"I've been experimenting with Phoenix canariensis
to see how hardy it is. Some years ago I bought two in a pot, one
bigger than the other. I separated them, re-potted the larger one,
and planted the other directly into the ground in the garden.
"That was five years ago, and it's thriving,
even though this February we've had cold, hard frosts every night
for about two weeks, and hardly getting above freezing by day. One
night it dropped down to -8, the following day it didn't get above
-6¾ and that night it went down to -10¾. By this time I was feeling
a bit sorry for the Phoenix, so I went out and threw an old blanket
over it. I don't think it did much to keep the frost out, but it
made me feel a lot better!
"All that cold frosty weather seems to have
done it no harm whatsoever, so I think that Phoenix canariensis
could be hardy in many parts of the country, especially here, as
we don't often get really bad winters in this part of N. Wales.
"By the way, it's outgrown its big brother
which is in a 40cm tub (brought inside during the winter). The one
in the ground is 120cm high, and the one in the tub 90cm."
Gaetano Infantino writes from Rome, Italy:
"Snowfalls in Genoa, Savona, and even in San
Remo! I saw the famous palms of the Casino gracefully covered by
frothy snow, which appeared such a contrast with the dark, slender
trunks of many palms, especially Washingtonia, Brahea and Arecastrum.
However, they seemed not to suffer at all.
"Actually, temperatures weren't so low as in
1985, and the sun melted the ice before it could do much damage.
However Milan had two serious snowfalls, one in early November and
one in late January, when the dropped to -13¾. Here in Rome we only
had to put up with -4, so no damage to report to the many palms
which adorn gardens and squares, especially Phoenix, Washingtonia,
Butia, and Chamaerops.
"I'm just waiting now for another beautiful
summer to see how many of the palms in my own collection (in Nettuno,
near Rome) will flower and set fruit. But I have good reason to
be optimistic, thanks to the lack of serious cold. I think we were
let off lightly"