Everything was just fine and with January out of
the way I was already thinking of where to plant my coconuts! Then,
like a bolt out of the blue, came the nightmare we palm nuts fear
the most: high pressure over Scandinavia, heavy snow driven by a
biting easterly wind and night temperatures as low as -12°C.
Enough to say goodnight to all my Cordylines (unprotected), defoliate
two Phoenix canariensis (limited protection) and eventually kill
my so-called 'tough as old boots' Butia capitata, but surprise,
surprise, the Roebelenii came through even though 50% leaf damage
had robbed her of her former splendour. Never mind, despite the
rather late arrival of last summer, much of the damage has been
replaced by the emergence of lots of strong and healthy new growth.
This winter I increased the protection with further
cabling and yet a third polythene bag, and as if that wasn't enough,
a thick blanket to help preserve more of that precious heat. So
far, she has withstood two hard freezes - one of which produced
a night low of -7°C and not rising by day above 0°C for
nearly a week.
If I've managed in these few paragraphs to seduce
you into trying this tropical wonder then here are a few pointers
to help you succeed in your quest:
Plant in late spring once all danger of frost has
passed, a position in full sun to partial shade is most suitable,
although protection from the hottest sun is advisable for the first
Spend time on preparing the hole, digging it deep
and wide. Backfill with fresh soil mixed with well-rotted manure.
Feed regularly during the summer and keep well watered in hot weather.
A good dose of sulphate of potash in late summer
will help build up your plant's sugar reserves increasing its resistance