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14 Classic Palm Tree Varieties

A palm tree adds tropical charm to almost any setting. Most of us are familiar with Florida palm trees, but did you know there are also cold-hardy types of palm trees you can grow?

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Photo: Shutterstock/AndrisL

Palm Tree Types to Know

You don't have to live in a warm, southern climate to grow a palm tree. Some types of palm trees are cold-hardy and, once they're established, can survive temperatures below freezing. The Sabal or cabbage palmetto, for example, is a native Florida palm tree that tolerates cold.

Learn about growing palms to choose the best ones for your landscape. If you have full sun and dry heat, consider a date palm tree. A coconut palm (Cocus nucifera) like the one shown here, thrives in high temperatures but needs water. Check out these palm tree pictures for more choices.

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Photo: Photo courtesy of Real Palm Trees

True Date Palm (Phoenix dactylifera)

Date palms bring a sense of stateliness to any setting. This is the palm that bears delicious, sweet dates. It hails from North Africa and thrives in any type of soil—even rocky and poor. Many date farms in California have closed due to various pressures, and they’re selling the trees. This makes mature date palms readily available for reasonable prices. Keep suckers removed as they appear to maintain a single trunk palm. Hardy in Zones 8a-11.

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Photo: Photo courtesy of Marie Selby Botanical Gardens

Zombie Palm (Zombia antillarum)

Add a little scare factor to your yard with a zombie palm. Native to Hispaniola, which includes Haiti, this palm earns its name from long trunk spines used as needles in voodoo dolls. Leaves on this palm are also commonly used as roof thatch because of their reputed zombie-repellant properties. Very slow growing, zombie palm forms a multi-stemmed clump. Tree height tops at 10 feet. It’s a perfect complement to a one-story home. Hardy Zones 9b-11.

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Photo: Photo courtesy of Monrovia

Windmill Palm (Trachycarpus fortunei)

Known by several names including Chusan or Chinese windmill palm, this upright tree brings stately beauty to any landscape. Leaves have a strong fan-like appearance, although some are partially segmented toward the base so that the tips have a weeping look. This is a tough, cold-hardy palm native to mountain and temperate forests in China. Windmill palm is widely available, tolerates urban conditions and adapts well to growing in courtyards or containers. Grows 20 to 40 feet tall. Hardy in Zones 7 to 10.

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