28, 2009

From: Sterling Heights , MI
Region: Midwest
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Survival of non-native windmill palm in Zone 6b
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Will a windmill palm survive a Zone 6b Michigan climate; if so would I have to wrap it up in burlap in wintertime?

ANSWER:

The windmill palm (Trachycarpus fortunei), is also referred to as Chinese Palm. This Sun Palm Trees website Windmill Palms - Cold Hardy Palms says it is the most cold-hardy of palms. However, this Floridata site on Trachycarpus fortunei states that the acceptable zones for this plant are USDA Hardiness Zones 7b to 10, and that it should be in a sheltered spot in Zone 7. Sterling Heights MI appears to be in Zone 5b to 6a (average minimum temperature -15 to 0). If the plant is in a sheltered area, with its roots in the ground (where they will be warmer than in a pot) you might be able to pull it through by covering it. If you have it in a pot, it should be brought indoors and kept in a bright window until the temperatures start to go up.

All this having been said, we wish you would plant something else. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is devoted to the care and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which they are being grown. Plants native to your area would already be acclimated to the normal climactic conditions, soil and rainfall. With a quick scan of our Recommended Species for Michigan, we found 4 shrubs that would do very well there, are native to Michigan, and wouldn't require an electric blanket in the winter: Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (kinnikinnick), Ceanothus americanus (New Jersey tea), Amelanchier arborea (common serviceberry) and Cornus sericea (redosier dogwood). If you get tired of keeping your palm warm enough to survive or if it doesn't survive, you might consider one of these suggestions or some other shrub native to your area.


Arctostaphylos uva-ursi

Ceanothus americanus

Amelanchier arborea

Cornus sericea

 

 

 

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Are non-native Cleveland pear trees poisonous to dogs in Rushsylvania, OH
May 11, 2011 - Are Cleveland pear trees poisonous to dogs?
view the full question and answer

Invasive nature of non-native Zoysia japonica grass
April 22, 2007 - I have been reading up on Zoysia grass and I am curious about its invasive nature. Is there a good way to keep it from going into my neighbors' yards? I was thinking about using some edging material...
view the full question and answer

Brown, dry leaves on weeping willow tree
May 01, 2008 - We live in central TX and have just planted a weeping willow tree. Our back yard has a retention pond and ravine that parallels our property and we were told that the weeping willow will do perfectly ...
view the full question and answer

Problems getting desert western US plant Stanleya pinnata to bloom in England
March 13, 2006 - I am having trouble getting my Princes plume (Stanleya pinnata) to produce a flower and then go to seed. Do you have any advice on triggering flowering in this plant?
view the full question and answer

Replacement for non-native Sago palms in Austin
November 28, 2010 - We have two pillars, one on each side of our front door. There is a sago palm in front of each pillar. It is a dramatic and beautiful look, but the palms, facing north and in shade, are growing so tha...
view the full question and answer

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