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Palms Won't Grow Here and Other Myths: Warm-Climate Plants for Cooler Areas

By David A. Francko

Helps adventurous gardeners grow plants they never dreamed possible.

Publishers Weekly

Palms that grow in Canada? Bananas that overwinter in Michigan? How about southern crape myrtles that flower in Birmingham, England, instead of Birmingham, Alabama? Although the voice of authority — and nursery labels — might say, "You can't grow those plants here," author Dave Francko has a different message for gardeners: "Plants can't read the information on their tags." Laced with humorous anecdotes and based on years of first-hand observations and research, this book provides real-world information to help adventurous gardeners grow plants they never before dreamed possible. Nobody who reads this book will ever look at a plant label the same way again.

Media reviews

"Francko's book is a treasure."

—George Weigel, People Places Plants

"Helps adventurous gardeners grow plants they never dreamed possible."

Publishers Weekly

"Adventurous gardeners will welcome this book ... Offers a logical approach based on understanding and accommodating plant needs. With humorous asides and practical tips, Francko challenges cool-temperature gardeners to consider growing exotic, tropical plkants that they have previously considered too tender for their climate."

—Yvonne England, American Gardener

"A must-have for the northern gardener who longs for a touch of the south."

—Robert Haehle, National Gardener

"With this highly readable guide in hand, plant lovers can look forward to the challenge and the prospect of animating their gardens with a new and expanded palette of exciting possibilities."

—Alice Joyce, Booklist

"Camellias have always been a wished-for plant but I gave them up for my Zone 6 garden after my last winter-kill. Well, I might try again–especially if I can get a banana to winter in-ground as David Francko promises in Palms Won't Grow Here."

—Donna Williamson, HortResources Newsletter

"It's a unique and encouraging reference for gardeners in cooler areas."

—Jeff Stevens, Southeastern Palms

"Garden members who have summer homes in the north, visitors from non-tropical areas, and landscapers who have to deal with a wide range of climates will all appreciate this book."

—Susan Knorr, Fairchild Tropical Garden

"Even if you decide against trying to grow a banana tree, you'll learn a lot."

More From Isthmus

"Gardeners who persist in thinking beyond the hardiness box will find much encouragement for their adventuring."

—Helen Chesnut, Victoria Times Colonist

"An adventurous guide to growing warm-climate plants in cold-winter climates."

Northwest Horticultural Society

"This guide is recommended for the gardening collections in public libraries."

—Shannon Hysell, American Reference Books Annual

"If you're up for the extra work and patience required to add a tropical flair to your garden, Palms Won't Grow Here and Other Myths will give you plenty of information and incentive."

—Jean Starr, Northwest Indiana Times

"David Francko has produced an excellent read on how to achieve a tropical look in the temperate garden. His treatment of specific plants is wonderfully precise and fills a need for detailed information for the serious gardener."

—Kyle Brown, Kyle Brown Nurseries

"If you've ever been tempted to add palms and other subtropical to your landscape, wait no more. David Francko's book explains how, and is based on the successful experiences of both professional and amateur gardeners."

—Jeff Stevens, Southeastern Palms

"Hurrah for Dr. Francko! He has achieved the near-impossible feat of writing a book on hardy palms and other exotics that is at once scientific and accessible. Low on guesswork and assumptions, high on facts, figures, and solid experience, it will surely set the standard for this increasingly popular hobby."

—Martin Gibbons, Palm Centre

"This is a 'must-have' book for the adventurous gardener. David Francko has written the definitive text for those who are not afraid to the push the envelope. Thanks to David Francko, your dreams can come true."

—Tamar Myers, Palms

"Adventurous gardeners will welcome this book ... With humorous asides and practical tips, Francko challenges cool-temperature gardeners to consider growing exotic, tropical plants that they have previously considered too tender for their climate."

American Gardener

"A groundbreaking new book."

Martha Stewart Living

"Witty and knowledgeable ... [Francko] gives gardeners hope of having a garden singularly different from all others."

—Joanne S. Carpender, National Gardener

"Francko dispels ... myth with his witty and knowledgeable slant on growing many varieties of plants."

—Joanne S. Carpender, National Gardener

"I've been encouraged [by this book]."

—Anne Raver, New York Times

"Franckos writing is complete and concise, with enough scientific information to satisfy the professional botanist but enough explanation to make the book useful for the enthusiastic amateur horticulturalist."

—Kate Bertin, Forsyth Independent Press

"This book continues Timber Press' reputation as a publisher of broad-interest nature books with usefulness and appeal beyond the intended audience."

—Scott Ruhren, Plant Science Bulletin

"This book is for adventurous gardeners."

—Don Davis, Lynchburg News and Advance

"You can enjoy it without putting a shovel in the soil."

—Marty Figley, Michigan Observer and Eccentric

"A welcome addition ... Will help educate the beginner and also provide essential information to those gardeners who have more experience."

—Will Giles, Garden (Peterborough)

"If defying Mother Nature is your cup of tea, here's the guidebook to help you along the way!"

Green Thumb Chatter

"A valuable effort for marginal areas like Berkeley."


"A very personal account of gardening successes, written in a friendly, accessible style ... For anyone living in a cold climate and wanting to grow palms, this book may awaken an obsession that no therapist can touch."

—Scott Zona, Palms

"This book includes some fascinating information that'll help you decrease your winter losses whether you're growing palms or azaleas."

Harrisburg Patriot-News

"The discussion of physiology is at least as interesting as the plant descriptions and advice."

—Ann Milovsoroff, Pappus

"All I can say is, at last, zone map liberation for gardeners. Francko provides both the why and the how of successful experimentation with growing plants several zones away from their supposed homes. He gives the real skinny on bananas and bamboos — great chapter. I suspect his brand of calm, well-reasoned and lucid explanations on handling winter for plants both temperate and tropical will soothe the panicked beginner and become the bible to consult when well-seasoned gardeners get a little worried by some winter event. This is looking like a book to keep on the desk rather than stow in the bookcase."

—Diane Heilenman, Louisville Courier-Journal

"A wonderful book! An indispensible, fun-to-read resource for amateur as well as seasoned gardeners and commercial landscapers who want to achieve that tropical look north of the tropics. David Francko's book will revolutionize your gardening ideas."

—Gerry McKiness, Gerry's Jungle

About the author

David A. Francko

Hardy palm expert David A. Francko, has recently been a featured guest on Martha Stewart Living TV, as well as NPR's Science Friday with Ira Flatow. Francko is chair of the Department of Botany at Miami University in Ohio and his academic specialty is aquatic plants. He is co-investigator on the university's Hardy Palm Project, and for many years he has experimented with warm-climate plants in his own gardens. Francko's findings have been published in scientific journals and presented at national and international conferences. As part of a network of adventurous gardeners living in cooler regions of the world, Francko refuses to accept the common wisdom that "Palms won't grow here."

Read more about David A. Francko

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