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

Problems with non-native African violets in Des Moines
January 08, 2010 - My violets have stopped blooming after years and have developed a growth in the middle of the plant. Can I save these plants and how can I revive them. Thank you, I am desperate to salvage them as the...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants on Gloxinias
August 20, 2004 - How do I care for my newly acquired Gloxinias?
view the full question and answer

Edible plants beginning with I, T, X and Z in Colorado
March 26, 2009 - My friend would like to know a fruit or vegetable that he would plant in his garden and come back yearly. The plants would have to start with the letters I,T,X, & Z. It has to be edible, of course.
view the full question and answer

Non-native Concord grapes in Hilo, Hawaii
September 10, 2009 - Hi, I live in a area that does not freeze over winter, and humidity is quite high. Do you think that Concord grapes will fruit?
view the full question and answer

Care for a non-native Syringa vulgaris (lilac)
February 19, 2008 - I inherited a lilac bush when I bought my house. It grows in a bed right in front of the house but grows away from the house, not in a straight up and down manner. This winter we had a 12" snow fall ...
view the full question and answer

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