Winter protection in Belgium

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This area is for Reference and discussion of plant hardiness, overwintering methods and tips, and planr protection.
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shusui
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Winter protection in Belgium

Post by shusui » Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:00 pm

In this topic I'm gonna try to explain how I overwinter and protect my exotic plants in my garden.
I'm started growing hardy exotic plants in 2006 or 2007, with a Trachycarpus fortunei, Paulownia, Sequoiadendron and a Musa Basjoo. Before I had only Orchids and Passifloras.

Normal winters we have temperatures wit lowest -7 to -10°C , not a big problem for most of the plants when they get any protection.
In the winter of 2008-2009 we had temperatures of -21°C and -28°C on the ground.
That was a real killer winter for a lot of plants , especially palms.
All my palms where dead except a Phoenix that was heated and Trachycarpus seedlings covered under the snow.
These palms died that winter: several T.fortunei, wagnerianus, Chamaerops humilis, cerifera, vulcano, Butia capitata (protected), Washingtonia(protected), Raphidophyllum hystrix.
Other plants: Dicksonia antartica (protected, not heated) died, all bamboo's(+-50 species) that were planted the year before where frozen dead above the snow (except : phyllostachys bisetii and phyllostachys nuda), all the bamboo's recovered with new (very small) shoots.
All cordylines(protected) died , except one.
3 varieties of Phormiums (protected) died except one.
A Yucca aloifolia with 1m stem and a Yucca gloriosa lost their stem.
I could give many other comparisons...

Thats not happening a second time ! :evil:

If I keep palms in full ground, they must get more protection and eventually heating.

Some pictures of how I protect or overwinter my plants now:
Exotic border in the summer last year:
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Picture on 11-11-2011 after the first frost (a few nights -3°C)
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Ensetes are digged out before the frost
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Digging out other plants:
Colocasia ‘Jacks Giant’
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Colocasia ‘Burgundy Stem’
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My biggest banana, Musa sp. Tibet :D
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Digging out a Musa sikkimensis
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The Musa’s and Ensetes overwinter in the greenhouse now
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This is the view of the Exotic border now
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All the Musa’s are in the greenhouse, the Canna tubers are in the basement, Colocasia Pink China stays outside , the palms (2x Phoenix canariensis, Washingtonia, Butia eriospatha, Butia capitata) are protected with fleece and a heating cable (only when it’s freezing)

Yuccas ,Agaves ,Dasylirion, Opuntia,…
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Musa Tibet overwintering in full ground
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Gunnera manicata protected with his own leaves , straw and canna and Musa leaves
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Plants like: Pinus yunnanensis, Hedychium, Melianthus ,Eucalyptus, Trachelospermum, Zantedeshia, Fatsia, Tetrapanax, … and more hardy palms like Trachycarpus, sabal minor, Chamaerops get Pine needles on the base as protection.
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If you have any questions: shoot

Sven


Tom2006
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Re: Winter protection in Belgium

Post by Tom2006 » Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:45 pm

SO sorry to hear about your loses! Your garden is superb now though!!
Most wanted list - Any Young Trachycarpus and/or fern.


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Mr List
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Re: Winter protection in Belgium

Post by Mr List » Wed Jan 11, 2012 12:26 am

what's a musa tibet?
i have never heard of it before.
i take it you think it is hardier than sikkimensis?


Kristen
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Re: Winter protection in Belgium

Post by Kristen » Wed Jan 11, 2012 8:26 am

What sort of heating cable do you use? a light-rope, or a specialist heating cable?

What sort of size / wattage?

Thanks :)
K's Garden blog last update 30th December 2012, HTUK Blog


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kata
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Re: Winter protection in Belgium

Post by kata » Wed Jan 11, 2012 8:38 am

You must have been devastated, and we thought -13 was extremely cold,

Its the loss of plant life though..how dreadful for you. Not sure If I could start again after that Sven....well done!

The garden (first pic) was a surprise, its lovely and the Ensetes reached great heights.

Musa Tibet.

http://www.hardytropicals.co.uk/forum/v ... ?f=1&t=638
http://flowersnpalms.com/floraandfaunauk/

Rain...nowt but rain...Welcome to Lancashire............ :lol: :lol: :lol:


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Yorkshire Kris
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Re: Winter protection in Belgium

Post by Yorkshire Kris » Wed Jan 11, 2012 8:54 am

Excellent and informative photos. Have the way you have protected your plants this year worked in previous years or is this the first you you have protected them in this way? You must have a tall greenhouse! What temp is the greenhouse kept at?


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shusui
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Re: Winter protection in Belgium

Post by shusui » Wed Jan 11, 2012 10:22 am

@ Mr. List:
Musa Tibet is maybe hardy enough; this winter is the first time I let them outside.
Musa basjoo gets the same protection here. Also Musa sikkimensis , but they can’t handle much frost if they are unheated (max -15degrees). After the killer winter was sikkimensis totally dead, also the rhizomes.
Now I have 95% of my Musa's in the greenhouse, that’s much safer.

@Kirsten: I use light ropes of 6m (19, 6 ft.) and 9m (29, 5 ft.) long and 11watt / m length
The big Phoenix gets 9m , smaller plants and the dicksonia 6m

@Kris: The summer after the killer winter I planted new palms (Trachycarpus species, butias and washingtonia) And in the winters since then I protected the plants like now.
Last two winters were also quite cold:-12°c in 2009-2010 and -16 in 2010-2011 (with lots. This year is a very soft winter till now... With only a few nights frost in November and begin December.

The greenhouse is built in 2010 , It is normal hobby greenhouse, bud the bottom is lower than ground level (hard to explain :lol: )
The sizes are: length 5m (16, 4 ft.), width 3,3m (10, 8 ft.)
Height of the wall in the ground: 0,75m (2,5ft), total height on the side wall is 2,5m (8,2ft) the highest height in the middle is 3,3m (11ft)
The leaves of the biggest bananas are totally cut off.
The greenhouse is heated at 10°C minimum temperature (for the orchids).


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shusui
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Re: Winter protection in Belgium

Post by shusui » Wed Jan 11, 2012 10:30 am

Some pictures of the greenhouse after its built:
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The benefits of the wall in the ground are:
Warmer in the winter
Cooler in summer (for the cool growing Orchids)
And more hight, for bigger plants.


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Yorkshire Kris
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Re: Winter protection in Belgium

Post by Yorkshire Kris » Wed Jan 11, 2012 10:33 am

What do you do with the red Thalia?


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shusui
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Re: Winter protection in Belgium

Post by shusui » Wed Jan 11, 2012 10:46 am

The red Thalia grows in a pot and overwinters in the greenhouse together with papyrus.
I have tried the red Thalia once outside at the bottom of the pond (frost free) but he did not survive.

The normal Thalia dealbata grows well here outside, in full ground in the marsh-pond.
This one flowers every year and gets more than 2meters high.


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Palmer
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Re: Winter protection in Belgium

Post by Palmer » Wed Jan 11, 2012 10:57 am


Things have moved on a bit in plant taxonomy since I said… I thought Musa Tibet was a form of balbisiana, it is actually a form or variant of Musa yunnanensis!

I lost a large Musa Tibet at -6c (stem and corm) it wasn’t protected though.

You have a very nice collection of plants Shusui icon_thumleft


Tony


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Re: Winter protection in Belgium

Post by GREVILLE » Wed Jan 11, 2012 12:15 pm

Excellent idea to 'bury' your greenhouse for good temperature management, Sven. Mine operates to a similar system in that my purpose built structure is tucked into a corner where a 35cm thick loading wall about 2m high holds up the garden next door so 'one side' of my protection is below ground.

However, I can carry my musas inside without potential back trouble as I can take them inside at ground level :D

Your arrangement helps you keep a super selection of plants.


Kristen
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Re: Winter protection in Belgium

Post by Kristen » Wed Jan 11, 2012 12:17 pm

shusui wrote:The greenhouse is built in 2010 , It is normal hobby greenhouse, bud the bottom is lower than ground level (hard to explain :lol: )
You've "excavated" the beds inside the greenhouse :) Good idea. I've done that with mine too, so I can get a bit more height for my Tomato plants, and I plant them in the greenhouse soil as that gives me a bit more height compared to Pots / Bags.

But I didn't think of that until I had built it, by which time the concrete foundations and only 2 courses of bricks were in place, so I could only excavate about a foot. You have much more available height - cracking idea icon_thumleft

If I was doing it again I would put the "steps" (well, actually a ramp, for a wheel barrow) outside the greenhouse and fit a really tall door. Getting a wheel barrow into mine is a bit of a risky busyness and your steps look like a serious challenge!
K's Garden blog last update 30th December 2012, HTUK Blog


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shusui
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Re: Winter protection in Belgium

Post by shusui » Sat Jan 14, 2012 11:15 am

Thanks!

I ride with a wheel barrow to the greenhouse. On the steps , I carry them.
To bring the plants in is not a big problem , but carrying them out (upwards) is not so easy. :roll:

I've bought this greenhouse on a second hand site. I've dismounted it in another garden, then transported it to here and build it up again. I couldn't make the door higher (with the steps or a ramp outside) because of the basic aluminium profiles of the greenhouse. And then i must buy another special sized door. (only that would be more expensive as I payed for the whole greenhouse)

Sven


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shusui
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Re: Winter protection in Belgium

Post by shusui » Sat Jan 14, 2012 11:22 am

And this is the unheated poly tunnel greenhouse.
Here I overwinter hardy plants in pots.

In front on the right, there's an other little tunnel (a tunnel in an tunnel) :)
Where i sow plants and make cuttings.

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