The Fishtail Palm Tree, scientific name Caryota mitis, is native to Southeast Asia and India. This palm is cold hardy down to 15F and can be grown in states like Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, Oregon and Texas.
Fishtail Palm Tree Profile
Scientific name: Caryota mitis
Common names: The Fishtail Palm is also known as Clustered Fishtail Palm.
Origin: It is native to Southeast Asia and India.
Appearance: The Fishtail Palm has multi stem grey trunk. Each stem has 8 to 10 bipinnate leaves that can be up to 9ft long. The leaflets shaped like fishtails therefore the palm’s common name is Fishtail Palm.
Flowers/Fruits: It produces beautiful creamy flowers that grow among the leaves. Flower stems about 12 inches are followed by tropical looking green fruits that turn dark red as they ripe. Fruit has round shape and is about ¾ inch diameter.
Growth Rate: Moderate. This moderately fast growing palm can get up to 10 – 20 ft tall and 5-10 ft wide.
Outdoor/Indoor Use: Both.
Cold Tolerance: The Fishtail Palm can tolerate cold temperatures down to 15F. It is great for growing in the USDA zones 8b (15 to 20 F) to 11 (above 40 F).
There is a great book, written by David A. Francko that I really like, it’s called “Palms Won’t Grow Here and Other Myths: Warm-Climate Plants for Cooler Areas”. It goes into the details on how you can grow cold hardy palms in zones 7, 6 and even 5. This is the perfect foundation book for the gardener who would like to see a banana next to his cherry tree and a palm between his maples. It got great reviews and 5 out of 5 stars rating on Amazon.
Light Req: Shade to partial shade.
Water Req: It requires a lot of water with good drainage.
Maintenance: Easy. To prevent nutritional deficiency, apply good quality palm fertilizer that has continuous release formula twice a year during growing season.
Propagation: The Fishtail Palm propagated by seed and can also be propagated by division of clumps and separation of suckers from the parent clump. It takes around 4-6 months to germinate.