Ralph feels that it's not productive to attempt
to grow small tropical palms without the benefit of greenhouse heat.
They simply will not grow satisfactorily, and a normally two year
effort can turn into a ten or twelve year odyssey, with the probable
loss of the palm before it obtains planting size.
Ralph prefers to grow the palms to a five gallon
size in the greenhouse. He notices the palms obtain a large five
gallon size much more quickly in a greenhouse than outdoors and
feehs that a rapidly grown greenhouse palm is far more suitable
for temperate climate adaptation than a show outdoor grown palm.
Ralph places the palms outdoors in the spring when the night-time
temperatures remain in the high 50° or above, and plants them
in the ground from hate spring to late summer. Ralph has discovered
that there is a perfect size for planting out palms and that is
from a large five gallon to a small seven gallon. He avoids planting
harger greenhouse grown palms that have developed trunk; they often
suffer "post greenhouse shrink," from which they can never
Ralph's is probabhy the most extensive small private
collection anywhere. On a standard corner plot, Ralph has over 200
species, and he has palms growing throughout his neighbourhood.
Some of his most significant mature palms are Roystonea regia, R.
oloraceae, R. elata, R. borinqueana, Marojejya darianii, Prestoea
acummata, Arenga pinnata, Dypsis (Chrysalidocarpus) madagascariensis,
Rhopalostylis baueri, and Rhopalostylis sapida.
Pauleen Sullivan emphasizes the importance of of
a small greenhouse "slider" and her indoor heated pool
room. Pauleen calls her small greenhouse slider her "hot house"
which consists of sliding patio doors in which she raises the small
palms, and a heated poolroom into which she moves the palms after
they reach a one gallon or larger size. Pauleen prefers to plant
the palms outdoors in the ground after they obtain a three to five
gallon size, although she has planted many at smaller sizes.