California Dreaming

(page 2)

Lois Rossten emphasizes the importance of a greenhouse, and the ease with which you can grow beautiful, lush palms once you have a basic concept of growing tropical palms in a temperate climate. Lois has a small greenhouse which is shaded from sunlight by the canopy formed by her mature palms. She keeps the temperature warm during the winter months with a natural gas heater. The temperature seldom exceeds 80°F (25°C), or drops below 60°F (15°C). Lois finds that most small palms will not grow well in a temperate climate without winter protection and greenhouse-induced size. She heaves the palms in the greenhouse until they are ready to move from a four inch into a one gallon container at which time she places them outdoors to harden off. Lois hikes to bring the palms out of the greenhouse in the spring after the night-time temperatures stabilize at or above the high 5O°F(13-15° C) . She then allows the palms to grow to a large one gallon size outdoors and plants them in the ground during the spring and summer months as a one gallon, digging a hole just large enough for the palm to fit into.

Lois' philosophy is basically to plant the palm and wait. Nothing happens at first. Nothing happens next. Nothing might happen after a year. And just when it seems that the plant is going to remain a runt forever it begins to grow and it continues to grow, becoming a large, fast-growing palm. Her system is simple and highly successful, but it does require more patience than most other systems. Lois has a fabulous palm collection with over 150 species on her standard city lot. Included in her collection of specimen palms are Veitchia joannis, V. arecina, Dictyosperma album var. rubrum, Wallichia disticha, Carpentaria acuminata, Roystonea regia, R. elata and Parajubea cocoides.

Ralph Velez also stresses the importance of a greenhouse, and the ultimate size and time to plant most palms outdoors. Ralph has two greenhouses, and a palm growing career which has included some form of greenhouse from the beginning. Ralph's lower greenhouse is his cool greenhouse in which he grows many 'greenhouse only' palms. His upper greenhouse is the warm one in which he grows his seedlings to planting size. Ralph installed his upper greenhouse because the sunlight to the lower greenhouse became blocked by his mature palms.

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