How To Choose The Right Palm Tree For Your Garden

Tall palm trees. Photo by Flickr.

Nothing else gives a landscape that “tropical” feel quite like palm trees. Florida Palm Trees like warm climate and a lot of sunshine. There are a lot of challenges to maintain a healthy and prosperous palm tree. It’s important for the homeowner to understand all these challenges and obtain the tools necessary to overcome them.

When choosing a palm tree for your property, consider five factors: Soil, size, temperature, sunlight, and water.

Right Soil for Palm Trees

Soil is the most important factor for healthy palm tree growth. When buying a palm tree, ask how much nutrients and water the palm tree needs to receive. This will determine what type of soil this palm tree will grow in the best. Fertilization is another important component of palm tree care.

Different types of Palm Trees require specially formulated fertilizers that answer to very specific conditions. If your soil is not very nutrient, it can be strengthened with organic or inorganic fertilizers.

When you buy a fertilizer, make sure it is high quality and has slow release formula. Avoid buying cheap fertilizers because they will wash away after few rains.

One of the products that I personally love is Jobe’s Palm Fertilizer. This product is great, because it promotes root development and the long-term vitality of all types of palms. It won’t burn the roots and has all the nutrients your palm trees need. More info about Palm Tree Fertilization.

Palm Tree Size

Size is very important. That little palm tree, that you bought, can get big very quickly. Palm trees can reach a height of 50 feet or more. It can overpower the rest of your property and interfere with the power lines if planted nearby.

Best Temperature for Palm Trees

Palm trees are usually found in the tropics, coastal regions, deserts and generally warmer areas. Tropical zones are distinguished as areas that experience high temperatures, humidity and rainfall. Tropical conditions are favorable for a larger number of palm tree types.

Since most of the palm trees like warm weather, even short period of frost can weaken a palm tree. Cold weather may leave it vulnerable to insects and disease or it can result in immediate death or sustained performance. I just posted a new article on How to Care for a Cold-Damaged Palm Tree.

A few palm species, such as the Queen palm or the Canary Island date palm, are considered “cold hardy”. Most Cold Hardy Palms can sustain a temperatures no lower than 20 degrees. This means, that the areas that can grow palms are still quite limited.

There are few very cold hardy palms, like Windmill and Needle Palms, that can tolerate temperatures lower than 10F. If you leave in a cold climate and still want to have a beautiful palm tree in your garden, check your climate zone first, you might be able to find cold-hardy palm tree that will grow in your area.


It’s important how much sunlight your palm tree will be getting during daytime. You need to know, that not all varieties of palm tree are equally sun tolerant. You’ll be surprised, but some varieties prefer shady conditions to full sun exposure for the whole day.

Watering Palm Trees

We always associate palm trees with desert conditions, but in the wild, they are only found near abundant and continuous supplies of water. If you are thinking about planting a palm tree on your property, make sure your palm is  receiving enough water. Be prepared to water a newly transplanted palm tree frequently while it is adapting to the new environment.

As you see, the needs of palm trees vary by species. You must consider the needs of the different types before you plant it to be sure you can meet its requirements and allow it to grow to its full potential.

I’ve just have found a very good book for beginners called All About Palms. It has 200 different species with a lot of beautiful photos, step-by-step planting, growing and care instructions for palm trees. This book is perfect for an average homeowner who loves palm trees.

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1 thought on “How To Choose The Right Palm Tree For Your Garden”

  1. This looks like the palm tree I’m looking for but smaller. Where can I purchase it and what’s the price?What is this called?

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