Raising Arizona

Mediterranean Fan Palm

This is not Arizona, actually, in more ways than one.  When selecting plants for the garden it is important to consider context as well as climate.  Palms are definitely out of context in the Northwest garden.  Nevertheless, they had some down at the Ace Hardware Nursery, so I thought I would give one a try.  This is the Mediterranean Fan Palm, Chamaerops humilis.  According to Sunset, it is hardy to 0° F/-18° C for short periods, in climate zones 4-24.  Fidalgo Island sits in zone 5.  Ironically, parts of Arizona are not suitable.

Normal winter low temperatures here range in the 30's and 40's F (0-9° C).  Occasionally, our version of a Nor'easter roars down the Fraser River Valley.  These bring lows in the teens or less to northern Puget Sound.  Record low in Anacortes is 4° F (-15.5° C), but this is rare.

I have a small patio in the sunny end of the shade garden.  My potted palm looks nice there and adds some contrast to the Rhododendrons.  It seems to be thriving and has put out some new growth.  Winter will be the true test of its suitability.  I am counting on the shade garden's microclimate to protect it from our coldest temperatures.