Climate Change





Plant Lists


The plants listed have all been grown in the open for at least a full season (unless otherwise indicated) here in Southern Comfort. Only selected plants have been listed. There is no code included for those which have been successful in the open over several seasons. Others are marked as follows:

P - grown in a pot only
R - overhead or wall shelter only
S - less than one full season

(Because plants have been grown in pots does not imply that they cannot be grown in the open. It means only that they have not been grown in this way. Most are earmarked for growing in the open and are expected to succeed.)

Palms (Arecaceae)

Bismarckia nobilis (PR - plant lost winter 2009-2010; we do not consider this plant suitable for growing outside in this climate)
Brahea armata
- I have had some sporadic failures with this plant
Brahea edulis - no damage during recent winters
Butia capitata - no gdamage during recent winters
Chamaedorea elegans (P) - this never grows satisfactorily in the ground but even small plants generally survive with some leaf damage.
Chamaedorea microspadix - no damage during recent winters
Chamaedorea radicalis - no damage during recent winters
Chamaerops humilis - this palm is fully hardy in our part of Torquay
Jubaea chilensis - this palm is fully hardy in our part of Torquay.
Phoenix canariensis - this palm is fully hardy in our part of Torquay
Phoenix dactylifera (P) - grown from seed 1n 2006; little or no protection given over winter after seedling stage.
(Phoenix roebelenii, PR, most plants killed by cold in January 2009 - now grown in pots and given full protection over winter)
Rhopalostylis sapida (PR - all plants killed by cold in January 2009; replaced and now given full protection over winter)
Rhapis excelsa
- no damage during recent winters
Sabal minor This low-growing palms has a remakably slow rate of growth but is reputed to be one of the hardiest.
Syagrus romanzoffiana* Descriptions of this palm generally sound encouraging but neither I nor my neighbour Steven Tiller have managed to succeed with it.
Trachycarpus fortunei
- fully hardy and generally excellent
Trachycarpus wagnerianus** Although relatively small, in my view this is the best of the hardy fan palms with neat, stifff and undamaged leaves.
Trachycarpus sp.'Manipur/Naga Hills' (ex Amulree Exotics)
Washingtonia filifera (5 plants overwintered successfully over 2008-2012, one with little damage and four losing the younger leaves). Small specimens are very vulnerable to frost; resistance increases dramatically with size.

* While not killed by low winter temperatures this palm made little or no progress during summer possibly because temperatures were not sufficiently high. It was subsequently removed and is no loger grown.
** The correct pronounciation is 'vagnerianus' ('v' not 'w') please note all you linguistically retarded English, after Albert Wagner, a German horticulturalist - named like the composer - who first brought it to Europe in the nineteenth century.

It is unlikely that all will be fully successful at Southern Comfort. Palms which grow in the area of Torbay are: the ubiquitous Trachycarpus fortunei; Chamaerops humilis (European Fan Palm) - very common in Torbay; Jubaea chilensis (Chilean Wine Palm) - there is a fine example in Hesketh Road, 200 metres from Southern Comfort (mentioned by W.J. Bean in his book Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles); Phoenix canariensis - there is a fine example in Chelston and numerous younger specimens planted along the seafront; mature Washingtonia filifera planted in a row in Trematon Avenue, Torquay; Caryota (sp.?) the Fishtail Palm was recently tried but without success at Coleton Fishacre; Brahea armata is reputed to be hardy in the UK; Steven Tiller of 4 Wellswood Heights in Torquay has a very large number of palm species growing in the open; see his list. Lamorran Gardens in St Mawes, Cornwall boasts of having some 35 species of palm.

Bananas (Musaceae)

Ensete ventricosum 'Maurelii'/Musa 'Tandara Red'*. Sometimes overwinters outside even producing a number of leaves leaves.
Ensete ventricosum (PS)
Heliconia scheideana**
Musa basjoo

Musa sikkimensis 'Red Tiger'
Musa x paradisica 'Orinoco' (lost during cold period January 2009)
Musa (=Musella) lasiocarpa

* I have never discovered for sure whether these two forms are identical or not. They certainly look very similar.
** This plant did not flower in 2008, its second year. 2008 was an exceptionally cold spring and summer, however. This plant was further weakened during the cold period of Janaury 2009. However, the spread of each of the two clumps we have has been steady and given a frost-free winter when no leaves are lost these plants will flower.

Like the tender Musa acuminata 'Dwarf Cavendish', Musa x paradisica 'Orinoco' is reputed to be both frost hardy and to produce edible fruit. The same is said of Musa 'Helen'. Both are available from Amulree Exotics in Norfolk.

Succulents & cacti

Aloe arborescens
Aloe aristata
Aloe bainesii (=barberae)(PR)
Aloe brevifolia
Aloe ciliaris (PR)
Aloe cooperii
Aloe ferox (PR)
Aloe humilis
Aloe maculata (P)
Aloe marlothii (PR)
Aloe peglerae (PR)
Aloe perfoliata (PR)
Aloe plicatilis
Aloe pretoriensis
Aloe reitzii (PR)
Aloe striata
Aloe striatula
Aloe thraskii (PR)
Aloe vera (PR)
Aloe variegata (PR)
Aloe zebrina (PR)

Agave americana
Agave americana 'Variegata'
Agave americana 'Marginata'
Agave americana 'Mediopicta Alba' (P)
Agave attenuata (PR)
Agave celsii

Agave desmettiana (PS)
Agave salmiana (syn. ferox)
Agave salmiana angustifolia 'Variegata

Agave filifera (PR)  
Agave montana (PR)  
Agave parryi

Agave potatorum

Agave pumila
Agave striata (PR)
Agave utahensis (PR)
Agave victoriae-reginae (PR)
Aeonium arboreum
Aeonium arboreum 'Zwartkop' (='Schwartzkopf') (PR)
Aeonium atropurpureum (PRS)
Aeonium decorum tricolor (PR)
Aeonium urbicum ( v. large 50 cm rosette) (R)
Beschorneria septentrionalis
Beschorneria yuccoides
Carpobrotus edulis
Carpobrotus aciniaciformis
Crassula arborescens (PR)
Crassula ovata
Crassula sarcocaualis
Darylirion texanum
Echeveria 'Black Prince'
Echeveria - selection of species
Echeveria - selection of species (P)
Furcraea longaeva
Haworthia attenuata (P)
Lampranthus - selection of species/forms
Ledebouria (=Scilla) socialis (P)
Opuntia (unknown type)
Sedum praealtum

Other Tender, Semi-tender & Exotics


Amaryllis belladonna
Arisaema costatum
Arthropodium cirratum 'Matapouri Bay'
Arum pictum
Arundo donax 'Versicolor'
Aspidistra elatior
Aspidistra elatior 'Okame'
Astelia chathamica
Baloskion tetraphyllum
Begonia grandis evansiana
Begonia palmata

Begonia southerlandii
Begonia 'Cane Stemmed' (or similar)
Bergenia ciliata
Canna altensteinii

Canna iridiflora
Canna lutea 'Musifolia'
Canna 'Durban'
Canna 'Pretoria'
Chlorophytum comosum 'Vittatum'
Clivia miniata
Crinum moorei
Crinum x powellii

Cuphea ignea
Cymbidium traceyanum
Cyperus alternifolius
Datura (=Brugmansia) sanguinea
Datura sp
. (PR)
Echium pininana
Gunnera magellanica
Hedychium coccineum 'Tara'
Hedychium coronarium
Hedychium densiflorum 'Stephen'
Hedychium densiflorum 'Assam Orange'
Hedychium greenii
Impatiens omeiana (S)
Impatiens tinctoria
Iris confusa
Iris japonica
Myosotidium hortensia
Ornithogalum longibracteatum
Rhodocoma capensis
Sauromatum venosum
Strelitzia reginae
Tulbaghia violacea


Achmea recurvata 'Benrathii'
Billbergia nutans

Billbergia nutans 'Variegata'
Fascicularia bicolor

Puya berteroana
Tillandsia aeranthos
Tillandsia bergeri

Abutilon 'Red' ex Hill House
Abutilon 'Kentish Belle'
Abutilton 'Patrick Synge'

Abutilon 'Yellow' ex Hill House
Acacia verticellata
Cestrum 'Newellii'
Cestrum nocturnum
Citrus aurantium (orange)
Citrus limon 'Four Seasons'
Citrus reticulata - mandarin
Clianthus puniceus 'Roseus'
Clerodendrum bungei 'Pink diamond'
Clerodendrum philippinum (=chinense var. chinense) (S)
Desfontainia spinosa (=hookeri)
Euphorbia mellifera
Euphorbia stygiana
x Fatshedera lizei 'Annemeike'
Fuchsia boliviana
Fuchsia arborescens

Genista aetnensis
Genista 'Lydia'
Grevillea johnsonii
Iochroma purpurea
Leucadendron strobilinum
Magnolia officinialis
Mahonia lomariifolia
Melianthus major
Mitraria coccinea

Nerium oleander

Olea europaea
Protea cynaroides (plant lost winter 2009; replaced)
Pseudopanax crassifolius (P)
Pseudopanax 'Cyril Watson'
Pseudopanax lessonii 'Purpureus'
Pseudopanax lessonii 'Sabre'
Schefflera taiwaniana
Tetrapanax papyrifer

Blechnum chilense
Dicksonia antarctica
Phlebodium sp. (probably)
Dryopteris wallichiana

Cycas revoluta

Eccremocarpus scaber
Hoya carnosa (PR)
Jasminum polyanthum

Lapageria rosea
Pandorea jasminoides
Passiflora 'Amethyst'
Passiflora x exoniensis - marginally hardy

Hardy 'Exotics'
(Exotic appearance, reasonably hardy to fully hardy constitution)

Arisaema candidissimum
Arum creticum
Asarum europaeum
Asarum splendens
Athyrium nipponicum 'Metallicum'
Blechnum chilense
Bletilla striata
Catalpa bignonioides 'Aurea'
Cautleya spicata 'Robusta'
Cordyline australis
Cordyline indivisa*

Dracunculus vulgaris
Eucalyptus gunnii
Eucalyptus nitens
Eucalyptus pauciflora niphophila

Euphorbia characias
Euphorbia stygiana
Fatsia japonica
Fatsia japonica 'Variegata'
Ficus carica
Helleborus argutifolius

Hedera colchica 'Paddy's Pride'
Hosta sieboldiana 'Elegans'
Hosta sieboldiana 'Frances Williams'
Hosta 'Sum & Substance'
Kniphofia caulescens
Kniphofia northiae
Kniphofia uvaria

Lysichiton americanus**
Magnolia grandiflora
Miscanthus floridulus
Osmunda regalis
Paulownia tomentosa
Phormium tenax
Phormium cookianum
Phyllostachys nigra
Watsonia aletroides
Watsonia vanderpuyiae
Zantedeschia aethiopica

The following commonly available palms are considered to be reliably hardy in most of the UK and certainly in the south and west:
Brahea armata
Butia capitata
Chamaerops humilis
Trachycarpus fortunei
Trachycarpus wagnerianus

(* Cordyline indivisa is reputed to be difficult to establish; **Despite seemingly appropriate conditions, I cannot say that I have had great success with this plant. It has flowered only occasionally and both the foliage and flowers appear less than fully vigorous. I have been growing it for about 16 years.)


Aloe arborescens
Agave americana

Dasylirion texanum
Dicksonia antarctica
Echium pininana
Eucalyptus pauciflora niphophila
Furcraea longaeva
Musa basjoo
Phoenix canariensis (still relatively small, 12 foot leaves and a couple of feet of trunk)
Phormium tenax
Phormium cookianum
Trachycarpus fortunei (several)

(fully hardy, not normally regarded as exotic)

Actinidia chinensis 'Jenny' (self-fertile Kiwi fruit)
Cistus x purpureus 'Sun Rose'
Clematis jackmanii 'Superba'
Dryopteris sieboldii
Helianthum 'Ben Ledi'
Jasminum nudiflorum
Pathenocissus henryana
Scilla peruviana

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