When it comes to creating an outdoor tropical oasis, many homeowners are often looking for the fast-growing palm trees. Aside from saving money, they also save a lot time by getting that lush overhead canopy much faster.
Larger palms are great at creating shade by the pool area or for providing sun and wind protection to more delicate plants underneath. While some palm species are known to grow faster than others, growing conditions is the key.
If you buy a fast growing palm and plant it in South Carolina, it will grow much slower than the same palm in Florida. The more tropical the climate is, the faster your palm tree will grow.
Another important factor is fertilizer. You can dramatically speed up growing process by giving your palm tree the right nutrients. Check out my detailed post on what fertilizer to use and when to fertilize your palms.
There are many fast growing palm species in the world but they might be rare and hard to find. In this post, I wanted to give you a list of most popular that are easy to find at your local nursery or online.
1. Acai Palm Tree (Euterpe oleracea)
Acai Palm Tree, scientific name Euterpe oleracea, is native to Brazil and north coast of South America. This palm is known for its tasty fruits that are used to make jams, energy drinks, and weight loss products.
It doesn’t tolerate drought very well so make sure to provide it with plenty of water. This graceful palm is very fast growing. In the right environment, it can get up to 40 – 50 ft tall and 30 – 40 ft wide with a growth rate of about 1.5 ft per year.
2. California Fan Palm Tree (Washingtonia filifera)
California Fan Palm Tree, scientific name Washingtonia filifera, native to to North America. This durable palm grows best in well-drained acidic or alkaline soil. It can withstand cold temperatures down to 10F and is also drought tolerant.
While it’s not as fast growing as Mexican fan palm, it’s still considered a moderately fast grower, particularly in comparison to the growth rate of other popular palms.
It can get up to 50 ft tall and 15 ft wide with a growth rate at about 1 ft per year.
3. Carpentaria Palm Tree (Carpentaria acuminata)
Carpentaria Palm Tree, scientific name Carpentaria acuminata, is very popular fast-growing palm that is native to the rain forest areas of Australia.
It prefers wet conditions although can tolerate some drought. Once mature, it can tolerate cold down to 35F for a short period of time, but is not very salt tolerant.
It likes warm tropical climate and will grow much faster in South Florida than in Southern California. It can grow up to 30 – 40 ft tall and 10 – 15 ft wide with a growth rate of 3 feet per year.
4. Foxtail Palm Tree (Wodyetia bifurcata)
Foxtail Palm Tree, scientific name Wodyetia bifurcata, is another fast-growing palm that has gain its popularity due to most spectacular foliage. Native to Australia, it has only been discovered in early 1980s.
This durable palm can adapts to wide range of soil conditions like alkaline limestone soils and rocky sands.
Regular water and fertilizer are essential for its strong growth as well as full sun and well-drained acidic soil. It can grow up to 20 – 30 ft tall and 15 ft wide with growing rate of about 1.5 ft per year.
5. King Palm Tree (Archontophoenix cunninghamiana)
King Palm Tree, scientific name Archontophoenix cunninghamiana, is one of the most popular palms in tropical and subtropical climates. It does best in acidic soil with full sun and regular water. If planted in alkaline soil, it will not thrive.
This Australia native can quickly grow up to 40-50 ft tall and 10-15 ft wide with growth rate of 2 feet per year. In the right conditions, you can get 25 feet palm tree in 10 years.
Although this palm looks great as a stand-alone, it is attractive underplanted with low groundcover.
6. Majesty Palm Tree (Ravenea rivularis)
Majesty Palm, scientific name Ravenea rivularis, is native to Madagascar. Although this is an ideal palm to plant near water features, it does not tolerate salt.
While it can adapt to wide range or soils and can equally grow well in alkaline or acidic soil, it prefers wet conditions and doesn’t do well during drought. When mature enough, it can tolerate cold down to 25F for a short period of time.
If provided with proper nutrients, this fast growing palm can get up to 40-50 ft tall and 5-10ft wide with a growth rate of 1.5 ft per year.
7. Mexican Fan Palm Tree (Washingtonia robusta)
Mexican Fan Palm, scientific name Washingtonia robusta, is native to desert regions of Mexico. This popular palm is widely used by landscapers because of its durability and fast growth rate.
Although not typically thought of as a canopy-forming palm, it can tolerate cold and drought very well.
Well-drained acidic or alkaline soil suits this palm the best. It can quickly get up to 70 – 100 ft tall and 5-10ft but is usually around 40ft. Regular water and fertilizer can increase its growth rate up to 2ft per year.
8. Queen Palm Tree (Syagrus romanzoffiana)
Queen Palm, scientific name Syagrus romanzoffiana, is native to the South American woodlands of Brazil and Argentina. This fast growing palm is one of the most popular palms in US.
It grows best in acidic or neutral soil that drains well. While it has only slight tolerance to drought and salt, it can tolerate cold fairly well when mature enough.
It can get up to 30 – 40 ft and 5 -10 ft wide with a growth rate of about 2.7 feet per year. If you buy a 15 gallon plant, you can get a 25 ft tree in about 7-8 years.
9. Royal Palm Tree (Roystonea oleracea)
Royal Palm Tree, scientific name Roystonea oleracea, is native to Mexico, Central America, Caribbean, and southern Florida. This fast growing palm can get up to 60 – 70ft tall and 5 -10 ft wide if grown warm tropical climate. It does not tolerate cold freezing weather very well.
While diseases are rare, potassium deficiency might be a problem that usually happens if the palm is growing in sandy soils.
With the right care and maintenance, it can grow from a 15-gallon plant to about 25 feet in just 10 years at a growth rate of about 2ft per year.
10. Windmill Palm (Trachycarpus fortunei)
Windmill Palm Tree, scientific name Trachycarpus fortunei, is native to central and eastern China. It can adapt to acidic or alkaline soil as long as it well-draining. Although it can tolerate short dry periods, it will thrive when watered and fed regularly.
Its super tolerance to cold temperatures made it popular in cooler areas like Alaska, Alabama, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Tennessee and more.
It can get up to 25 ft in height and 5 ft wide with a growth rate at around 1.2 ft per year.
Palm Tree Comparison By Growth Rate
As you can see from the table below, out of the most popular palms on today’s market Carpentaria and Queen palms are the fastest growing species. Of course, the growth rate of the individual plant greatly depends on the conditions it’s growing in.
|Palm Tree||Max. Height||Growth Rate|
|Carpentaria Palm||30 – 40 feet||3 feet per year|
|Queen Palm||30 – 40 feet||2.7 feet per year|
|King Palm||40 – 50 feet||2 feet per year|
|Mexican Fan Palm||70 – 100 feet||2 feet per year|
|Royal Palm||60 – 70 feet||2 feet per year|
|Acai Palm||40 – 50 feet||1.5 feet per year|
|Foxtail Palm||20 – 30 feet||1. 5 feet per year|
|Majesty Palm||40 – 50 feet||1.5 feet per year|
|Windmill Palm||20 – 30 feet||1.2 feet per year|
|California Fan Palm||40 – 50 feet||1 feet per year|
What is The Fastest Growing Palm Tree
The fastest growing palm is Caryota urens, which can get from 15 gallon plant to 40 feet in just 5 years. It’s growing rate is about 7 feet per year. Caryota urens can get to about 40-50 ft with10-20ft spread.
Of course, this kind of growing speed can be achieved only by regular water and fertilization. Caryota urens is also known as Toddy Fishtail Palm, Giant fishtail palm, Cold Hardy Fishtail, Toddy Palm and Kitul Palm.
One interesting fact about Caryota urens is that it will die after the tree has flowers which takes about 20 to 25 years.
How To Make Palm Tree Grow Faster
In general, to make the palm tree grow faster you have to plant it in the right soil and provide it with enough water and nutrients. Keep in mind, palms grow best in the environment that is similar to their natural habitat.
- Choosing the right palm species for your area will make palm care much easier. As a rule of thumb, the more tropical the growing environment, the faster palm trees will grow.
So, if you live in Southern California, don’t buy Coconut palm, but get Mexican palm instead. It does much better in low humidity and will grow much faster.
- Right soil is another important factor in palm tree establishment. If palm likes acidic soil, don’t plant it in alkaline. It’s not going to flourish. Amend soil if needed! I have a detailed post on what soil to use for palm trees.
- Great drainage is a must no matter what time of palm you are getting. All palms like well-drained soil, therefore test the drainage before planting the palm.
If the drainage is poor, improve it by adding sand, rocks to the bottom of the hole, or installing pipes to take water away.
- Minimizing transplant shock will help your palm to adjust to the new location much faster. Acclimate your plant before planting it and try to disturb roots as little as possible. I have many tips for minimizing transplant shock in this post.
- Sun protection. Even if the palm species likes full sun, young plants should be protected from full sun until they are mature enough.
- Regular watering schedule is one of the most important parts of the palm tree care. While some palms are very drought tolerant, others can tolerate it only for a short period of time. If you want to know how much and when to water your palms, check out this post.
- Regular feeding schedule is another key factors in growth rate of the palm. Provide your palm with good quality slow-release fertilizer three or four times a year. Make sure your palm is getting all the necessary nutrients. Here is my list of best fertilizers and important nutrients for palms.
- Cold protection might not be needed if you live in tropical climate, but can still be used for young plants that have not been established at the new location and can’t tolerate low temperatures that well. There are many ways of protecting your palm from cold that I describe in this post.
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