Growing Trachycarpus Fortunei and a Chamaerops Humilis in Western Colorado
By Lee Lindauer
Click for photos I've always had an interest in palms, ever since a kid. Living in Colorado, the closest to see living outdoor palms is in St. George, Utah, about a 5 hour drive. In 1995 I planted a Trachycarpus fortunei and a Chamaerops humilus in the outdoor courtyard at my office. Protected on three sides but open, it is fairly well micro-climatized with 5-8 degrees Fahrenheit higher than elsewhere. Although I have winter protected them during extreme cold, they usually don't require much extra assistance.

The climate in Grand Junction is zone 6b-7a, in the Grand Valley, on the western slope of the Rockies. This part of Colorado is located on the Colorado Plateau, more synonymous with the red rock area of Utah rather than the mountainous parts of Colorado. In years past the area was called the "banana belt" of Colorado because of the fruits and grapes that are grown here. Peaches and wineries are fairly common in the valley.

Other palms that I am experimenting with are Rhapidophyllum hystrix, Sabal minor and Nannorrhops richiana. Future experiments will consist of T. takil, T. wagnerianus and Serenoa repens. If one looks close, other exotics can be spotted in the area, such as Yucca recurvifolia, Yucca elata, Yucca brevifolia, assorted hardy cacti, Albizzia julibrissin and Cupressus sempervirens.

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Updated January 7, 1999