Palm Trees grove dans l’ouest de la Floride, sur la côte du golfe du Mexique, États-Unis Photo Stock

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How Do Palm Trees Reproduce?

Palm trees are a diverse, complex group of plants, with about 2,500 species of mostly tropical origin. All of them reproduce from seed. For palms with single trunks, it’s the only way they reproduce. For palms that cluster or branch, an offset or branch can root to make a new plant. For seed formation, pollen from male flowers transfers to female flowers, which develop a fruit with a seed inside. This is sexual reproduction, and keeps the species genetically flexible. Rooting offsets, or vegetative reproduction, makes duplicates of the mother plant.

Flowers and Pollination

It takes palms anywhere from three to 40 years, depending on the species, to flower for the first time. Palm trees have separate male and female flowers. Sometimes they’re on the same plant, and sometimes, as in the date palm (Phoenix dactylifera), the male and female flowers are on separate trees. Date palm grows in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 9 through 11. They’re wind-pollinated, but to ensure good fruit set, bring a stalk of male flowers to a flowering female tree and dust pollen onto female flowers with a cotton pad. Other palms are pollinated by wasps, flies, bees and beetles.

Seed Formation

Once pollen lands on the female flower, it fertilizes the female flower’s ovary and seed development begins within the ovary walls. The ovary wall produces a fruit that surrounds the seed and is important in eventually carrying the seed away from the mother plant. Mature seeds vary in shape and size, many being hard and oval or round. You usually don’t get to observe palm seed formation with the species grown as indoor container palms, because even if they reach flowering size, opportunities for cross-pollination are rare. If you live where palms can grow to maturity outdoors, you’ll frequently see palms set seeds.

Seed Dispersal

In order to reproduce each kind of palm, the seeds need to find suitable germination spots where they won’t compete with the parent. Many palm species have fleshy ovary walls around the seeds that are tasty to wildlife or to humans. An example is Canary Island date palm (Phoenix canariensis), which grows in USDA zones 9 through 11. Orange, 1/2- to 1-inch-long fruits attract birds and other wildlife. The fleshy exterior gets digested, and the seed passes through the digestive tract unharmed, often far away from the parent. Coconuts (Cocos nucifera) are the ultimate example of long-range dispersal. The whole fruit floats on ocean currents, often for thousands of miles, to find a beach to grow on. Coconut is hardy in USDA zones 10b through 11.

Vegetative Reproduction

Some palms produce new shoots from near the base of the trunk that can root to become new plants. In the case of date palms, where many named cultivars exist that are valued for the quality of their fruit, this is the only way to faithfully reproduce each variety. Some palms widely grown as house plants, such as Lady palm (Rhapis excelsa) and Bamboo palm (Chamaedorea microspadix) produce harvestable offsets. Lady palm grows in USDA zones 8 through 11 and bamboo palm in USDA zones 8 through 11.

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Top 17 Small or Dwarf Palm Trees with Identification Guide (Pictures)

Small palm trees are an ideal addition to a garden landscape if you live in warm, sunny climates. However, some types of small palms are also cold hardy. Dwarf palms are classified as palm trees that are under 20 ft. (6 m) tall. Most small palm trees grow from a single trunk, but some have multiple trunks. All small or dwarf palm trees are identified by their feather-like or fan-shaped fronds (leaves).

The benefit of planting dwarf palms in your front or backyard is that they don’t take up much room. Their short stature means they won’t block out sunlight. Some of the smaller palm varieties also thrive in containers. Although small palms can reach up to 20 feet (6 m), many dwarf or pygmy palms are only 5 feet (1.5 m) when mature.

Of course, palm trees—large and small—are synonymous with tropical climates. But many varieties of small palms grow well in temperate climates.

In this article, you’ll find 17 of the most popular species of small palms. You’ll find short palms that grow in warm climates such as Florida, and other dwarf palms that are cold hardy and can withstand freezing temperatures.

Small Palm Tree Facts

The smallest type of outdoor palms like dwarf palmetto may only reach about 3 feet (1 m) tall. The tallest types of small palms such as spindle palm may reach 20 feet (6 m). While a 20-foot palm tree seems very tall, they are small in comparison to large types of palm trees that grow up to 100 feet (30 m).

Small palm trees are mostly grown in gardens for their aesthetic appeal in the landscape. Their compact size makes them perfect for planting in a front yard or if you want to turn a garden into a tropical landscape.

Most varieties of small palms have a small root ball, so you can plant them close to your house. Growing in warm conditions, many small palm trees flower and produce delicious sweet fruit.

Small Palm Tree Identification

Identifying species of small palm trees is done by the shape of their leaves (fronds) and type of trunk. Palm trees have either feather-like leaves (pinnate) or fan-like fronds (palmate). Some dwarf palms have slender, smooth trunks, and others have husks that give the trunk a spiky appearance.

There is a wide variety in the appearance of different species of palm. Some palms have slender trunks with a bushy crown of arching fronds. Other types of palms have thick, hairy trunks that are rough to touch. Some species of miniature palms have a clumping, bush-like growth with leaves that seem to grow out of the ground, without any visible trunk.

Types of Small Palm Trees

Here are the best dwarf or small palm trees to grow in your garden landscape:

Adonidia Palm (Adonidia merrillii)

Adonidia small Palm tree

The small Adonidia palm tree is an excellent plant for landscaping when space is limited

The Adonidia palm is a small palm tree with a slender, gray smooth trunk. Also called the Christmas palm, this popular Florida palm tree grows to around 6 ft. (2 m). Its elegant crown identifies the small palm with long arching fronds that spread up to 8 ft. (2.4 m) wide.

The common name of this small palm comes from the fruit that ripens in December, around Christmas time. One of the advantages of growing this palm in your yard is that it’s self-cleaning and low-maintenance. That means that Adonidia palm sheds its fronds faster than some other palm species, and that gives it a better look. The Christmas palm thrives in USDA zone 10.

Landscape uses: Plant the Adonidia palm as a specimen tree to create a focal point in a sunny, tropical garden. In a front or backyard, you can plant the palm trees close together as they have a small root ball—ideal for small gardens.

Dwarf Sugar Palm (Arenga engleri)

Dwarf Sugar Palm

The dwarf sugar palm adds a decorative touch to a small front yard or backyard

The dwarf sugar palm is a multi-stemmed small palm tree. Its clumping growth nature results in a bushy palm that resembles a large shrub. The palm grows to around 8 ft (2.4 m) tall and is identified by green pinnate leaves that seem to grow out the ground.

Many consider the dwarf sugar palm to be one of the best landscaping palms. The miniature fern-like palm bush thrives in USDA zones 10B and 11.

Landscape uses of this palm tree: Plant a dwarf sugar palm as a specimen tree in a tropical garden. Or, you can plant the low palm bushes together to create a tropical privacy screen.

Dwarf Palmetto (Sabal minor)

dwarf palmetto

Dwarf palmetto can be found in many habitats and is a cold hardy small palm

The dwarf palmetto is an excellent ground-cover palm for warm climates. The short palm usually has a growth habit of up to 3 ft. (1 m) high. The tropical palm has fan-shaped leaves that can grow up to 6 ft. (2 m) long. The hardy dwarf palm tree thrives in hot, humid conditions but is also cold tolerant to 0°F (-18°C).

Landscape uses of this palm tree: Dwarf palmetto palms are native to Florida. You can plant them together in a backyard to create a bushy privacy screen. Or, you can grow in containers on your patio to add a tropical ambiance.

Short Bottle Palm (Hyophorbe lagenicaulis)

Short Bottle Palm tree

The small ornamental Bottle palm tree has a thick short trunk

The bottle palm tree gets its name from its short fat trunk that looks like a pear-shaped bottle. You can identify this small palm tree by the way the stem swells as its base. Growing to only 10 ft. (3 m) tall, the miniature palm has four to six arching fronds that grow up to 12 ft. (3.5 m) long.

As the palm tree matures, its trunk becomes somewhat elongated and develops a husky exterior. Short bottle palm trees grow in Florida and southern California, where they get warm temperatures all year long. These small palms thrive in full sun.

Landscape uses of this palm tree: Bottle plants are an ideal small palm tree for compact residential gardens. In colder climates, grow bottle plants in containers and bring them indoors to protect from frost.

Pygmy Date Palm (Phoenix roebelenii)

Pygmy Date Palm

The pygmy date palm is a type of little palm tree with spiky trunk

The pygmy date palm is an ornamental dwarf tree with a short slender trunk, resembling a pineapple. Pygmy date palms are identified by the crowing mass of gracefully arching pinnate fronds. Usually, a single-stemmed palm, the tree can sometimes develop multiple trunks.

These miniature date palms thrive in full sun and grow in USDA zone 10 to 12. Flowers appear on stems that develop into clusters of small black fruits. These easy to grow dwarf palms grow up to 10 ft. (3 m) tall and have a spread of 6 to 8 ft. (1.8 – 2.4 m).

Landscape uses of this palm tree: Grow pygmy date palms to accent a Mediterranean garden landscape. The mini palm tree is also a suitable container plant to keep indoors during winter.

Pindo Palm (Butia capitata)

Pindo Palm

The small Pindo palm tree is a slow growing and cold-hardy and is excellent for compact outdoor residential area

The pindo palm is a slow-growing small tree with a single stout trunk. The attractive feature of the pindo palm is its spectacular crown of bluish-green fronds that arch and create a weeping effect. Its short fat stem has a rough appearance from the stubs of old leaves.

Also called the Jelly palm or Cocos capitata, the hardy palm tree it drought, heat, and salt tolerant.

Landscape uses of this palm tree: This attractive small palm tree is ideal for coastal landscapes, and it is cold hardy to 14°F (-10°C).

Saw Palmetto (Sereona)


Saw palmetto is a multi stem low palm with bushy appearance that can also grow in a container

Native to Florida, saw palmetto palm trees are a bushy type of palm with fanning leaves. Small saw palmetto palms grow to between 7 and 10 ft. (2 – 3 m) and tend to grow in clusters. Their silvery-green fan-shaped leaves help identify these palm trees.

The edges of its leaves are serrated, which is why this small palm tree is named the saw palmetto. Being a type of clustering palm, this palm tree has multiple stems growing from the ground.

Landscape uses of this palm tree: Plant the palmetto palms close together to create a tropical privacy screen or plant in a container for a dramatic look.

Windmill Palm (Trachycarpus fortunei)

Trachycarpus fortunei

The windmill palm tree is very hardy and slow growing small palm

Windmill palm trees have large fanned leaves and slender, short, hairy trunks. The slow-growing palm trees eventually grow to between 10 and 20 ft. (3 – 6 m). Their name comes from the windmill form that the splaying fronds create at the trunk’s crown. Windmill palms are hardy palms that grow in zones 8a – 11.

Windmill palm trees look very decorative planted in a front or backyard. The palms are stunning specimen plants, creating a focal point in the landscape. Or you can plant them in containers for a patio or deck area. It’s best to plant small windmill palm trees in a protected part of the garden in the shade or partial shade.

Sago Palm (Cycas revoluta)

Sago Palm

Sago palm is very slow-growing and can reach 20 ft. (6 m) after many decades

The sago palm is not a true type of palm tree. Instead, it’s a type of cycad plant with palm-like growth and appearance. Sago palms have a short, shaggy trunk that produces long green feather-like fronds, growing in a rosette pattern.

The cold-hardy palm-like tree can tolerate temperatures as low as 14°F (10°C). Its tolerance for cold temperatures makes the sago palm a popular small landscape palm-like tree.

Needle palm (Rhapidophyllum hystrix)

Rhapidophyllum hystrix

Needle palm is cold hardy and can grow as a miniature patio palm

The needle palm tree is a shrub-like palm with several short trunks growing from the ground. Identify the needle palm by its fan leaves that have long, needle-like spines. Also, the needle palm is one of the most cold-tolerant palms, surviving temperatures as low as 5°F (-15°C).

Needle palms are suitable plants for privacy or security screens. The bushy palms also grow well in containers as an ornamental low-growing tree or specimen plant. Needle plants grow to between 3 and 6 ft. (1 – 1.8 m) tall with a spread of up to 8 ft. (2.4 m).

Parlor Palm (Chamaedorea elegans)

parlor palm

The parlor palm can be grown indoors as a houseplant or outdoors in small spaces

Parlor palm trees grow from a single thin, slender trunk that divides into many thick branches. Parlor palms grow to between 6 and 10 ft. (2 – 3 m) tall. The parlor palm tree has pinnate foliage with long broad leaves on the stems. The palm tree grows outside in tropical conditions in USDA zones 10 and 10b.

Although parlor palms are one of the most popular types of indoor palms, they can grow in your garden under the right conditions. Plant in dappled sunlight and keep moisture levels high. Or, you can grow the palms on a patio in containers.

Spindle Palm (Hyophorbe verschaffeltii)

Hyophorbe verschaffeltii

Young Spindle palm (left) and mature tree (right)

Spindle palm trees have short slender gray trunks with a crown of curved, green pinnate leaves. These small flowering palm trees reach up to 20 ft. (6 m) tall. Spindle palms are similar to bottle palms—the difference is that the spindle palm’s trunk bulges in the center, not at the base.

Grow spindle palm trees as a specimen palm in your front or backyard. Also, spindle palms grow well in containers if you live in temperate climates.

Coontie Palm (Zamia floridana)

Zamia floridana

The low growing coontie palm looks like a type of bushy palm with rounded appearance

Coontie palms are a type of low-growing palm tree native to Florida. The Coontie palm is not a true type of palm tree but a cycad plant with palm-like growth and appearance. Coontie palms are more like bushes rather than actual palm trees. Multi-branched clusters of palm-like fronds grow from the ground. This bushy palm like tree grows up to 3 ft. (1 m) tall and has a rounded growth habit with fern-like foliage.

Coontie palms are an excellent palm-like plant for ground cover, edging, or adding greenery to shady spots.

Triangle Palm Tree (Dypsis decaryi)

Neodypsis decaryi

The small triangle palm has pinnate fronds that fan out from a single trunk

Triangle palm trees have a short trunk and long green palmate leaves growing in a triangle shape. This spectacular tree can have leaves up to 8 ft. (2.4 m) long that fan out from the thick central trunk. The triangle palm is a flowering type of palm that can bloom all year long under the right conditions.

Plant this specimen palm tree for its ornamental value or as an accent plant. The triangle palm tree is low-maintenance and survives heat and drought well.

Mediterranean Dwarf Palm or European Fan Palm (Chamaerops humilis)

Chamaerops humilis

The Mediterranean dwarf palm (European fan palm) has several trunks and is small enough to suit many gardens

The Mediterranean dwarf palm is a low-growing clumping palm with three or more trunks at its base. This bushy multi-trunk palm tree can grow to between 10 and 20 ft. (2 – 6 m) tall. A compact crown of rounded fan leaflets graces the tops of the small trunks.

Mediterranean dwarf palms are popular as landscape palms in countries that enjoy hot summers. However, the palm is also cold hardy, withstanding temperatures as cold as 10°F (-12°C). Planting in containers can help to control the palm’s height if you want to add a Mediterranean touch to your patio or decking area.

Florida Thatch Palm (Thrinax radiata)

Thrinax radiata

Florida Thatch Palm is commonly grown as a landscaping tree in residential areas

The Florida thatch palm has a single slender stem with a canopy of palmate leaves at its top. Native to Florida, this small palm grows up to 20 ft. (6 m) high. When growing in full sun, the fanning crown of palm leaves has a compact growth in a globular shape. Florida thatch palms are popular residential landscape palms in Florida and other states in the southern U.S.

Florida thatch palm trees are cold-sensitive plants and only grow in USDA zone 10 and above. The upright, slender palm is ideal for gardens in coastal areas or where there is high wind.

Cat Palm (Chamaedorea cataractarum)

cascade palm

The multi-stemmed small cat palm is a great choice for small outdoor area

The cat palm tree is a clumping bushy palm plant with multiple stems growing from the ground. Growing up to 6.5 ft (2 m) in gardens, the short cat palm tree has glossy dark green leaves forming dense palm foliage. Cat palms require bright sunlight to thrive and a moist growing medium.

Due to the palm’s bushy growth habit and short stature, you can grow cat palms as a privacy hedge in tropical gardens. Cat palms also grow well in containers to add tropical greenery to a patio or decking area. These multi-stemmed palms are also popular indoor palm trees if you can grow them in bright light.

Discover many other types of palm trees to plant in your garden.

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How Close Can You Group Palm Trees? | Home Guides

Planning is critical to the success of your tropical garden. Although palm trees may be planted closely together without regard for nutrition and water competition, a garden that has been densely packed may take on a cluttered look, and is likely to force some sun-loving palms to compete for sunshine. A well-planned tropical garden looks more attractive and creates an environment where all its plants may thrive.

Eventual Size

Fully grown, many palm trees will reach a predictable height and width. Plant these trees with enough room to grow fully into their adult state. Roots from these trees will extend as far as 50 feet from the tree to find water, so palms do not often encounter problems competing for water and nutrients. As a general rule, do not plant large palm trees with an anticipated canopy diameter so closely together that leaves from their canopies will rub together.

Access to Sun

Like other trees, different species of palms have different sun requirements based on their typical location in nature. Larger, taller trees are meant to form the canopy, while smaller trees are understory plants. Research the sun requirements and the height of your chosen palm before planting it. Understory plants will be short to medium sized (usually shorter than 15 feet, some as short as 2 to 3 feet) and will accept or thrive in shade. Canopy palms will grow to be as tall as 100 feet, and will require full sun. As you plan your landscape, plant canopy palms first and allow them to grow for several seasons before planting understory palms in the shade beneath them.

The Aesthetics of Grouping Palms

In addition to the practical considerations of grouping understory and canopy palms in a single landscape, clusters of palms often look better when you place taller and shorter plants close together. Grouping short palms with taller palms creates a visual dynamic that leads the eye around the gardens while at the same time adding a sense of fullness to the landscape.

Other Considerations

Palm trees are best placed in a location away from homes and sidewalks. Although the roots are not likely to lift a sidewalk or damage a foundation, it’s unwise to plant a large palm near a structure. The canopy of the palm must have room to clear the eaves of the roof, and root damage is still a consideration if planted too close to a structure.

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16 Popular Types of Palm Trees with Pictures

Palm trees are exotic plants native to warm and temperate climates, but since some varieties are cold hardy or suitable for use as houseplants, even those of us living in cooler regions are able to make a home for these stunning trees.

With over 2,600 species of palm in existence, choosing the right palm for you might seem challenging. We’ve narrowed down the most popular types of palms into manageable categories to help you discover the best type of palm for your home or garden.

Indoor Palms

Palm trees are accustomed to growing in conditions similar to those found in our homes; consistently warm temperatures, average humidity, and bright to medium light. This makes palms an ideal houseplant, though it is obviously an enormous palm tree in the middle of your living room isn’t going to be practical! For this reason, slow-growing palms that require little maintenance are most suited for use in homes. These include the following.

Areca Palm (Dypsis Lutescens)

Areca Palm (Dypsis Lutescens)

Areca Palm Care Guide

This is one of the most popular palms for indoor use due to its easy-going nature, which requires little in the way of care and its ability to withstand low light. It is native to Madagascar and also goes by the common name of butterfly palm. It can grow to around 8 feet in height, though typically doesn’t get much bigger than 5 or 6 feet tall when grown indoors.

The feathered fronds of the areca palm give it an attractive tropical look, though it is technically classified as a bamboo palm because its stalks resemble bamboo when mature. It can be difficult to tell the areca palm apart from the kentia palm as they are very similar in appearance, though typically, kentia palms have slightly wider leaves. Areca palms also tend to be less expensive to buy than kentia palms as they grow more quickly when young and therefore take less work for growers to produce and less time for them to reach a saleable size.

Keep your areca palm happy by setting it in bright but indirect sunlight and maintaining moist but not wet soil. Areca palms grown in direct light will scorch easily, while those grown in very low light will have slow growth. However, if you have a shaded corner of your home that needs brightening up, an areca palm is a good choice as long as you don’t mind very slow growth.

Areca palms cope well with low light, but it does inhibit their ability to grow. If kept in low light, ensure you water much less regularly than if grown in bright indirect light. This plant likes to be watered moderately but can withstand some short periods of drought.

Kentia Palm (Howea Forsteriana)

Howea Forsteriana

This palm has wide leaflets that can grow up to a foot in length, demanding space when kept as a houseplant. Fortunately, this plant is very slow-growing, typically only producing one new frons each year. This means that while the plant may be quite wide, it will take many years for it to reach great heights. Its slow-growing nature also means it will not need to be frequently re-potted, making it extra easy to care for.

The kentia palm grows natively in Australia and is also commonly known as paradise palm. It is a feathered type of palm, with fronds that have a gentle arch on them. Kentia palms grow well in bright, indirect light, but they also tolerate low light very well. While they won’t exhibit much new growth in low light conditions, they will survive and maintain a healthy appearance.

Water this plant only once the top layer of its soil has dried out and mist it every few days with water to increase humidity and prevent its leaf tips from turning brown.

Parlor Palm (Chamaedorea Elegans)

Chamaedorea Elegans

This palm is native to Mexico and is the most common type of palm to be used as a houseplant. It grows exceptionally slowly, reaching maximum heights of between 2 and 4 feet, making it a suitable size for growth in almost any home. With delicately arching feathered fronds in a mid-bright green color, it’s not hard to see why this palm is so popular.

Aside from being a compact size and having a pleasing aesthetic, this palm is also super easy to care for. It enjoys a variety of lighting conditions, from bright, indirect light to shade. It also likes to be watered fairly infrequently as it is easily susceptible to root rot. Overwatering will quickly kill the plant, so only water once the top few inches of soil are dry and always be sure to plant it in well-draining soil.

As a very slow-growing plant, you may be waiting for a good few years for it to reach its mature height, but as long as you are a patient grower, then this has its benefits. The plant won’t quickly outgrow its home on your shelf or table, and it will not need to be re-potted each year. In fact, the parlor palm likes to be rootbound, so only repot the plant when absolutely necessary.

Sentry Palm (Howea Belmoreana)

Howea Belmoreana

The sentry palm is very similar in looks to the kentia palm, though there are a few distinguishing features. The leaflets are wide but not as wide as that of the kentia, and its fronds are more arched. The leaves also have a habit to curl slightly, which is why it also goes by the name of curly palm.

This palm grows even more slowly than the kentia, but it can reach extraordinary heights when mature of around 10 feet, which is very tall for an indoor plant (though it grows much taller when grown outdoors). Its stature makes it a great focal point in hotel lobbies or in shopping malls. To grow this plant indoors, allow it bright, indirect light and mist it regularly.

Pygmy Date Palm (Phoenix Roebelenii)

Pygmy Date Palm

This palm is native to Southeast Asia, growing up to 10 feet outdoors but typically between 4 and 6 feet when grown as a houseplant. With a chunky wide trunk and narrow leaflets, the pygmy date palm has an interesting look. It is categorized as a feathered type of palm and grows very slowly.

This plant likes to be kept in a mixture of shade and bright, indirect light and for its soil to be kept consistently moist. Water the pygmy date palm once the top of the soil begins to dry out and always be careful not to overwater. As a slow-growing plant, do not re-pot this palm frequently. It is sensitive to having its roots disturbed, and prefers to be kept slightly rootbound.

Cold Hardy Palms

If you want to create a tropical look in your garden, then palm trees are absolutely essential. However, it isn’t common to see palm trees in cooler climates, and this might be because many people don’t realize that several cold-hardy varieties of palms exist, assuming instead that they only grow in warm climates.

While it’s true that palm trees do hail from warm regions, there are several varieties that adapt well to low temperatures and make ideal garden plants or trees in unlikely areas. These include the following.

Chinese Fan Palm (Livistona Chinensis)

Livistona Chinensis

Chinese fan palms, also known as fountain palms, hail from China and Japan. They have become popular across the world thanks to their ability to adapt to a wide range of conditions. They perform well in both bright light and shade, they are drought-tolerant, and frost hardy. They are so easy to grow that in some regions have even become invasive, such as in the US state of Florida.

Chinese fan palms can grow up to 40 feet tall, but this is uncommon outside of their native habitat. They are easy to recognize, with their wide leaves, which grow in a circular shape in the style of an open fan in deep green to blue-green hues. This attractive tree is so hardy and easy to grow that it is recommended for beginner gardeners in climates where temperatures do not drop below 20 ºF.

Needle Palmetto (Rhapidophyllum Hystrix)

Needle Palmetto

The needle palmetto, also known as the needle palm, is a perfect choice of palm in cold regions as it is one of the hardiest varieties of palm in existence. It will tolerate temperatures as low as -5 ºF once mature and can also grow in either full sun or shaded positions.

The tree does require a fairly large amount of space, however, growing up to 10 feet in height with a similar-sized spread. Its needle-like leaves are sharp and pointed, growing in clumps from the ground upwards, so it may not be the best choice of plant for your home garden if there are small children running around. The needle palm grows at a moderate rate and can tolerate frequent watering. However, it does not tolerate salt spray, so it should be avoided if you live close to the ocean.

Pindo Palm (Butia Capitata)

Pindo Palm

The pindo palm, also known as the jelly palm, is the hardiest palm of the feathered type. It can grow to heights of 30 feet. though more typically grows to between 15 and 20 feet tall. The foliage of this tree grows in a beautiful blue-green shade, which is at its most vibrant when positioned in full sun.

With a large chunky pale brown trunk and large spiked fronds, this tree is a real showstopper. The pindo palm is tolerant of low temperatures and grows well in cool regions. It is happy in temperatures as low as 5 ºF, but any lower than this and the tree will start to show signs of ill health.

Palmetto Tree (Sabal Palmetto)

Sabal Palmetto

This palm is the state tree of Florida and South Carolina and is grown in abundance along the coastlines of both of these states, as well as in Georgia. The palmetto tree grows to heights of 30 feet and is the very essence of tropical-looking trees, making it a popular choice for home gardens. It goes by several common names, including Carolina palmetto, cabbage palmetto, and common palmetto.

This is an incredibly sturdy tree and stands up well against the forces of hurricanes and tropical storms. Although the palmetto tree is happy in warm climates, it can also tolerate low temperatures. You can grow this tree, providing your climate doesn’t drop to lower than 5 ºF.

Saw Palmetto (Serenoa Repens)

Serenoa Repens

The saw palmetto is low growing, rarely reaching heights of more than 5 to 10 feet. It grows along the ground, usually without a trunk, producing stiff foliage that spans out in a fan shape. It works well when grown underneath the canopy of taller trees and can also be used as a tropical looking ground cover.

The saw palmetto is a common palm found in the southern states of the US, but due to its cold hardiness, it is also suitable for use in cooler climates. The plant can tolerate temperatures as low as 0 ºF.

Container Palms

Growing a palm tree in a container works well for a number of reasons. Container grown palms will have limited growth in terms of height, which is preferable if you have a smaller garden or don’t want the tree to take over a large space. Container palms can also be grown in almost any climate, as those which are not cold hardy can simply be moved indoors during the winter. Palms which grow well in containers include the following.

Fishtail Palm (Caryota Mitis)

Caryota Mitis

This palm belongs to the feathered types of palm, though you wouldn’t know that from looking at it. The foliage of this tree is very unusual for a palm tree, and you’d be forgiven for thinking it wasn’t a true palm at all. The unique leaves are shaped like fishtails, appearing in a bi-pinnate pattern.

The tree is native to India, Asia, and the South Pacific, though it now commonly grows in Florida and the Caribbean. In fact, the fishtail palm is now considered an invasive species in Florida, where it loves the warm climate and rich soil.

The tree works well in a container, especially when young at a more manageable size. It is not cold hardy and only tolerates temperatures as low as 32 °F. If you live outside of USDA hardy zones 10 and 11, you will need to bring this tree indoors during the winter to protect it from the cold.

The fishtail palm can grow to heights of 15 to 20 feet, so once mature, it will be too big and heavy to transport, making it suitable only for growing in climates where it does not need to be portable.

Bottle Palm (Hyophorbe Lagenicaulis)

Hyophorabe Lagenicaulis

The bottle palm tree has a unique look and is so-called due to its trunk, which bulges out at the bottom to give the shape of a bottle. This tree is ideal for growing in a container as it maintains a fairly compact size, typically not exceeding between 12 feet in height when mature. The tree is incredibly slow-growing, so if you grow the bottle palm from a young specimen, then you will be able to keep it in the same pot for quite some time.

When young, the trunk takes on a different appearance, with the bottle shape only taking form as the tree matures. The older the tree gets, the more exaggerated the bottle shape of the trunk will become.

The foliage of this tree takes the form of leaflets growing on gently arching fronds. The tree typically has no more than 6 fronds at any one time. This tree is suitable for growing outdoors in USDA hardiness zones 10 and 11, with the ability to tolerate temperatures to 34 °F. If kept in cooler climates than this, it will need to be moved indoors during winter.

Red Feather Palm (Chambeyronia Macrocarpa)

Chambeyronia Macrocarpa
Chambeyronia Macrocarpa – Credit to David J. Stang

This brightly colored palm hails from New Caledonia in the South Pacific, where it grows in the rainforest. It is also known as the red leaf palm and the flame thrower palm, as a nod to the new leaves the tree produces, which are red when they first appear.

A new leaf can be anywhere from dark maroon to vibrant red but will transform into bright green within about two weeks. The leaves can be very big on mature trees and can measure up to 12 feet long. The leaflets can measure between 3 and 4 feet each, making this a very broad tree when fully grown.

You can expect a mature red feather palm to reach heights in excess of 20 feet, but as a slow grower, this can take a while to achieve. It is ideally suited for life in a container, grown indoors as a houseplant, or outside on a terrace or patio. It is not cold hardy and should only be kept outdoors all year round in USDA growing zones 10 and 11. Otherwise, it should be brought inside during the colder months.

Lipstick Palm (Cyrtostachys Renda)

Cyrtostachys Renda

The lipstick palm gets its name from the red coloring of its crown shaft, which is the uppermost part of the trunk. It is also commonly known as sealing wax palm, as the red is said to be the same shade as the wax used to seal envelopes in a bygone era.

This tree grows to between 25 and 30 feet tall, with leaves spanning up to 5 feet. In its native habitat, it can grow to over 50 feet in height, but this is unlikely in home landscapes. The feathered leaves of this palm appear in different shades, with pale green foliage lower down and deeper darker green leaves on the top of the tree.

The interesting thing about this tree is that it is incredibly thirsty, and unlike most plants and trees, it will thrive in soggy soil. It grows well in containers that are partially submerged in water, such as those in a water feature or in a pond, as this provides the ideal level of moisture for the tree.

You should never allow the soil of your lipstick palm to dry out. To help with this, grow the tree in rich soil, which is good at retaining moisture. When young, the tree will be best positioned in partial shade, but it can adapt to full sun when mature.

Windmill Palm (Trachycarpus Wagnerianus)

Trachycarpus Wagnerianus

The windmill palm is native to China and is medium in size, typically growing to 25 feet tall with leaves measuring 3 feet across. Its trunk will usually measure 8 inches around on a mature tree, though it tends to appear much thicker thanks to the loose fibers surrounding it.

This tree is tolerant of a wide variety of growing conditions. Once mature, it is drought-tolerant but can also handle soil that is too moist. It is also salt-tolerant and can grow in both full sun or partial shade.

Once mature, the tree is surprisingly cold hardy. It can withstand snow and temperatures as low as 0 °F. Younger windmill palms will need some protection from low temperatures, so they are ideal for growing in containers when young is that they can be moved indoors for winter, then planted outside in the ground once they are old enough to cope with freezing temperatures.

As evidence of their ability to grow in cold climates, the windmill palm has been spotted growing in Russia, England, western Canada, and even Alaska. It is an ideal way to add a tropical touch to your garden, even in colder climates.

Diamond Palm (Johannesteijsmannia Altifrons)

Johannesteijsmannia Altifrons

This striking palm has some of the largest leaves of any palm in existence. They appear to be growing directly out of the ground, although in actual fact, the tree does have a trunk, but it is subterranean, and therefore sits entirely below ground level.

The leaves themselves are shaped like splayed our fans, similar to those made by children out of folded paper. The concertina pattern is reminiscent of an open accordion, corrugated metal, or a pleated skirt.

These plants are native to rainforests in Thailand and Malaysia, growing in the shade beneath larger trees. They are therefore best grown in shade, appreciate heavy humidity, and are thirsty drinkers.


Royal Horticultural Society

Cold Hardy Palms & Bamboo


Better Homes and Gardens

Clemson University Cooperative Extension

Mississippi State University Extension

16 Popular Types of Palm Trees with Pictures

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Palm Trees – Accueil | Facebook

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