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I have a 3ft tall Phoenix Canariensis in a large pot outside my front door. I bought the plant this summer as a replacement for a beautiful red cordyline that was 8ft high (in a pot) which had taken years to grow, and which I, foolishly, thought would survive last year's severe winter. God knows why when the thermometer was hitting -12 in Bucks! The whole thing went a black rotten mess. My green cordyline, variegated Yucca, and Chusan fan palm all survived, but they are all planted in the ground and mature. So I'm not taking any chances this year, and the first proper frost we have, will be dragging the potted Phoenix into the garage.My Washingtona palm and Agapanthus(African Lilly plant) are already under cover.Don't take any chances is my advice!
first of all, it's good to see so many people now trying to grow the lovely canary island palm in the uk. growing in pots is fine, just move them indoors from say october to march. i have done that for years and they always survive, no problem there! but...we all want our gardens to look like miami beach so now we challenge the experts and actually plant them in the ground. the first couple of years i tried this i could'nt get one single plant to survive. same old story, come easter time and you have brown tips and you can just grab the center of the palm and pull it right out with ease to find a hollow rotten center! over in that case, you may aswell dig it up. you watch it all through winter and you think it is doing fine, but the truth is the winters are just that little bit to long. if we could just skip febuary and go from january into march, we might just get away with it! so my advice is, unless you live right down in the toe area of cornwall, where frost is minimal, you have to protect them with some kind of shelter. just build some kind of mock up shelter over them using poles and thick clear plastic sheeting, anything, it's not rocket science! just keep the frost and even worse, keep the snow off the palms, or you are at great risk of loosing your beloved trees come march time. it's just to much of a long period of coldness for them otherwise. they dont even need watering, just make sure they are able to grab whatever daylight they can. take the shelter down around now, and create the shelter around end of october time. that way you will have around 7 or 8 months of the year where they are uncovered, and temps are satisfactory for them. and best of all, they will always look lush healthy and bright green, and not brown and rotten! i have not lost a single palm tree since using this method. also, the older and bigger a tree is the more hardy it will be to frost. trees of a couple of feet high will start to go brown by febuary if not given frost protection. pick a good spot for planting, take note of the arc that the sun travels across the sky during april to october, and plant so they will get maximum hours of sun. dont plant say near a wall or fence where they wont see sunlight till 3pm in the afternoon! they thrive in direct sunlight and need as much as possible. soil is not a problem for these guys, any area of uk is fine for them, the main issue is getting them in a spot to receive maximum sun arc each day. remember, they are not plants native to the uk, or the high streets and motorways would be lined with them would'nt they?? but it's a challenge to grow them here and very rewarding when you get it right.

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