Protecting palms and other exotics

We're frequently asked on forums for tips on how to best get your palms and exotics through the winter. So here are a few guidelines for you; follow these and you'll be able to enjoy your garden right through next year.

A tropical garden can look great in the winter, by the way!

Protecting palms

  1. Scatter Winterhardy from the start of september until the end of October at the latest. This is a high-quality strengthener for you plants which thickens the cell walls. It's an ideal, well balance formula which ensures that Calcium and Magnesium phosphate are asborbed correctly and will get your plant through the winter. Prevention is better than cure!

  2. Gardeners often take great care to protect the leaves but forget the root system! A palms really depends on developing thick, new roots which are continually developed from the trunk. Because of this, the roots are often close to the surface. Trachycarpus fortunei roots can be damaged from around minus 8 degrees Celcius; as such they are more vulnerable than the leaf-crown! A frequent mistake is to unpack the palm while the roots are still half-frozen. In doing so the plant becomes susceptible to drying-out as the roots are unable to absorb water. Potted palms are also certainly vulnerable and should be protected at temperatures of -8C or more with our, winter protection for pots. To prevent root damage by frost, it's advisable to mulch well around the base of the plant and to cover with our special root protection.

  3. After that, bind the leaves together. Palm leaves can go quite a while with little or no light. Choose a soft string to bind the leaves, so that no damage occurs to the stem or leaves.
    We recommend elastic plant binder.

  4. In my experience, rolls of climate Cloth for Plants provide the best winter protection of all. This synthetic climate-cloth will not take up water where, for example, normal felt will absorb water after a while. It's more 'airy' and is less prone to developing mould. It can be wrapped as you wish and can fit any form of plant. We've got this on offer during December in various lengths.

  5. You can cover the whole with one of our plant covers or protectors. A reed mat works well and looks at home in the garden.
  6. A palm tree needs to generate new roots from the base of it's trunk so that the leaf crown can be fed and developed. That's why it's important to encourage good and rapid growth in the spring. By removing the mulch layer from around the trunk on time (the ground beneath it is not frozen), you can unpack the leaves earlier and the ground around the trunk will warm up more quickly. It's then a good idea to pour palmbooster round the trunk to stimulate the roots further, because without roots the palm can't absorb nutrients.

Protecting tree-ferns and other sensitive exotics

  1. Use ample synthetic climated cloth particularly in the crown of the plant

  2. Supply a good supply of mulch around the trunk.

  3. For Cyathea species, sensitive Dicksonia species and sensitive palms use self-regulating heating cables. These are available in various sizes and have inbuilt thermostats which ensure targeted heating. This means energy efficient. We also have cheaper warmth-cable which you can attach to a seperate thermostat.

  4. It's important to cover the mulch layer with a root protector and maybe bubble-wrap too..

  5. You can cover the whole thing with a plant cover or reed mat.

  6. Look after your valuable plants this winter with these high-quality winter-protection devices from MyPalmshop:


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