There are thousands of species of Palm Trees. They are considered to be tropical in nature, but most people are not aware that cold hardy palms may be planted outside without any visible damage from temperatures as cold as -20°F. You can see this as far north as Canada and Switzerland
Palm trees, like banana trees, give your home and garden that tropical look, usually found around pools and family recreational areas. Once established, Palm Trees are relatively maintenance free and are not significantly bothered by insects and disease.
There are two basic types of Palm trees and we will tell you about the Northern and Southern Palms.
Cold Palms (Northern Palms)
Afghanistan palm – Pakistan Palm and Mazari Palm – This palm may be the coldest hardy in the world, according to authoritative doctors on the subject of Palms. Their fruit is also edible and very popular to eat in that impoverished nation. The tree grows very slowly and thrives in desert conditions.
Dwarf Palmetto or Sabal minor – Blue Palmetto is widely distributed throughout the Southeastern United States and grows about 6ft. tall in shaded locations. This Palm is very difficult to transplant from the wild.
Needle Palm – Rhapidophyllum hystrix is a needle palm, which are the most frost hardy palms on earth surviving -20°F weather with little damage.
Saw Palmetto or Serenoa Repens – Sassafras Palm has been found growing wild as far north as Virginia, Washington D.C., and New Jersey, and is cold hardy to -10° F.
Windmill Palm or Trachycarpus fortunel has been known to be cold hardy for many years and have been growing in Switzerland for 100 years along Lake Lucerne.
Adapted palms (Southern palms)
Cabbage Palm or Sabal Palmetto – Sabal Palm and Palmetto Palm is the state tree of South Carolina and Florida. It is popular as a landscape tree in southern states with excellent cold-hardiness and transplanting success. Sabal palms are salt water tolerant.
Canary Island Date Palm – Phoenix canariensis or Majestic Palm. Is the most desirable palm to give a tropical look to the landscape. The trees grow about 50ft tall with leaves up to 20ft long.
Chinese Fan Palm is a slow growing palm; forms very large leaves, which will give a full-grown, tree a look of weeping. This palm can withstand below freezing weather, and can grow inside patios. You can find this palm tree along highways. This type of palm tree can grow up to 25ft tall.
Date Palm is the true date palm of North Africa. It has been planted widely in Arizona and California for production of dates. Date palms work well in mall landscaping.
Gum Palm is cold hardy to light freezes, but will freeze in weather below 20°F. The long leaves look like fern fronds, but the leaflets are bright shiny green in colour and stiff and sharply toothed.
European Fan Palm or European Palm. Has a large crown of blue-green fanlike leaves. This palm is considered to be one of the coldest hardy and grows outside. The plant can be relocated and will survive easy with little transplant shock when moved, even in during the summer months.
Pygmy Date Palm is a good container plant when potted indoors. Fine-leafed, small scale, single-trunked palm; grows slowly up to about 5ft.
Washingtonian Palm or Mexican Fan Palm has a tall slender trunk, has a crown of large fan-shaped evergreen fronds, and can provide a very tropical appearance to the landscape.
Sago Palm is a feather leaf palm that is found along the Atlantic coast beach and is 300 years old and 12 feet tall with dignified umbrella crowns.
Phoenix Sylvester Palm or Toddy Palm is very similar to the Canary Island Palm and the edible date palm.
Zamia pumila or Coontie Palm is known as the prehistoric plant, which dominated the earth 200 million years ago and grows 3ft tall on separate male and female plants.