January 16, 2009
Palms are not just for warm climates. The Windmill Palm Trachycarpus fortunei is the most cold hardy Palm 'tree' that you can grow in the Piedmont, tolerating temperatures as low as 5 degrees Fahrenheit.
The trunk of this tree can mature between 20 and 40 feet, depending on soil and sunlight conditions. Full, blazing sun is the key to growing this palm. This tree, er...grass, can fit well into small areas like courtyards and entries. It is often seen as a framing accent near Mediterranean-influenced architecture.
One of my favorite contexts is the Windmill palm planted in a group, especially when palms of different heights are staggered in irregular patterns.
The trick to finding a palm species to grow in Atlanta is finding one that will tolerate the cold, heat, AND humidity.