Coconut Palms in southern california

I live in southern Los Angeles county and am considering planting a stand of coconut palms. I've been told that it will be a waste of time because of the climate. I've been informed that the coconut palm is a hardiness zone 11 and my home is in the 11 zone. However that farthest north on record for this palm is in Newport Beach to the south and it is a single palm that is not thriving.
What is it that makes southern California a tough area for these palms? What part of the palm is destroyed in a cold winter? The roots? The trunk? The crown?
Also, does anyone have any tips that I could try in the winter that might help keep them alive? I've read the book "Palms won't grow here and other myths," but it doesn't discuss the coconut palm. Are there certain varieties that are more cold hardy?
Thanks for any help.
Ashton
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Be glad you saved a lot of money and worry. My son had them in his Australian suburban garden; they are a real menace when the heavy nuts fall, damaging cars, roofs and serious injury to people; so everyone with coconut palms had to employ a man to come round and remove the nuts.
Janet
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wrote:
I know there is a palm tree that yields a small coconut-like fruit that grows in southern California. The minature coconuts are about one inch diameter. They taste very good. Sorry that I connot remember the name of the tree. I know the location of two of the trees in Santa Barbara, one in Lotusland and another at Alice Keck Park.
Dick

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Several years ago I lived on a street in L.A. that was lined with date palms.
Even though the dates were tiny compared to coconuts, when they fell they could do a lot of damage to any cars that were passing by or just parked below. It also hurt like hell if you got hit by one that fell from the tree or got catapulted by a lawn mower.
Palm trees might look nice at first, but after living with them for a while, you discover what a real nuisance they can be.
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I live in San Diego.
Coconut palms are rarely grown here. They are overpowering and a liability headache unless you have a 40 acre estate.
We like Queen Palms (Arecastrum romanzoffianum) and have planted about 10 of them over the years. Do not confuse with King Palms or Washington Palms.
They grow only 20-25 feet tall and 10-15 feet wide. Elegant, airy, tropical appearance. No maintenance.
--

Walter
The Happy Iconoclast www.rationality.net
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of
tropical
They are indeed beautiful- but I wouldn't call mine low maintenance! Between the fruit mess and the retained fronds, I'm replacing all mine with Foxtails, Carpentaria, or Veitchia- even Solitaires are preferable.
--
Toni
South Florida USA
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Ashton,
Coconut palms are heat/humidity loving plants. While it is true that you are in Zone 11, as based on the USDA map, which looks at low temperature extremes, coconut palms really prefer the consistently warm, climate of South Florida, the Caribbean and similar climates.
If you plant one, it may not die right away, but rather not thrive and gradually collapse, as the overnight low temperates in Southern California do not rival that of South Florida and similar climates. I remember reading that Coconut Palms begin to stress at temperatures below 50 degrees F. While it is true that such temperatures may occur in South Florida during the winter months, it is almost always short lived-- a matter of hours, and temperatures quickly rebound to the 70's. A "cool" day there is in the 60's in winter.
Other things to consider, are annual rainfall and humidity/dewpoint.
Hope this helps. Email me if you have any questions.
Jim

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