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Palm Trees: Big or Small and Cold Hardy

Palm Trees: Big or Small and Cold Hardy

When people start thinking about taking a summer vacation, Palm Trees are the first thing that comes to mind. However, Palm Trees aren’t just a symbol of the tropics – they’re also a symbol of high status and elegance. Palm Trees are often used as decorative trees in lavish areas, like resorts, which is why we hold them in high regard.

Since palm trees are more than 80 million years old, they’ve evolved into thousands of different varieties: big, small, and even cold hardy. 

The Top Palm Trees

1. The Windmill Palm

Designed to go farther North than any other palm before, it’s recommended for growing zones 6 through 11. Plus, it’s cold hardy down to -10 degrees! This cold hardy palm doesn’t need a tropical area to thrive – it grows perfectly fine in snowy, cold locations. The Windmill Palm grows about 25 to 30 feet tall, and 6 to 10 feet wide, so it can easily fit into your landscape.

2. Pygmy Date Palm

Want a palm but don’t have the space? Check out the Pygmy Date Palm!

It only grows to about 6 to 9 feet tall and 1 to 5 feet wide. Best of all, it’s perfect to grow in containers! Imagine having your entryways framed by potted palm trees.

Pygmy Date Palms are the perfect evergreen tree to use on the porch or patio for decorative purposes. Also, they thrive indoors. They’re recommended for growing zones 9 through 11 for planting in the ground. 


3. The Queen Palm

The Queen Palm is the perfect choice if you’re looking for a fast-growing palm. It grows to about 25 to 50 feet tall and 15 to 25 feet wide, making it stand out against taller homes. Its branches grow upwards and arch over, forming a crown at the top of the tree. Queen Palms bring the feel of tropical royalty to your own yard. 

4. European Fan Palm

Add high fives to your landscape with the European Fan Palm. Its upright branches sport long green fronds that spread out like a fan. These vibrant palms wave hello to spectators, causing your landscape to stand out with stunning elegance. European Fan Palms are extremely tough, with a cold tolerance down to 5 degrees and high drought tolerance. Just plant yours and watch it flourish!

Palm Care

When looking for a location to plant your Palm, consider its individual light requirement. For example, Windmill Palms prefer areas with partial shade, but Queen Palms prefer full sun. Each Palm’s light requirement can be found on their page.

Palm Trees will adapt to your natural soil, as long as it’s well draining. Most don’t like sitting in standing water, so avoid planting them in places that collect a lot of puddles, or that’s prone to flooding.

Different palms have different water requirements, so pay attention to your tree’s needs. The Pygmy Date Palm likes to have moist soil at all times. If it has rained in your area, feel your palm’s soil and only water it if it feels close to drying out. When watering your palm, give it a deep watering in the morning or evening by holding a hose to its base and counting to 20.


Palm Trees in containers tend to need water more often than those planted in the ground. Make sure that your container has holes in the bottom of it to provide proper drainage. If your container doesn’t have holes, you can easily add them with a drill.

Fertilize your palm according to its schedule. Windmill Palms need to be fertilized once in the spring, summer and fall. Most palms need a fertilizer that’s high in nitrogen and potassium, so look at the NPK ratio. The N stands for nitrogen, the P stands for phosphate, and the K stands for Potassium, so a good ratio for your palms will be 15-5-15 or 12-4-12. Also, make sure that it’s a slow release fertilizer.

Yellow Fronds

Once the fronds or leaves turn yellow on a palm, it can be quite concerning to people but it’s usually nothing to worry about. Generally, older fronds towards the top of the tree turn yellow and will either naturally fall or can be pruned.

Another cause for yellow fronds? A lack of nutrients. If you see multiple fronds turning yellow, give your palm some fertilizer that’s high in nitrogen.

If pests like aphids or spider mites are on your tree, they can affect the color of the fronds as well. Spider mites will make their presence known because they’ll leave webs around the fronds, and aphids are noticeable because they’re bright green. You can easily remove pests by spraying your palms with an organic pesticide.

Bring the Tropics to Your Own Yard

You don’t have to travel far and wide for unforgettable views of Palm Trees. For those up North, there are varieties that thrive in containers! Simple give your palm trees a little water and fertilizer and they’ll take off, quickly becoming the envy of your neighborhood.


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